We’re coming closer to Content Marketing World, every content marketers favorite event of the year. And as time closes in on us, we’re all trying our best to establish new “marketerships”, working with our companies to make sure others know we’re there. Aren’t we?
The truth is – last year, we wanted to pioneer something. Something that today seems so normal and obvious, but at that time was looked down upon. Which is why we want to share with you a case study – a case study about failing in theory, but gaining great insights in hindsight and improving a marketing strategy that worked.
We wanted to reach as many as possible, letting them know we’ll be attending CMWorld – using automated tweets. You might be gasping right about now – but hear me out!
Twitter has 304 million active users monthly, that’s a staggering statistic. Now, imagine that of that 304 million – about 2,600 content marketers decided to show up in Cleveland, that’s exactly what happened. It’s not easy reaching and finding all those awesome people at once, and even though we can’t possibly get to know all of them, we wanted to reach at least some.
Working with Insightpool, we decided it would be a great idea to create a segment, a way for us to find and target people who were talking about Content Marketing World, usually using the #CMWorld hashtag. Insightpool helped us to find these people. Once we had a neat list of just a small percentage of the 2,600 – we created four to five personalized tweets.
We asked what they were looking forward to, who they wanted to see speak, if they were going at all, and for them to catch up with our team who will be there. Basically, we didn’t want sales, we didn’t pester for leads – we wanted to get to know people with whom we could start a conversation.
Automating our personalized tweets was an awesome idea. Not because it took a load of work off our shoulders (well, maybe a little), but because it gave us a chance to start a conversation with a lot of people. Many marketers today, send a lot of unsolicited automated tweets, it’s a power that can easy turn dark.
We knew right away, that with each tweet sent, we had to reply personally. The thing to remember is that we are not robots, even if one sparks a conversation – we humans (or those that were suiting up for CMWorld) had to take each favorite, retweet, and reply into their hands.
This all sounds great, doesn’t it? What could possibly go wrong?
Here’s What We Learned
When sending out tweets to a group of people, avoid abusing a hashtag. Apparently, that’s what we did. You want to be noticed, but you definitely don’t want to spam the hashtag. You can take our word for it.
In your segments and conversation, plan out the times, amounts, and numbers of tweets sent. We hadn’t done do as much planning as we should have. In a way we figured they’d reach people and it will go from there. As we and Insightpool were creating something new, we had no idea what could be expected.
Most of all, in the midst of our CMWorld campaign, we forgot there are other tweets to be tweeted as well. But, since our stats were looking nice, the positivity raised us up to cloud nine. Until Lee Odden featured us in his session:
The campaign was stopped and we immediately sat down with Insightpool to look at the figures, tweets, and possible mistakes.
Lee had a point, we did abuse the hashtag feed. Yet on the other hand, for a first ever targeted engagement campaign, we couldn’t complain – the results spoke for themselves!
Our campaign lasted five days, and it got us quite a few conversations started and one free publicity review during the actual event. Was it the kind of publicity we wanted? Probably not. Did we learn from this campaign? We sure did!
The great thing about mistakes is that they make you rethink your strategy and improve your actions. Social automation can bring great results if you do it right, so before you launch a Twitter outreach campaign, ask yourself these questions:
- Who are we sending a tweet to? Select your target group with precise goals in mind and make sure every single person on the list should in fact be there. If you wouldn’t send a tweet to a someone outside of the campaign, remove them from the segment.
- What time are we sending a tweet? Automation makes it easier to schedule tweets but they still should be sent at a time when the person can respond. Take into account their time zone as well as yours – make sure you’re able to send a timely reply if they respond to keep the conversation going.
- How many times a day are we sending tweets? Don’t send too many, too often. Automation can be tempting, but the goal’s not to reach as many people as possible, but to start meaningful conversations. A few tweets a day will probably be enough. Take into account your regular Twitter communication as well, and other running campaigns, if applicable.
- Does every tweet NEED to have the event hashtag? In some cases, using the hashtag can be useful if you think your tweet might start a discussion with other hashtag users – but you can safely assume that most of the personal tweets don’t. Only use it if you think others can actually benefit from the conversation.
These are questions that we now know absolutely have to be asked. What’s more, make sure there is always someone watching over the tweets. Even if they’re automated, they need a watchful eye. Don’t forget the goal: it’s not automation, it’s the conversation that follows.
Insightpool starts a conversation, and we take that spark further. We always knew that, but now we absolutely abide by it. In a way, I’d say I’m grateful for our little stumble, because it gave us the push to better our campaigns and to create strategies that have flow. Here’s a recent reply for this year’s CMWorld that kind of proves we’re headed in the right direction:
So, if you happen to get a tweet from @GetResponse, worry not and expect a reply from our team (hey, we even reply from our personal accounts!). And if you happen to hear Lee Odden speak this year, make sure to thank him for helping us make our campaigns better.
See you at CMWorld!