5 Things I Learned the Hard Way About Social Media Campaigns
I love marketing. It’s a dynamic sport that never stops evolving. I began in marketing at the dawn of the Age of the Internet. For a while, though, it was starting to get a bit monotonous. I had mastered that art of campaign building – the hard way, of course – through a lot of trial and error. Things were good. My campaigns were getting results. But there was nowhere to go with the campaigns except through the ‘new’ traditional vehicles – online banner ads and webinars, ads in trade publications, newsletters and emails. You know the drill.
Then everything changed. The most fabulous, exciting thing to hit marketing in the past 15 years has been the meteoric rise of social media. It started as a slow groundswell – My Space launched in 2003, Facebook in 2004, and Twitter in 2006. It feels like from a marketing perspective, they have just reached a crescendo in the past 2-3 years where not only have those key platforms peaked numerous times, but new players continue to enter the market and gain traction. Each new player comes with their own set of demographics and rules for communicating that marketers have to continuously learn.
Now, it’s an interesting game. Big and little data are immediately available, if not sooner. You know in an instant how a campaign is doing (remember waiting days for email open and click results?). You can adjust your next round of messaging for release hours after the first round, instead of days or weeks. What could be better? And I’m in love with marketing all over again.
Love is not without its complications, however. There are a few things I learned the hard way about leveraging social media for campaigns. Lessons that I’d like to share and open a dialogue about the next iteration of marketing dynamics –
1. Social Media evolves hourly
Not daily, not weekly. That doesn’t mean that you have to update your social media on all of your sites each hour, though. Content can live for a while so it can be digested. There’s a rule of adult education that I learned years back that basically says that adults need to hear an idea or concept 6 times, from multiple sources, before it becomes internalized. It’s ok for users to come back and see the same content (a few times) because that can be reinforcing.
2. Audience profiling has never been more important
Every social media vehicle is drawing unique audiences – some by age, some by interest, some by lifestyle, some by industry. Know your audiences preferences for vehicles. This is a good place to invest research dollars on a bi-annual, if not quarterly basis.
3. Marketing Automation is becoming more necessary
It all comes down to where you want to spend your time. For campaigns where big data is key to audience understanding, marketing automation is non-optional. You have to be able to link all of your social media platforms into one tool and be able to customize to each audience with messaging and timing that are most effective for them. Not you.
4. Marketing Automation tools have a ways to go
For small businesses and agencies, Marketing Automation is still very expensive and there are few good solutions. Additionally, there are few tools that link Marketing Automation into a CRM solution for end-end contact from audience to individual customer.
5. There is an arc to Social Media vehicles
As we are starting to see on Facebook and Twitter, there is an arc to the popularity of a vehicle with its audience. Facebook started out as a social medium, now every big brand has its own page, and smaller brands are finding their way over there. But some of the demographic are turning their attention to other, newer formats – Tumblr, Pinterest, and others.
Like I said, the most fabulous, exciting thing to happen to marketing in years is Social Media. There is never an end to learning and adjusting to meet the changing dynamic – that’s what makes it so fun!