Launching a social media campaign can be a little intimidating for any small business owner. As with most new ventures, the key to confidence and success lies in the planning. Before you begin, consider the following seven questions. They’ll ensure that you avoid some common pitfalls and reap the rewards of a profitable campaign.
7 Questions to Ask When Crafting a New Social Media Campaign
1. What’s Your Desired Outcome?
It’s hard to make progress if you don’t know your destination, so the very first step is to determine your goals. Take the time to work out the specific results you want from your campaign.
Your sole purpose might be to boost sales and revenue; or perhaps you’re aiming to grow brand awareness. Other common goals are to stimulate community engagement, expand distribution of content, garner press mentions, or retain existing customers longer. Each of these goals requires a different strategy and contributes toward long-term growth in its own way.
Common Campaign Targets
With brand awareness, you’re making sure that your brand becomes well-known by potential customers, wherever they are. Alternatively, you might be seeking to build a community of loyal fans and advocates, individuals who’ll begin promoting for you, via shares and word of mouth. A more specific goal might be to gain newsletter sign-ups or a specific number of downloads for your video course, ebook, or white paper.
A particularly effective use of social media is to boost the quality of your customer service. In this way, your campaign might aim to increase your customer retention rate. Whichever goal you go for, be sure to define it clearly.
2. How Will You Measure Success?
Few things do more to give you a sense of control and progress than determining a few KPI’s. Tracking various key stats keeps you acutely aware of how well your campaign’s doing, day by day. It allows you to identify problems, and to know where things might need a little tweaking.
Your optimal KPIs will depend upon your campaign goals. If you’re after leads and sales above all else, then in addition to tracking both of these figures you could also track your website traffic, click-through rates, and landing page hits. On the other hand, if you’re focusing on brand awareness, you might prefer to track your follower count, the number of post views, reader engagement, likes, shares, retweets, and mentions.
Refining Your Goals
Once you’ve chosen your numbers to track, you can then improve your initial goals by including these KPI’s. For instance, your goal might now be to gain 5,000 Twitter followers by the end of March or perhaps to have 10,000 downloads of your ebook before the year is out. If your goal is excellent audience engagement, you might aim to be obtaining 20 mentions a week in 3 months’ time.
3. What’s Working for Your Competitors?
At this early stage of planning, you’ll find a goldmine of information in competitor research. Take the time to study the social media activities of your competitors. Note down the platforms they’re using, the kind of content they’re creating, their tone of brand voice, their most popular topics, and the methods they’re using to broach those topics. Pay particular attention to posts that are gaining the most traction and engagement.
In addition, note which times of the day they tend to publish and how regularly they do so. Are they interacting well with their audience and building a community? Or are they missing out on chances to optimize? Try to understand what they’re doing successfully, which you can emulate. Also, notice what they’re doing poorly so you can avoid making the same mistakes.
4. What Type of Content will You Publish?
Now it’s time for the fun part. Here, you’ll plan out exactly what kind of content you’ll be producing over the course of the campaign. Bear in mind that users interact differently with content on different platforms. Because of this, you’ll likely need to create content in a variety of formats.
Here are some general guidelines for the most popular platforms. Curated content and videos work best on Facebook. News, GIFs, and blog posts work well on Twitter. For Instagram, it’s better to post high-resolution photos, quotes, and stories. On Pinterest, users love step-by-step photo guides and infographics, whereas LinkedIn tends to favor professional tips and articles, company news, and job postings.
Be as Visual as Possible
On almost all platforms, audiences enjoy visual content above all else. Imagery is just so easy to consume and share. Because of this, attractive, high-quality, unique visual content really is a must no matter the industry. Think about how you can make imagery work for your business.
Answer Audience Questions
When choosing the topics of your posts, gather ideas from your customers and audience. To find out what they’re thinking, you can send surveys to your list, browse industry forums, and scour comments on the posts of your competitors. Pay attention to common problems or gripes and prepare to provide wonderful answers.
Repurpose Your Content
Content recycling, also known as repurposing, allows you to save a great deal of time and money by re-using each piece of content in intelligent ways across multiple platforms. This dramatically expands the reach of your content and also helps with SEO.
A detailed blog post might become a series of Tweets, for example. Each Tweet could then be turned into an Instagram post, provided you can make it suitably visual and compelling for the Instagram audience. A blog post can become a podcast, for those of your audience who prefer listening to reading. There are many further ways to repurpose. It’s a marketing technique well worth mastering.
Balance Promotional with Non-Promotional Content
It’s important to mix up your posts that are purely educational or entertaining with posts that have a strong call to action. Too much promotion alone may well bore your audience, but too little will likely result in plenty of shares, but no conversions to customers. Of course, this balance also depends upon your overall campaign goals.
Create Interesting Hashtags
These days, hashtags are powerful and popular tools for marketers. Begin thinking of unique hashtags you might create. Hashtags also provide an easy extra metric for tracking engagement.
5. How Often Will You Post?
Choosing the optimal frequency and time of day to post is another key to your campaign’s success. Consider what times of the day members of your target audience are using their social media. Is one particular day of the week better than the others? What days, and times of the day, are working best for your competitors?
Set Up a Calendar
When it comes to social media marketing, consistency is the key to success. It really is a long-term game and for busy business owners, this kind of commitment may seem a daunting prospect. There are, however, ways to make it easier.
For starters, set up a strict calendar for your posting, which you’ll meet without fail over the course of the campaign. This helps you avoid lengthy gaps when you forget to post. Next, make use of the scheduling functionalities of the various platforms. This way you can create a large batch of content in advance, and then simply schedule it all to publish at the optimal times over the coming weeks. This really takes the pressure off.
6. How will You Interact with Your Audience?
Any social media campaign can be super-charged with a practice known as social listening. This is the process of paying very close attention to how your audience is reacting to your posts and responding promptly to everything. Both users and algorithms appreciate active posts, where the company is communicating directly and regularly with the audience.
Few things do more to boost the quality of service for existing customers than lightning-fast responses to queries on social media. This does wonders for customer retention. You can set up systems to ensure that you’re notified about every new comment. Always reply with care, to both positive and negative comments alike.
7. How Can I Follow Up on My Campaign?
Once your campaign’s over, it’s best to avoid any sudden drop in communications. If that happens, your newly gained audience might drift away to more active brands.
It’s best to plan in advance how you can stay active once the campaign is done. Ideally, you should have a long series of posts related to the major themes of the campaign. This keeps your followers engaged until the launch of your next campaign.
How to Stay in Mind
There are endless ways to follow up effectively. You could recap key points and lessons from the campaign, or send out the most retweeted snippets and quotes from your ebook. Some form of client recognition always works well. Or you might share a series of customer stories, which serve as excellent testimonials.
If your campaign was based around promoting an event, then you could send out pictures and video clips from the event, which will entice others to sign up for the next one. If there was a contest, let people know how it’s going with the winners. Whatever your type of campaign, think of ways to keep your audience entertained once it’s completed.
Seven Steps Closer to Success
Answering the above seven key questions will go far in ensuring a successful social media campaign. All you need to do is gain clarity on your goals and KPI’s, study your competitors, choose optimal types of content to create, set up a solid publishing schedule, and plan a strong sequence of follow-ups. Once you’ve prepared each of these stages, you’ll be ready to launch and start reaping the rewards.