A question many people want an answer for, even if they never ask it, is how long they should wait before they’ll begin to see any results from their social media efforts. This can be a tricky question because what one person deems as positive results, another person may not. Most people seem to be talking about at least one of the following four things:
- An increase in awareness of their product, service, or business
- An increase in conversations on Facebook and/or Twitter
- More traffic to their website or blog
- New leads and sales for the business
In my experience it takes three or four months for most people to begin to see positive results in any of the above areas. By they time they cross the six month mark, however, they tend to feel like they really have momentum going for themselves and the sky is the limit.
Social Media Success Time Line
I should note that all of this is based on my own observations and experiences with clients over the last three years. This scenario is an average, so that means there are exceptions both positively and negatively. For instance, I’ve known companies that took well over a year to really see any tangible results from their social media efforts, while other people see great things happening within their first month. For most of the organizations and individuals I’ve worked with, however, it seems their social media efforts and feelings follow the following cycle:
- Months 1-3: Minimal feeling of success and fight temptation to quit but persevere.
- Month 4: Begin to see some positive things happen. Get confidence in their work.
- Months 5-6: Continue to see good things happen and gain further confidence and certainty.
- Months 7 and beyond: Convinced of their social media efforts. See clear and tangible results. Begin to tweak certain aspects of their social media strategy to refine their efforts.
When It Doesn’t Work
The timeline above is what I’ve observed for companies who are “all in” on their social media efforts. Companies that play around with social media, don’t have a strategy, or just flat out do it the wrong way, may never see any results regardless of how long they take. Starting off with the right strategy and the right people makes all the difference. If you don’t have both components you’re going to have a much more difficult time seeing even minimal success. If you don’t know where to start, try Forrester’s POST method and my EIEIO approach to social media content.