I’ve been climbing rocks for the last seven or eight years. It’s an inherently silly sport that involves finding the hardest possible way to the top of a rock. The entire act of climbing can be bypassed by walking a few feet around to the backside of a boulder to find a slightly inclined, and quite walkable, route to the top. That, or a ladder.
Regardless of climbing’s sheepheaded nature, I quite enjoy it. As with any passion, there is more to it than meets the eye. Climbing is all about the approach. It’s as meaningful and important as you make it. Or, if you would rather, climbing can be all about sick pics and ego-boosting videos on Instagram!
The climbing community has embraced all that social media has to offer, often uploading pictures and videos of climbs before leaving the crag (or even getting to the top of a route). But this should come as no surprise. After all, climbing and social media have a lot in common.
In both rock climbing and social media, you need to have a strategy. Your strategy for climbing is figuring out where each hold is, the sequence of the moves, the crux of the problem, where you can take a rest, and things of that sort.
A social media strategy can include things like determining your audience, how many posts you plan on doing each day, the ratio of self-promotion and content from other sources, how you plan on keeping up with and responding to your audience, how many click-throughs you want a week, and whether you will be using a social media management tool or managing each account on its own separate platform.
Vision is another important commonality in climbing and social media. When you’re rock climbing, you have to look for the next hold and consider the next move. With social media you have to identify trends and the things that are popular. Social media is constantly changing, and you have to keep up with these changes if you want to be successful.
Communication is a big part of rock climbing, and an even bigger part of social media. Whether you and your belayer are shouting back and forth, or you’re hashing out the beta on a boulder problem, you have to communicate in climbing. People tend to forget that there are two key words in social media. Yes it’s media, but it’s not just media. You have to engage your audience and interact with them as well.
Sometimes goals are too lofty to reach immediately. You have to take a step back and reflect on the process. In climbing you reflect on what works and what doesn’t. A move that should be done this way instead of that way, or maybe you need to switch up hands, or place your foot in a different spot. You also have to recognize what does and doesn’t work in social media. If your cat pictures aren’t getting the results you want them to get, don’t stick to your guns. Try something different. But don’t just randomly try this or that. Think about your decisions and pay attention to the results.
If you don’t get to the top of your project in climbing, you don’t pack up, go home, never to try it again. Persistence is fundamental to climbing just as it is integral to social media. You have to keep at it and be diligent. In social media, you can’t just post something, never to look at it again. You have to check regularly to respond to comments and moderate the page.
The last thing climbing and social media have in common is hard work. If you put the hours and dedication into either one, you will ultimately succeed.