Believe it or not, starting social media marketing for your brand can be quite intimidating. Since you will be online before a vast audience, the smallest of loopholes and mismanagement in your conduct can cost you money and your reputation.
For an entrepreneur well versed in his business, planning ahead of time and check marking requirements for the task at hand is a great drill. If this is you we’re talking about, get yourself a cup of coffee and read through the following 13 points to find out how do your must-haves for social media marketing check out.
1. Construct A Base Strategy
In order to bring your social media marketing out of the silo and into the greens, the first thing you need on your table is a strategy to run by. Your strategy should encompass pathways to achieving the set goals for your brand.
In your base strategy:
- Define clear objectives for your business. Make sure your goals are concrete, measurable, and achievable as possible.
- Clearly identify and familiarize with the interests and trends of your target audience.
- Determine the varying approaches and tones you will be adopting for different sites.
- Finalize the team which is going to be running your campaign.
- Make sure all marketing actions and arsenal are in accordance with the temperament of your brand.
2. Counter Actions For Some Predicted Challenges
No social media campaign is impeccable at the very first attempt. It’s a trial and error method you will have to improvise in accordance with response from your audience. However, many challenges can be foreseen and counteracted for before their time. Brace yourself and keep in hand a game plan for the following challenges:
- Low website traffic
- Losing customer interest and retention
- Frail brand identity/awareness
- Negative feedbacks
3. Identify Your KPI (Key Performance Indicators)
Key Performance Indicators are measurable aspects that evaluate the success of an organization. Each business sets its own KPIs. It could be anything ranging from the number of likes on a Facebook page to the leads generated per week. Your KPI should be directly proportional to the immeasurable factor that determines your business’ current status among its competitors.
4. Assess Social Media Sites And Their Toolsets
From the wide array of social media networks operational today, you need to determine which ones best align with your business strategy. In the words of Mark W. Schaefer,
The key to social media marketing success isn’t social media. It’s marketing.
Instead of running a flat, disoriented campaign on each and every social media channel, work out where your target audience is most active and which ones offer tools that meet majority of your marketing requirements. Using these toolsets to their full potential can open up new doors into customization and data compilation, making it more accessible to users.
For example, Evernote has an amazing Facebook presence.
They made use of a rarely used Facebook feature, ‘Milestones’. Apart from posting about these high points, it’s a fantastic way of keeping them in one place, the About section which is easily accessible and visible to the audience.
5. Budget Your Campaign
Social media marketing has taken proper form and like other means of marketing it comes with figures and expenses. You will need to hire professionals for designs and content. Also, you would require equipment like graphic tablets to put your ideas onto the computer screen.
Paid search ads are another investment for the better you will have to cross paths with. It’s wise to keep track of the cost of all these actions and fit them in your business budget.
6. Content Creation
You must determine the types of content you can create with full force and frequency. The following are some interactive means of presenting your content:
- Blog posts
Whatever means you choose, stay in tune with the general mood of your brand. The more precise and witty you are with taglines and texts, the more people respond to and share your content.
The renowned movie ‘Straight Outta Compton’, produced by Dr. Dre who is widely known for his Beats by Dre merchandise launched a meme generator which went viral and spread like wildfire. The ‘Straight Outta Somewhere’ meme generator worked wonders in getting across the word of the movie as well as Beats. A clever, innovative, and first of its kind marketing content by Dr. Dre!
7. Choose The Hot Topics For Your Campaign
Topshop is a cool, affordable, high street clothing brand followed by teenagers and many celebrities alike. During the 2015 London Fashion Week, Topshop teamed up with Twitter in launching the hashtag (keyword) #LIVETRENDS. It was a great hit among customers who loved shopping by real-time data collected by the brand.
Such three to five topics should be umbrella terms for all facets of your business. They should be keywords or categories that you want to use in search optimization. Brainstorm ideas for content and titles along the lines of these buzzwords. This will help people associate your brand with keywords whenever they want to search for your website, products, etc.
8. Arrange For A Customer Service Rep
Being a more personal space than a website or an office, social media is a great place to provide free of cost customer service. Well, not entirely free of cost. Large scale social media agencies that have earned a good reputation in world’s marketing giant countries such as UAE, USA, etc. have employed this tactic time and again. This act of reverse psychology always works its magic on customers and is sure to bring in many more, paying you back for the free customer care.
Just like this Instagram campaign by TOMS featuring the hashtag #withoutshoes was a bare footed step towards community service and charity which paid back so well in the form of user engagement and appreciation.
It asked the users to post their bare feet pictures. For each picture posted, a pair of shoes was donated to a needy child.
9. Apply Benchmarking
Benchmarking fine tunes and keeps track of the successes and failures of the past, so that you can learn from and improve on them. However, benchmarking is possible only if your efforts are metrics driven. You need to employ digital tools or methods that are able to analyze and showcase results of your campaign as visual, measurable presentations.
10. Have Knowledge Of Social Media Laws And Governance
Although it’s a no man’s land, there are still some rules and regulations you have to adhere to. Be vigilant about:
- Creating a transparent social media policy that covers even the tiniest aspects of your business and user info archives
- Clearly defining rules and authority boundaries for your employees
- The latest FTC’s social media guidelines
- Preventing copyright infringement
- Auditing your social media conduct
11. Connect Offline And Online Marketing
This is a crucial development many people miss out on. The online and offline marketing attempts should be in harmony and must complement each other. Events, contests, conferences, and other marketing campaigns held at physical venues should not stand in contrast to the way you do business online.
For instance, Pepsi Max created a crazily creative bus shelter in London for their #LiveForNow campaign. This campaign brought to life unbelievable fantasies and visuals on the streets of London, exactly as portrayed on their social media pages.
12. Decide Which Teams Will Be Active Online
Your social media campaign must be focused solely on brand promotion, but your social media marketing team needs to have onboard rep members from almost all of the following teams:
- Public relations
- Customer service
- Human resource
- Content and design
- Research and development
People are going to respond and return to businesses that are not only good with their products but also good with their customers. With the personal touch social media marketing has induced in branding and advertisement, it would be highly anti pragmatic to adopt an approach that is anything but simple, humanistic, and relatable.
Staying true and humanistic adds so much more life to your brand.
Speaking of humanizing brands, Starbucks undoubtedly stole the show with their ‘Meet Me at Starbucks’ campaign.
It was a global campaign which put their customers at the centre of their social media attention. It chronicled a day in the life of a Starbucks customer; 59 mini documentaries were shot in 28 different countries!
The Instagram hashtag #HowWeMet served the same purpose of bringing user generated content under the limelight and kept people engaged even long after the documentary series.
Starbucks really went overboard with creativity and brand humanization in launching these campaigns.
Following these 13 points before engaging in Social Media Marketing will certainly keep you on the right track.
[Main image: Rafael Matsunaga, Creative Commons 2.0 Licence]