“ ‘Un-campaign’ and create ongoing programs that keep you connected to day-to-day engagement.”– Brian Solis
Brian Solis is right on the money when he says or means that social media is not a campaign. What are campaigns? They are programs set in place for a short-period of time to tackle a specific issue until results are achieved or when a larger initiative is “complete.”
Marketers tend to create social media campaigns for programs with hopes to spread marketing message virally via Facebook, Twitter, Google Adwords, and other social media tools. However, once a campaign is done—or waiting for the next year to resume a campaign—what happens to communications on a particular program? They end. Social media is not a campaign that can be started and ended in time periods; social media is an ongoing commitment to open dialogue with online communities about a certain issue, brand, service, idea, opinion, etc.
Once a campaign ends usually engagement ends with it. The momentum has died and most likely people will have forgotten why they were so involved or interested in the “campaign.” That is why it is important to un-campaign and start conversing with online communities on a daily basis.
Here is an example of how to un-campaign and engage with your community daily.
Case: Your company or organization is running a campaign to raise funds for water projects in developing countries and have established eight months to raise funds for workers on the ground building the infrastructure for the natives to have access to clean drinking water. Say the goal is $1 million USD.
The program asks individuals to donate money to send workers and supplies to the developing nations to build the infrastructure. You create a PSA that shows need and impact. As well, the organization created written materials for people to download and read about the crisis and hopefully share with others. And let’s not forget marketers/advertisers created a well-brand affiliate kit or resources page for supporters to put on their website and aide in the effort to spread the word about the campaign.
Eight months have come and gone. You have continually asked supporters to help you spread the fact and the donation asks. You updated your social networking sites with pertinent information to the campaign and solicited feedback as well as discussion forums for people to discuss the very issue.
Once that has been complete, what are you going to do? How are you going to keep your audiences engaged with your project?
Solution: Don’t even start a social media campaign…put it far from your mind. Create systems where this issue is a hot-button topic your online community users are passionately engaged with and often visit your website and/or online communities to receive updates and talk about the latest news. When thinking about launching the water project initiative, think about longevity and what resources/content will keep people engaged and gain new passionate philanthropist interested in this issue.
What is the take-away?
Do not solely implement social media campaigns around a cause, initiative, program, brand, product, service, etc. Implement a well-thought out social media conversation that will keep people engaged with what you are doing on a daily basis. Feed the online communities content and resources to be discussed and shared.
What is important here?
You want your loyal online community users talking about your organization constantly. There will be negative feedback but also positive feedback if you are doing your job well. Keep people engaged indefinitely until you officially eliminate a program, initiative, product, service or an entire brand extension. Until that is officially dead in the water, keep your community users engaged by giving them something to talk about. Start a conversation and that can be done with video, blogs, articles, polls, surveys, etc.
What are your thoughts about how companies and organizations use social media? Do you feel they campaign more than converse with online communities? If not, what do you think on this topic? Please feel free to pontificate or add your opinion in the comment box.