Planning a social media marketing campaign can be headache-inducing. Choosing the right platforms, messages, and content to fill your planner is a complex process that is sometimes no better than throwing a dart a board. Nevertheless, social media is a must-have if you want to create a strong brand, as it gives you a more direct channel to communicate with your potential consumers.
So, how can you plan a successful social media campaign and avoid the many pitfalls that await? To find the best answers, we looked at some of the brightest voices in the industry and came away with some surprising insights. Here are some tips from the experts on how to plan a great social media campaign!
“Social media platforms give you the opportunity to create awareness and trust, as well as creating a community”
Keep Your Social Media Channels Separate
More in Media’s Dorien Morin-Van Dam (@moreinmedia) recalls the worst social media advice she got: a supposed ‘guru’ encouraged her to link her accounts so everything posted on one would instantly be posted elsewhere. The problem? “It’s bad advice because they are different platforms with different audiences and especially different formats.”
Her advice is simply to find ways to get the same results without mixing up your messages and media. You don’t need to create completely unique campaigns for each platform, but you do need to tailor the message to ensure that each channel is as effective as possible. You can schedule posts and create a weekly planner to keep things in order, but avoid simply copying and pasting posts.
Know What You Want to Say, and Find the Right Platform
In its most basic form, social media is about communicating ideas, and different channels are better suited to some than others. Hootsuite’s Amber Naslund (@AmberCadabra) suggests that the best place to start building your brand is knowing what you want to say. In her words, “you need to have a perspective and be willing to get out there to engage with people and have conversations.”
Your brand’s message is at the core of your company, but getting the word out means knowing the best way to communicate it. Find the most effective platform for it—if you’re a photographer, you’ll be more successful on Instagram than Twitter—and make sure your message and branding are always consistently driving your ideas home.
Make Sure Your Content is Always Fresh and Consistent
Today’s social media campaigns are not just about converting sales, but about creating engagement and luring people in. The best way to accomplish this feat is by making sure the content you’re posting is more than simply promotions and advertisements. According to Top Dog Social Media founder Melonie Dodaro (@MelonieDodaro), you should “go above and beyond on your original content and be consistent with it. When it works, it’s the gift that keeps giving.”
Your content needs to have some value to attract viewers and readers. Find ways to generate content that gives your readers something—a lesson, an idea, a smile—and consistently make new additions that build on that foundation. When your audience trusts you, they’ll be more likely to pay attention to what you have to sell.
The Best Way to Sell Your Products is to Build Awareness
The goal of any marketing campaign is ultimately to drive sales, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be the only strategy and underlying goal. Rand Fishkin (@randfish), founder of SEO firm Moz, sees the real value of social media as building awareness and earning trust.
According to him, “[the] best way to sell something—don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, and trust of those who might buy.” Social media isn’t a catalogue, and people aren’t looking to be cajoled and prodded into buying things when they browse their feeds. Social media platforms give you the opportunity to create awareness and trust, as well as creating a community. While you should look to improve your sales, take a long-term view, and avoid aggressive advertising techniques online.
It’s Okay to Take it Slow Before Diving in the Deep End
No one is a social media expert on day one. Creating a social media strategy takes work, time, and understanding how each platform can best be used for maximum impact. Alyssa Gregory (@AlyssaGregory) of The Small Business Bonfire recommends seeing how others do it before starting yourself.
“Be a lurker in social media before diving in to learn the ropes and create a strategy that will work for your biz” Gregory suggests. Getting started without an understanding of the ecosystem and platforms you’ll be using can harm more than help, as it can lead to wasted efforts, resources, and money. Don’t be afraid to see how the pros do it before implementing the strategies you want for your company.
Despite What Anyone Says, You Definitely Need a Strategy
It may be tempting to simply throw caution to the wind and start posting without a clear strategy in mind. According to Hiral Rana (@iamhiralrana), social media manager at E2M solutions, “social media marketing without setting a goal or a deadline means inviting frustration, disappointment, and failure of an entire campaign.”
The best way to achieve success is to have a clear, measurable goal in mind, and build a clear roadmap to reach it. This doesn’t mean your first strategy must be a winner every time, but it can help you by showing what tactics work and which don’t, as well as help you lay down a foundation for future efforts.