Organically | SEO & Social Media - Social media marketingReams of how-to articles exist on how to create a great social media marketing campaign. After reading a few dozen of those articles, no one would blame you if your head was spinning. As an award-winning social media marketing company we thought it would be a great idea to share a few campaign development and strategy tips so you can cut through the clutter and create your own power campaigns that can have the best chance to win you an award or two. Follow this checklist, and remember: No one can do it like you can!

1) Research the audience

 You have to find out what motivates them – this leads to the ability to create content they will engage with. A good way to begin is with connected research. Review several social accounts connected to what your audience is interested in. For example if you are managing a social media campaign for a chamber of commerce, review social accounts for lodging companies in the area to discover the type of content that the audience likes to interact with.

2) Pay attention to timeliness

Share content in a timely way to get the most response from your audience.

Example: If it’s New Year’s Eve then find a way to tie your content in with the big night. Or if it’s Halloween make a connection with that day and content your audience will love. Share the content in advance of the event, but not so far ahead that people won’t feel the immediacy.

3) Photos need to be authentic

Stock photos will fall flat and not get the engagement you’re looking for.

Get your customer to provide authentic photos. They don’t have to be professional, they can be amateur photos as long as they are clear (not blurry). Here’s a quick tip: If you are managing a social media marketing campaign for a company that sells home plans, black and white conceptual line drawings, while interesting, will not win the day. Knock your audience’s socks off with awesome color interior shots, even if they are architects’ renderings. The ultimate would be to source photos of homes already built using the plans that you are featuring in your social media posts.

4) Interview your customer often

Learn about their latest products, services, and events. Get a yearly schedule of their recurring top events (webinars, speaking engagements, trade shows, etc.) so you can plan your content well in advance.

5) Plan your social media marketing campaign with an editorial calendar

Some marketers think that this is counterproductive because they want to have the capability to be spontaneous (more on this in tip #6). An editorial calendar doesn’t stifle creativity – it does just the opposite and there are many ways to create it if you hate Excel. Keep track in a Word document, use an online sharing tool like Basecamp or come up with your own system. Even if you feel restricted, you will get an additional benefit you may not have considered — the ability to look back over time and track what has resonated with your audience.

6) Keep the tool belt handy

There are hundreds of tools out there to help you schedule, distribute, and track the effectiveness of your social media marketing content. By using these tools you can build a strategy for each social channel and then link them together to create your overall social strategy.

Try a few tools and see which ones streamline your campaign work. Many of today’s tools provide a free trial or low-cost introductory services. A few we like are Buffer, Sprout Social, and Tailwind.

7) Set up metrics at the outset of the campaign to measure success

Why do we list this important step last? We want you to remember it, and people often remember the last thing that they read.

Every journey begins with the first step. Mark the beginning of your campaign with a benchmark reading. Mark down the beginning point in your favorite tracking tool (whether that’s a text file or a sophisticated project management suite). Then write down the goal — this is the reason you created the campaign; the customer wants to sell 500 pairs of shoes by July, or she wants to have 1,000 people download her new ebook by September. In between the benchmark and the goal write several smaller steps. These are the campaign milestones. In the case of the shoe sales or ebook downloads, for milestones write down how many items the customer wants to sell per month until the goal is reached.

Bonus Tip: It’s a good idea to also track associated ‘micro goals’ such as requests for information. Often customers don’t buy immediately; they investigate and then come back later to buy. Tracking micro goals will show your customer how the social media marketing campaign is contributing to the ultimate goal.

You need a measuring stick (metrics) to tell you if your campaign is getting you closer to your goal. You can add to these over time but success depends on establishing the initial set of metrics at campaign outset.

It sounds so easy, doesn’t it, this creation of an award-winning campaign? Reaching a goal is always easier if you break it down into manageable steps. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, go back to your plan. Review the benchmark, the milestones and the ultimate goal. Staying grounded with these guidelines will keep you on the road to that award-winning campaign!