The cobbler’s kid finally gets some shoes!
It has long been a symptom at TMRC that our own marketing efforts have taken a backseat to those of our clients. We often have the opportunity to test out some new methodologies and strategies on pet projects. Such has been the case with a personal effort of mine begun back in December 2016.
“Run with Rabbits” is a challenge that I bestowed upon myself that involves running 1000 miles in a 12-month span. I started running rather consistently about 2 years ago to boost my mental health. On one run, in particular, I came up with the idea to try to raise money for a charity we work with called Challenge Aspen. My hope is to raise $15,000 to help us underwrite many of the marketing expenses we incur every year on their behalf.
After setting up the necessary mechanisms: donation portal, fitness/mileage tracking, emails, merchant accounts, social media, etc, I decided to focus the digital marketing efforts on Instagram (IG). It’s the platform that I find most engaging and am most familiar with. Admittedly, my initial efforts with IG were a bit lackluster. The first couple months of were largely focused on getting myself mentally and physically prepared to take on the challenge. It was around the holidays and winter was ramping up. As a result, it was difficult to get in the groove running. I hadn’t given much thought to my audience, how often or what type of content to publish nevermind how I wanted to go about attracting a big enough audience that I could eventually market to and hit up for a donation.
After about 2 months of running, I determined this was something I could do (run 1000 miles), so at this point I decided to strategize how to market this effort. Coincidentally, TMRC had just aggregated a new set of Instagram best practices to increase following, boost engagement and to maintain a steady and consistent flow of content.
I’d like to say that I wasn’t surprised that our tactics worked, but I kinda was. At least at how quickly I began to see immediate results. Literally, with the first post that I put the tactics to work, I saw an enormous spike in follows. Then within the next week of consistent posting, with the same strategy, my engagement went through the roof.
We put these types of strategies in front of clients all the time. Depending on scope, budget, etc our level of direct involvement varies. Managing any type of social media, above everything else, takes determination and consistency. Most folks simply don’t have the bandwidth to take it on by themselves and continue to run their business at the same time. For the sake of this exercise, I am the client and have taken on the entire burden to create content, post, check analytics and react appropriately. As a result, I’m realizing what a tremendous amount of work it is, even more so than I thought! If I neglect to post just one day, I see a drop off in followers. Sometimes by as much as 100 at a time! Contrary, if I stay consistent, keep to my audience and hashtag properly, I see those numbers turn around immediately.
This has been a very valuable exercise for me, and for TMRC to experience both sides of the equation. I can certainly now understand what those who try to manage their own social media and try to run a business at the same experience. It spreads one very thin and often either the social or the business feels the pinch. Usually the former.
I’m looking forward to keeping my pet project going. Currently, I just surpassed the 500-mile mark with 5 months to go. However, my training has increased considerably in advance of the Iceland marathon in August. I’m currently touching 30 miles per week and jumped from 400 to 500 miles in about 3 weeks time. If you like, follow and post occasional encouragement on IG from time to time. I NEED IT! #RunWithRabbits