Social media is only going to continue to grow.
So, if you have been ignoring your social media campaign strategy, now is the time to take it to the next level and start focusing on how you will grow your social media presence, and ultimately, build your brand.
If you were to look at the best brands on social media (big and small), you might notice that these top-rated companies have similar elements in their campaign style and overall presentation.
By understanding these commonalities, you can implement those that work for your business’s marketing plan and unlock the potential of social media.
First Things First: Do You Know What You’re Missing?
Social media is big. Like, colossal.
Pew Research Center estimates that seven out of ten Americans currently use social media in some form.
They use these platforms to engage with content, share information, and entertain.
Social media will continue to grow, too. In fact, the same study by Pew Research found that in 2005 only five per cent of American adults used social media. The numbers by 2011? Up to 69 per cent using social media. That’s quite the leap!
What Social Media Channels Should You Focus On?
It depends on your brand and the target consumer you are trying to reach. However, Facebook is still the most popular social media platform, according to data compiled by Statista. Overall, 42% of users are on Facebook.
The next popular is YouTube, with 24.9% of users on there. Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest and Instagram follow behind.
Pew Research found that Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn were the most popular. However, you notice that some of these findings overlap.
Now, that you know what potential there is in social media, the next step is to implement a plan.
7 Easy Steps to a Social Media Campaign That Drives Maximum Results
1. Audit Your Current Social Media Profile
You cannot improve if you do not know what you are working with. If you do not have a social media presence at all, the auditing step is something you can skip because you are starting from scratch.
However, most businesses have some form of social media presence. You just want to improve what you’ve got.
Auditing tells you where you stand and helps you figure out where to focus your marketing plan’s efforts.
Luckily, it will not take weeks to do. In fact, if you have some spare time in the afternoon, you could probably finish your audit fairly quickly.
Why Care About an Audit?
If the term “audit” gives you shivers, then think about your process as an analysis.
You are gathering data that tells you how your virtual word-of-mouth is working. Word-of-mouth marketing influences 50 per cent of purchase decisions. So, if you don’t have a positive WOM out there on social media, that could explain your lack of business referrals.
Moreover, 25 per cent of the search results shown in Google for the top 20 brands in the country are from user-generated content, such as social media and online review sites (according to Lithium). That is a big chunk of the SERPs that you need to assess.
To better evaluate your current presence on social media (and search engines), you need to determine the essential components of who, what, when, where, why, and how.
Steps to the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How
- Who: Who is talking about your company? Is it you? Customers? Competitors?
- Where: List your content by the social media channel. This includes Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
- What: What type of content shows up in a Google search? You should look for things like videos, photos, articles, and more. Also, write down if the content is positive, negative, or neutral.
- When: Quantify the number of posts that are there, along with views for the posts, comments, shares and more. Assess shares based on daily, weekly, and monthly if you have the tracking data in place.
- Why: Determine the purpose of the message. Was it praise? Was it a consumer complaint?
- How: How will you improve the message and limit the number of negative comments, shares, activity, and more from your social media presence?
2. Getting to Know the Audience
You have performed the audit, and you are ready for target research. You know your target market. For this example, we will say your target is parents of young children. However, you need to identify that further.
So, taking it further, your parent audience lives in the United States, age ranges from 30 to 40, and they are earning an average of $50,000 or more per year. Also, this target audience primarily uses Facebook and looks for local activities that they can do as a family.
The goal is to market to the specific audience. You need a highly focused persona that includes the age, location, job, income, pain points, and social network that party would use.
After all, male audiences are on different social media channels than women.
The 2016 Nielsen Social Media Report found that men over 18 years of age average 23 hours on social media, while females over the age of 18 averaged 26 hours per week.
Also, women dominate most social media networks, with Facebook and Pinterest piquing a female interest more than men.
Men were higher on social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit, according to Pew Research.
So, by identifying your persona correctly, you can then tailor a social media campaign that is designed for the channel your ideal audience uses the most.
3. Create Your Mission Statement
You have a mission statement for your website (or you should). However, do you have one for your social media profiles?
If not, now is the time to create one.
Your mission statement is what drives your actions, so this isn’t some one-liner you should draft quickly and post. Instead, you need to make it clear what your intentions are with your social media profile. Are you there to share your brand’s latest happenings? Let consumers get to know the real you?
While you don’t have to share your deepest secrets here, you do need to give users insight as to what you are doing on social media.
Essential Prompts for Creating a Social Media Mission Statement
- Why are you in business? Tell the audience what sparked you to start up the company and what will keep your business running for years to come.
- Who are you looking to sell your services or products to? What can you do to solve their problems and enrich their lives?
- What image of your business do you want to convey and what public perception would you like to have?
- What is the nature of your products or services? Discuss how they relate to the reasons you started your business. For example, all-natural baby products for a parent concerned about pesticides and additives in their infant’s food.
- What level of services do you provide to your customers?
- What roles do you and the staff play in creating your products?
- What relationships do you maintain with other professionals? Do you source your ingredients locally? Do you work with limited suppliers so that you are in complete control of quality and assurance?
- What makes you different from the competition?
- How will you use your products, services, and technology to reach your goals?
- What philosophies or personal values guided you to answer the questions above?
Responding to these issues can help you draft a mission statement that is powerful, precise, and tells customers exactly who you are and what you can offer them.
4. Create Your Success Metrics
You cannot establish a plan if you do not know how to measure the success of that program.
So, how will you determine if the new campaign was successful?
It is hard to rationalize spending your time, money, and productivity on social media, especially when it is not giving you more business, building your brand or offering a return on the investment. So, you need metrics established that will help you determine how successful the campaign is.
Also, having metrics helps you identify where to improve, and if an idea needs to be scrapped and replaced with something more efficient.
Moz states that there are two types of data to measure: quantitative and qualitative.
The Quantitative Metrics
These are numeric and are used for valid data analysis.
You use these to determine your ultimate results. For example, followers and fans of your social media profiles are metrics that you can physically count.
Engagement is another example of a quantitative metric. Here you can see how successful your efforts have been by measuring things like comments, shares, and more on your social media posts. On Twitter, count the number of mentions, favourites, responses, and retweets. On Facebook, how many comments, shares, and likes did your post receive?
Timing is also a quantitative metric to track. Here you look at the timing of the activity. Such as the timing of your posts and how much activity those posts receive based on time.
By following the timing, you can get an idea of when your audience is online, and when they engage the most with you.
What does this tell you? It gives you a hint as to when you should do more posting and what time of the day is wasted.
Conversion rates are also critical metrics. You want to know how many people click through on your social media posts. More important, how many do you convert into real customers?
The Qualitative Metrics
These are your observations and data that comes from smaller samples. You then hypothesize from this information and decide where it takes you.
For example, you measure your influence. There are tools that Moz recommends for examining your influence, such as Klout and Social Authority.
The sentiment is another quality metric. Your sentiment measures the tone of the conversations you share on social media, but also the sentiment of those that engage with your brand. Are you receiving negative feedback? Positive? Neutral? You must assess the type of feedback you are receiving and what sentiment your brand attracts.
Lastly, you want to assess the conversation drivers in your social media posts. See what people are talking about, what topics of yours spark conversation, and what ultimately gets you the engagement you were seeking.
Also, see what consumers are doing with your competitors. What tone and tenor do they receive? How do they engage?
After you have collected all of the data, the next step is to ask yourself where you will go with it. Data is just that: numbers. You have to make a plan from those metrics and take action with them.
5. Start Creating Your Content
Now that you have the metrics to assess your campaign, and you know your target audience on each type of social media platform, the next step is content.
Content is probably the most important step in creating a plan. After all, you can have the numbers and know your ideal audience, but if you cannot deliver the message to them, you have failed.
Posting to social media should be fun, and you should not appear as though it is just “a job.” People can sense your tone on social media, and they want more personality than drones.
First, you should assess what content does the best on social media.
According to Andrea Lehr on Hubspot, certain types of content are shared more easily on social media. For example, lists and “why” posts were the most reliable for traction, averaging 21,000 shares each month.
Videos also attract users, claiming 18.4 per cent of the shares.
5. Pieces of Content to Consider for Your Social Media Posts
- How-To: Everyone loves to learn something useful; therefore, it should be no surprise that a how-to post would get a lot of traction on social media. It offers problems, solutions, and steps to achieve the solution.
- Lists: List posts are popular because they have the content broken up and they are easier for the reader to digest. They can focus on any topic and come in a variety of points.
- What Posts: The “what” is a post that takes one topic and dives deeply into it. There are comparisons, articles, and details about that “what” that educates the consumer.
- Why Posts: The “why” provides a reader with a reason and details that support the conclusion for that reason.
- Videos: Videos are dynamic, visual, and share information without forcing the user to read anything.
When sharing on social media, realize that the content does not have to be all your own. Make it fun, but always relevant to your mission statement.
Your content can include an array of products, including images, memes, interviews, eBooks, infographics, news about the company, quick blips of updates, and blog posts. As long as it speaks to your overall mission statement, and correlates with the metrics you have established, it is shareable on social media.
Create a Content Calendar
Now that you know the type of content you plan to share on social media, the next step is to create your content calendar. This outlines the days, times, and social media platforms you will share on. It also lists what content is shared on those sites. For example, your posts that target the female persona may be shared on Pinterest, while those that are made for men are on LinkedIn.
6. Track, Assess, and Optimize
The most important step when establishing a social media campaign is finding a way to monitor, evaluate, and optimize your campaigns.
After each step has been initiated, you should be able to go back and reassess the performance of that action.
For example, you may need to tweak your mission statement on Pinterest, so it is friendlier for female followers while adding a masculine touch to your LinkedIn mission statement.
Most importantly, you must continually be willing to improve and adjust as time goes on. No social media campaigns should be formed and set in concrete. If so, you will notice your results grow stagnant, and your presence on social media dwindles away.
The data you collect when tracking your performance should be what drives you to improve. Look at the numbers, including those that are negative, and seek opportunities where you can implement newer techniques, adjust to speaking to your audience, and build your brand’s overall engagement.
One thing you will notice about the most successful brands on social media: they are constantly innovating.
7. Invest in a Social Media Tool
There are a handful of helpful tools out there that help automate your social media presence — so that you are not clicking a mouse on Facebook every five seconds.
While you do not have to use all of them, utilizing just a few of these tools could prove beneficial for your social media campaign this year.
Peter Daisyme at Entrepreneur shared his top 20 list, which we have broken down into categories.
Top Social Media Tools to Consider
- Images: Today, social media is about imagery. When you deliver poor-quality stock images, no one is going to share, comment, or click through. Canva offers high-quality images for all types of marketing campaigns, and they are budget-friendly. Other sites to get vector and stock images from include Deposit Photos and Graphic Stock.
- Posting Tools: When sharing content among multiple channels, using an instrument to post, schedule, and publish without having to do so on each channel physically is a must. Tools like Buffer, Bundlepost, and HootSuite are popular because they can share among multiple channels including Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Google.
- Reuse: On social media, reposting and re-sharing old content is the “new.” Edgar is a tool that lets users locate incredible content that followers might have missed, categorize posts, and share.
- Engagement Insight: Ready to measure the success of your campaign? Then, you may want to use tools such as Social Clout or SecureMySocial to see where you can improve on hashtags, keywords, and overall engagement.
- Branding Tools: Branding tools are what set your company apart from the rest. Regardless of the content you share, or what you even post, these tools ensure that your brand’s image and content is always shared alongside it.
While tools are helpful, they should not be a supplement for actual work.
These tools are here to streamline, but you still need a human being monitoring your social media campaigns, verifying posts, and keeping everything on track.
There are collaboration boards that you and your team can use to improve workflow for social media, such as Asana or Trello. Both let you create cards and ideas, assign them to team members, and track each other’s progress for campaign cohesion.