I’m about to launch my first community for Human Business Works, one that reaches out to the nonprofit and charity world. This isn’t my core market, so I know that I’m going to have to do something to build promotions and awareness to drive attendance. Because of this, I’ve had a moment to think about what I’ll do with social media in regards to my marketing launch. Here’s a plan you can use for your own projects, with or without a few edits.
Make a Goal
Without a goal, you don’t have a project. My goal is to sign up 2,000 subscribers to the new project within two months. That’s aggressive, but that’s my goal. Subscribers pay $27 a month for this particular project (as it’s pointed towards the nonprofit world, and that seemed manageable for that market segment). So, my goal is to get 2,000 people to part with $27, without spending more than that. Ah, so I have a subscription goal and a budget goal. Let’s say that I want to spend no more than $3,000 a month on this (not counting my operation and resources expenses). Here’s what I’ll do:
Identify My Core Channels
My main channels to reach people are an email list of around 7,000 people, a blog that reaches 300,000 people a month (around 69,000 subscribe via RSS daily), and a Twitter following of over 150,000. These are all online social media channels. Beyond these, Estrella Rosenberg, the facilitator for this project, has a great list of nonprofit professionals, executive directors, and all those kinds of organizations who need to know what we intend to teach. She has a great list (though smaller in number to my list of less-likely-to-bite people). So, there are my social channels and Estrella’s much better direct relationships.
In doing this, I realize that I don’t have many channels if I don’t ask others to spread the word for me. Some will do it because they’ll want to notify their nonprofit/charity friends of the project. Others will mention it because they’re just observing a new business launch of mine. So, I’ll need even more.
I’ve got listening tools already in place. I’m listening to see who on the social web is talking about nonprofits and charities. I’m building a list of people who think this is interesting. And then, I intend to reach out to them, individually, and see if they find this kind of opportunity useful. I’ll also use listening tools to monitor people’s use of the community, and to listen for any issues/concerns/complaints. It’s the best part of social media tools.
Do I Start a Facebook Page or Twitter Presence?
I lean towards no. A separate Facebook page means that I have to maintain a presence there. It’s a lot of work, and doesn’t point people towards the site. However, maybe I’ll push some Facebook “like” buttons into the right places to get some attention. Twitter? I think that Estrella’s account and my account have many more followers than a community-branded account, so I won’t waste my time trying to build a new Twitter group from nothing.
However, on my Twitter account and on my Facebook page (and on Estrella’s), we will frequently push the message. I’ll probably tweet about 501 Mission Place a few dozen times in the first few days of the launch, and then I’ll mention it once a day for the next month or two. Estrella might do even more, but then again, she might not. She has other considerations to think about. But if we make mention of this project, it’ll be on our channels, not on some new, barely visited one.
I already have my blogging community. What I’m going to do is see if Estrella and I can guest blog at a few pertinent places, and see if we can spread the word in blogs that make sense and they relate.
There’s no bother doing social media marketing if you don’t work towards building an email list and using it to market. Informational marketing and relationship-minded marketing works exceptionally well in email. Be brief, be simple, make a very simple ask after giving something of value first. I have a small list of only 7,000 people. By the time I’m done promoting 501 Mission Place, I hope that we grow that list to over 10,000 and closer to 20,000.
Online Banners and Ads and Sponsors
I’m going to experiment with online sponsorships and ad buys on blogs that I think will be useful. While Estrella has a chance to meet with people in this specific marketplace all the time at events and the like, my access is fewer and further between. Thus, I’ll see if I can spread the message a little faster with some ads and sponsorship buys. This will be a first for me. So, how will I do my best to get the value from it?
I’m going to use the buys to get people to join the email list. That’s a freebie, so it’s not as difficult an ask as getting someone to give me $27. I’m going to try a little of both and see which works best. I’m going to see how well my email list converts once I get more names into it. See where my thinking is here? Fairly mainstream, and yet, I’ll use the social web to find more people.
No Affiliates for THIS Project
People who know me know that I’m an advocate for affiliate marketing. That’s when you have an audience and I have a product or service, and I give you a few bucks of the purchase price if you sell it for me. This project, because it’s charity and nonprofits, isn’t exactly the best place for affiliate marketing. It’s hard for many nonprofits to account for this kind of revenue, so we won’t add the complexity to the project. However, for my other social media projects, whenever I reach for advertising, I’m definitely going to reach for affiliate marketing as well. Why? Because it means that others can stand to make a few bucks on a project that they believe will be useful to their community.
I’ll measure success on the criteria I mentioned above. For the dollars I spent, did I get more subscribers? When I turned off the ad dollars, the sponsor dollars, did my rate of acceptance go down? Did I get the 2,000 I wanted in two months? Everything I learn on this campaign, I’ll note carefully and bring it further into my other efforts.
The Social Element
The social element of all this is that we’ll be there every step of the way. You’ll know who brought the entire campaign about. You’ll know who did what on it. You’ll be able to talk to people at my company, and talk to users of the product. We’ll answer people via the social web, and we’ll handle any issues or requests via the social web as well. Why? Because that’s part of what we consider human business. Do you have to do it this way? No, not necessarily. But it’s a nice one to have.
Your Own Projects
Now that I’ve walked through this, how will this apply to you? Have you run social projects? What will you add that I missed?
Chris Brogan is president of Human Business Works, an online education and community company. His first community is 501 Mission Place, with Estrella Rosenberg.