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Seven tips for a successful social media campaign

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24th Nov 2014
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Don’t believe the hype! Social media isn’t a silver bullet solution to all of your marketing ills!

However, once you’ve dispelled the outrageous hyperbole that surrounds social media, what you will find is that there are many ways in which social media campaigns can benefit your business:

  • You can create buzz around your message, building a social media voice and developing influence within your community.
  • You can generate traffic, with the power of social media enabling people to pass along your message through their networks so that is reaches new and diverse crowds and delivers new visitors to you.
  • You can generate leads.
  • You can create powerful brand advocates, developing relationships with industry influencers who can become important proponents for your company.
  • You can become part of the wider conversation, identifying social networks where consumers are already talking about your brand and industry so that you can engage in the dialogue and learn more about how your brand is perceived and how you can better help your customers.

Of course, any brand expecting a single post to go viral and deliver the aforementioned benefits overnight, needs to think again. A successful campaign requires careful planning.

“Building a successful social media campaign is just the start of your campaign journey,” says Samuel Hurley, senior marketing executive at Kurve. “Social media campaigns require a lot of planning, careful implementation, and constant monitoring and adaptation.”

If you are considering creating a social media campaign for your business, here are some tips that might help you figure out what you should and shouldn’t do:

Tip one: Know what you’re trying to achieve

It’s important to be clear about what your channel specific short-term and long-term objectives are. Your campaign needs clarity about what you are trying to achieve. For instance, are you trying to boost sales; are you trying to attract more social media followers; or are you trying to increase your visibility? Your short-term objectives should be stepping stones to achieving your long-term goals, and enable you to track your progress.

Tip two: Choose the right campaign and tools

“There is so much choice when it comes to social media campaigns, and it can be easy to get lost in the maze of options and choose the wrong one,” warns Hurley. “You could go for an online quiz, newsletter or voting poll on social media sites – whatever you choose needs to be carefully considered and selected for a specific reason.”

Talk through the best approach with your team, considering your goals and aims, customer and business tone. Then, after lots of notes have been made and ideas discussed you need to find some campaign-building software. Some will be free and others will cost you, so look into each option.

“Look for a service that creates interactive and responsive campaigns,” says Hurley. “These campaigns should look and feel professional and shouldn’t have any glitches or technical difficulties. The majority of your time will be going toward researching social media tools that can help speed up the process, or researching successful campaigns that your competitors have undertaken.”

Tip three: Choose the right social platforms

There are many different social networks – and the number is growing all the time. While Facebook is a favourite with marketers because it has 1.5 billion users around the world, other social networks may be favourable due to the demographic being targeted by the campaign. Remember, your target demographic isn’t necessarily using every social network, so you need to do your research and find out which is the best fit.

Tip four: Promote your campaign

Hurley says: “Did you know that over two-thirds of a campaign’s success is linked with how well it is promoted? There are lots of ways to promote your campaign; through your website or social media site is a good place to start. However, you should try to utilise other avenues so that you ensure you’re reaching your audience from every angle. Utilising more than one social media site – like Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest, is a good idea.

“It helps if you manage to get a visitor to your campaign to share it with their followers, as essentially they are doing the work for you. For this to happen though, you need to provide incentives. You might award a voucher to anyone who shares your page on Facebook, for example.”

Tip five: Consider how you can best collect information

We’ve all come across long-winded and boring forms asking for personal information, but more and more people are growing tired of filling in online forms. Most people will be willing to share a little information, but be careful how much you ask for.

“An email address is always a valuable piece of information (you can use it to contact them in the future) but birthday, gender and even mailing address are not always necessary,” advises Hurley. “It is also recommended to use a mobile optimised form for users visiting your website through a mobile device.

“Basically, the more you ask for, the less people want to give to you and the more frustrated they will get with your campaign/company as a whole. You don’t want to be known as the annoying company that asks lots of questions and plagues social media sites; people will simply leave and forget about you. Think how you would feel answering these questions – is it taking you some time? Do you really want to give this information away?”

Tip six: Think about how you can encourage sharing

Social media marketing nirvana sees respondents sharing your campaign. But obviously there is a lot of initial legwork to complete before we get to that stage.

For instance, the time in which you post or launch your campaign can make a huge difference to performance. Research has shown that 9AM to 11AM are the best times to post on some platforms. However, on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook, anything from 4PM to 10PM is considered an optimal time.

“Think about when your customers will be on these sites,” recommends Hurley. “Many people log onto Facebook in the evening, after work, rather than in the day when they are busy. Other sites, like Google+ or LinkedIn, might have more people using it in the day in the office or at work. Also, consider the day you are posting. Monday morning might not be great, as a lot of people are busy catching up with emails or heading out on their weekly commute. How about Sunday? Again, people might be busy with family and not have time to look at your campaign and fill in your boxes.”

Ensure that you research the most active times on your desired platform, because once you understand when your target market is likely to be on the social network, you can have a far better chance of success.

Tip seven: Be interactive and create an editorial calendar

So, you have researched and designed your campaign and promoted it. Now you can just sit back and watch the responses roll in, right? Wrong. Every company needs to stay active throughout the campaign.

Hurley explains: “You can easily be forgotten, and there are too many competitors out there to risk falling behind. Think of it as your customers being fickle – they may like you one day, but it doesn’t mean they’ll stay with you. You need to stay friends with them and keep your company in the forefront of their minds – for the right reasons!

“Many smaller companies can use this as a way of interacting with their target audience regularly, making them seem more approachable to their consumers, building their brand image, building a sense of excitement and encouraging further participation.”

He adds: “By updating statuses, responding to comments and adding photos, customers can feel part of their brand. Adding mini competitions here and there can also help. Whether you are a hair salon, a grocer or a blacksmith, any profession can use social media and the internet to stay in the public eye and in the minds of your consumers.”

One way to ensure that you have regular and orchestrated activity in your campaign, is to pull together an editorial calendar that details what will be posted, when, on what social network and by whom. Pam Dyer, author of Pamorama, has provided some sample spreadsheets that can be used as content marketing calendars. These have been created as a starting point to help plan content topics, headlines, related links, desired scheduling, name of authors, etc.

And that’s not all…

These are seven valuable tips to create a successful social media campaign, but there are other factors you also need to bear in mind when using social media for your campaigns. Hurley suggests these include:

  • Responding appropriately to customer criticism on your social media.
  • Using brand-appropriate tone of voice and images.
  • Keeping your brand image constant and identifiable with every site and campaign you use.
  • Monitoring the sites regularly for spam.
  • Measuring success of social media campaigns professionally, using appropriate analytics and software.
  • Adapting your approaches as trends change/customer behaviours change/industry changes – and knowing when something just isn’t working.

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