50% of social-media campaigns will fail. That prediction comes from Gartner. From the perspective of interactive marketer Adam Kmiec, "Social media has become a self-propelled hype factory." Every day another new social platform is released. These bright, shiny objects are chased. The Kool-Aid gets drunk. Then, a day later, the next big thing comes along.
It aims to replaces our current obsession and we're left wanting more. For every social media success story, there are 1,000's of failed initiates. Why? Here's my take on Kmiec's insights on how to avoid failure in your social media campaign:
- Don't Think of Social Media, As MEDIA. If you're an artist that's thinking of taking up social media, you need to understand that while Facebook and Twitter are great for engaging and updating fans, ultimately, what you're creating is a social business. Your social media goals need to be tied to reality. As in, what you're doing on Twitter needs to tie into your career as an artist. If you're an artist that just happens to have social media and you're expecting it to be a driver of business. Then it needs to be interconnected to your social business – not a haphazard add-on.
- Don't Hire A Social Media Expert or Guru. "The amount of snake oil salesmen out there is immeasurable and everyone is trying to take your money," Adam Kmiec explains. "The minute you outsource in a hands off approach to one of these gurus you’re starting down a slippery path to social failure." Unfortunately, this is true for artists too. There are quite a few experts running around this space that would be more than happy to sell you their social media deluxe or premium fan engagement package. Stay skeptical. Now, there's a big difference between a self-proclaimed social media expert and someone that has been marketing music since before you were born. OK, maybe they aren't always the best bet either. Point is, if what someone is trying to sell you sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. No one turns into a professional musician overnight.
- Don't Copy Another Artist's Social Strategy. We know. Great artists steal. However, as Kmiec puts it, "Your business, your category, your culture, your product, and your budget are unique to your company. Copying another organization’s model in theory sounds smart, but in practice can set you back months, if not years." Years might be an overstatement in this case. If you copied what another artist is doing, without understanding WHY they're doing it, this is where artists are more apt for failure. Doing the same thing as another artist and expecting the same results is insanity. As artists do, it makes sense to take little inspirations from everywhere and synthesize these insights into a broader strategy. But don't try to be Corey Smith if you're not Corey Smith. What he does, works for him. That doesn't mean that it will work out for you.
- Don't Entrust Your Campaign To An Amateur. On the other side of the spectrum, while you may not want to hire an expert, you certainly don't want to entrust your online strategy to a Digital Native that says they understand Facebook and Twitter just because they happen to use the sites. Growing up in the social space and understanding how to market music in it are two different animals. Above all, don't choose between the intergalactic social media marketer and a desperate college grad with a Bachelors degree in Internet Marketing. Artists need to have a grasp on what they're looking to do and pair up with the partners that are capable of helping them grow their social business. Pick the right people; they'll help.
- Don't Limit Your Campaign To The Big Three. Social is so much more than Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Depending on who your fans are, "the product you sell, the category you're in and your competition, you may find that a site/platform that you’ve never heard of is the best place to invest your social dollars," writes Kmiec. There's dozens and dozens of sites. They range from FourSquare to Gowalla, Groupon to Scavngr, Facebook to Genie, says Kmiec. Artists must reach beyond the traditional venues and determine where else their fans are. Be where your fans are, but don't let the big numbers that Facebook and Twitter have prevent you from engaging fans on emerging platforms. The early adopters of those social spaces may be exactly the audience you desired to reach.