So everyone you know is jumping off the social media bridge, and you want to know what the hype is all about. Why should you use social media? First, let me congratulate you on the paramount step forward you’ve just made, simply by asking why? Second, integrating social media has HUGE advantages when done correctly. Social media gives you the opportunity to connect with audiences who are more open to engagement through social media networks. There is a massive potential client base to gain from integrating social media into your marketing campaign.
Even though social media is everywhere, you can still make yourself stand out by using it effectively. And it’s easier than you might think, because, I’ll let you in on a little secret, a lot of people do not use social media the right way, or to it’s full potential. Those are the people jumping off the bridge without the bungee cord. Integrating social media into your campaign is more than a few Facebook posts, some Tweets and a YouTube “how to” here and there. All of your content should be engaging, and even more importantly, it should have a purpose. If not, then you really aren’t gaining the potential benefits, and quite frankly, you’re probably wasting money. Don’t jump off the bridge without your bungee cord!
By sharing your campaign content socially and utilizing SEO (Search Engine Optimization), you can benefit from social searches. You can tap into your own as well as outside social communities and networks. Most social media sites offer a place to link back to the website. By introducing social media to your campaign, you provide more avenues for people to get back to your website.
This is a good time to explain engaging content a little more clearly. Imagine you’re on Facebook or Twitter just like always. You’re browsing around, reading tid-bits of this and that, tweeting and liking here and there, etc. You come across a tweet of a photo with interesting statistics about social media marketing with a link leading you to this very article. This is an example of engaging, purposeful content. Without any effort on your part, or any force on ours, you came across this article, and it happened faster because you weren’t searching for it. Making sure your content is easily located on Google is great, but that still requires someone to NEED what you’re putting out. By adding a link back to your websites or content, you increase the rate at which your campaign and content will be discovered.
Despite the benefits, social media like anything else, might not be best for you. As great as it is, there are still some situations to consider where social media might not be the best road to take. To utilize social media to it’s fullest requires a willingness to have a two-way conversation with customers. This means accepting negative feedback. So before you jump into anything, consider a few things…
What are you looking to achieve?
It’s likely that your overall goals for social media were already determined when deciding whether or not to integrate social media. Use those overall goals as a guide to discover what type of social media would work best for your campaign needs. While you do this, consider any new goals you would like to achieve, or think you could achieve, using the specific type of social media your campaign has chosen.
Who is your Target Audience?
Like your goals, an overall target audience should have already been identified and that should give you an idea of the type of social media that will be the most engaging for your audience.
Different social media channels attract different audiences. For example, you wouldn’t put the same message on LinkedIn as you would on Facebook. LinkedIn is more professional than Facebook. You would, however, link both back to each other because that would give the user the opportunity to decide for themselves which network they are most comfortable with.
Choose a Theme.
Sometimes and over-all theme has already bee established. If so, then great! You know where to begin. If not, take the opportunity to really evaluate the effect you want your social media content to have on your campaign. Consider the following scenario: If I am a museum curator, and you me to build you a museum, what do you think my first question to you will be?
What type of art do you want to see inside? What do you want to focus on?
The same idea applies when integrating social media into your campaign.
Avenues and Tactics
Once you determine your goals, audience, and theme, you’re ready to start brainstorming. When brainstorming, ask yourself a few questions…
- How is your business already using social media? Do you have a Facebook? Are you on LinkedIn? Does your company use Google+?
- Are you looking to being on one new social media channel? Or are you set up on all the different channels, but you don’t really update the like you should? Either way, figure out where you stand so you can determine what needs to be done.
- Are the social media channels and tactics you’re considering most suitable for conveying the campaign’s key messages? Make sure you’re not just choose certain tactics because those are the same ones everyone else is using, or because you read an article and did what it told you. Really evaluate YOUR campaign to decided what will work best.
- What is the level of risk and/or innovation you’re prepared to take?
- How will social media integrate and work with your advertising and website?
Throughout the entire brainstorming process, always be thinking “how will this lead prospects back to my website?” A million likes on Facebook doesn’t mean a thing if only three of those people actually visited your website.
How To Measure
Before the campaign begins, remember to take note of where you are now, so that when the campaign ends, you can measure your success. Consider these quantitative ways to measure social media…
- Likes, +1s, shares, retweets, and comments of content.
- Conversations and mentions around content.
- Reach and virality.
- Click-through rate from social content.
- Traffic through to target (landing) campaign pages within your website.
- Conversion rate – enquiries, leads, and sales/revenue as a result of social content.
Integrating social media into your marketing campaign can be a big step, but you don’t need to take the jump blindly! Use this guide as your bungee cord and see all that social media has to offer you and your company!