Are you in the throes of planning a social media campaign? Columnist Sonny Ganguly details four key components that will expand your social reach and improve your bottom line.
As social media continues to grow as a proven marketing strategy, the marketing industry has seen an increase in clever and effective social media campaigns.
Many publishers and organizations have been compiling and publicly recognizing their favorites, and the top picks vary greatly in size, method and style. However, when you break down the details of various top-rated social media campaigns, you see that they often share some common elements.
Our most recent social media campaign, #JustSaidYes, taught us a number of important lessons about building a great social media campaign. Instead of running a broad campaign for all potential WeddingWire (my employer) users, we were able to identify a subset of our target audience and create a campaign that capitalized on existing social behavior on their favorite network: Instagram.
But for many businesses, a successful social media campaign may not be as easy to identify, plan or execute.
If your business is considering a social media campaign, incorporate these four main components to achieve your desired results and boost the impact to your bottom line.
1. A Carefully Developed Plan
The best social media campaigns start with a carefully developed plan. This plan should be specific to your campaign, but it should also fit into your overall social media strategy — meaning that your goals should not conflict, and the campaign should be a good continuation of your brand’s existing social voice and style.
To develop your plan, begin with research. Do a thorough analysis of your existing social followers across your networks and identify areas for improvement versus your competition.
Remember that different social networks exist for different purposes, so choose which social networks best fit your needs. For example, Instagram and Facebook are good networks to target Millennials — but you won’t find many Gen Xers or Baby Boomers on Instagram.
Understand where your target audience spends time, and research recent campaigns in your industry to see which existing trends you can leverage.
Once you decide what kind of campaign you plan to run on the social networks you choose, it’s important to allocate your budget and resources. Include in your budget whether your campaign requires any paid social efforts or if you plan to rely on organic tactics and owned media.
With 49 percent of global business leaders planning to increase their social media budgets this year, allocating budget for a social media campaign should be easier than in years past. However, if you need additional resources like a social media platform, CRM or automation platform to implement your ideal vision, remember to include that in your desired scope.
After you’ve researched your idea, decided on an appropriate budget and outlined a plan for your social media campaign, identify your dream team. Assigning clear-cut roles ahead of time helps to avoid confusion and overlapping responsibilities.
At a minimum, you’ll want to assign roles for messaging, design and promotion. If your social media campaign will be promoted across channels, make sure you’ve selected the right team members in ancillary departments to be responsible for your campaign.
The last part of your social media campaign plan should be to identify the metrics you’ll use to measure the success and ROI of your campaign. In order to do that, you’ll need to define your campaign’s goals — which is the next component of a great campaign.
2. Clearly Defined Goals
Before starting any marketing campaign, you need to clearly define your goals. Deciding on what you want to achieve at the beginning of a campaign makes it easier to measure and analyze your results.
Your social media campaign can have multiple goals, where each piece of your strategy serves a different objective. Each goal you select should be personalized for your business’ needs, but here are a few common ones most campaigns address:
• Increase Brand Awareness. If your business is relatively new (or new to social media), or if you need to distinguish your business from others in the same space, some part of your campaign should aim to increase brand awareness. If prospects and customers are unable to recognize your brand, your campaign will have little effect.
Incorporating a sharing aspect to your campaign is a great way to increase your brand awareness and online influence. To measure your brand’s social influence, benchmark key metrics, such as total number of likes or followers, total brand mentions/retweets, influencer brand mentions and site entrances or app downloads driven by social media.
• Drive More Website Traffic. I know what you’re thinking: Who doesn’t want more visits to their website or blog? It’s a natural goal for most marketing campaigns, but it also plays into your social presence. The more visitors your website receives, the more opportunities they have to share your site or content on social media and follow your accounts on their favorite networks.
To drive more traffic, direct users to a landing page on your site where they can take the next action. Use Google Analytics or your Web analytics platform of choice to benchmark key metrics like total Web visits, visits driven by social media, time on site and overall engagement of social users.
• Drive Visitor Loyalty. Do you want to increase your website visitor loyalty? Driving more website traffic is a short-term goal, but you can aim to increase the amount of time spent on your website and the frequency of return visits for the long term.
If visitor loyalty is one of your goals, consider a social media campaign that requires users to visit your website several times to enter or find information. To measure visitor loyalty, benchmark metrics like pages per session, average session duration and the percent of new sessions to your site.
• Improve Conversion Rates. If your business is well-known and already receives a lot of Web visitors, your campaign should focus on improving your website/app conversion rates. Whether your business considers a conversion a product purchase or an account sign-up or anything in between, you can align an aspect of your social media campaign with website conversions.
Consider campaigns that require users to fill out a form or sign up to get the benefit or value being offered — but remember to keep an eye on these conversions to see if you’re driving meaningful, long-term customers through your campaign. To measure your social media campaign’s impact on conversions, track metrics like total site entries, total conversions and assisted social conversions.
3. Cross-Channel Promotion
Unless you’re a major brand with millions of loyal followers, your social media campaign likely needs help from other marketing channels to achieve your desired results. The best social media campaigns are part of an integrated marketing campaign where your efforts on social media are supported on a number of other channels.
The benefits of promoting your social media campaign across additional channels are twofold: Those you reach via social media are reminded through other communications, and those who aren’t as active on social media are informed.
Your followers are already familiar with your brand, so they’re the most likely to see your campaign on social media; therefore, they will be more likely to engage or participate after being reminded through a different channel.
You can catch those who don’t follow you on social media or are less active via email, search or on-site content and ad units.
Reaching different people at varying times across many marketing channels increases the likelihood that your campaign will be successful. Just be careful with your segmentation and timing. You don’t want to overwhelm existing customers or bother potential ones with too much at the same time.
Gentle reminders and mentions across a number of touch points to different cohorts of your target audience will deliver better results than a social media campaign that’s only promoted on your social network of choice.
4. Thorough Analysis
So how’d your campaign perform? Was your social media program successful in reaching the goals you set out to achieve?
When it comes to analyzing the success of your campaign, you’ll be thankful you identified the key metrics associated with your goals ahead of time. It’s easy to benchmark your progress against your initial starting point.
Going beyond achieving your goals, are there any “downstream” metrics you’ve seen improve? In your given time period, evaluate whether or not you saw a difference in account logins, customer lifetime value or other engagement metrics specific to your business.
Perhaps the revenue from those customers acquired through your social media campaign is higher than revenue from those acquired through your search acquisition campaigns. (That has tended to be the case for our business.) Or maybe those customers log in more often or adopt tools more readily. There are a number of ways to think about the ROI of your campaign that aren’t tied directly to revenue.
Great social media campaigns should affect more than your follower count. Using these four components as the tenets of your next social media campaign will help your business extend your social reach, gain a better understanding of your target audience and achieve your long-term business goals.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)