Last month, Peter Bishop and myself had the opportunity to present at MRU’s Social Media Shift Conference. We discussed four steps that are essential when developing social media campaigns, and since our cat-tastic Slideshare presentation features mostly, well, photos of cats, I’ll explain these steps a bit more in this post.
Step 1: Scan
Before you get started, it’s important to have a solid understanding of a few things:
- Your Brand – What are current perceptions of your brand? You can use free tools like Google Alerts, or splurge on more in-depth tools such as Alterian’s SDL/SM2 for a more in-depth analysis.
- Your Competitors – What’s your competition doing, or what are the industry trends? By looking at what they are doing, you can gain valuable insights on what works, or what might not work.
- General Trends – It’s a good idea to keep your finger on the pulse of pop culture, and new platforms. Follow relevant blogs related to your industry, marketing and social media using a tool such as Feedly.
Step 2: Plan
Now that you know the ins and outs of your brand and industry, you can start planning. You’ll want to consider:
- Objectives – You have to know what you are working towards. What do you want your social efforts to do? Write it down. You’ll want to come back to this later.
- Feasibility – It’d be great to push out great content on all of the hot new platforms, but the reality is that time is money, and time is limited. Pick and choose what you can do WELL versus trying to do everything.
- Audience – You need to know who you are talking to. And then figure out what they are inclined to do online. Forrester has a great tool (also below) to help you define your audience and see if they create content, join, watch, etc.
- Content Plan – While social media is fluid, you should have an outline of what you want to say, and when.
Step 3: Execute
Here’s where you get to the fun stuff and actually get to launch your campaign or plan. To help you do this effectively, keep a few things in mind:
- Social Management Tools – There are a variety of tools that can help you schedule posts, track conversations, and review analytics. These can range from free tools such as HootSuite, to robust (aka expensive) tools like Spredfast, or something in-between, like one of my favourites, Sprout Social.
- Polished Visuals + Messaging – Just because social media is “free” doesn’t mean it should look and sound like a seven-year-old threw it together. Spell words correctly, limit the slang, and use proper grammar. Make sure your images are attractive and properly reflect your brand too.
- Engage – So, you’ve scheduled in a bunch of posts but this doesn’t mean you can leave thing on auto-pilot and walk away. Social media is fluid. Engage with your fans, answer questions, and look for opportunities to be a part of relevant conversations.
Step 4: Review, Revise + Repeat
So you’ve just completed your campaign. Now what?
- Review Analytics – Remember those Objectives from your planning stage? Here’s where you want to break those back out and see how you did. Use things like Google Analytics, your social management tool, and Facebook Analytics to review stats and see how you stack up against your original objectives.
- Revise + Repeat – What worked? What didn’t? Summarize and use this information for future campaigns and social efforts.
…and if all else fails, just add a bunch of cats, and you’re set. Purr-fect!