David Mullen, in the latest of his daily dose of insight, has opened up the discussion on yet another important topic for many of us experimenting with social media and developing campaigns for clients who are more than a little bit skeptical about venturing into a territory with which they are, for the most part, lost.

I strongly urge you to read Mr Mullen’s post – Should Brands Approach Social Media with a “Pilot Program” Mindset?

There are arguments to both sides of the issue. A “Pilot Program” helps ease the client into this scary and unfamiliar terrain. The downside is that you may not see results or ROI if you don’t commit to a thought-out, long term, strategy. Kind of a catch 22. There is, IMHO, a middle ground. A way to create a small scale, but comprehensive social media attack. The key is to develop a strategy that can be narrowly focused, initially, and then expanded and expounded upon, both in terms of goals and means to achieve those goals, as the data from the first phase can be analysed. Those metrics will provide feedback for you as you grow the initiative from a fine, targeted, endeavor, to a more far reaching and all-encompassing social media presence, and with it, your own unique approach and attitude.

I think it’s more about choosing the right channel – Pick one vehicle – facebook, youtube, twitter, a blog, etc…and focus all efforts on that one medium. This way, you’ve got your pilot program mentality in that you’re not trying to tackle the entire social space in one fell swoop. It’s not overwhelming; you have time to manage and monitor one platform, and thus you can develop a system in which consistancy is maintained.

Additionally, Choosing one medium allows for much easier measurement and analytics, to determine if the effort has delivered and if it’s worthwhile to expand.

Of course, to do this, you also have to Define your primary goal – customer service, marketing, branding, PR…etc. – pick one & stick to it – let your goal be the guiding influence in choosing the most effective social platform and your method for measuring results.

This is my “Pilot Program.” It has longevity, a goal, consistency, and it’s measurable. If it’s deemed to be successful, you can adapt this mini-initiative to other social media, or expand your goals, if desired. Either way, limiting yourself or your brand to 1 goal, 1 platform, 1 campaign is the best, IMHO, form of Pilot Program – insofar as that it has all the elements of a traditional and comprehensive campaign, while keeping things simple enough to act as a test of your needs, capabilities, and suitability for the effectively utilizing these media.

What do you think? Remember – My Blog is Your Blog – Share Your Thoughts!

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  1. Keith Trivitt says:

    David – You bring up some interesting thoughts here. Though, to be honest, I have to disagree with you on your major point of finding one primary social media platform to start with, and then build from there. And here is why I disagree: today’s acquisition of FriendFeed by Facebook is showing us that more and more, in the future, our social media presence will not be defined by one singular platform or a multitude of singular platforms.

    In my opinion, in the future, you will see far more aggregation and cooperation among the many major social media platforms that will rise up. So to say that your only social media presence at first should be on say Twitter, or YouTube or Facebook, and then branch out from there after you have had time to examine the metrics and figure out your success seems a little short-sided to me. Wouldn’t a better method be to find that one key major social media aggregator, be it a blog or a wiki or whatever, that reaches out to ALL of your key audiences?

    Keith Trivitt (@KeithTrivitt)

  2. Great post, and really interesting ideas here. However, I have to disagree a bit. I really think it has to be a multi-platform integrated approach to truly prove successful.

    I definitely understand that it’s sometimes hard to get certain clients into social media. Luckily for me, I have a few larger clients who are willing to take risks to be “innovative”, and I like to use their case studies to convince other clients. It’s worked well for us thus far at Pyxl. We also ran our own campaign, Help Us Name Us, which has proven to be a really successful case study to show to those who are unsure about social media.

  3. bmartinez1 says:

    I agree that we should approach it with a “pilot approach” Great post!

  4. Jessica Greco says:


    I think you make a lot of great points (there definitely should be a middle ground), and I do think it would be ideal to pick one SM vehicle and focus all of your energy on it, but I think a lot of what social media is about is synergy. Each platform does something different and brings something else to the table, so using a few of them provides a brand/company/service with a greater online presence. But you’re definitely right- it all depends on what the clients desired goals are.

    Keith you make some great points too.

    Thanks for the read!

    Jess 🙂

  5. sherri haymond (@missmotorcade @WY20) says:


    Great post. You bring up some very interesting ideas. I agree that with some clients, you need to start slow – not only because, sometimes, the client isn’t “ready” to jump in with both feet – but also because certain clients believe the hype but have other constraints like money or time or both. I agree with @Jess – the strategy is always dependent on the client’s goals. I offer two examples of a “middle ground,” similar to yours but with client-driven twists.

    First, I worked on a social media campaign to cast a tv commercial for the board game Cranium (@CraniumTV) – we’ll call this example “extremely targeted message.” The client had very limited funds – we decided we’d launch a campaign using three favorite social media platforms, each with the same, very limited, goal: (1) a twitter campaign to identify potential talent; (2) a facebook campaign to do the same; and (3) a search on YouTube (without creating our own video) for aspiring filmmakers who also loved board games. Though a far less than tremendous amount of time was spent on each channel, the client was able to get its feet wet in the three outlets and we received an overwhelming response. Because the message was clear, concise and targeted (Play Cranium! Film it! Audition for our new commercial and, if you’re picked, get an HD Flip Video camera to keep and a chance at $1,000!) – it worked. If we had decided to go with just one channel, we would not have found and fostered relationships with the diverse group of contestants we cast in the end.

    Second, my company – @WY20 – a walkie-talkie rental biz – we’ll call this example “go first with what you know.” I have absolutely zero marketing/PR budget, but am extremely engaged in social media. So I did what was easiest (and what made the most sense – bang for my buck (read: time)) for me – I set up a twitter account. My goal with my @WY20 account is to meet and develop relationships with people in the event industry. Many of these people are on twitter. And I spend most of my “social media” time on my biz’s twitter account. I also set up a facebook page, and it has a bunch of fans, but that’s not really where I think I’ll connect with my next client. As my business grows and as I have more time to devote to it, I’ll fill up my facebook fan page with photos of my walkies at events, any press I get, etc…. I’m simultaneously working on my website, which will host my blog – stay tuned. And eventually, I’ll add a you tube presence, perhaps making short [hopefully funny] films of my walkies in action. So with my own company, I’ve primarily adopted your strategy – I’ve chosen one to run with, and will slowly add the rest as I have the time and budget.

    I’m looking forward to reading the other comments to this post and watch as clients develop their SM strategies.

    Interesting stuff!


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