Alrighty. We love your enthusiasm. You’re starting to produce amazing content, earning yourself scores of Facebook fans and legions of Twitter followers. Now you’re looking to put the pedal to the metal and start executing some social media campaigns. Fantastic! After all, the value of your social media fans correlates directly to how often you engage/leverage them. Having a large fan base without executing a social media campaign is like sitting on a gold mine and refusing to dig.
However, before you go in guns-a-blazing ready to Rambo it up, there are a few steps you need to take in order to ensure you are going to get the most out of your social media campaign. Keep in mind, your fans, as amazing as they are, don’t want to be constantly battered with social media campaign messages. It’s your job, as the executioner of the campaign, to ensure that it is as powerful and impactful as possible. So how do you get the most out of you business’s social media campaign?
Start by having a plan
It might sound obvious, but the first thing you need to do is formulate a solid plan or strategy. Preferably a plan or strategy based on research, observation and best practices. To start formulating your plan you first need to determine the goal of the social media campaign. Are you looking to increase sales, conversations, audience members, or all three at once? Once you have the goal in mind, you next need to define what success for that goal will be. Looking to increase sales? Attach a true percentage (say 3%) to your goal. Is your campaign more about gaining followers? Then attach an actual figure to how many new likes you want from the campaign. Having a solid goal can be scary for some people as it draws a clear line in the sand between success and failure; however it’s necessary if you truly want to get the most out of your social media campaign.
With the goal in mind, your next step is to define the social media campaign strategy that will help you reach that goal. During this portion of the strategy formulation process, you’ll be focusing your efforts on conducting research in the market space. For example if your social media campaign is designed to increase your site’s SEO rankings, then your first step in formulating your strategy is going to be to conduct a round of keyword research. You’ll need to audit your current site’s performance, identify the keywords you’re already ranking for and also use tools to determine the search volume for the keyword you’re thinking about targeting.
You’ll also want to take a look at the target market for your campaign. Where do they hang out online? How niche is the campaign focus? There’s very little use to launching a Facebook-centric social media campaign to a group that spends most of their time hanging out on Pinterest.
With your research completed and your campaign home-base identified, it’s time to start thinking about what creative you’ll use to carry your campaign messages. This is partly going to be based on your target market, your chosen social media platform and your social media goals. Now’s the time to also identify any social media tools you may want to use to help execute and track the impact/success of your social media campaign.
Then Execute With Purpose
To get the most out of your social media campaign you need to execute your strategy with purpose. This means actively managing every facet of your campaign during the campaign period. Social media campaigns are not a set- it-and-forget-it type of campaign. As you execute your campaign, you’ll want to continually monitor and tweak individual components of the campaign based on the results you are getting and how likely you are to reach/exceed the campaign goal you have set.
In order to determine the best course of action to take when executing your campaign, you’ll want to set aside the first couple of weeks (or days depending on the campaign timeframe) to test various components of the campaign. There’s general information available that identifies the “best” times to post a tweet or Facebook message, but that’s not necessary the best time to hit your target demographic. Post messages at a variety of times during the first couple days and measure the reach, virality and impact those messages have on the campaign. You can also split test what creative direction works best and even what medium is the most powerful. Don’t be afraid to switch to video when you’ve been planning on mostly producing photos if video shows a greater campaign lift.
Finally, Follow Up With Campaign Participants
Congratulations! You’ve set a hard goal, created a powerful strategy and executed that strategy to perfection! But don’t pat yourself on the back yet; you still have one final step you’ll need to account for to truly get the most out of your social media campaign. That step: determine your campaign follow-up actions. What’s the point of amassing a ton more Facebook followers if you’re not going to immediately engage them? How useless is it to drive a customer to make one-time sales if you don’t have a plan in place that drives them to be a repeat customer? By having a follow-up plan, and acting on it, you greatly enhance the ROI of your social media campaign.
A follow-up plan can be as simple as engaging your new fans on Facebook with exciting content, or they can be as complex as implementing a multi-level, automated, e-mail drip campaign. The important factor isn’t so much what you do, it’s that you do. If someone likes your Facebook page through a contest and a few weeks go by without any posts. They will be less likely to engage with your brand and more likely to unfriend you when you finally do get around to posting. It’s the same thing with sales, the cost per acquisition from a campaign driven sale can be pretty high. The true profit margins come into play when that customer becomes a repeat buyer through lower cost traffic drivers (automated emails for example).
Social media campaigns are a time and resource intensive undertaking. You will only get out of the campaign what you put into it. If you want to get the most out of your social media campaigns you need to formulate a clear strategy, execute the campaign with purpose and have a plan for following up with your newly earned audience.
Have some tips for getting the most out of your social media campaign? Leave a comment below and let us know.
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Sarah McNew Razzaque Twitter
Chief Product Officer - SocialToaster