Starting a Social Media Campaign is Exactly Like Having a Baby, Only Completely Different.

When people first discover they’re having a baby, it’s a very exciting time full of possibilities and expectation. It’s so hard to wait all those long months to finally meet the little one who’s going to change everything forever and make life richer, but if you ask any loving mom or dad, they’ll tell you that it ‘s worth the wait and all the hard work.

That’s exactly like what it’s like to launch a social media campaign, except it’s hopefully not going to leave you with drool on your sweater.  If it does, you may need a nanny, or an ad agency, or…both?

Anyway, the point is that this social media campaign thing is a process and not something that just happens because you started an account somewhere. In fact, starting an account somewhere doesn’t happen until you’re closer to the middle of the process.

The first thing you need to do is establish some goals for yourself.  What do you expect to get from this marketing campaign?  While it may seem like a monumental pain in the neck to sit down and figure out your goals when you’re just so Super! Excited! to get started that you want to get things rolling right away, but it’s really important to pace yourself.  Your goals will help keep you on track and help to provide milestones for tracking your ROI later on.

Your goals can look something like this, for example:

  • Increase traffic to our website by 20% by next year.
  • Establish credibility and become the “go to” for advice and information
  • Learn more about customers wants/needs by engaging them personally
  • Increase traffic into our store by 30% by the end of the year

But just like you can’t expect a newborn to be accepted to Harvard by age three, you can’t expect to be Donald Trump by Thanksgiving.  It ain’t gonna happen, so whatever your goals are, keep them realistic and use them to guide your efforts.

Once you’ve got your goals, you need a plan.  This process is kind of a bummer.  It’s going to involve lots of trial and error and you won’t see results for quite some time.  You’re going to repeatedly ask yourself why you’re doing this, but you’ve got to commit to putting in solid effort for a few months at least.

You’re biggest challenge at this phase is to figure out what social media outlets fit your brand and which ones can help you create a community around it.  May we refer you to our previous discussions about four of the most popular social media outlets: Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, and LinkedIn?  Of course we can.  It’s our blog, and we do what we want.  So, you can go back and read up on what social media outlet does what and pick out something nice for yourself.

Go ahead, we’ll wait…

So let’s say you’ve decided that Foursquare is the totally happening place for you because it’s where your customers seem to be hanging out the most.  Now you need to come up with a plan for what you’re going to do with it.  Are you going to offer special deals to people who come through the door?  Are you going to do a give-away?

Now that you’ve got your goals and your plan, you’re ready to get your social media machine fired up!

Woo-hoo!  This is gonna be GREAT!

But not yet. 

You’re probably tired of hearing us say this, but it’s still going to be a while before you’re doing a happy dance and handing out cigars.  There are lots and lots of details you have to keep straight, and it’s going to be a lot of work. You may even decide that you need some help because you don’t have the time/energy/expertise/patience to successfully pull it off (perhaps you’ll even want OUR help, if we may be so bold as to suggest it).  That’s okay.  Nobody is judging you.  This is complicated stuff.  It’s fun stuff, but it’s not for everybody.  That’s why nerds like us exist.

Once you’ve launched your social media campaign, you’re still not done.  You’ve got to track your ROI.  There are many ways to do this, but we won’t overwhelm you with all of those options right now.  Instead we’ll tell you that one of the easiest ways is to ask your new customers how they found you.  After a while, you’ll find that that social media campaign you’ve been laboring over is finally paying off!  Or not, and then you have to have a sit down with yourself and think about what you can do to improve things a bit.

We know we’ve made social media sound like the Best! Thing! Ever! And it can be, but it’s not magical.  It’s just a different marketing approach, really.  But with months of solid effort and careful planning, your social media campaign can yield beautiful results.  It’s exactly like having a baby, except your social media campaign will actually make money instead of, you know, diapers and stuff.