A successful social media campaign requires forethought and careful planning – in fact, one study found that goal-setting Marketers, Marketers who document their strategy, and Marketers who proactively plan their projects are more than three times as likely to report success. Clearly, knowing how to properly plan an effective social media campaign from scratch is one of a Social Media Marketer’s core skills.
The first step is to audit your current social media presence and assess where you stand – to take a critical look at all of your company’s social channels, cut or consolidate any extraneous or underused accounts (while centralizing ownership, using a tool like LastPass or 1Password to keep track of your passwords), and scan for any imposter accounts impersonating your brand. The auditing step also includes recording a few key metrics to track the performance of each account, taking note of which platforms and accounts seem to be generating the most engagement.
Step two is to determine your goals. The motivation behind a social media campaign can vary; are you trying to increase overall brand awareness, introduce a new product or service, create excitement around a limited-time promotion, reach influencers, or simply grow your company’s social media following? If your goal is awareness, for instance, that can be evaluated using a range of metrics, including likes, shares, and impressions. If that’s your goal, a brand-monitoring tool like Hootsuite, BuzzSumo, or Social Mention could be valuable. If you’re focused on conversions, metrics like bounce rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate will be more important to you.
Before you move on to the planning stage, observe your competition. Using the same methods you employed to audit your own social media presence, see what competitors in your space are doing, which platforms they’re focusing on, and the strategies that seem to be working and not working. You’ll also want to look beyond your industry for inspiration. With a sense of what you want – and metrics to clearly gauge whether or not you’ve achieved it – you can begin putting together an editorial calendar. As in all types of publishing, the editorial calendar is a crucial tool for managing content teams of all sizes (popular choices include Trello, Marketing.Ai, and CoSchedule). Whichever platform you use, an editorial calendar will help you ensure you don’t miss opportunities relating to awareness days that always generate a ton of social media interest – International Women’s Day, for instance – and allow you to plot a content mix that makes sense for your brand.
Many Marketers follow the rule of thirds – a social media feed should be fuelled by one-third engagement, one-third curated content, and one-third your own content – while others favor, for instance, a 3-2-5 ratio with three parts your brand voice, two parts a brand representative, and five parts generated by others. It’s an important decision; research has shown that 45 percent of consumers will unfollow a brand if their platform is too heavy on self-promotion. An editorial calendar will also help you with the crucial task of posting content at the optimal times for different platforms, as the best times to post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Pinterest vary wildly depending on both platform and industry.
As you begin creating content for your social media channels, it’s important to choose the channels you focus on – and to choose the tone of your content carefully. This starts by understanding the audience you’re communicating with. Probe all the available information you have about your existing customer base, including location, age, language, income, and buying habits. You’ve already audited your social media presence, but this is the time to dig deeper. Many social media platforms make it very easy to learn a lot about people already following and engaging with your brand. Once you have an idea of your audience through social media analytics and your own internal data, take all of that information to craft personas of current and prospective customers. These can be layered to create specific images of people who represent a segment of your audience, and are an important tool in finding your brand voice and determining which channels deserve more attention.
Knowing more about your audience will also help you determine the right type and mix of content for your campaign. As your campaign progresses, you can use the metrics you’ve already chosen to determine what type of imagery and content will resonate with your audience and continue to focus on what’s working. Once you have your plan, stick to it. Studies have shown that brands that present themselves with consistency are three to four times more likely to achieve brand visibility, and even boost revenue by as much as 23 percent.