The terms “Flogging a dead horse” and “Success is only just around the corner” spring to mind when talking about this concept, articulated by Eric Ries in his New York bestseller “The Lean Startup”.
In your business as well as your everyday life, how do you know when to “give up”? Or, if you do change direction or quit, were you JUST about to make that breakthrough or success you worked so hard for? What if you are achieving moderate success and therefore if you quit it would prove embarrassing or would lose you the moderate income you are used to. What if, on the surface, you are highly successful, but actually you are unhappy, stressed and working 60 hours per week just to keep the ‘success’ going.
When do you Pivot? And when do you Persevere?
What does it mean to pivot? To pivot is to change direction, drop something that isn’t working, and take one area or your whole business in a different direction. Most of the time you would take some of the past version with you. Sometimes you lose the past version altogether.
A great example is a tech company started by Dan Carroll, a well-known name in silicon valley, in 2007. In it’s original form it was called “kaChing” and was a online “fantasy league” for amateur investors, designed to spot good investors. They built a sophisticated system, but customers found the concept confusing and didn’t buy in. The team decided they couldn’t persevere as it existed and decided to celebrate what had been achieved up to this date, but make a pivot. They abandoned the gaming concept and instead focused on creating a platform for amateur investors. On the surface, the pivot seemed quite dramatic, a new company name, new branding and discarding a lot of the system that they had built, but underneath a surprising amount stayed the same. What worked in the system became the core that everything new was built around. The company (now called Wealthfront) is now a leader in the field.
If the team hadn’t had started in the first place they would never have had the knowledge and core system that they then built upon.
Another example in The Lean Startup is the online Voters platform Votizen. It took 4 huge pivots to drag it to the success that founder and CEO David Binetti had visioned, each pivot building on the previous versions successes.
The interesting fact is that, every time he decided to pivot, it took less time than his last pivot. Of the 4 major pivots, the first took 12 months, the second six months, the third took four months and the last pivot took only a month to put into place.
This can be attributed to 2 things. Firstly, the structure and business allowed for a pivot and adapted easier each time. Each change built upon the things that were great about the business and discarded the things that didn’t work. With each pivot there was less to discard and more opportunity to build on what worked.
The second observation is that, the decisions became easier to make, as the decision to pivot had been made previously. The team even brought the ‘pivot or persevere’ concept into their strategic meetings, something that Eric Reis recommends that every business do.
The dictionary’s definition of perseverance is “doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”.
A client of mine regularly pivots in her business and on reflection feels that she may have recently made too many. She feels compelled to pivot as she is haunted by the alternative of persevering.
Her dad had a 30-year career working for the same company, with the promise of becoming the first person ever to go from being the apprentice to a director in the 100 year history of the company. After years of blood sweat and tears his final promotion was due. He prepared to become director and enjoy has last years with the company before retiring. The board of directors then decided to promote the boss’s son instead. His hopes, as well as his pride was completely crushed and my client is haunted by the memory of the only time she’d ever seen him break down in tears.
Years of persevering did not bring him to where he wanted to be and the worst thing was that he had no control over the future he’d planned for himself.
What happened to him didn’t have to force him to make a pivot in his life; he could have continued to work for that company. Maybe he might have eventually got the directors role that he was promised. But the pivot he made took his life in a better direction than he could ever have imagined.
An entrepreneur approached him to work as partners. With his engineering background and keen project management skills they start a competing firm. I’m sure you will agree that someone that has been an employee for 30 years starting a business of his own is completely daunting, but he partnered up with the right person. He pivoted at completely the right time, not through choice but nevertheless formed part of the team that, after a couple of pivots of their own, built a company that now turns over in excess of £2million per year. He now has the directorship that he wanted and even better, is working hard for his own company, not someone else’s.
The unplanned pivot was the best thing that could have happened to him. How did this happen? Because his new partner heard that he hadn’t got a promotion and saw it as a perfect time to approach him. This is a perfect example of taking what is good from the previous version and leaving behind what didn’t work, which in his case was the company itself!
How does this translate into our personal success? I’d like you to take these 2 steps, in your personal or business life if you like. Take 10 minutes to think about your answers, write them down and build your findings into your plan for success. Just by being aware, will set your subconscious mind the task of resolving any issues holding you back.
1. Are you a pivot-er or a persevere-er?
Take a moment to think about some pivots and perseverance’s that have led you closer to success, or away from success. Think about how you could have changes your thinking to get a better outcome.
[A classic perseverance is staying in a marriage for too long, out of fear that you will be more unhappy out of it that you are miserable in it!]
I’d like you to think about your life or business, what’s holding you back from that next step of success. What is stopping you? Is it your thinking? What’s the ‘barrier’? Did something spring into your mind while reading this article? That’s probably what your unconscious mind needs to be analysed further.
2. Write down 2 things that are holding you back you right now and then ask yourself the question – Pivot or Persevere?
What we can take from this silicon valley concept:
1. If we want to do something, we need to make a start. Imperfect action will teach you more than no action ever will.
2. It’s not a failure if we have strategically decided to pivot! Start making the changes needed and each time it will be less painful and achieve more in less time.
3. Its ok to pivot and its equally ok to persevere, we just need to know our reasons for doing so.
When posting to Facebook, on either your business or personal account, it can be tempting to post continuous updates as well as all of the interesting/funny news stories you find online. Facebook is designed for sharing content and connecting with people, so theoretically there is nothing wrong with constant updates and links.
However, you will run the risk of being considered a News Feed ‘spammer’, and other Facebook users (either in your Friends list or who Like your page) will most likely get irritated by you. This will obviously lead to the opposite desired effect of making a connection and informing fellow users, and may result in your Friends and Like connections possibly removing you from their News Feed somehow.
So, this is the main question when it comes to Facebook: how often should you post? Also, how often is too often?
The first thing to do when it comes to your Facebook posting is check how much you are posting every day. For a business page, you can run a higher risk of coming across as ‘spamming’ if you post too often, and too often is definitely less than for a personal profile page.
As a business page on Facebook, you will find that at first it is difficult to find a brand personality, and the type of content you want to link to your followers and potential consumers. However, once you have found your brand niche, and the content that relates to and connects with your consumers, you will often find that there are so many things you want to share with your audience. This is great, but this is also when you will find it difficult to control how often you are posting.
As far as what constitutes as ‘spamming’, or irritating your followers and consumers, if you find yourself posting 3 times a day or more, you are on the verge of crossing the line. Studies have shown that, in fact, after an average of 2 daily posts, your Facebook followers will tune out and find your post more annoying than interesting. Therefore, we would advise that the most optimal amount of times to post on Facebook is 2 per day, and 3 maximum, if you require.
Space It Out
The second factor is to consider the times of which you are posting in detail. If you have ever typed in anything about Facebook posting into Google, you will find at least one infographic informing you of all the best times in a day to post to various social media platforms. However, not saying to completely ignore these, but we believe that the best way to work out what times to post per day is by trial and error.
Each business page is different, relates to individual business and services, and relies on a different audience and consumer base. This all means that the times to post per day would be different for every separate business and brand, in order to get the most engagement and connect with your audience beneficially. For example, a lifestyle brand would find that the best engagement is during lunch hours, or later in the afternoon or early evening, as opposed to in the morning. Whereas, a financial type of business would find that they reach a better audience in the earlier morning, and would achieve no reach if they were to post in the evening.
The best way to go about starting your Facebook posting is to begin with the standard 2 posts a day, during morning and afternoon periods, and monitor your engagement and views with your audience over a certain timeframe. Also, consider how your target audience would use Facebook on the weekends, and whether it would change from the weekday. Then simply adjust your Facebook posting, based on the monitoring, to gain the optimal engagement with your potential consumers.
Recently, Facebook has gained a lot of media coverage with regards to the engagement that businesses and brands can reach through the platform. Many marketers have been complaining that Facebook has drastically dropped the organic reach of many business pages’ posts. For example, the engagement dropped by over half for many pages.
People are generally unhappy about this decrease in organic reach and engagement, as it appears to come from Facebook’s desire to have brands and businesses paying to advertise and reach their targeted audience through the platform. In June 2014, Facebook’s VP of Ads Product Marketing, Brian Boland, even stated as much, saying: “Facebook is far more effective when businesses use paid media to help meet their goals. Your business won’t always appear on the first page of a search result unless you’re paying to be part of that space.”
However, another reason for this drop in Facebook engagement for brands is that there are simply a lot more people and businesses on Facebook, meaning more traffic and other posts to compete with. Facebook works by generating relevant news stories in your News Feed, which they feel will be of interest to you based on your most clicked on and viewed posts. This means that not only does it affect business pages, but you will also find more stories from people you communicate with or view more than with other people in your Friends list.
The fact that Facebook curates your individual News Feed isn’t bad, as it assures that the users who are interested can view all of the content and not miss updates that could be important to them. However, their policy just makes it more awkward for businesses to try and reach their target audience if Facebook is editing the individual user engagement.
In addition to these general Facebook reach rules and News Feed curation, individual business or brand pages have their own organic reach statistics. In general, Facebook seems to make sure your posts gain more widespread reach if you post less frequently per day.
For example, if you only post the 1 link or update per day, Facebook will allow more of your consumers to view that post. Conversely, if you post 5 per day, Facebook appears to separate the organic reach out over the 5 posts, meaning less reach per post. This basically confirms the fact that not even one user who has liked your page will receive all of your updates in their News Feed, without visiting your business page directly.
This fact just adds to the fact that you should post a maximum of 3 updates per day, and preferably 2. Although, as far as individual business page engagement, if you posted just 1 update or link each day, you would technically gain more reach from that one post.
Ultimately, we advise for businesses to keep to the 2-per-day rule, in order to make sure you are reaching your business’ potential on Facebook. However, it would be interesting for you to test out your brand and business page on Facebook during different times, to find out the optimal times for your individual business.
Also, as far as Facebook engagement, their rates and organic reach have currently begun rising again. Facebook has reacted to peoples’ complaints about the lack of organic reach, and attempted to amend this for business and brand pages. As part of this, recently Facebook has created their “Save” button feature, which you may have noticed on brand pages, alongside the “Like/Unlike” button. This is an attempt to further the organic reach and traffic from Facebook, as it works as a reading list function, to save the page for later. This “Save” buton will count towards your overall business page engagement, and will be beneficial for businesses through this channel, according to Facebook. So, time to wait and see how much difference the “Save” button makes.
If you are interested in finding more about how often your business should post on Facebook, and how you can best optimise your audience and potential consumers to gain desired brand engagement, then Bright Yellow Creative can help!
We will sort out your Facebook business page, and create and share interesting content to engage with your viewers and consumers.
Contact us for more information about our social media packages here, and take a look at our social media services here (our specific Facebook services can be found here).
See how we can benefit your business through Facebook, and other social media, starting today!