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In the Shawshank Redemption starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins there is a fabulous voice over done only as Morgan can where he talks about the escape of Tim’s character.  Referring to Geology he says “…it’s a study of time and pressure. That’s all it takes really, time and pressure”.

This has become something of a mantra for me in reference to social business.  Granted the time we are talking about now is more like months rather that the millenia required to carve out canyons.  But the principle remains.  If you are going to build a social business that works, that engages and has a loyal, contributing community it will take two things: Time and patience.

We’ve all seen campaigns that are “viral”.  Going back to the geology analogy, these are earthquakes – sudden, violent and unpredictable. And rare.  While we all hope to “go viral” our efforts, long term, will benefit from time and patience.

It is vital to take the time to understand who your audience is and plan your interaction.  Then take the time to understand the platforms you will be using (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.).  When you do this you will know that your content and means of engagement are right, that you are doing something that will appeal to your intended audience.

Once you done all of that, now it’s time to be patient.

Social success is built through influence and credibility.  These valuable commodities are built through patience.  Having the patience to consistently and transparently engage.  As you do this, so your network, your community begins to trust you and rely on you.  And so it grows. Once you’re credible your message begins to be organically shared and you will attract a wider audience.  If you’re lucky somewhere along the line an earthquake will strike and viral sharing will explode your growth.  However it may never happen but the same results will be obtained by your consistent voice over a longer period of time.

If you’re in business and intend to succeed you will have the long term view.  The rewards of social community built through time and patience carries ample reward.

Time and patience.