How to plan a marketing campaign on the social networks
11/17/2011 -by:Silvina Moschini , President and Founder of TransparentBusiness
Ignoring the social networks or not participating is not an option. On the contrary, social media is an effective means of managing customer relations, avoiding criticism and negative comments.
In our increasingly connected world, consumers spend many hours online every day. They have profiles on Facebook or Twitter, they communicate through web platforms, they look for information about products and services on forums or blogs, and, in many cases, they post their own comments. This online connectivity and sociability undoubtedly constitute a new opportunity to reach a large number of potential consumers. How do you get started?
Before initiating a social media strategy, it is essential to leave some fears behind. Many organizations are fearful of a social platform that allows users to express their opinions to millions of people. However, ignoring the social media or not participating in them is not an option. On the contrary, an online presence is an effective way to handle customer relations, avoiding criticism and negative comments. Users tend to be less negative about companies with which they interact regularly, an important reason to establish ongoing relationships.
Define clear objectives
As in every marketing strategy, the first thing to do is set precise, measurable goals that allow for a proper evaluation of the strategy later.
In this respect, it is important to ask what the strategy’s intended objective is. For example:
– Increasing traffic to the corporate website,
– Heightened visibility of the brand online,
– Promotion of new products and/or services,
– Contact with potential customers, or
– Strengthening relationships with current customers.
Determine the methods to be used for achieving the objectives
Once the objectives are established, it is necessary to identify the most appropriate tools and strategies for achieving them. In this respect, bear in mind that not all social networks have the same audience or function. LinkedIn, for instance, is almost exclusively for professional contacts; Twitter seems to be the preferred medium for “geeks” and tekkies; Facebook is more open and informal. The important thing is to determine where your target audience is, and keep in mind that each platform has its own codes and rules for socializing.
Develop a content strategy
Having established your objectives and selected the media, you still need to define the message. For that purpose, it is important to develop a content strategy that is coherent and consistent over the long term.
Before posting anything, it is important to think about what will be new and different in the content you will be sending to those who visit your profile. It is essential to remember that social media are not just a sales channel. Harassing visitors with offers, promotions, and advertising might be counterproductive and drive users away from your social network profiles.
The ideal thing to do is publish content that is relevant to your business and, at the same time, useful for the visitor, adding some value. For example, if your company sells home repair products, you could publish a weekly article with advice about painting or household maintenance.
Select measurement tools
The last step is to select the tools and follow-up parameters that allow you to measure the effectiveness of your presence on the social networks. You can use the statistical tools that each social network offers: webmetrics applications such as Google Analytics for traffic forwarded to your site or management platforms like HootSuite, which allows you to analyze the viral tendency of your campaign on the social networks.
In every case, it is necessary before launching any campaign to define clearly the tools and criteria that will be applied to measuring results, since these elements will be essential to knowing whether your efforts are bearing the expected fruit.
When the time comes to launch the action, it is necessary to respect some basic premises: generate original and quality content that is attractive to users. Promote user participation and interaction and, above all, show maximum respect and courtesy, even to users who act in an aggressive and thoughtless manner.