Doldrums of Social Marketing

The depression hits hard when you notice that months of effort meant no meaningful impact on the business. Your blog posts gained no traffic. You’ve got no new back links. And the plugins you’ve launched failed to find someone to install them. Welcome to the Doldrums of Social Marketing.

Once upon a time the “If you build it they will come” strategy worked. But now you need much more significant and sophisticated strategies. You wont get noticed if you don’t have an audience. And building an audience requires building trust. Trust takes time.

So how do you go about building an audience when you don’t have an audience? How do you build an email list when you don’t have any traffic?

Now, just about everybody tells you to avoid social marketing. They say it doesn’t pay off for the effort required. For the most part I agree. My first attempt to build an audience on Twitter proved the rule. Don’t bother with social marketing.

Yet, I still believe that you can grow an audience on Twitter. Maybe the problem I faced with Twitter came from my utter lack of skill doing Twitter marketing.

Making a change to learn something new

One of our core values at metapult includes running many experiments to gather evidence to support our opinions. The first two months on twitter did very little toward building an audience and we think the reasons include:

  1. Not tweeting enough
  2. Not maintaining a singular topic for the account

The first problem of not tweeting enough belies the time spent on twitter. If I’ve spent so much time on Twitter what exactly did I accomplish? Sure I scheduled many tweets into the future, but rarely enough tweets to fill the next day. Then, once the schedule emptied days would go by where the channel idled.

You can’t build an audience if you don’t produce content worthy of attention. An idle account does not attract attention. It can not.

Therefore we’ve decided to increase our tweet rates to about once an hour or two.

To address our second problem we needed to recognize the fact that we wasted our time tweeting things only we cared about. The channel maintained a voice that encompassed a very wide variety of interests: Global Politics, PHP, Marketing, WordPress, Plugins, Memes, Startups, Small Businesses, Economics, Machine Learning, and Science.

Now who does that target? An audience of one. Only one person cares about those things. Me. I’ve spent two months talking to myself in the hopes of finding an audience just like me. No wonder this failed. But the good news comes from the lesson we learned.

Channel Focus Is Everything

A moment of insight hit like a lightning bolt: the Twitter accounts with massive audiences tend to stay on topic. One topic. And we’ve decided to re-focus the Twitter account on WordPress Insights.

Fill the twitterverse with tips and tricks for WordPress and it can’t help but attract an audience the needs and wants more tips and tricks for WordPress. People who may also have an interest in the services we provide at metapult.

Speak to the world with a helpful voice and you’ll become known as a helpful brand. Or so we hypothesize. Our little experiment over the next week or two will confirm we hope…

Let it be the wind that fills our sails to carry us out of the doldrums of social marketing.

A yacht sails into a strange glowing horizon