The Long Tail of Social Media

The Long Tail of Social Media
By Brenda Christensen

You may have heard of the term “long tail” view. This is a popular topic of conversation in business these days, especially for those of us who are in social media. Taking the “long tail” view when you’re starting a social media campaign is just the beginning to growing your social stream and planning strategy to drive it.


But it’s easy to fall victim to prognosticating and its polar opposite, procrastinating, especially at this time of the year when Q1/Q2 can drive a lot of business but be overwhelming, as well. Where do we want to be by the end of Q2? What is our social goal? Customer service goals through social? Digital marketing with social strategy, if any? Or, I can’t do this now, I’ll do this later.

Before you get too far ahead of yourself (or behind), now is a great time to do a social audit. Some may not be familiar with this concept but it’s always wise to look back over the past year and compare your objectives to what was actually met during that time frame. Did we reach our social goals? Why or why not? Did we expand customer service through social to meet our needs as an organization?

Audit is as Audit Does

Self-analysis is good on a personal level and also for social business. Being honest with your accomplishments (and failures) is key to growth in the future. Being realistic with what you’ve achieved in the prior year will help you not only predict future outcomes, but also give you insight into what’s needed for the coming year or quarter.

A good social business growth curve is 100 percent annual growth and you may exceed that or not meet that goal based on factors you predicted, or unknown factors such as economic conditions or other business events.

One way to bet against the future is to chart your past performance against events. Did this social campaign create a spike in traffic? Did that shift to expanding a social channel improve revenue performance? Here’s a spike, what events occurred just prior to this revenue event?  Once you sit down and dive into the data, you will begin to see patterns and trends that can reveal a map for future growth.

Some great audit resources include pairing your social activity calendar with your revenue stream. You may see some correlations you never would have imagined. Some may surprise you, others not, but it will be enlightening as you plan for your upcoming campaigns.

Taking Risks

Not all social media professionals are risk takers, but the best results come from *informed* risk, that is the difference. If you have data to back up your executables, you’ll get that much more mileage from your social business activities. Next quarter, year and beyond.

Brenda Christensen is the Director of Communications for Contatta, With over 25 years of high tech corporate communications and public relations experience, Brenda has successfully created and managed global messaging campaigns for such prestigious companies as Contatta, Nimble, Servoy, Secure Computing, Panda Software, Maximizer Software, GoldMine Software, NEC, DTK Computer, Wang Laboratories, Symplex Communications and General Motors Robotics.