Everyone wants to know about how they can create and run a successful social media campaign.
So to help I put together 10 Steps to Create the Perfect Social Media Campaign.
How to Create the Perfect Social Media Campaign
1) Develop a plan and answer the following questions:
What are your goals?
Any marketing strategy needs to have a set of realistic goals that are attainable within a specified time limit.
The key word is realistic.
Do not set fuzzy goals, or goals that will have you competing with Microsoft. Instead make sure you create a smart social media strategy, otherwise you’ll be wasting your time and money. Examples of realistic goals would be to increase traffic to your website by 20%, or increase annual sales by 10%.
If you exceed your goals, that’s great!
But by committing yourself to realistic goals, you will be able to remain positive and focused without making any drastic changes to the overall marketing strategy. And you can always adjust your goals upward once you achieve your first realistic goal.
What is your budget?
A budget for a social media plan is a definite number, not one that you hope to have sometime in the future.
Reason being; you don’t want to be in the first month of your campaign only to find out you don’t have enough money to finish the campaign.
The amount of the budget will depend on the size of your business and your projected growth goals.
This requires you to carefully evaluate the specific social media channels you will be using, and who your target audience will be.
Do not attempt to jump into every social media network, as you will discover it’ll be money spent without a tangible return.
2) Conduct a social media audit and ask the following questions:
What is currently working?
The essence of a social media audit is to find out what is working – and what’s not.
Focusing on the positive is natural, but for the negative, not so much. To conduct the audit you will need a spreadsheet with the basic headings of:
- Name of the social media network
- Its URL
- The owner
You can add a fourth column that displays a simple yes/no or true/false assessment of whether the social media network is currently successful/working.
Conducting a Google search on your company name will show you if other people can see that you have a social network profile. If the search returns “no results found“ then you will have to check it off as “not working”. This is a simple yet critical step, since people cannot buy from a company that does not exists.
One of the most overlooked parts of setting up a social media presence is completely filling out your profile.
Information that is missing or the lack of a clear purpose for the existence of your company on social media, will create more questions than answers in the minds of the members of the network.
What can you improve?
They say there’s always room for improvement, but your goal in the social media audit is to make sure the ship is headed in the right direction, not to see if the deck chairs need to be cleaned.
Your target audience may have shifted or maybe you’re able to identify channels that simply are not productive or profitable.
Make sure the obvious is working (profiles and search engine results) and then move on to specific social media messages and look for any potential damage to your brand on social media.
3) Knowing your target audience is critical to your campaign’s success.
Who are you trying to reach?
This is the simplest and most complex question you will have to answer to be successful on social media.
Simple because you know who wants to buy your product or services; complex because you can get very detailed about exactly who you want to see your ads – and why.
REMEMBER: Social media helps spread the word, so make sure you get this right in order to run a successful social media campaign.
The two main groups of data you will want to gather information on about your potential customers are demographics and psychographics.
Demographics is data about your customer’s age, annual income, discretionary income, geographical location, etc. The data can be very detailed or be general – it depends on what you need.
Psychographics is data about your customer’s attitudes, buying preferences, etc. Unlike demographics, this information is much more subjective and often is the results of surveys conducted by the company.
In a social media context, you are looking to create a target audience profile that will positively respond to what you are selling. For example, do not target apartment owners when you are selling heating and air condition systems.
People under the age of 35 are more likely to buy the newest technology gadget. That is except for the Christmas holiday season when everyone may be looking to buy one as a gift, making it a piece of seasonal demographic data. This is an example of how determining your target audience can be both simple and complex.
4) Being creative can be your biggest asset.
What are you going to post?
Without a doubt, the most important factor in using social media as a marketing strategy is to consistently establish your brand as a positive business. This is one of the most important things you can do to create the perfect social media campaign.
You can have a great product, but if people don’t trust your company or the products it sells, you will quickly find that social media will be the dragon at your doorstep that will burn the house down.
The way to make your brand unique and memorable is through creativity.
Being creative has multiple dimensions, the two biggest being what social media members see, as in videos or images on Instagram or Facebook, and the underlying message that is communicated, whether graphically or in text form.
Make sure your creativity is reigned in, meaning don’t do something so outrageous that people will be offended by it.
This concept is closely related to defining your target audience, because what offends one person will be the reason another person clicks on the link to go to your landing page.
For those new to social media marketing, it may seem easy at first to create new messages and videos. But consistency is a key to social media success, and being able to sustain creativity in the long term is actually quite a bit of work.
When being creative, remember the goal is to be both memorable and easy to remember.
Which of the following are you more likely to remember?
International Business Machines
The IBM logo
They are all the same company, but which of these is the most memorable, and which will you be more likely to forget?
5) Connect with your followers.
How often will you post?
You can pull from your own personal experience to understand this point.
Think about your favourite websites, podcasts, or even television programs. They add content on a scheduled basis that people expect to be delivered regularly and on time.
There are a few exceptions, but the quickest way to lose an audience is to air re-runs when original programming is expected or to not be on time at all.
If you get upset when this happens, transfer the sentiment over to your social media marketing messaging.
It is easy to forget in the context of business that social media is about being sociable.
When you expect your friend to call and they don’t, you generally want to know what happened.
So will your social media target audience.
The simplest way to schedule social media advertising and events is to start slowly. Once a week is relatively easy and will give you time to develop quality content.
Hastily thrown together content that is posted three times a week is a great way to damage your brand and discourage customers.
Focus on quality and delivering on time.
6) Interact with influencers.
Should you be influenced by influencers?
The short answer is – definitely.
Social media influencers are more than thought generators.
They are people who others have followed consistently and established a brand loyalty. They are people you can learn from because they have already walked the path you are just starting on.
Again, pull from your personal experience.
Think of a favourite celebrity or entertainer. If you proved to people that you knew them personally, would that be a huge asset to your personal popularity?
If some of your friends want to be an actor or singer, they would seek your influence because you know the person, and that would translate into creating your own influence just by the fact that you know the actor or entertainer.
As a businessperson, your social media goal is to make connections with influencers so you can promote your own brand because they promote or recommend you on their website.
The first goal is to identify the social media influencers that are relevant to your business. The most common connections will sell similar or related products to yours.
But do not limit your connections to the Internet. You can find influencers locally, through meetings, seminars, and organizations.
From a business perspective, LinkedIn may be the best choice to find and make connections with influencers. Facebook has greater raw numbers but is not business-specific. This is particularly important if what you are selling is more relevant to businesses than average consumers.
Whatever social media influencers you choose, be sure to properly vet them and ensure they are good for your company and your product or service.
7) Cross-channel promotion
What platforms are you going to use?
There are a variety of platforms you can use to connect to and enhance your social media presence.
As mentioned above, you have to be fully aware of your budget limitations, but the list of channels to choose from is long, including:
- Organic search
- Email marketing
- Display advertising
- Speaking engagements
The idea behind which of these channels you integrate in your social media mix depends a lot on your product or service.
A rule of thumb to follow is: “create less, promote more.”
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In practical terms, this means you do not have to create a different ad or message for each channel.
In fact, the opposite is true.
A well-crafted message can span across multiple channels which has the added benefit of establishing your brand in local and Internet markets.
A point that can be easily missed in the conversation about social media marketing is most people do not spend all day sitting in front of their computer screen at home.
They use mobile devices and go outdoors to shop.
Most people are looking for different events to attend during the weekend.
Blogs are the most obvious choice for increasing your online reach, and there are a number of websites that you can use to have blogs written for posting at regular intervals.
To get started with a relatively inexpensive cross-channel plan, choose the obvious: email, blogs, and organic searches.
Once you have a message established, track the success of each of the channels, and then add to or take away as the analytics require.
Remember that low cost should not be understood as a hastily or uncreative social media effort.
8) Who are you?
What is your brand?
The answer to the main question is not the same as the question about your brand.
They can be similar, but they are almost never the same.
Your brand is the image your present to the public about your company, your products and services, and the integrity of the business you are marketing.
Personalities of the owners often end up in the mix, but in far more cases the people intentionally separate themselves from the business.
Steve Jobs was a relatively private person, but his products screamed his creativity, innovation, and working “for the greater good” to improve the lives of everyone who bought Apple products.
The Apple brand lives on after his death, and is still connected to these same basic brand images Apple has used for 20 years. The brand was refined over time, but the essentials of the brand were a part of Apple from its inception.
Creating your brand is being able to design a message and image that people will instantly connect to the company and what you sell.
What is the first image that comes to your mind when you see these product names?
These are brand names, but the company’s brand is associated with the quality of the product, the ads that the company places in the different social media channels, and the creativity of their ads.
McDonalds has its golden arches, Coke has its red and white can, and Toyota is being remembered more for the safety problems on its cars than anything else.
Toyota is a good example of how a good brand can become a damaged brand. It illustrates the importance of creating a good brand from day one.
Do you want to appear trendy? Conservative? Do you want to appeal to the wealthy? To the corporate working woman? Your brand will be the foundation of your marketing message, so take your time to create it and shape it to fit your social media marketing niche.
What do you represent?
Closely connected to who you are is what you represent.
This is the values connected with your product or service.
One clear example of this is the image of “Made in the USA”.
This represents the values of the average working American, while “Made in China” has more than a few people balking at the quality and safety of the product. For example, did you know that Chinese families who live in the UK ship powdered baby formula to China because the British made product is considered to be safer for Chinese babies?
On the other hand, Chinese family and academic values are considered to be some of the highest in the world, so if you are selling an academic product or service, connecting with the Chinese culture is a positive way to represent your brand.
NOTE: You can be sure that people who oppose what you represent are not very likely to buy your product, no matter how good your ad campaign is.
9) What do you do for your customers?
This is a question where the answer is not as obvious as it may seem.
The reason is that what is important is a matter of personal preference or perception.
In social media, perception is hugely important.
Consider why teens and young adults will pay $200 for a pair of basketball shoes.
Marketing a product that makes the customer achieve a degree of social status or personal recognition is something you actually “do” for your customers, even though your perception may be something quite different.
This leads to another point, one that can be equally overlooked – your perceptions are likely not your customer’s perceptions are about your product.
This is one reason why it is critical you define your target audience and find out what they want, and put aside what you think is essential to sell your product or service.
This is not saying you cannot sell something that has a definite purpose and function for every person regardless of age, race, or income. It’s saying that your goal in a social media plan is to connect to your potential customers.
How can you further help them?
Once you have established a base product or service that satisfies your customers and can explain the reasons why it benefits them, the next step is to pay attention to customer feedback and listen to the negative vibes.
This will help you redesign or recreate your product line to attract customers who may have previously rejected your message.
For your current customer base, surveys and customer feedback often indicate problems with quality or service that you can remedy. Personal or online surveys are a way to measure customer satisfaction.
As long as customers believe you are working to meet their needs, they will continue to believe you are trying to help them make their lives better.
10) Be sure to measure your success by keeping track of the campaign.
After you do all the planning, branding, advertising, channel selection, and follow up with customers, a social media plan is not something you wind up and set loose to determine its own direction.
There are a number of analytical tools you can use to track the progress and success of each social media network and each marketing channel.
Apps, such as Twitter, offer data analytics on the number of followers, tweets, etc your channel has attracted. There is also software available that will not only track your email marketing campaign, but help you consolidate mailing lists and generate follow up letters to customers.
Getting sales is great, and watching you customer list expand as your social media plan reaps rewards is better than that.
DO NOT make the mistake of falling into the trap of “once a customer, always a customer.”
There is far too much competition on social media to let your present success determine the future of your company.
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