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3 traits every social media program needs to survive

5 min read


Today’s poll analysis post was written by Jeremy Victor, editor-in-chief of For more of his writing, follow B2Bbloggers on Facebook and Twitter.

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues. Last week’s poll question: The primary goal of my business’ social media efforts is:

  • Different, depending on who you ask at the company: 30.91%
  • Documented, agreed upon, well-known and communicated frequently: 30%
  • Unknown: 23.64%
  • Changing constantly: 15.45%

The easy thing to do with the data from this question would be to write a preachy article about how and why having goals is important. I’d quote Peter Drucker and his SMART (Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-Bound.) goals methodology and tell you to go set some goals and get your organization all on the same page. Without a doubt you’ve heard all that before (why you are not doing it, I don’t know), but I’m sure I’d lose your attention in a heartbeat.

Instead I thought I would tell you a story about the first goal I’ve ever set for myself and why focus, perseverance and commitment are the key elements of accomplishing any goal — social media or otherwise.

I grew up in a single-parent household. By the age of 2, my parents were divorced, leaving my older sister, brother and me to live with my mother. From what I recall, the early years of the divorce were normal. My Dad would pick us up Wednesday nights; we’d go to McDonald’s, and then head to his house to do homework, play or watch TV. It’d be “The Dating Game,” “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley,” then we’d all pile back into the car and he’d take us home.

This routine went on for several years until my Dad moved to California to be closer to his mother. I was 7. We visited three times, once for Christmas, and twice for full summers. It was always great. Every time getting showered with gifts, visiting Disney Land and doing all the fun things a kid would want to do in sunny California. Even though my parents were divorced, as a 9 year old, I thought it was fantastic.

Then came my 10th birthday. No birthday card. No phone call. No gifts.

Same thing at 11, and 12 and 13. Nothing.

My father had abandoned us.

Not only did the birthday cards stop, though, so did the child support. Now, it was just us and my mom. Truth be told, it wasn’t until just a couple of weeks ago that I realized from that point forward I grew up poor. We were so rich with the love of our mother that until someone recently said to me in conversation, “So you grew up poor,” I never thought of it that way. But from an economic standpoint,  it was the truth.

Enter my first goal at age 13 — See my father again. Learn why he abandoned us.

Now, I won’t bore you with more details of my childhood, but I will tell you that for a long time we had absolutely no idea where my father was, dead or alive. And that at some stage of my life, I have gone through absolutely every single emotion: anger, fear, sadness, envy, depression, you name it, that an event like this can bring. Though in hindsight, there were three things that made getting through it and accomplishing this goal possible: focus, perseverance and commitment.


Often at night before drifting off to sleep, I’d visualize the meeting. In my late teens, early 20s, it was a fist fight. He’d leave a bloody mess and me with broken hands. Mid-to-late 20s, it was over drinks in a bar. I’d stumble both in and out, possibly forgetting it ever even happened. By my 30s, though, my focus shifted to forgiveness, the need of letting this go, and a realization that my time was running out.

Whatever distractions (or emotions) that came into view, I always reminded myself of the stated, specific goal, see him and learn why he left. It was none of those other visualizations.


From false addresses, learning he was back in the area and didn’t call, to asking myself constantly, “Was that him?” there were hundreds of obstacles and unknowns in this journey. Most great endeavors have a “perseverance” stage, do they not? This was no different.


Over time, I certainly questioned whose responsibility it was to reach out to whom, father or son. But despite long thinking it was his job, this past February I ignored that, and my wife and I flew to Las Vegas to at long last see my father again. It was my opportunity to break the silence, express my feelings and ultimately accomplish my goal.

It took 25 years.

Like I said at the outset, I wasn’t gonna be preachy about goal setting but:

  • if you don’t have stated goals, you are doing it wrong.
  • if your social media goals “vary from person to person,” you are doing it wrong.
  • if your social media goals are “unknown,” you again are doing it wrong.

Don’t settle for that. Be the one who sets your organization straight. Don’t sit there and watch it be wrong, become the change agent. Focus, persevere and commit to fixing it. If you do, I guarantee you can accomplish it. I did.