New to Social Media Marketing? Your First Campaign

Bruce Johnston, LinkedIn Evangelist & Sales Coach, SMT Magazine

You’ve convinced the powers that be at your company that this social media phenomenon is something that can help your company or organization increase sales. Now what? In putting together your first campaign you need to do two things right above all else: You need to know when to be modest and when to be aggressive. Getting this right will make your first campaign a success.

Be Aggressive in Your Research

Many social media gurus insist that you should just begin publishing and figure it out as you go along. I think this is lousy advice. It doesn’t take much work to get an idea what your readers and potential customers want to hear. They want help with their problems. You may be able to guess what some of their problems are, but it doesn’t take that much more work to call them and find out for sure. I prefer what I call the 80% rule: Get to the point where you think you’re 80% right, and your readers will help you adjust and get the remaining 20%.

Be Modest in Your Goals

You may have grandiose ideas in your head and, for now, that’s exactly where they should stay. This is going to be your first effort, your pilot program. You want it to go well, so start with something simple. If you envision putting out content from nine different people on five topics from three of your company’s departments over a blog, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, with all this generating hundreds of sales leads...maybe you should scale those back. Stop thinking total war and start thinking skirmishes instead. My recommendation is to run a modest program whose main goal is to show that it can work and is worth investing more time and money.

Be Modest with Your Channels

How about you just use one channel to start. Work at understanding what works on a blog or on Twitter. Become good and really understand a channel before you add the next one. And, while we’re at it, make your first channel one that you have some familiarity with already. See who you have that are already Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn users. Put these talents to good use.

Be Modest with the Amount of Scheduled Content

Thinking of five blog posts a week? How about two or three instead? And make the posts short. Your readers' attention spans are short; they’re on the run all day. Class does not equal mass in social media marketing. It’s much easier to expand your content offering as you hit your stride than it is to cut back on it. The optics on cutting back never looks good to your readers and potential customers.

Be Aggressive in Your Listening, Monitoring, and Analysis

With these three areas, it’s not so much a case of spending much time and effort, it’s a case of most companies not putting in any effort at all. How many times have you seen a blog where the entry just trails off, or a company using Facebook where all the entries suddenly stop? I call this “abandoned social syndrome” (we’ll not use the acronym for now, thank you). These people just shrugged their shoulders and said “this isn’t working” and gave up. Instead, listen to what is going on; listen to your reader’s comments and questions. Everything said, and sometimes the things not said, gives you clues as to what you could do next.

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