Articles in the Social Media Marketing & Strategy Category

September 23 2013

Creating Effective Social Media Campaigns

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Effective social media campaigns begin with strategy. Before you begin to think about channels, artwork or giveaways, it’s important to take a giant step back and consider the purpose and goal of your social media campaign. Specifically, how does the campaign fit into your overall marketing strategy and initiatives? What do you intend to get out of a social media campaign?

Once you’ve answered those basic questions, you can start to think about the scale of your campaign. Specifically:

•    What channels do you intend to include in your campaign?
•    What resources will you need?
•    How will you market your campaign?

If you wanted to run a Facebook-only campaign, for example, you might need:

•    A custom Facebook tab
•    Campaign-specific imagery
•    A static web page for contest rules and details
•    Facebook advertising to drive engagement
•    Additional marketing collateral, including an email and press release announcing the contest.

If you wanted to run a multi-channel campaign, you might need:

•    A custom Facebook tab
•    YouTube videos
•    Strong, share-worthy imagery
•    A Pinterest presence
•    A “sticky” hashtag
•    A static webpage

Once you had all of these moving parts in place, you would want to “launch” the campaign with:

•    A press release
•    A dedicated email
•    Blogger / influencer outreach
•    Additional paid advertisements to drive awareness / interaction

Consider, for example, Speedo’s brilliant Summer 2013 campaign, Get Speedo Fit. This campaign included:

•    YouTube videos starring Michael Phelps
•    A mobile App
•    A hashtag
•    Useful onsite content
•    A printable PDF describing the program in detail
•    Strong imagery that was promoted on both Facebook and Pinterest
•    An advertorial
•    A press release

Speedo’s content, and message, was further proliferated by bloggers and fans, who wrote about, and shared, Speedo’s content widely.

But the genius of Get Speedo Fit was not the depth and breadth of its content, but its overarching theme and purpose.

Here was an apparel company connecting its brand identity – and products – to user need (fitness). In doing so, Speedo was creating not just a single sale, like or share, but positive feelings in its followership that had the potential to last far beyond the length of the campaign.

August 1 2013

Social Media (if done correctly) is a Full Time Job

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Social Media continues to rapidly evolve. With a multitude of channels available, it can be difficult for businesses to keep up, let alone choose where to dedicate their time, resources and energy. It was not long ago, when companies had to be “convinced” that there were genuine benefits of social media and that a Facebook and /or Twitter company page was a legitimate opportunity to grow their business or brand.

Fast forward to the present; those two channels (or at least one of the two) have essentially become the standard. Today – if a company says they are doing Social Media, it is a safe assumption that they have a Facebook Page and likely Twitter, as well. Sure, there are some savvy businesses that not only see the value (and sheer necessity) of social media, they do it well and are active on multiple channels: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, Pinterest, etc.  Then there are those who feel as though Facebook and/or Twitter are more than enough to maintain.  Whichever category you fit into, social media requires a considerable amount of time and dedication. Here a few critical components to keep in mind when it comes to ongoing social media maintenance, whether you have just one active channel or many:

  • A well thought out plan/strategy as to how you will present your company via social media is super important. You certainly don’t want to just throw up an unprofessional looking Facebook page and begin posting random things here and there. In addition, you want to make an educated decision on how you will respond to your audience for both positive, as well as negative comments. This is very important.
  • Dedicating the necessary resources to each channel is crucial. There are few things worse than a channel that has remained stale and inactive for months. This is a surefire way of losing the interest and loyalty (“followers” & “likes” in social media terms) of your audience. You want them engaged and paying attention. Your posts should be timely and relevant to your industry.
  • Not every channel is for every company and what makes perfect sense for one may not make much, if any, sense for another. Become knowledgeable and well versed on the channel(s) your company decides to engage in.
  • If your company is new to social media, it is advisable to start off slowly, perhaps with one (to two) channels at a time. This will help to ensure that you are not taking on more than you can chew, so to speak. Additional channels can always be added in the future.

Take a peak at a business to consumer brand that is doing an excellent job with their social media channels. Just a few of their active channels are listed below:

lululemon Twitter
lulelemon Facebook
lululemon Pinterest

In addition, they responded very well during a major PR crisis back in March, which garnered a ton of negative posts, tweets, press, etc.

Social media truly is a full time job and requires ongoing maintenance and monitoring. Seriously.  Go big or go home.

July 23 2013

Social Media Tips for Small Business

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Social media is a great way for small businesses to find and connect with their core audience. Often, because of strained resources or a general lack of understanding, small businesses don’t make the most of their efforts in the social sphere. You can turn this around by adhering to some tried and true social media best practices.

Don’t Just Broadcast, Engage

One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make in social media is participating in a one-sided conversation. If you are on social media but simply adding content and creating updates, you’re only half way there. The next step is engaging with your audience.

You can do this by:

  • Responding to posts left on your page by users (even if it’s a simple “thank you!”)
  • Asking questions of your followers; in some channels, you can do this by conducting a poll
  • Hosting a Google+ Hangout to connect in real-time
  • Driving engagement by running a contest or sweepstakes

Go Where Your Audience Is

The instinct of many small businesses is to be everywhere. But in order to be effective in social media, it’s a better idea to limit your engagement to the channels where you’ll get the most benefit. For B-to-B businesses, this could be LinkedIn and Twitter; for B-to-C businesses, this could be Facebook and Pinterest. The idea is to be selective and to participate in social media strategically.

Promote Your Page to Grow Your Audience Fast

If you just arrived on social media, your followers are likely limited to your friends and employees. You can turn that around fast by employing some tried-and-true methods.

  • Promote your page using paid placements – Encourage “likes” and “follows” by creating targeted ads on channels like Facebook and Twitter
  • Cross-promote your page on your other marketing channels – this includes email marketing, printed collateral and your website.
  • Consider conducting a “like-gated” contest in Facebook, or a “pinfluencer” contest in Pinterest.

Track Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

If you’re not engaging in some form of social media measurement, you’re not making the most of your time and resources.

Many social sharing tools, such as Hootsuite, have some form of measurement tracking. You can also track your social media efforts where you track everything else – in Google Analytics. To learn how, take a look at this white paper on measuring social engagement.

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