Planning and metrics are key to any successful marketing effort, yet many entrepreneurs rush into the social conversation with little idea of what they hope to accomplish.
When I talk to small-business owners, they often tell me they’re “doing” social-media marketing. I’m always glad to hear this, but the way they describe their process reveals they’re unfocused in their efforts. They haven’t truly defined a social-media marketing campaign for their brand and company.
Imagine a general sending his troops onto the battlefield willy-nilly, just striking out at whatever is close at hand. Generals who are serious about the stakes wage campaigns with clearly defined goals.
Without a goal, how can you ever know if you’ve hit your target?
Common social-media campaign goals include attracting more followers, creating interest in a specific product or service, heightening brand awareness and increasing the amount of shared content. So long as your goals aren’t mutually exclusive, you can wage more than one effort at a time. For example, you can build your following while you drive traffic to a specific page on your company’s website.
Whatever your identified milestones, you’ll need to answer some important questions:
- Which social-media platforms will I use?
- Which kinds of content should I create?
- How will I track and assess results?
Plan the schedule.
Once you’ve thought strategically about what you wish to accomplish with your social-media marketing, sit down with a calendar and plan the year. It might make sense for you to launch some campaigns that center on holidays or seasons.
To illustrate the process, let’s consider the Great American Total Solar Eclipse, set to occur on Aug. 21, 2017. If you’re connecting this natural phenomenon with your marketing theme, think about how much lead time you’ll need to build in to the campaign. Don’t wait until the last minute and then try to generate some creative posts and graphics. Farm out the work well ahead of time.
If you don’t, you’ll find yourself left out in the dark — at least regarding social-media posts.
If your goal is garnering interest in a specific product or service, you might measure the amount of traffic you drive to your webpage. If you believe you have enough followers but they aren’t sharing your posts as much as you’d like, you could use various analytics tools to rank your shared posts and see which content types performs best. Or you could build your 2017 campaign around a theme you capture in a hashtag or celebrate with a contest to fuel its launch.
by SUSAN SOLOVIC
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