Talking about a “Social Media” campaign is a little like saying you are planning an “Advertising” or “Direct Marketing” campaign (sorry, showing my age there!). In reality, the term is very broad, and so the first thing to do is to decide what you mean by “Social Media”, and which tools are actually relevant to your business. My first 2 tips will help to make a decision on this. For the purpose of this article, I will be focusing on the 3 main social media platforms namely Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn .
1. Know your Objective
As with any new marketing activity, the first thing you need to decide is what you are trying to achieve. Are you looking for leads that can be quickly turned into sales, or are you looking to build your profile and strengthen your brand, or a bit of both? The fact is that some social media platforms are better for lead generation, while others are more suited to awareness/brand building campaigns. For lead generation, Facebook and LinkedIn tend to be more powerful, with developed and well-targeted advertising offerings. Twitter on the other hand is more difficult to use as a lead generation tool, but can be an excellent option for building awareness.
2. Know your Audience
Knowing your audience, and where they hang out, is critical. There is no point in basing your strategy around Facebook if the people you want to engage with don’t use the platform. In short, you need to make sure that you are using the platforms where your audience is hanging out. More on this subject here. You also need to have a clear idea of what your audience is interested in. Understand these two things and you are half way to a successful campaign.
3. Set Goals
There is one thing that is certain when it comes to social media. It can absorb resource (both time and money) like a sponge. If you don’t have clear goals for your social media activity it is difficult to know whether the resources you are devoting to it are being effective. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all have analytics offerings, all of which allow you to monitor the key metrics for the platform. Couple these with data from Google analytics, and the effectiveness of your activity will start to become clearer. If you want to delve into this subject in more detail, you might find this post interesting.
4. Identify content source
The other thing that Social media demands is content, and lots of it. To be effective, you should be posting to your social media feeds regularly.
- Twitter – daily, or at least 2-3 times per week
- Facebook – depends on your market, but certainly 2-3 times per week
- LinkedIn – weekly, or at least 2-3 times per month
For sure, you will generate some of this content. But unless you want it to become a full time job, you will need to find some 3rd party sources for you social media content. To this end I would suggest a 3 pronged approach:
- Identify relevant websites that have active news feeds/blogs, and bookmark these. It’s then easy to check them regularly for shareable content.
- Use alert services like Google alerts or Content Gems. Both will send you an email digest of new content they have identified based on Keywords specified by you.
- Re share & re-tweet other content that you find, that you think may be of interest to your audience.
The ultimate objective of any content strategy should be to identify & share content that you feel will be of interest to your audience. By engaging your followers with interesting content, they are more likely to respond well to more sales focused messages when you drop these into your feed.
5. Keep at it
The final tip is simple to say, but in reality often proves to be the most challenging! That is to stick at it. Lets face it, there is little more off putting than finding social media feeds that are unused. In many ways, you would be better off not having a presence than having one that is out of date. In reality, the challenges of sustaining a social media campaign, are the same as for wider marketing activity. This subject is a post in itself, and as fortune would have it, one we have written previously – Sustainable Marketing, Keeping it Going.