A few weeks ago, I delivered a social media marketing workshop to a large group of business and law students. The overall theme was resilience in business. Building trust was one key message that I wanted to get across to my audience. My message, in a nutshell, was that no one parts with cash if they don’t trust you or your product. They don’t know you well enough to make an investment with time or money. It takes time to build that trust and that’s where resilience is an absolute necessity.

The audible gasp when I proclaimed that it takes 18 months to 2 years for start-up businesses to build up trust on social media was surprising. However, I don’t suppose hearing about overnight sensations on the news and ‘famous’ vloggers on YouTube helps. I explained that the reason these overnight success stories make headlines is that they are rare. If overnight success happened to everyone it wouldn’t be newsworthy. Mere mortals, the average Joe, need to work hard behind the scenes working out what works for their target audience. It’s a long-term case of trial and error.

Don’t waste your best content in the early days. If you don’t have many followers (which you won’t), who is going to see it? Use the time to be creative, find new software or strategies that will help you to stand out from the crowd. Make connections with possible future partnerships. Support each other in your ventures. That’s how social media works. Have public conversations with potential customers and partnerships, be transparent. That’s how they learn to trust you and know that you value their engagement not just the contents of their wallet.