Congratulations, you’re starting a business! Unfortunately, hanging out a sign or putting an ad in the Yellow Pages won’t cut it anymore. Creating and cultivating an active presence on social media is now a necessary part of being a viable business. Whether the paint on your office is drying or you’re still headquartered on your couch, here’s what you need to know to create your first social media campaign.
1. Set broad goals:
When you’re first starting out, expectations can run high. Visions of billions dance in your head, but that’s a long way away if you just set up a profile. It’s important to set goals in advance and make sure they are neither too timid nor too unrealistically huge.
When you first set out to define goals, set a time period for when you will evaluate those goals. Since you’ll likely be evaluating your businesses’ performance on the whole every quarter, you should also evaluate your social goals for the same time period.
Percentage-based goals can be useful: grow followers by 5% or increase traffic to your website by 10%. Granted, not all the goals you set need to be measured in percentages, for example, a goal could be to answer all questions customers write on your Facebook ads. Additional goals could be to stick to your content posting schedule (more on that later), or generate new leads.
Once you set goals, you need to determine how you will evaluate your campaigns so that you can prove ROI. You can measure your goals by determining your Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. For example, if you want to generate business leads, use your analytics to track the sources of inbound traffic to the “contact us for more information” page on your website. Much of this data is already being tracked and organized with standard software like Google Analytics. These KPIs will also help demonstrate how marketing contributes to the entire company’s results. Here are four essential KPIs to help determine the effectiveness of your campaigns.
2. Know your customers:
You likely have an idea about who you think will purchase your product. If you sell baby clothes, it’s a safe bet to assume parents will be your customers. But do you know where those parents live or their other interests? How about grandparents?
Even if you don’t have any customers yet, you can still get the information you need to create a customer profile by looking to your competitors. The people engaging with your competition are clearly interested in their product, which means they’d also likely be interested in yours. What do they have in common?
Once you’ve identified a pool of prospective customers, you can use social listening to get a better picture of their activities and interests. Social listening can provide insights into segments of prospects based on interests, rather than typical demographic data such as age, location, or job title.
You can also determine which social networks are favored by specific audiences. Tapping into specific interests will be more relevant to consumers than simply sending “best guess” messages based on who you think wants what you’re selling.
When you know who you’re trying to reach, you can work on the type of content that will resonate with each segment. You may find overlap between various segments of your audience. It’s fine to deliver content from multiple brands to one prospect if you think there will be interest.
Listening also allows for better personalization of ad content. According to research by Adlucent, 71% of consumers prefer personalized ads. Whether you rely on organic and paid advertising, the degree to which you can personalize your social media posting will set your brand apart. That means using concrete data about your target audience to frame great content.
3. Establish a brand voice:
Now that you know who you are trying to reach, determine the tone of voice to use to deliver your message. If you expect people to read and engage with the content you’re putting out into the world, you’ll find you’ll need to create consistent messaging that adds something to your followers’ day-to-day life. Voice is an element of that other side of ROI. It’s not immediately measurable, but is just as important to consider when building a digital presence.
You need a brand voice, a consistent tone that doesn’t vacillate between silly and serious on a post-by-post basis. A company motto or mission statement may be a good place to start. Try to align your messaging to your overall business goals.
For example, imagine you own a eco-friendly moving company called Clean Green Moving Machine. Your business alleviates the hassle of buying scores of cardboard boxes to pack up your house. The reusable packing boxes your company offers can hold more stuff, stack higher and reduce waste. You also employ a fleet of electric delivery vans which cuts down on emissions.
To further nail down your voice, think of three words that describe your company. Clean Green Moving Machine’s descriptors could be empowering, helpful and educational. Next, consider the sentiment around each word. The green moving company could create content which educates their audience about moving tips, while touting improvements in cardboard waste and emissions.
5. Create content and make a content calendar:
Unfortunately, no matter how well you know your audience, you can’t predict with certainty how a piece of content will perform. For this reason, you need to create and plan a range of content. The easiest way to prepare and visualize a content plan is to use a content calendar.
Think of content like a shark that must keep moving forward to stay alive. If you let your content stagnate or you don’t plan in advance, you risk getting off schedule and as a result not connecting with your audience.
Before you start planning content, it’s a good idea to map out any events that could influence or inspire the coming weeks. These could include holidays, events, popular series premiere’s or finales. Ask around for ideas. Look to well known events like holidays and to more niche ones like International Friendship Day, each could provide ideas and opportunities for content. Your company’s non-social campaigns can also benefit from some social support.
Congratulations, you’re ready to hang your digital sign! The more you define your vision and map out a plan, the easier it will be to launch a campaign. Don’t worry about making a mistake. If you keep a level head and stay true to the brand, your campaign has a shot at success. Even if you don’t reach all your goals, running a campaign is better than doing nothing at all. Remember, once your campaign is up and running you can take a breather and then analyze how your campaign performed.