I’d never done much gardening before, but on a whim I bought a greenhouse; essentially a small plastic cupboard, a good starting point for my ‘greenless’ fingers. My goal was to test if I could grow my own food. In reality, I probably needed to figure out if I liked gardening first, and then see if I could. But I jump in the deep end with any project I work on. I bought every type of tomato seed I could find (I grew up on a tomato farm, so hoped that would be to my credit), and kitted myself out with pretty gardening gloves and a pastel spade. Often, when starting a project, you don’t know exactly what you need, but you do have plenty of enthusiasm, which is essential as you try create a project roadmap.
Often, when starting a project, you don’t know exactly what you need, but you do have plenty of enthusiasm.
I researched and recorded everything I did. My plan was to establish my % yield rate (much like I would for a social media campaign); how many seeds I planted, how many sprouted, and how much fruit is yielded. It’s important to figure out early on what your key goals are, and invest all your energy in that.
My first seedlings sprouted and I was delighted. I felt incredibly maternal about my little tomato plants; they struggled with the dips in temperature at night, but pushed on through. I watered them religiously and carefully nurtured each one, ensuring every plant had what it needed to flourish. Seeing the first ‘fruits’ of your labour is incredibly rewarding. Time invested to date has been worth it. The research has paid off and your concept has been proven. It looked like it was going to be a plentiful crop.
But then calamity struck; a huge gust of wind blew the entire greenhouse over. I arrived home after work to an absolute mess. It felt like a war zone with seedlings scattered across the yard, plastic pots smashed and so much potting soil; there was a mound of it. I was gutted. Just as my project had begun to progress, what seemed like a huge setback had occurred, and I wasn’t sure where to begin.
So I grasped my determination and started sorting through the mess, I found the seedings, the ones that still looked viable, and replanted them. I carefully sifted through the soil, remembering my goal was to yield fruit. I realise now that the most important secondary goal was to learn, and I was learning fast. I found a more secure position for the plastic cupboard, but my enthusiasm waned, and I lost faith. Perhaps this had been a stupid idea and I wasn’t cut out for this kind of project. Sometimes you just don’t get the results you want when you want it, and that can be crushing. But you have to keep going; I continued to water and feed the plants, managing the temperatures and hoping that it would not all go to waste.
It is moments like these when you realise a campaign is not just about the results. It’s about the entire process.
To my utter amazement, the plants survived, and thrived. I have concluded that these tomato plants are a super-species of particularly hardy disposition. I intend to breed them. I’ll sell you some super-seedlings next year, if you want. I also now have a few chilli pepper plants and a wide selection of herbs. Whilst it’s still too early to see if the hardy plants produce delicious red fruit, I am realising my small greenhouse is far too small for the 30 odd plants that are all about a meter tall. My ‘yield’ is far greater than I had anticipated.
So I began thinking, how does this apply to the social media campaigns I run? You start a campaign fueled by enthusiasm, excited by the content and the potential the campaign has. You get all the ‘seeds’ of a social campaign together; good content, engaging media and a clear timeline. And then you begin. If you’ve done your research, you will get results. But things can still go wrong. It is moments like these when you realise a campaign is not just about the results. It is about the entire process. Every social post is carefully ‘watered’ and ‘fed’, every bit of copy is measured against the original campaign goal. You check your audience, you check the time of day, you check the pH of the response you are getting, and you tweak your approach. The social realm is changeable, so you have to be prepared for all weather.
It is not just about results, it is about caring about the process, and being there to nurture every part of your social campaign. When you have that in place, you will get the results you aimed for.