You’d be hard pressed to find someone these days who doesn’t engage social media on even the most basic level. It’s because of this that social media often takes a back seat when brands or campaigns make decisions about where to invest. Simply put, people need convincing that their organization actually needs help doing something that they personally already do every day.
So what actually goes into launching a social media campaign? What does a defined strategy look like? What are some best practices?
These questions need answering, so we had our social media strategists weigh in.
Without further adieu…
BE GOAL ORIENTED:
Think, what’s my goal?
Your social presence is a process. It lives. It breathes — Take it in stride. Goals will help you reach incremental milestones, which we guarantee you’ll find much easier than trying to conquer the beast all at once.
Do you want as many fans and followers as you can possibly amass, or do you cater to a smaller, more personalized and qualified audience?
Do you want people to donate to a campaign or cause, or do you want to drive attendance at an event?
These are examples of questions to ask yourself, and your team, before embarking on the social journey.
BUILD AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR:
Wait, posts are planned out in advance?
News stations plan feature stories in advance, why wouldn’t you? Good content grows out of good monitoring and strategic planning.
Map out the details. When will you use graphics? How often will you link to your other online properties? How many posts will ask your audience to take action compared to those meant simply to educate?
But don’t constrict yourself. Leave some breathing room for the uncontrollables. Our general rule of thumb is 80/20: plan 80% of your content, and leave 20% for breaking news or the cat meme that’s gone viral on Buzzfeed.
CREATE CONTENT YOU WOULD SHARE
Which of these posts would you click?
A good post evokes emotion and tells a story.
Let’s play a game. Which of these posts seems more compelling?
Post 1: Tomorrow, Congress is voting on the Jobs Act. Make sure to tell Congress to support jobs.
Post 2: Sara opened her bakery 2 years ago. She’s struggling to pay her employees, turn a profit, and find leftover money to invest back into her store. If Washington continues to overregulate, Sara will be forced to lay off several workers. Let Congress know that the Jobs Act would provide the relief Sara needs to keep her business running strong.
Engaging your audience is as simple as telling a relatable narrative. Show the firsthand effects of the issues your organization supports or opposes. If orchestrated properly, your content will incite your followers to share it, extending your reach to potential fans, supporters, or customers.
INTERACT WITH YOUR FOLLOWING
How do you Engage with your audience?
Someone walks into your business. Do you hide from them and act like they’re not there? Of course not; you greet them.
Someone walks into your Congressional office to express disappointment about a certain issue. Do you hide and act like they’re not there? Of course not; you listen to their point of view and tell them you’ll pass along their concerns.
Why wouldn’t you do the same on social media?
Life is a series of interactions that come together to create an overall experience. This translates to social media. Treat your social feeds as if someone were standing in front of you. You needn’t respond to every comment or tweet, but if someone asks a pressing question or expresses a valid concern, respond. Engagement makes for a better experience, and a better experience means more loyalty.
IMPLEMENT YOUR PLANNING
How do I integrate my new social media strategy?
Social media is not a siloed effort; it’s an extension of your existing marketing toolbox.
When you host an event, provide a branded hashtag, or set up a photobooth, making it easy for your attendees to interact with you online, before, during, and after your event.
Add Facebook and Twitter sharing icons to email signatures and landing pages.
Re-share that video on Facebook that you already have YouTube pre-roll dollars behind.
Leveraging the uniqueness of each marketing tool with social media extends your reach, reinforces your message, and ensures an engaged audience.