Ask a mountaineer if a base camp is needed, and you’ll get a resounding assurance that any expedition is as successful as a good base camp.
It’s an intriguing word by itself, and I decided to investigate it further. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:
The “Base Camp” of a mountain is an area used for staging an attempt at the summit. Base camps are positioned to be safe from the harsher conditions above. There are base camps on many popular or dangerous mountains. Where the summit cannot be reached from base camp in a single day, a mountain will have additional camps above base camp.
The same analogy can be extended to every social media expedition. Like the botched Fast Company Influence Project everyone has been having a swipe at for the last few days. Or the very successful Influencer Project 60 In 60 Conference.
Unless the base camp of your social media campaign is built on solid ground, you run every risk of meeting with failure at the end.
So what are the ground rules for building a good base camp for social media? Here’s a list:
Choose A Solid Ground:
Is your About Me page your social media base camp? Ideally it should be.
Your blog, and more specifically the About Me page on that blog needs to be your base camp in social media. Not multiple versions of the pages running on each of your blogs – just one of them that uniquely refers back to you.
Do you have complete control over everything that shows up on any corner of your blog real estate? If not, make a wise investment in land. Go get a good self-hosted blog that you own in every sense of the word.
Remember, your base camp can only be as good as the ground it stands upon – in this case the web host, and the platform.
I use WordPress, BlueHost, JustHost and Frugal theme.
There are also others out there that are very good. Drupal, Joomla on the platform side, DreamHost, HostGator, InMotion and Rackspace on the hosting side to name a few.
Shelter It From The Elements:
If you don’t shelter your base camp from the elements, it will get torn down to shreds by storms and gales. Make sure your blog base camp is protected from the virtual elements. Use stronger passwords. Make use of server protection best-practices.
Don’t open up unwanted directories. Avoid installing dubious plugins and themes.
Visit every corner of your base camp every day to ensure against any foul play. Use automation to warn you against open loopholes.
I personally use common sense and experience drawn from my years in the software consulting industry – but there a quite a few good products like WordPress Defender readily available in the market.
Make It Permanent:
Base camps don’t change base. That’s why they’re called as base camps. They are permanent. Like a lighthouse. Always there.
Likewise, your social media base camp needs to be permanent. Don’t keep shifting it. From domain to domain, web host to web host or worse, platform to platform. You don’t want to have Twitter as your social media base camp today, Facebook as your base camp tomorrow and something totally different an year from now.
Build a base camp at About Me page on your blog, and then stay put. Your community will love to join you on the inside, once they know it’s always going to be around.
Make It Easily Accessible For You:
From a mountain summit, all trails and paths down lead to the base camp. This tenet applies equally well to social media.
Everything that you do in the outside world of social media – all connections, interactions, promotions and marketing need to lead back to your base camp.
In SEO speak, it increases the relevancy of your blog, in common sense terms you’ll always have a firm footing in the ground, no matter where your social media expeditions take you.
For me, I all roads lead to my base camp. Easy for me to focus on, and maintain in a prime condition – consistently.
Stock Up On Supplies:
As every mountaineer will tell you, base camps are always stocked up with supplies. They ensure the survival of it’s occupants during extended stormy weather.
Draw a leaf out of this principle, and make sure your base camp is stocked up with supplies needed for your social media expeditions. I like to refer to these as the 5C supplies: contacts, connections, community, customer support and content. What else do you need?
A solid base camp will support you social media campaigns for years to come – and you will have far more successful expeditions over an extended period of time.
I’m making my base camp as rock solid as possible. How about you?
I would love to hear where your social media base camp is – and your experiences and stories. Share them!
(Image Credit: jared http://www.flickr.com/photos/generated/)