Social media is an indispensable marketing/communications tool for organizations that want to build their businesses and get to the next level. It has become the primary channel to find, and connect with users/customers, and, far beyond that, it can bring you closer to the customer for more personal interaction, helping you build and extend your relationship over the long term.
The rise of social media platforms have been nothing short of phenomenal, with traditional advertising rapidly replaced by social media marketing, which can be more far reaching, timely and personal. With a low barrier to entry, social media provides new opportunities to connect and deliver your message, and can be an inexpensive advertising/promotion tool.
However, social media campaigns do require skill, and a well-thought-out strategy needs to be in place. Also, they need an interactive and responsive approach with dedicated resources and the right level of management/oversight that is appropriate for your organization.
In order to set up a campaign, you can follow these steps:
1. Clarify your objectives
What do you want your social media campaign to achieve? This can be as simple as increasing sales or less measurable goals that relate to visibility and branding. Either way, without goals there can be no measurement, and, of course, ask yourself if social media is the most effective method to achieve these goals and whether it provides the best ROI.
To provide more direction and simplify your goal, you can tie your objective to the broad categories of visibility/awareness, sales or loyalty.
Additionally, this a good place to consider your company mission and how you position and differentiate yourself. This can be used as an anchoring platform to inform all your social media messaging.
If you are able to convey a unique benefit for your target audience, that too can be used to attract and retain users.
2. Determine your audience
The more focused and narrow your target segment, the better you can serve their needs by creating content that resonates with them, focusing on their issues and needs, speaking their language, and positioning yourself as the expert, go-to source.
Another factor in determining whom you must reach depends on your objectives. In order to meet objectives, you must choose those social media channels your audience frequents, and decide on appropriate messaging.
This step requires some primary research and can be called the listening phase as you are discovering your audience location and habits.
3. Integration with wider marketing objectives/plans
Make sure that your social media strategy is inline with the rest of your Internet strategy, website goals and inbound/outbound marketing initiatives. You should adhere to the principles of integrated marketing communications for maximum impact and efficiency.
Quite often you can use your website to funnel users and motivate actionable events, such as filling out contact forms or requesting more information.
4. Allocate resources and integrate into culture
An effective social media strategy requires an investment of time and resources. You must assign qualified individuals to spend the time it takes to support your chosen channels and create content that helps your organization deliver branding and marketing messages. This requires planning, and is an important function as these individuals are representing the company in a public setting and must be able to do so with professionalism, tact and with the ideals of customer service.
Be sure that your social media efforts do not operate in a silo because it needs to be owned by the entire organization and embraced in the culture. Let your team know how they can support your strategy.
5. Tactics, tools and implementation
Your social media commitment is likely to grow as you find more and better channels to use, so it is best to explore tools that increase the efficiency of your workflow. Social media tools and services abound now and there are more than ever. They can assist with the planning, timing and monitoring of campaigns, and can help you manage resources.
6. Monitor and measure, and experiment
Crunch the numbers and see if you are meeting your goals. This can be as simplistic as counting the increase in followers to your channels or more advanced analytics that help you to calculate improvement in engagement.
Is campaign improving traffic to your website and specifically to those areas that you designate as being important action items that can be tracked?
Selecting social media channels requires some research and analysis to discover the places where your customers/clients congregate and communicate.
Also, you must be prepared to try something new. Sometimes you can get unexpectedly good results, but, at the same time, if a campaign fails to get traction after a reasonable amount of time, then it is best to reallocate your resources to maintain a high level of ROI.
In the age of accountability, it is essential to embrace a results based approach and put into place only goals that can be measured.
Set a reasonable time-frame to evaluate (probably a minimum of two months) progress, and identify any changes that are required. Thereafter, schedule regular reviews with the management team, so that everyone is onboard and is invested in the strategy.
The holy grail of successful social media strategy is engagement, personalization and relevancy, and to achieve that you must be prepared for the shifting landscape that is social media. Create a roadmap to build and sustain the right channels methodically and organically over time, but build in flexibility, so that you can adapt as things evolve.
If you require help setting up a social media strategy, contact us. We look forward to hearing from you. Call 612-278-5880 or leave details on our Contact page.