As another year closes in our digital marketing world, it's time to look towards the future. Whether your year was overflowing with social media success or smattered with missteps, 2015 feels like a fresh start for everyone.
Even though social media is no longer the infant it once was, it's still not fully matured. Looking towards 2015, Jennifer Polk, Gartner analyst, said that brands would spend less time investing in new platforms and more time exploring within those platforms. Social media is more like a teenager now. It's just starting to test its limits.
You need to be prepared to handle this teenager and everything it will throw your way to ensure success in your social media campaigns. When you build a strong foundation with strategy and execute efficiently, you're going to drive your desired results. There are 3 key components to driving outstanding results for social media campaigns:
- Set Social & Content Strategies
- Efficiently Execute Social & Content
- Measure Results
Wondering why content strategy and execution is included in a guide to building social media campaigns? Social media campaigns cannot exist without excellent content. Period. "Garbage in, garbage out," as they say. This is one of our core beliefs at Stryde. If you create subpar content, your audience will clearly see this and treat it as such. Create great content and you're on your way to a successful social media campaign.
Setting Strategies: Social & Content
- Determine Platforms & Targeting
- Set Goals & KPIs
- Form Budget
Platforms & Targeting
Determine what platforms you're going to utilize in your campaign. Will you focus your efforts across several platforms that you occupy? Will you instead focus on one platform exclusively? Deciding your platforms first will allow you to get a good idea of what direction to take for targeting, budgeting, and even creating content. Most of the time, we begin campaigns with a target already in mind. Get a clear picture of who that target is, where they spend their time, and what communications resonate with them.
Goals & KPIs
Now that you know what platform(s) you're occupying and who you're targeting, it's time to decide on your goals and what KPIs to utilize to measure those goals. What traffic data will you analyze? Are you looking for awareness or conversion? There are many factors to consider when determining the best KPIs, but hammering out the complicated details into simple, measurable, and traceable indicators will serve you well when it comes to analyzing your results.
Once you know what you're looking to achieve and what social media platforms will take you there, you need to determine how much budget to use. Take into account your KPIs and take a look at your past campaigns. Those will give great insight into average costs. After that it's all simple math to figure out just how much budget you'll need to accomplish your goals.
- Create Content Marketing Mix
- Brainstorm Topics & Content Types
- Form Budget & Decide on Content Creators
Content Marketing Mix
Getting your content right is essential, we cannot stress that enough! If you're first thought is, "How can I possibly have the time or money to produce numerous top-notch quality content pieces?" Well, it's quite simple: you don't. Instead, you look to the Content Marketing Mix.
Just like any other marketing mix, the content marketing variety diversifies your content portfolio. It includes created, curated, and syndicated content. It's suggested that the optimal Content Marketing Mix includes 65% created content, 25% curated content, and 10% syndicated content. Your firm may necessitate a different balance, but regardless of ratios, each type should be present in your campaign.
Topic Brainstorm & Content Types
The first step to getting the content ball rolling is topic brainstorming. You know whom you're targeting (and hopefully you've created buyer personas to help guide you). This allows you to focus on the subject matter that speaks to them directly. Alongside brainstorming topics, you'll need to determine what types of content you'll create. Are you creating infographics? Videos? Blog posts? Different content types will speak to different audiences; find out what speaks to yours and create it!
Budget & Content Creators
You know you're content marketing mix, but just who will be penning that 65% of created content? Do you have trained writers/graphic designers/videographers in-house at your disposal or will you need to outsource? Determine this now so you'll understand how much budget you'll need for content creation.
Efficient Execution: Social & Content
- Create Social Calendar
- Curate Content
- Engage Audience
By creating a social calendar, you're able to plan out the social activity for the entire duration of your campaign. This should exist in harmony with your content calendar, but it's up to you whether you want to plan and record information within the same document. Utilizing shared spreadsheets like Google Docs is a great way to keep all of your campaign details organized and kept current throughout your entire team.
When you created your social calendar, you planned for each of the pieces of content you're creating. But, what about that 25% curated content in the Content Marketing Mix that we touched on earlier? Here's where curating content begins. You need to pinpoint credited, respected, and trustworthy sources from which you will pull supporting content. The curated content should always serve as supporting arguments for the points you're making through your created content. If you're new to content curation or looking to perfect it, utilizing tools like Right Intel is an exceptional way to organize your campaign's curated content.
Scheduling your entire social activity, then not visiting it again until the campaign has ended is not a good idea. You need to actively monitor all platforms, posts (promoted and otherwise) for comments and reaction. This will allow you to immediately see what's working, what isn't, and what you can change right now to impact your results. You can get pretty fancy (read: expensive) with campaign monitoring software and platforms, but Hootsuite's capabilities do the trick just fine, and at multiple price-points.
- Create Content Calendar
- Optimize Content
- Monitor Content Performance
As mentioned earlier, your content calendar creations should occur simultaneously. Once you've determined deadlines and workflows, you can set go-live dates for each piece of content. From there, you can fill in the necessary social promotion and supporting curated content. Once again, Google Docs is a fabulous collaboration tool for content and social calendars.
If you're mildly familiar with SEO, you know how vital it is to optimize each piece of content you publish. Make sure your title tags, image titles, links, etc., are all up to search engine standards. This will allow your content to reach as far as it possibly can. The best tool to use to optimize content is your brain; learn the best practices and carry them out.
Similar to engaging in social media execution, monitoring your contents performance during the campaign allows you to make immediate adjustments. If a certain writing style particularly resonates with your target, you can pass along that information to your writing team. If you don't have the ability to change content on the fly, it's still worth it to monitor. This way, you'll know what works for future campaigns.
Goals & KPIs
Take a look at the goals and KPIs you determined earlier. How did your campaign perform? Did you meet or exceed expectations? If you followed the framework above, you should see your desired results. And if you followed the framework and DIDN'T see your desired results, what went wrong? Was it the quality of the content? Did you copy not resonate with your target? Glean all the information you can, of your success and your missteps.
What It All Means
After all, social media is still just a teenager. It's inevitable that all firms are bound to have some failures alongside successes in social media campaigns. But the most important thing is to understand why you saw the results you experienced, and how to change it or replicated it in the future. You deserve a fresh social media start in 2015, and there's no better way to do that then building strong and effective campaigns. Are you planning any big social media campaigns for 2015? What will you change from 2014?