Whether you are using the internet to build relationships for personal networking purposes, for your business, for your non-profit or for any other reason, you have to be consistent. You have to be there, day in and day out putting in your time. You can’t drop in now and then for a sprint and expect it to feel good or produce results. It won’t.
You already know this is true. You can’t eat healthy one day a week and pig out the other 6. You can’t exercise once a month and be fit. You can’t make the birthday phone call exclusively and call the recipient your closest friend. Almost anything that yields results requires consistent work.
What is consistency online?
If you blog, post regularly. Regularly doesn’t mean daily. It means on a basis that is regular. Maybe that’s weekly, maybe that’s twice a week, maybe it is daily. But users will expect something from you, and you should meet their expectation.
If you write your own content, it means writing, writing, writing. You may not publish everything you write. But the one bit of advice almost all writers seem to agree on is that the only way to improve is to write. You may not be comfortable blogging today, but you’re not going to get better tomorrow unless you do it. You may feel awkward, but keep going. Read other blogs and write. You will figure it out.
Participating in Social Networks
It means actually participating in the social networks where you have accounts. Participating. Posting is not participating. You have to answer comments. You have to read other people’s posts and comment on their stuff. Really read it. Take an interest in other people. You have to share the work of others and not just expect them to share yours. It means responding to questions and comments quickly, even if they’re negative. You are there to interact, not broadcast.
Managing Your Content
It means taking active control of your content. Use your site. Is your content still up to date? Are you listing events that are over? Do you have links to pages that have been removed? Your website is alive. It’s never done. Look at it regularly from the perspective of the user. See what they see. Make sure your site reflects what you want to say today.
Sticking With Your Plan
Mostly consistency online means not abandoning your plan to chase today’s shiny object. There is always something new to try. But not everything will be a good fit for you and your goals. Evaluate the new, but don’t give up on your plan 5 seconds after you’ve started just because it’s hard or because you haven’t seen results yet. The web is fast, but it’s not that fast. People still take time to build trust and relationships. Your single, brilliant tweet today will not deliver 87 new customers tomorrow.
Real results rarely come overnight. You have to put in your time.
[Image credit: Brian J Matis Creative Commons]