It seems as if every brand in the world is already on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat are being flooded with content and advertising dollars, making social media sites some of the most competitive marketing channels out there. With so many players on the field, how does one launch a new brand successfully on social media? A colleague of mine is creating a new brand from the ground up and was lost as to where to start. I thought this might be a great learning opportunity for others, as getting set up on social can be a scary and expensive endeavor if not done right.
Before we dive into the 5 simple steps to launch a brand on social media, it's important to understand where the starting line is. My colleague's company is called DreamScreen and provides responsive lighting that reacts to the color pixels on your TV screen. When I learned about the company and product I was dying to give DreamScreen a try. I'm a huge movie buff (nerd) and gamer (bigger nerd) so anything that improves those experiences is right up my alley. In conversations with my colleague, I learned that she has a great concept and product, but no social strategy. In fact, she is one of the most intelligent people that I know and she admits to being lost when it comes to the world of social media. In thinking about how she could position DreamScreen properly in the market, I gave her the following steps.
(Note: In full disclosure, I was given a prototype to test drive but I am writing this blog on my own freewill because I truly think this is a learning experience for other brands).
1. Identify Your Goals
Before you do ANYTHING in marketing or social media for that matter, you absolutely have to know what your end goal is. By identifying exactly what your goals are, you can create a strategic approach that is directly or indirectly adding constant value. As a new brand, DreamScreen has set tiered goals. Primarily, they are hoping to attract attention and backers to their upcoming Kickstarter crowd funding campaign. Secondarily, they want to build a targeted social community that is interested in their product, lifestyle and shared interests. Once you know what you want to achieve, it's time to think about whom you want to reach.
2. Identify Your Audience
This is a crucial part of the new brand process on social media. Knowing your target audience informs your content strategy and paid advertising strategy. To identify your audience, think about the demographic that would be most likely to use your product or service. If you are a bit lost, you can let data paint this picture for you by installing Facebook and Twitter pixels on the homepage of your website to get audience information about the people who visit your website. You might also want to source Google Analytics if you have it implemented on your website to learn more about your site visitors. In DreamScreen's situation, everything is brand new, so they are relying on market research and competitor brands to help mold the audience that they want to target. Through market research, they have determined that their target audiences are people between the ages of 18-45 who enjoy gaming, home entertainment and movies and those that are early adopters to new technology and have an interest in crowd funding projects.
3. Set up + Optimize Profiles
Now that you know who you want to take action and what you want to achieve, its time to get busy setting up and optimizing your social profiles. A big portion of this step is knowing where your audience is and which social channels would provide the most value for your brand. Facebook and Twitter are the two most usual suspects, however other social channels provide a lot of residual value even if they don't have the same market saturation. Once you have your social media mix selected, I always recommend keeping creative branding consistent across platforms as well as the "About" information, as it assists the SEO process. Once all profiles have awesome graphics and consistent "About" info, you will want to make sure that each link back to your website. On your website, you will want to add social logos that link to your profiles. DreamScreen selected Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google+ as their out of the gate social channels. Facebook and Twitter were selected for their market reach and advertising options. Pinterest was chosen to target the female gamers/gift-givers and generate referral traffic. Youtube and Google+ were added for their SEO value and appeal to the tech-minded user. These channels are the starting social offering and should be monitored as they grow.
4. Set + Implement Your Strategy
Now that we have our goals, target audience and social profiles, it's time to implement your strategy. Social media is no longer (or has ever been) free, so it's highly recommended to implement a thoughtful paid and organic strategy. From an organic perspective, it's important to provide content that is valuable to your social community but also relates to your overarching mission or brand. The more you can keep users engaging with your content, the more likely they will eventually convert. I recommend that the organic strategy should be more "soft sell" and generally more informative than the paid strategy. Social media channels offer robust advertising options, so you will want to research and test targeting parameters. Just like with TV or radio commercials, social users have come to accept social ads so it's ok to be more direct with your call to action. After all, you are paying per click or impressions, so you will want to get the most for your money.
5. Measure and Optimize
It's hard for people to understand that marketing on social media is a marathon, not a sprint. The days of something magically going viral are sadly gone, so it's up to brands to intelligently and consistently market their products. I recommend implementing your strategy and measuring your efforts monthly, quarterly and annually to determine what's best achieving your goals. In terms of what to measure, it's best to measure social engagement, referral traffic and website activity to get a clear view as to how your strategy is performing. Deciding on which metrics to focus on is important, as you will find that it's easy to drown in the wealth of social data. You can use Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics or other on-platform metrics to start, however you might want to look into a 3rd party provider like Sprout Social or Sprinklr to help visualize your data. At the end of the day, you will want to take a look at how your social media channels are pushing towards achieving your goals and what is the most time/cost efficient. DreamScreen wants people to back their Kickstarter campaign, so they will be measuring the social engagement on their platforms, the referral traffic driven to their website, their general website activity (pages visited, time on site, etc.) and the amount of backers that they gained on Kickstarter. The measurement portion of this entire process is extremely personal as no two strategies are exactly alike and value the exact same metrics.
After following the above 5 steps, you should be on your way to launching a new brand in the competitive world of social media marketing. I hope you have taken value from this as these tips are very top-level and each could be a stand-alone blogs itself.
What did I miss? What questions do you have? Tell me what you think in the comments section!