Social Media Campaigns – A Flow Chart

social-media-value-flow-chart-1-728Social Media has quickly grown from simply a way to chat with friends and family to be one of the best ways that companies can connect with their customer base in meaningful in-depth ways that can benefit both the company and the consumer. The first step in any successful social strategy is to dedicate someone to the task full time. Many small companies, and even Luddite larger ones are prone to thinking of social media as a side project that can be done by the intern, or one of the totem poles lower staff members, but in truth this is a losing strategy from right out of the gate.

Being successful in the social media spheres is conceptually much the same as being successful at making new friends at a party. If you’re the person in the corner only sharing and commenting on conversations once in a while, not only will you won’t be the life of the party, you might get ignored all together and this can make you wonder why you tried being social at all. Like anything in life, it doesn’t take much effort to do it, but it takes considerable effort to do well. Here are some tips and tricks to help break down the complexities of the social media realm and provide some guidance to those trying to run a successful campaign.

Determine Your Objectives:

The first step in any successful social media endeavor is to determine what your objectives are. Do you want to increase brand awareness with more likes, shares and comments? Do you want to sell a specific product, or lots of different products? Each of these objectives will require different methods of execution and each will create different metrics for determining success. The trick is to not get overwhelmed by the possibilities. You don’t give up on going to work for the day just because you haven’t figured out what shirt to put on yet, so don’t give up on social media just because you haven’t set up a company profile yet. Once you’ve done the social media equivalent of putting on your shoes for the day, you can walk with a purpose and pick your social strategy.

Determine Your Strategy:

Your strategy is different from your objective in that it is a focused and honed down version of what your objective entails with the added insight of ideas on how to achieve it. Your social media strategy is a lot like telling a joke. You need to know your audience because a room full of grandparents probably won’t enjoy the same jokes as a room full of millennials. Similarly your audience in the social media world is expecting a certain kind of message delivery and if you fail to provide it in as anticipated you may repel more of your audience than attract them. A strategy for providing a targeted message will be born from your objectives, but keep your demographic in mind and the medium they are using. In the same way a dirty joke won’t go over well with a room full of octogenarians, a poorly worded tweet or facebook campaign with no visuals will have a similarly lackluster effect. Once you have determined your objectives and found a strategy that fits, you can then pick your tactics.

Determine Your Tactics:

Once you’ve picked your strategy you can then figure out how you will go about augmenting and implementing it on a regular basis and through what means. If your objective is brand awareness and your strategy is to show people different beneficial aspects of your company then your tactics can be multi-purposed such as advertorial, informative, or incentivized. If your goal is to sell a specific product or service then you would want to go with an advertorial tactic, or incentivized tactic rather than simply informing customers of what your brand is all about. If your goal is to get likes, shares and attention online in general then you don’t want to advertise because it will likely turn off your social visitors from doing so. Once you’ve picked your tactics you can determine your platforms.

Determine Your Platforms:

Not all social media is built equally, and this means that some avenues are good for some things but horrible for others. Social media platforms are a lot like making a great recipe. You can cook anything in boiling water, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to taste good that way. Think of your social posts in the same way. Twitter may be great for some things, but not ideal for others. For example, if you have a long form idea that needs some explanation, 140 characters in twitter probably isn’t going to cut it. Similarly, if you have a snappy idea that is quick, witty and direct, then it will only get muddled up in a longer facebook post that someone might not even read. If that witty idea fits in a tweet, it will likely also fit on a photo and thus make great fodder for pinterest if you can connect it to a visual that makes sense and captures interest. Once you’ve picked your objectives, found your strategy, determined your tactics and decided on your platforms, you can then set up a calendar for posting, reposting, and updating.

Set Up A Calendar:

All successful people use calendars. The best ideas take time, and time is hard to manage, capitalize upon and keep track of, and this is why a calendar is a crucial tool for aligning all of your social endeavors in one place that gives you a quick visual overview of the past, present and future of your social campaigns. Once you start diving into  the social atmosphere it is critical to keep a calendar for maintaining all of the extremities that are inherent within its nature. How will you know when it’s been two weeks since your first post of that ad, or when it’s time to change the date on the coupon, or when your newsletter retargeting campaign for contestants has reached fruition? Because you kept it on your calendar.

The social Media world is growing, and that means the party is getting bigger and the voices trying to be heard are being drowned out by one another day by day, minute by minute, post by post. If you want to create, execute, manage and learn from a successful social media campaign you need to have a solid game plan that you maintain, change when necessary, and learn from every step of the way. Social media isn’t easy. Neither is being the popular guy at a party. But when it’s this big and business depends on it, not being the life of the party isn’t an option.

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