Effective social media campaigns can strengthen your brand and build a loyal following. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others still are young and evolving, and you need to implement strategies to help you connect with their loyal audiences. It's also important to stay on top of the rapid changes in the industry so you can get the most out of your social media accounts.
A Dedicated Position
Consider hiring a social media manager to develop and implement marketing strategies with your accounts. Effective campaigns need more than a few tweets or Facebook updates, and social media specialists with the proper training and experience are up on relevant trends and topics and know the ins and outs of how to use the tools of the platforms to their advantage.
If you are a small operation and don't have the resources to commit to a social media manager, still make social media skills and experience a priority for the person you hire to oversee your marketing. If the person currently in the position lacks the skills and knowledge, invest in their job training.
To reach the most people, it's necessary to use as many social media platforms as relevant to your business. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are staples but don't forget about Google+, Pinterest, Linkedin, and even Youtube.
Each platform attracts its own types of followers, and you want to reach as many demographics as possible. For example, Facebook skews older than Instagram, and Linkedin reaches job seekers and professionals.
The more you cross-promote among different platforms, the more likely you are to attract followers to all of your social media accounts.
If promoting a special event, you might create an event page on Facebook that outlines all of the details. In addition to promoting the event page on Facebook, you can direct followers there from Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms. Your followers, in turn, might also direct their friends to your event page.
By including your hashtag with all of your social media posts, it can become as recognizable as your brand name and your logo. If you own the Widget Company and use #widgetco as your hashtag, users of social media will begin to associate it your business. Even if they don't follow your account, they can follow the hashtag to see what you or others have been posting about your business.
It's also a good idea to use hashtags for signature products or events associated with your business or organization. That way, people seeking information about the product or event can follow the hashtag. The hashtag can lead people to your social media accounts, which can help them become better informed about your business or organization.
It's easy to get so wrapped up in the online promotion of your social media accounts that you miss one of the most effective ways to promote them: through your brand. If you're a TV or radio station, promote your social media accounts on air. If you're a newspaper or magazine, promote your social media accounts in print. Use signage in your retail locations that include your social media accounts or hashtags.
Driving traffic both ways between your business location or website and your social media accounts grows your customer base while also increasing your following.
You already have a small army ready to help build your followers. Your employees probably are using social media right now. Through their followers and fans as well as interaction with your social media accounts, they can raise awareness of your brand while directly driving people to you.
Manage your employees' professional social media accounts by establishing a policy for usernames that are consistent and promote your brand. Include your call letters in your Twitter usernames, for example, to make it clear the account is associated with your brand. Give employees clear directions on the types of posts they should make and the hashtags they should use.
Create a social media policy so your employees don't end up damaging your brand instead of building it. The last thing you want is an employee sharing pictures of his Friday night beer bash and adding your company's hashtag to his posts.
Launching Your Campaign
Running a social media campaign requires the same meticulous approach associated with any other marketing campaign. Follow some basic guidelines to be sure you know what you want to do and that you are meeting objectives.
- Establish a clear goal: Be clear about what you want to accomplish before posting anything. If your business is expanding and you need to hire new staff, Linkedin might be the focus of your campaign. Other goals might require different approaches that emphasize different platforms. The more clearly outlined your goal, the better your approach can be.
- Call to action: Make it clear to your followers what you want them to do, and make it easy for them to do it. Are you enticing them to make an online purchase or print out a coupon? Perhaps you want to lead to a Facebook event page or to a video on Youtube. Regardless of the specific action you are seeking, make it easy for followers to take that action with links or instructions.
- Collaborate: Use your business partners' followers to build your own audience. For example, if you are a brewer of craft beer, develop collaborative campaigns with the bars and restaurants in your region that serve your product.
- Track progress and adapt: All of the most popular social media platforms have tools available to track data associated with your campaigns. Use these resources to be sure you are hitting the demographics you are targeting. If you are not, make the necessary adjustments to find the right followers.
- Remain active: Be ready with a new campaign once your previous campaign ends. The best way to maintain consistent growth is to remain active. A long lull between campaigns can lead to followers forgetting about you or even deciding to unfollow you. Stay on their minds with regular posts.