How to Turn Your Social Marketing Campaign Into A Train Wreck

If you want to waste a ton of time and money and really fail at social media marketing, I have some excellent advice: start up a legitimate social media campaign or newsletter, spend a bunch of money on advertising, build a website or two, sign up for TwitterMySpaceFacebook, and then get distracted after a few weeks and blow it off. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about on this one. This approach will never work.

A few weeks; that’s about as long as most of these efforts last. It’s no wonder that many search and feed engines don’t start to really take a blog seriously until it is at least six weeks old and has at least fifteen posts. And really, they don’t like to do much with blogs that are less than a year old, and have a commensurate number of posts.

So although the title of this article promises to deliver nothing but ruin and failure, allow me switch tracks (pun intended) at this point and tell you a few things I’ve learned the hard way about how to be successful:

  1. Don’t stop writing – as soon as you get out of the habit of writing daily or at least several times per week, you are about to screw up your social campaign.
  2. Stay engaged – do not stop contacting people, answering emails, or trying to help others. If you aren’t interested in your visitors, then they won’t be all that interested in you.
  3. Keep content rotating – You really don’t want search engines or humans to see the same stuff on your homepage every time they visit your site. It is important to keep it looking fresh even if it feels repetitive.
  4. Don’t worry about subjects to write about – when you write regularly, you’ll find that you have many more ideas for articles than you have time to write. It is the writer who doesn’t write often who usually has the least to say. I find that the feedback loop with my readers often provides the subjects anyway. People will post comments and questions, and it is the responses to this feedback that often provides the inspiration for articles and postings.
  5. Keep it fun

Keep it fun?

I believe that the best way to keep building your social marketing efforts is to find ways to make it fun. People who write for a living often have lists of motivational techniques they use to prod themselves back into writing when they hit a block. Following are a few ideas you might find helpful:

  1. Underestimate yourself – Yes, that’s right, you should underestimate yourself. Tell yourself that you only have to write 1 paragraph per day. That’s the minimum, but what you’ll find is that many times the most difficult part of the process is just getting started. Once you’ve written that first paragraph you’ll keep writing and end up exceeding your goal. You might end up with four or five articles by the time you put your laptop away. This technique may also work well for other things you procrastinate about.
  2. Reward yourself – tell yourself that you’ll just write one blog post and then have a glass of wine. By the time you finish the bottle, you’ll have a week’s worth of posts all packaged up.
  3. Change your scene – there’s a good reason you always see people working on their blogs at Starbucks. It’s a great way to remove oneself from normal office distractions and just knock out a small project. By the time you finish your coffee, your blog post is finished!
  4. If you Twitter, remember to Tweet – I have to confess I’m not a Twitter(er), but if I were I would set up a time-schedule that would require me to tweet at specific times during the day. Don’t worry, there’s an app for that. The point isn't whether you use Twitter, or Facebook, or blog; just remember to keep up with it so that whatever momentum you get doesn't rot.

The Secret To Not Wrecking the Social Media Train

The bottom line to all of this is that the difference between sites that get less than 10 visitors per day and those that get thousands of visitors per day usually comes down to which site is updated most often and which marketers are most engaged with their visitors.

The marketer who writes content for the site once and then leaves it static for months at a time will get very little traffic and fall into the first category. Whereas the marketer that remains engaged with the process on a daily basis will experience a far different outcome.

The difference between the two marketers isn’t that one had a better idea to start a blog or a newsletter or a twitter account. The difference is which of them has the perseverance to continue the pursuit and hopefully learns how to have fun with it as well.