13 tips for your social media campaign.
Recently I was discussing the enhancement of a brand’s visibility, with a client, and suggested that it would be appropriate for him to incorporate an element of social media as part of a marketing strategy.
The client intimated that he would prefer sticking with traditional media because he understood how it worked. It appeared that he distrusted the “new-fangled” social media and thought it would be a waste of time and his money.
He proffered some points to back up his preference. “Millions of people still watched TV as their source of information and entertainment, and a large proportion of them still listened to the radio”, he said. He asked that with that large reach, why wouldn’t he stick with the channels he had been using for years.
He continued to say that “people trusted TV / radio / press because items were researched and presented by professionals. As a result, people felt that they could rely on the information published”. Now he did agree that more and more people were using social media, but he thought that this was purely for connecting with family and friends and that not many people were using it as a reference for business.
He was on a roll at this stage, so he mentioned that most people can remember the great advertisements produced (a la Madmen), but not so any from social media. He sensed blood so he went for my jugular – from a business perspective, he said, “there’s no proof that social media sells, it can only be a short-lived message anyway and a lot of the time it’s just as intrusive as any other channel”.
Being online is not just a nice-to-have.
I agreed that traditional and social media were two different platforms but warned that they were becoming more mutually dependent every year. People (customers) increasingly wanted brands to be available to them wherever and whenever they wanted. Therefore, an online presence is a must-have, not a nice-to-have. The power has shifted to the consumer, I suggested, and if both platforms were incorporated into a marketing strategy it would provide the potential for better business results. Some of the benefits I highlighted were that using social media was less expensive (but not free), much more interactive, like word-of-mouth on steroids and can be specifically targeted. These are unique opportunities that traditional media cannot offer.
I did admit to him that, unfortunately, many businesses are persuaded to invest way too many resources in social media (sometimes a case of the shiny new tool syndrome). But, when used in a focused way, I continued, it makes marketing activity much more measurable and accountable.
You’ll be glad to know that we agreed to proceed with the setting up of a social media strategy (on a trial basis), and here are some of the questions we asked ourselves.
Get it right by asking yourself some pertinent questions.
Sometimes businesses use social media in their marketing because their competitors are doing so, which usually leads to unrealistic expectations and eventual disenchantment. The only way to decide whether social media fits into your marketing strategy is to ask yourself some pertinent questions. Such as:
- Is your target audience using social media?
- Have you established goals for your social media activity?
- Have you the resources?
- Can you define your social media strategy?
- How are you going to measure the activity?
An overriding point to note here is that social media activity is a sub-set of marketing activity which, in itself, is a sub-set of business strategy. In this regard, a simple way of deciding on social media usage would be to ask yourself, a) looking back – would use social media in a campaign have improved the result and b) have we existing campaigns that social media could add value. Either way, here are some solutions to the questions posed above.
- Target audience – ask your top customers, survey the rest, scope out competitors
- Goal setting – improve brand recognition, grow brand loyalty / engagement, sales, thought leadership
- Resources – review people, time, budget, buy-in, training, relevant content
- Strategy – drive website traffic, distribution for blogs / newsletters, interaction with customers
- Measurement – SEO, lead generation, engagement, conversion, sentiment, cost savings, sales
If you can answer all these questions in conjunction with your colleagues (and superiors), and use it where appropriate within an overall strategy, then maybe your social media activity won’t be a waste of valuable resources, as suggested by my client above. It’s about building trust. If customers engage your brand at many touch-points of their choosing, they are more than likely to favour you over brands they haven’t encountered, and, therefore, can’t trust.
Tips and Timesavers.
If you have decided to integrate social media into your marketing strategy – here are 13 tips and timesavers that may be of assistance.
- Write down a social media plan (what, why and how to optimise it)
- Seek out influencers from your industry (follow and engage with them and give back)
- Prefer content quality over quantity (should be educational, engaging or entertaining)
- Use original imagery (stock photos are not recommended and always check the license)
- Establish reader personas (solve their problems – here’s a fun tool I discovered this week)
- Add an insight if sharing other’s content (build thought authority)
- Establish a budget (management, tools, images, videos etc.)
- Repurpose existing content (or use customer generated content)
- Keep your eye out for new tools (often channels or tools are upgraded or replaced)
- Dabble in PPC (social advertising can be capped at a cost that suits your budget)
- Develop an editorial calendar (good for principles, not rigidity)
- Encourage buy-in (from all staff not just the C-Suite)
- Profiles should adhere to brand style-guides (bios, messages, images. tone, positioning)
The world of social media is constantly changing. It is because of this change that some unfounded, anecdotal evidence or myths spread about social media experiences. Let’s debunk some of them – people are reading your posts but they may not engage with them. Your blog post will not reveal trade secrets to the competitors and online activity will not constantly expose you to comments that might damage your reputation (unless you deserve it). One of my favourites is – more is better (vanity metrics) which is crazy stuff and finally, social media is free, which believe me, it is not.
“We hope you have enjoyed our marketing tips and timesavers blog” – Aidan & Jim.
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