Learning to Swim: How to Define Success on Social Media

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EyeforTravel recently surveyed over 500 Asia Pacific (APAC) travel brands about their implementation of social media. 68% have deployed mobile and social media initiatives but are unsure how to “define, achieve and measure success.”

14 Comments on Learning to Swim: How to Define Success on Social Media

EyeforTravel recently surveyed over 500 Asia Pacific (APAC) travel brands about their implementation of social media.

The results showed that, despite 68% of companies claiming to have deployed mobile and social media initiatives, more than half admit they’re unsure how to “define, achieve and measure success.” An overwhelming majority recognized that it was vital to experiment and invest significant resources in both social and mobile roadmaps, but equally apparent were a lack of practical know-how and a fear of failure.

It’s great that the necessity of social media is becoming more evident to major brands. Even though many acknowledge they may not yet know exactly how to execute, they do recognize it’s essential they learn how.

Experimentation is definitely important, in anything. This said, it’s important that the strategizing comes first. Learning how to manage these platforms isn’t as significant as knowing why, and that factor varies for every company based on each’s specific goals and objectives. The practical components come much more naturally when the latter detail is clearly defined rather than blurry.

A common pitfall noted was the abundance of social media platforms, languages and analytical tools. One  respondent said, “For all its potential, social media keeps me up at night. It feels a little bit like jumping in at the deep-end without arm-bands and being expected to swim like Michael Phelps.”

Fear of failure is certainly natural, but hopefully that’ll be a motivating factor. Failure is definitely one of my biggest fears, in many facets of my life; it was a huge factor in my postponing starting this site, yet once I got going and built up momentum, everything turned out fine. It’s just getting over that initial hurdle that’s the most difficult, and it’s awesome to see that travel brands are entering this phase so they can thereby transition to that next one: overcoming the fear.

From there, it’s a gradual buildup that comes from regular “studying” (reading relevant articles, staying in-the-know on current tech news and trends, etc.) and ongoing practical application. There are a lot of great online resources (such as Mashable), platforms (like HootSuite) and analytics options (like Google Analytics) that can be helpful once an initial plan is in place.

There is definitely a lot to learn in the social space, and the fact that it’s constantly evolving doesn’t help. That said, in continuing with the swimming analogy, remember there are many options between sinking, and swimming like Michael Phelps. Even Phelps started in floaties. Do not undermine the journey; Do not undermine the virtues of doggy paddling. Leisurely swimming. Playing Marco Polo.

You don’t have to jump right into the water and be Olympic swimmer. All you need to is jump in. Then eventually, begin to doggy paddle, learn the strokes, get comfortable in the water, and before you know it, you’ll be competing for medals in no time.

doggy paddle
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunnyfrogs/


  1. “For all its potential, social media keeps me up at night. It feels a little bit like jumping in at the deep-end without arm-bands and being expected to swim like Michael Phelps.”  Haha, I can relate. Can’t help wondering if this will get better as businesses learn to navigate social media platforms, or worse as social media platforms proliferate to ridiculous levels over the next few years?

  2. Nice info and photos!  I always like to give the background and the story when helping someone to learn a concept.

  3. Love the analogy! And the information. Thanks, Debbie!

  4. There are so many social media platforms. The key for me was to choose the three that work for me and limit my time there. I was getting burned out for awhile. 

  5. Great analogy. I tell people “Just Get Started”. You don’t have to be perfect. In fact, in some areas it is better if you aren’t.

  6. showing up is 80%…Just have to jump in an get started…Obviously ROI is important, but some/many just take it to another level…Reminds me of a quote I saw a couple of months ago, “ROI of Social Media, is your business will still be around in 5 years.”

  7. Google analytics for the win!  🙂

  8. Definitely! 

  9. I hadn’t heard that quote Steve, thanks for sharing! 

  10. Yeah, definitely. I learned primarily by doing.

  11. Yeah, definitely. I think as long as you’re active on the “major” ones, you can keep up with the trends and most consumers.

  12. Sure! Thanks for commenting.

  13. Thanks, Sally!

  14. Wow, interesting question. Hopefully it’ll get better (knock-on-wood). It may proliferate to crazy levels once it becomes more of “the norm,” but hopefully with the experience will come some leveling out, too.

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