There’s no question about it at this point – social media’s not going anywhere. With the power of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube, it seems like there’s so much potential for businesses to take advantage of them but, at the end of the day, most people simply don’t know where to get started. And who can blame them? It’s all pretty overwhelming. Should I be chasing the tail of every new social platform that comes around in the hopes that I can get in early enough to be known as the early adopter or should I jump on the bandwagon of the established platforms and hope that I can make more noise than the rest of the people in my industry to hopefully get some attention?
Everyone knows that they should be taking advantage of some sort of social media for marketing but, unfortunately, most people quite know how effectively do so.
With that, I’ll offer you some basic tips on how to get started with a social media campaign. The goal here is not necessarily to dominate social media within the next couple months (that’s an entirely different article) but rather to simply get started and start building momentum so that you can ultimately build a scalable process that will bring enough brand awareness to see a return – it definitely doesn’t happen overnight.
Set Your Goals
If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog, this step (like the last step) can’t be a surprise at this point. What are you looking for from this social media campaign? Are you looking for leads, people to buy your product, brand awareness? If you figure our what your end goal is at the beginning of the process you’ll be able to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will give you something to measure your results against.
Define Your KPIs
Rarely does social media lead to fast return. The very nature of the platform discourages selling. So what are you going to monitor to make sure that the time and money that you’re investing into your campaign is producing results? Ultimately that’s going to be up to you but here’s an article we wrote recently on developing KPIs.
Know Your Target Audience
This is one of those things that should really go without saying but I’m constantly surprised how often I see people start a campaign (any campaign) without knowing exactly who their audience is. Before starting a campaign, especially when it comes to social media, you need to know the persona of your target audience. Build out an avatar of one specific person who fits your target market and get to know details about their personality, their likes and dislikes, their family life, etc. Once you know this info, you’ll be able to figure out what platforms they’re using and what kind of content they’ll like.
Start With a Single Platform
If you’ve done a good job at building your avatar, you should have a pretty good idea of the social platform you should start targeting. That, combined with the nature of your business, should give you a pretty good gut feeling of where you should start devoting your time. Follow your gut in this – you’ll probably be right and if not, you can always pivot to a different platform later. If you’re trying to sell to business executives, maybe Facebook isn’t the best place to get started, LinkedIn will probably be more effective. The same goes for consumer products and Facebook. You can get bogged down in research trying to figure out which platform is the perfect platform but don’t let that stop you from just getting started – often that’s more valuable than all the best research you can do.
Create a Content Calendar
I like to use a calendar template from Word or Excel and build out the specific content that I’ll be using to populate my social media profiles for a week or a month at a time. Obviously you want to be flexible to account for breaking news or important updates that matter to your target audience but this will make scheduling your posts a lot easier.
Schedule Your Posts
There are plenty of social media scheduling software applications available that are cost effective enough for any business to afford and will allow you to spend a little bit of time at the beginning of the week making sure that that week’s posts are scheduled.
Analyze Your Results
Take your time on this – you’re going to need a few weeks of data before you can really get any good information from your analytics. Once you let that time pass, you build enough of a following to unlock the analytics engine of your social platform, let the numbers tell you a story. If your posts aren’t getting a lot of views, you probably need more followers. If you’re getting plenty of reach but no engagement you probably need to refine your content.
Getting started on an effective social media campaign is never easy and half of the battle is just deciding to spend the time on it. These are the steps to take to get started on your campaign. Eventually we’ll cover the “dominating social media” topic…but that’s for another time.