As the year comes to an end, it seems like a good time to reflect on the knowledge I’ve gained in 2014. It’s been nearly four months since I came on as the Marketing Intern for the Socedo team, my first professional experience in the field, and already I feel like I can write pages on what I’ve learned. As the only designated marketing position in this rapidly blossoming startup I’ve had many unique opportunities to help shape and develop its marketing strategy alongside tremendously talented and insightful colleagues. The following are just a few lessons I’ve absorbed along the way about marketing, social media, and lead generation in our ever-changing digital world.

Social media is good for more than just personal use…

When I joined the Socedo team I knew that it was a powerful tool designed to help marketers and sellers reach quality leads on social media. But up until then I hadn’t given much thought to social media as much more than a medium of personal expression, let alone a source of new business for companies. That way of thinking changed on day one.

By using our own tool as one of the main lead generation sources for Socedo, I quickly realized exactly how powerful and valuable social media platforms can be to finding and engaging your target audience. With so much information available on each profile marketers can cut through the masses and focus on those whom their efforts would be best spent. Never before has it been so easy to know so much about leads even before making contact. And because of this, perhaps unintentionally, social media has become a game changer for marketing and sales.

A personal touch goes a long way with leads…

One of the key features of the Socedo tool is the automated engagement which makes marketing on social media much more efficient for businesses. I soon learned that marketing automation has a bad reputation on social media and many companies refuse to go near it. But, after spending time learning how to use Socedo, I realized that this tool offers a unique opportunity for users to add a personal touch and avoid the “spam” association automation brings with it.

I started by carefully crafting an automated message that is general enough to be sent to many leads but specific and personalized enough to be relevant and friendly. Once replies start to come in from those automated messages the tool allows the user to reply to each message personally in order to continue the conversation with those leads that are interested. I’ve seen that adding this level of personalization and following up on an individual level can be remarkably effective at gaining the attention and respect of people.

Peers can be valuable resources for knowledge…

This lesson rings true, not only within a company, but outside of it as well. Two minds are usually better than one, so looking to coworkers and colleagues for insight can make good ideas great. That’s just common sense. But another facet of this lesson not so easily recognized is the amount that can be learned from others in your industry – perhaps even your direct competitors.

Upon entering this new space, with relatively little background knowledge, one of the most helpful resources for me has been others within the same industry as Socedo. It’s instinctive to want to separate yourself from other companies similar to yours, but by being aware and taking notice of what works and doesn’t work for comparable businesses, I was able to develop a more solid marketing strategy.

Don’t expect immediate results…

Marketing and lead generation take time. There is no magic wand you can wave to see instantaneous results. That’s a hard fact to grapple with especially for someone like me from a generation raised on instant gratification. Working at Socedo has helped me to understand the value of taking time to develop a strategy, patiently implement it step by step, and then wait for it to work.

To truly know if a tactic is working for your business you’ve got to give it a fair chance to work. It may be a few weeks or a few months, but give your strategy time to fully take hold before declaring it a success or a failure.

Every failure is a successful lesson…

That being said, not every tactic is going to work. As a part of a new and developing marketing team I’ve seen some ideas, which seemed great in theory, flat out flop. But that’s okay! From each of these failures we were able to learn something – a new facet of our company and industry that wasn’t clear before. If I take anything away from my time at Socedo it will be to embrace the failures along with the successes because falling down teaches you to get back up and keep trying.