When marketers use the word “campaign,” it tends to suggest an initiative to get a message out to a targeted group of constituents. It also implies there will be a beginning and, somewhere down the road, an ending.
This kind of thinking creates a danger zone for marketers when it comes to social media. Let me explain …
When starting a blog, podcast series or even a community, marketers have to think in longer terms than a standard campaign. A podcast series may not catch on for several months, heck, for even a year! I have been writing this blog for two years now, and it recently earned distinction as a Top 50 Blog to Watch in 08! (ok, shameless plug, yes, but it’s hard work!)
Here’s the point: There is no overnight success when it comes to social media. Sure, we all are reading about some superb viral results out there, but they are the exception, not the rule. And to say you can systematically achieve those results for your clients (either internal or external) is not accurate.
Another aspect of this is the idea that social media can be incorporated into every campaign you are doing. It’s like “slap a podcast onto that campaign, and we’re going social.”
That’s wrong. You need to prepare for social media with a strategy. See Forrester’s social media guidelines, which they call POST, for ideas on how to formulate your own social media strategy.
Another point of differentiation between campaigns and social media is the latter’s endless need for content. When your content runs out, so does your social media audience. That means you need to be prepared with much more content then you ever anticipated.
2008 is going to be a big year in terms of dollars migrating to the Web and to Web 2.0 tactics aimed at creating a more social version of many companies. Marketers are going to need to adjust their thinking about typical campaigns and what they mean in the social media realm.
The bottom line: If you want to go Social, it takes time, content and a strategy to measure success.