Content, Follower Numbers, and Hurrying to Launch – Think It Through

How do I decide on a topic to talk about in social media for my weekly blog? More often that not, I am inspired by something that happens during the week and then I write about it on the weekend … and this is especially true this week.

Social media has really opened me up to a broad group of people near and far, but we are drawn to each other by common interests. Really now – how cool is that. I have had the pleasure of meeting up with people, face to face, and were it not for social media, our paths would have never crossed. One such person is Karine Halpern (goes by the tweeter handle @KHenthuZiasm) who lives in France. We’ve tweeted a bit and met in NYC while she was visiting.

Anyway, I could go on about previous conversations and our meeting (definitely interesting – maybe for another time), but let’s get to the topic at hand. And here is the question:

“Do you start your social media strategy, plan, and execution building great content or building a wide following?”

Have a look at our tweeter conversation here …

And here you have the crux of the problem …

That is the question – “What comes first – the chicken or the egg. What comes first – a portfolio of great content or people to consume you content.”

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just snap your finger and have both just like that? Yes, this is the challenge all face. Follow the conversation a bit more …

“Hurry to launch.”

Now here is a topic that used to get me. I was a product manager for a number of years and formed a methodical process to delivering quality releases of product. To top it off, the engineers would have a really hard time letting their baby go. But I now have a very strong appreciation why “hurry to launch” is the right approach. You want to get your content or product out there and start building an appreciation from early adopters. If you engage properly, they will help you shape your product/service to excellence – far better than you could ever do staying closed up in your isolated company surroundings. A topic covered by Seth Godin in his book, “Poke the Box.”

Yes, launch it. But let’s get back to content and number for a second. The magic of social media (when it works well and correctly) starts with having awesome content. Content that is entertaining and/or truly valuable. It MUST be content that is worthy of being passed around because it is so compelling.

The second part is driving people to share the content (shared media) and create their own version (earned media). This is achieved by having something of value to share (content) and then you need to really, really, really do true engagement and socializing. The crowd is not just going to come to you. (Happens very rarely.) You have to get out there and connect. The approach I have always recommended is the LCR Mentality. Listen. Conversations. Relationships.

So you really need to work great content and building a following simultaneously. It is not a matter of one or the other. You have to create great content and cultivate a following – both. Get active producing content. Get active engaging with people. And then hurry to launch.

And there you have it. Karine gave me a great idea …

Great ideas usually come from collaboration.

Make It Happen!
Social Steve

Footnote – I have connected with Karine as she was initially interested in my approach and writings on social media. Since then, I continue to learn so much from her – mainly on the topic of “transmedia.” Transmedia involves a creative community and happens when STORYTELLING and EXPERIENCE come together in a creation or production or designed for multiple devices, formats or platforms. Transmedia is NOT marketing. It is about STORY and it is used by marketers. This is the aspect that interests me, a marketer. I believe that brands need to humanize their public face and one of the best ways to do this is to look at marketing as storytelling. When we dumb it down to that level, it is not dumb at all – but rather more humanistic and far less corporate. And that is what people really want from a brand. A compelling story behind the brand with people and personality rather than corporate-speak. Karine has given me numerous resources on transmedia. Leaders in this area include Henry Jenkins and Jeff Gomez. If interested in learning more, Google them, “transmedia,” and/or contact Karine at her blog or on twitter as listed above.



Filed under content marketing, measuring social media, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

11 responses to “Content, Follower Numbers, and Hurrying to Launch – Think It Through

  1. Peregrine

    Steve, your comments remind me of the heady days when I was part of the team working on a venture: the launch of a new sports cable network. We, too, felt the need to “be quick about it,” as one of our directors was happy to say (his form of “hurry to launch”). We did indeed launch within 9 months, but it took a LOT of hard work, clearly defining goals, creating and buying programming, defining the marketing/strategy, etc. Yes, quality and quantity matter, and I think even more when you’re in that “hurry up offense.” For me, I like nothing better. Why? For some reason you’re more aware and more sensitive to what needs to be done, and you can’t be complacent. You need to get channels up and running, and there is no “later.” I think that more than anything else, it’s complacency that’ll kill you. We were ACUTELY aware of what needed to be done. So, if you can set a date, and stick to it, then you’re only choice is to get it done. As you say, “Make it happen.”

    • Peregrine –

      Don’t you just love when the “Mo-Jo” is rolling. That is what an old boss of mine use to call it. Thanks for the comments and sharing your experience!


  2. As ever full of quality, have to say your case study proves the point that good contacts, connections and relationships help direct the content. I have been trying to relaunch for months, in the end gave up and decided it would happen when I am ready. Meanwhile clients are happy with my work and meetings and online activity. So keep momentum and like a piece of art, it can’t always be made just because you say you are going to make it.

  3. Agreed, Steve. It’s definitely quality AND quantity – part of the beauty of our real-time world, is that social media allows marketers to do both, and also measure results and change messaging near real-time along the way.

    “Hurrying to launch” is fine, but only if there’s a initial plan which allows for flexibility, and everyone is on board with changing the plan along the way. Marketing, after all, is about trial and error, changes in strategy, A/B testing, and most importantly metrics and reporting to analyze and determine what’s generating the buzz and most importantly the $$$.

    There’s a big difference between the “hurrying to launch” mentality and the “ready, fire, aim” approach – major disasters come from the latter (case and point MSFT’s major product fail of Windows Vista).

    Read a great Harvard Business Review on why product launches fail. The solution? Engage early on in the process (so build that following at the same time you’re building the product, like you talked about above). Here’s the article I’m referencing.

  4. Steve you reminded me of the days when i was starting my 1st blog and was confused whether to network with the audience or build the content. Then i read Poke the box and it cleared me everything. Thanks to this post, that rest of my doubts are also cleared.

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