What Goes Into a Comprehensive Social Media Campaign?
Building a well-thought-out social media campaign takes a lot of time and effort. There are many moving parts, and if you don’t start out with a clear goal in mind, it’s easy to get lost along the way.
Fortunately, there is a way to guarantee a successfully executed campaign, and the three magic words are planning, planning, planning. Setting clear goals, creating a calendar and content ahead of time, and establishing a method for engagement in advance is the way to win at any campaign.
Read on, as I break down how to create a comprehensive campaign, step-by-step.
The first step to any great plan, whether in marketing or in life, is to set goals. Ask your client to get specific about what they want out of their marketing campaign. It’s not enough to simply say, “We want to raise brand awareness” or, “Let’s generate buzz around our newest product.” Instead, set measurable goals. How can you measure brand awareness? Look to metrics like website traffic instead; set a goal of X percent increase in traffic over the course of the campaign. If they’re looking to promote a specific product, set a specific sales goal (it could be a dollar amount or number of units).
Check out the Competition
Once you know what you hope to achieve with the campaign, the research phase can begin! Start by taking a look at your client’s competitors. Look through their social media to find recent campaigns that they’ve run. You can learn a lot from their successes or failures.
Start with the most basic question: do you know if the campaign was successful or not? You might not have access to that kind of insider information, but if their social posts were mostly ignored, you can guess that it was not a success.
Which social channels did they include in their campaign, and where did they get the greatest traction? Looking at competitors in the same or a similar industry can give you a good sense of where your client’s prospects are most active online.
How can you put your own unique spin on your client’s campaign? Even if their competitor ran a wildly successful campaign, you don’t want to simply copy their moves. They can be a source of inspiration to you, but putting your own twist on things will make your client’s campaign feel fresh and new and will attract the attention of prospects.
Break it Down by Channel
Now that you’ve done your research, you can begin to make some high-level decisions about how to manage your client’s campaign. Start with which social channels you want to be active on.
According to research from Pew, Facebook and Youtube remain universally popular social sites, with Instagram and Snapchat speaking mostly to a younger generation.
Also consider what it is you’re promoting in the social campaign. If you’re trying to get attention for a new white paper, a visual medium like Instagram might not be the best fit for your campaign. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, which can be more about written content, seem like a better home for that kind of information.
Establish a Calendar
A social media campaign without a content calendar is like a ship without a sail. As the days roll by and you get swept up in other projects, it’s so easy for a campaign to be blown off-course without a plan laid out in advance.
The calendar should include all of the social channels you’re posting on, and it should outline your content each day for the duration of the campaign. You want your posting schedule to be consistent on all platforms, but you don’t want the content to be repetitive.
It’s not enough to simply copy-paste the same post from Twitter to Facebook to Instagram to LinkedIn and call it a day. The content should be tailored to each respective platform. That way, anyone following your client on multiple platforms isn’t greeted with the exact same messaging four times. If the content begins to feel repetitive and spammy across channels, it might drive people to unfollow on one or more platforms, which is not the goal.
Create Varied Content
Part of tailoring the content to each platform is creating a wide variety of content types. Write snappy posts for Twitter, plan for live video on Facebook and Instagram, take advantage of fun features in Instagram stories like polls and questions, and create a campaign-specific geofilter on Snapchat.
You also want to mix up the style of content on each channel. If you only post videos on Facebook, you’re going to miss out on catching the eye of people who prefer to read posts. Plus, those who are interested in your video content initially will begin to gloss past your content as it begins to feel repetitive. Variety is the spice of life, so keep your followers engaged by switching up your methods of delivering your message!
Additionally, even though you do have a revenue-related goal in mind, you want to make sure that your content is meaningful and informative for your followers. No one wants to read sales pitch after sales pitch every day, so make sure that you’re providing your readers with content that can help them learn, solve their problems, and come to see your brand as a trusted voice.
A smart social media campaign will do more than just lay the groundwork for achieving the one goal associated with the campaign. It will establish your business as the go-to source for information in the future and help to secure long-term business and referrals.
Have an Engagement Plan
If you’ve put together a thoughtful content plan and continue to share relevant, engaging information across social channels, you should start to generate some attention for your client. That’s great, but then you need to have a plan in place for engaging with these fans.
Where a lot of social media campaigns go awry is in not responding to engaged followers. Social media is all about being, well, social; it gives a brand the opportunity to create a meaningful human connection with their followers. If people are responding to posts and hearing silence in return, that undoes all of the hard work you put in to creating great content.
Assign someone internally (either on you or your client’s team) to be in charge of responding to each and every comment from followers.
Creating a hashtag for the campaign is a great way to stay on top of all engagements. A hashtag allows you to keep track of all your own content that’s created as part of the campaign, plus monitor any posts and mentions from excited fans who are creating their own content about whatever the campaign is promoting.
There are also a number of tools you can and should employ to track mentions and engagement. A tool like Mention allows you to track your client’s mentions across platforms and respond to them seamlessly, all from the same dashboard.
Measure the Results
The final step in any social media campaign is assessing its success after the campaign has wrapped. You and your client set a clear goal at the outset: did you reach it? And what else did you learn along the way?
Sometimes you happen upon surprisingly effective tactics, run into unexpected roadblocks, or learn something new about your client’s audience. Whatever the case may be, you can take these learnings and apply them to future campaigns for your client.
A comprehensive social media campaign is all about planning. When you have well-defined goals and a clear approach for achieving them, you set your client up for success.