Larry Brauner

Building a social media presence is much more a marathon than a sprint. There’s plenty of content to develop, place and promote, and there are lots of relationships to build.

Running a marathon requires physical endurance and much more mental endurance than most people think.

I ran two marathons, so I speak from personal experience. I’m crossing the 1985 NYC Marathon finish line in the picture below. Months or years of difficult and sometimes painful training lead up to the day of the big race.

Larry Brauner Completes His Second New York City Marathon in November, 1985The social media marathon requires commitment, persistence and lots of patience, the type of mental endurance needed to complete a 26.2 mile race.

When I wrote Social Media One Bite at a Time back in March, I emphasized the importance of motivation and focus.

In the present article, I’m suggesting that you adopt the mindset of a marathoner. Commit to do whatever is necessary to succeed, and pace yourself, so that you don’t injure yourself or get burned out during the process. This principle is behind most great achievements.

I love the way my running coach Bob Glover puts it, “Start off slow and taper down.” Bob’s mantra counters our natural tendency to come “out of the gate” at full speed and keep running — our human egos at work.

How does all this translate into long-term social media success?

Marathoner Mindset

Here are seven ideas to help you develop the mindset of a marathoner:

  1. Make a serious commitment to do whatever is required to attain your social media or web marketing goals. This is an absolute prerequisite.
  2. Find your “Bob Glover.” I had more than one coach on my way to becoming a chess champion and teachers to help me learn cello and Talmud. I have mentors now and plan to have more mentors in the future. Get yourself a mentor. As I now like to say, “The ultimate shortcut is doing it right the first time.”
  3. Don’t wait until the conditions are perfect for launching your campaign. I’ll always remember what I heard Mike Litman say, “You don’t have to get it right. You just have to get it going”.
  4. Join one networking site at a time and take time to master it. Social networking sites can be intimidating at first. Learn a new feature, practice it, and go on to the next.
  5. Start out blogging once a week. It’s hard to begin, especially if, like me, you’re not a professional writer. You can increase your posting frequency later.
  6. Realize that there’s a steep social media learning curve. Do not quit. So many people join Twitter or Facebook or begin blogging and quit shortly thereafter. They expected to sprint a 100-yard* dash, not to run a marathon.
  7. Don’t forget about the “social” in social media. Get to know a lot of people and have a blast!

I invite you to subscribe to this blog and to share your ideas below.

*A unit of length equal to 0.9144 meters, something that even our British friends across the pond can find quaint.

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23 Responses to “7 Tips for Winning the Social Media Marathon”

  1. April on August 9th, 2009 7:40 pm

    Great article Larry! I love how you parallel social media and online success to preparing for and running a marathon.

    This is great advice for anyone to follow [even the more advanced folks could benefit from these tips]!

    Thanks Larry

  2. Larry Brauner on August 10th, 2009 12:54 am

    Thank you April.

    Few people have the mindset to prepare for and to run a marathon — nor to win the social media marathon.

    Hence the 80/20 Rule and social media.

  3. JOHNNY on August 10th, 2009 2:14 am

    Thanks Larry.

    This really helps me in improving my my social networking skills.

    Thank you so much!

  4. Jackie on August 10th, 2009 11:08 am

    Again Larry, some really great advice. The parallel to social networking and preparing for and running a marathon is a nice workable visual.

  5. Jennifer Tislerics on August 10th, 2009 11:24 am

    Thanks for the tips. We’ve gotten off to a decent start, and are in for the long run. =)

    Don’t the quotes in #2 and #3 conflict, though?

  6. Larry Brauner on August 10th, 2009 11:34 am

    One quote Jennifer underscores the merit of finding a mentor or coach, while the other admonishes perfectionism and procrastination.

  7. Ellen gradman on August 10th, 2009 1:38 pm

    Great advice!! Not only running for a marathon, but also the training. Slowly over time, increasing at a steady pace. And you never run the 26.2 miles until the day of the race!

  8. Linky on August 10th, 2009 4:24 pm


    I like the metaphor of building a social media presence is like running a marathon. That is my experience too and just like running a marathon requires a training plan and commitment to finish, building a social media presence requires a plan or strategy to follow, persistence to keep to the plan and a commitment to succeed whatever it takes.

    Thanks for your articles!

  9. Winning the Social Media Marathon « Catherine White on August 11th, 2009 8:28 am

    […] of the best blogs I’ve read all year is Larry Brauner’s ‘7 tips for Winning the Social Media Marathon’ […]

  10. Market Segmentation on August 11th, 2009 11:55 am

    Hi Larry,

    This is a good reminder for all of us. It’s not nearly so difficult to get started as it is to keep going when you’re tired, frustrated, and not getting the results you’d hoped.

    As for coaches for social media, I think you are the best.



  11. Online Flash Classes on August 11th, 2009 2:53 pm

    I think those tips are great

    I think #7 is one people always try to get around… it’s the Internet, so you don’t really have to meet people. But you do, and that’s what people need to realize.

  12. Larry Brauner on August 11th, 2009 3:28 pm

    Perhaps Linda, we should form a mutual admiration society. Thank you for all your support.

  13. MarketingGeekAustin on August 11th, 2009 4:03 pm

    […] Link to the full story… […]

  14. Debbie Morgan on August 12th, 2009 12:16 pm

    Hi Larry!

    Thanks for the tip. It’s good information for most projects in life.


  15. Steve on August 12th, 2009 7:12 pm

    Larry, I eventually would like to run a marathon, over the next couple of years. Having just completed my first 5K this year, I’m on the way. It’s a beautiful and encouraging analogy for social networking. Consistency, commitment, and patience will win the day in the end! Just like the hare, from the tortoise and the hare! :)

  16. Amorsolo on August 15th, 2009 9:21 am

    Very interesting analogy. I read the book of Bob Glover two years ago, although I am not a marathoner, just a casual runner.

    It is true, not only to achieve success in social media marketing, but also in everything that we do.

    Nice motivation. Thanks.

  17. killy on August 17th, 2009 11:23 am

    Very useful tips. Thanks Larry. Glad to know you and this blog.

  18. zoomprofit on August 18th, 2009 3:52 pm

    Wow it’s great article.. thanks for sharing

  19. I.C. Jackson on August 20th, 2009 9:27 pm

    Very keen and valuable insights for bloggers who still aren’t making the progress that they wish to make. You have to do it right and do it right consistently before you can get real results. Thanks for telling us all how to run well :-)

    Happy blogging to you, sir :-)

  20. Tree Guardian on August 28th, 2009 4:21 pm

    Wise words. Thank you for sending me the link to your article.

    “You don’t have to get it right. You just have to get it going”. This quote just had made me realize something.

    Thank You

  21. Jeff Moriarty on December 28th, 2009 1:54 pm

    I agree, too many people want the PPC answer to social marketing. Instant visitors and sales. Social marketing takes time, just like free search seo does. I think it gets easier over time, but to get to that place takes a lot of time and patience…and unfortunately many small businesses don’t have either.

  22. Sally S. on April 12th, 2011 11:08 pm

    I like #1 “Make a serious commitment” and #3 “You don’t have to get it right. You just have to get it going” the best.

    It does start with just starting it and committing. If at first you don’t succeed, the key is to keep trying. Practices can keep changing and some flexibility is needed as well.

  23. Stacy on April 24th, 2011 9:20 pm

    Number 6 is so true! Sometimes we get so fired up to start something, be it blogging, join Twitter or Facebook, and then after a month, we get demotivated or discouraged and stop. What your coach says is right, start slow and taper down.

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