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Steps to Design a Social Media Campaign

26 Jun, 2014

A good marketing campaign’s goal is to keep your clients/prospects/community informed about overall updates, services and progress of your company, says Debbie Hemley, a social media coach, and frequent freelancer for the Social Media Examiner. Read her key steps (exerpted here) for creating a socia media campaign:

#1: Assemble a Capable Team

Early iterations of social media community management often included a laissez-faire approach: Give it to the younger staff members—they’re on social, right?

Businesses quickly found out that just because someone is on Facebook in their personal life doesn’t mean they intuitively know how to communicate on behalf of a brand.

Bernie Borges‘ article on staffing strategies points out the importance of assessing the people on your team and determining who is best-suited to contribute to your social media strategy.

Social media marketing requires specific skills (e.g., writing and editing, photo editing, a little tech know-how and being able to respond in real time).

Establish a social community management team with members who can take ownership and responsibility for carrying out day-to-day updates in addition to long-term campaigns.

#2: Plan Your Campaign

Whether you’re launching a new product or location or bringing in new business partners, social media campaigns work wonderfully with pivotal moments in a company’s life. Any time you need to communicate goals or generate buzz, social media is the cornerstone of your success.

As you and your community management team begin to plan the campaign, a tactical social media plan is essential. Use it to organize your campaign’s short-term objectives for each of the social channels you’re using, team assignments, general content ideas you can build on and how you’ll use features of specific platforms (e.g., lists on Twitter or hangouts on Google+).

Create short- and long-term goals and objectives for your social marketing campaign.

A planned campaign is a successful campaign. Your plan keeps you focused on the number of steps you’ll need to take along the way, while also helping build momentum, curiosity and excitement among your audience.

#3: Choose the Most Effective Platforms

No matter what you hear from different sources, there is no one perfect social media platform to use. What works well for one business may not work well for another.

To choose your primary and secondary networks, think about where your target audience is more likely to spend time online and look at industry benchmarks.

Social Barrel designed an infographic that shows specifics to consider: suitable media types, objectives, potential reach, demographics, target profile and the types of skills your team needs to be successful.

It may sound obvious to be where your customers are, but for some businesses that’s easier said than done. If you’re not sure where your audience is, set up social interaction reporting on Google Analytics to see which channels send visitors to your site.

Take the time to discover where your target audience hangs out online. When you have the right mix of platforms, your campaign has a better chance at success.

#4: Establish an Editorial Calendar

Print publishers have used editorial calendars for centuries and their usefulness has never waned. They help you leverage content across media, streamline resources, drive internal teamwork and stay focused on the needs of your audience.

If you already have an editorial system in place, you’re ahead of the game. If you don’t, this free customizable Excel template can help you get started. If you want to share your calendar with your team, consider a Google Drive spreadsheet or WordPress’ editorial calendar plugin.

As you create your editorial calendar, include columns or tabs for:
◾Article type
◾Content format (text, image, video, audio, presentation or other)
◾Related marketing
◾Additional tracking dates (due dates, other signoffs)

You may also want to include a place for written updates (exactly what you’ll post for easy cutting and pasting), where and when you’ll post each update and which team member is responsible for the update.

#5: Be True to Your Company Voice

When your audience reads and listens to the content you produce, they’re not only hearing your message, they’re hearing the voice of your company—your tone, language and delivery (i.e., formal vs. conversational).

Each time they hear your brand voice, it’s a good bet they’re subconsciously sizing you up. They’re deciding whether you’re a company they can rely on, and more importantly, do business with.

Stephanie Schwab writes, “Your brand voice in social media will evolve over time… If you’ve already been engaging in social media and feel like your voice needs refinement, take the time to work on it now… If you can more closely match your voice to their [your customers'] needs, you may attract even more customers and develop greater engagement and loyalty than you ever have before.”

Establish an online company voice that reflects your business values and matches your customers’ expectations and you’ll go a long way in building overall trust.

Whether you’re a small startup or a major company, successful long-term social media campaigns aren’t built in a day. They require a capable team that can drive the project, careful planning and execution and, as you’re well aware, quite a bit of work.

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