How To Plan A Social Media Marketing Campaign

The Social Media Marketing Mix

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Social media success is not measured by how many followers you have. That, we believe, is finally being realised. Social media success is directly proportional to what you put into it. That is also slowly dawning on companies. Very good.

The trouble is, while companies are realising that they need to do something, they’re still not clear on what. That, of course, is why agencies like Fluid Creativity have developed social media marketing (SMM) services, in order to help those companies make the most of a very powerful marketing tool.

Social media success is dependent on effective planning. That’s what we know. And this is our basic guide to do just that to get you started.

Identify Your Goals

As with any marketing campaign it’s best to identify exactly what you want to achieve before you start anything else. When it comes to social media marketing we believe that your goals should be as follows – and in this order.

  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Increase Brand Reputation
  • Increase Brand Loyalty
  • Generate Sales / Enquiries

There, of course, other goals you could identify but SMM is an ideal tool to achieve the above.

Identify & Find Your Audience

Nobody knows your market better than you and it is vital you can break it down in order to know what messages they will respond to. SMM is definitely not a one size fits all exercise. You need to know who buys from you, why do they buy from you, what do they like and perhaps most importantly, what would make them recommend you.

So now you know the answers to all those questions and know your market inside out –  but do you know where they are online? It’s a tricky one in many cases, but knowing which social networks and platforms to focus on for the greatest return on investment is important to SMM success.

If you’re an online retailer then Facebook is likely to be your primary target – with over one billion users it’s almost a no brainer – but there will be niche social networks that might not boast those numbers but can deliver significantly better results in terms of ROI.

Think Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and the like. There are thriving niche communities on those social networks that most companies fail to tap into. To give you an example, there is a strong food and drink community on Tumblr that any kind of related retailer shouldn’t ignore.

Finding your focus network is very important, but so is identifying the smaller networks in order to take your SMM campaign to the next level.

Build A Content Plan

You know your market and you know where to find them – but what are you going to say to them? This is where preparing a content marketing plan comes in. You need to consider tone of voice, how you’re going to deal with feedback and who will be responsible for delivering your social content. Will it be in house or will you employ an agency? Once you have these in place, you can start to focus on what you will be saying.

Looking three to six months ahead, look at what your company is doing in terms of new products, promotions and that sort of thing, what events such as holidays like Christmas or others related to your business are coming up and where your expertise lies.

Taking all these into account, structure a content plan accordingly, one that makes the most of your planned promotions and product lines, one that focuses strongly on related events and holidays at the right times (ie, at least a month in advance of Christmas, start building up the buzz via content) and one that clearly demonstrates your expertise in your market.

The latter is perhaps the most difficult to achieve. While promotions, new products and events are relatively easy to market on social media it’s what you do when none of those things are happening that will make you stand out from everyone else.

Consider writing and publishing content that directly answers questions you know your customers have about our products or service. Go one step further and produce content that gives your customers something they didn’t even know they needed – advice and professional expertise are things most people won’t ask for but will consume greedily if you give it to them. And if you’re the only one giving it to them, then it’s you they will come to when it’s time to buy!

In addition, look at producing content that people will want to come back to time and again. An addictive Facebook app, for example, or a photo album that is continually updated with behind the scenes photos – something ‘sticky’.

Remember too that social media is just that, social. This is a two way conversation – build into your content plan time to respond to comments, questions and concerns and don’t be afraid of negative feedback. As long as you address it quickly and positively you’ll find that you actually benefit from it.

Measure The Results

Measuring SMM return on investment is not easy. There are whole industries built up now trying to provide the solution to this problem. For Fluid Creativity, we keep it simple to start with.

Begin with the basics, regardless of platform, as follows:

  • Number of Likes / Followers
  • Number of Comments / Replies
  • Number of Shares / Retweets
  • Number of visits to your main website from social channels
  • Number of unique visits
  • Number of new visits
  • Number of returning visits
  • Number of direct sales / enquiries

There are a plethora of other metrics to track and you should do that but by tracking the above from the very beginning you will know just how well your campaign is going, how your content is performing, what works and, most importantly, what doesn’t work.

Adjust Your Strategy Accordingly

Armed with the data above, reported on a month by month basis, you can begin honing your SMM campaign for even greater success. You’ll know which channel is your best performing one, which types of content your customers prefer (and like to share!) and what they really don’t like.

Do more of the former and less of the latter and you’ll already be improving your ROI. Once you’ve identified a base line you can begin looking at additional content to try, each with a specific goal in mind.

It can be a case of trial and error when marketing via social channels but the more you do, the more you learn and the better it becomes. With robust tracking and reporting in place and a wealth of ideas to try out it can become one of your most powerful marketing tools.

  • Written by on 23rd October 2012 at 10:55
  • “Fluid Creativity is an award-winning, multi-service digital agency based in Manchester.”
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