The phenomenon that is social media has taken the marketing industry by storm, with organizations of all sizes, from various geographical regions, and levels of country economic development – standing up to take a firm hard look at the landscape of social media.
As a brand engagement agency, we often get quizzed about it and collaborate with clients to devise ways to include social media engagement as part of their overall campaign. From government agencies, interior design firms to family-owned restaurants, everyone recognizes that this platform speaks volumes with consumers. Alongside hands-on experience, we also learn from industry best practices, i.e. recently attending SMWF, Asia. Freshly inspired, we compiled several key takeaways, which hopefully inspire you too.
What are the must-dos to be successful in a social media campaign?
Set clear objectives
Embarking on the social media bandwagon without objectives is like taking a never-ending roller-coaster ride. Some questions you should ask yourself: Is this meant to support a product launch, an extended customer care channel, or a marketing tool? How many fans would you realistically want to attract within what time frame? Would you want to drive visits to a website?
MNCs worth their salt in social media presences always have basic frameworks in place to permeate social media practices throughout the organization. From creating social media policies and staff training guides, establishing a brand voice, setting boundaries, to drafting editorial calendars for content-based platforms (ex. Facebook, blogs).
Conversations should be taking center stage, not sales and marketing pitches. Identify ‘passion areas’ of consumers and invest in research, content creation (videos, events, competitions), or even simply Facebook postings touching upon those areas. After all, the early stage of fan acquisition may derive from paid advertisements or Facebook campaigns/competition, but the later stage of fan acquisition and sustainability of fans lie in effective engagement and relevant conversations.
Social media should be part of a long-term strategy and not a campaign in itself. The most effective social media efforts transcend the promotional push, and maintain conversations with its community. A long-term view translates to long-term investment; hence garnering internal support will be incremental, especially for bigger organizations that require dedicated staffing to manage social media activity.
Besides tallying fan subscriptions, click-through rates, interaction with specific posts, responses to tweets, etc – its important to measure the period from the first click (exposure) to last click (transaction), as some products may have longer product life cycles. Often times, it takes a certain period of time for influence to cultivate, and tools like Google analytics, Radian6 to several locally available options can assist with that.
Slicing the pie
Some organizations severely marred in foresight may still think that social media is an awesome ‘free’ tool – but the truth is that social media campaigns require so much investment. From consumer research, creative campaigns, paid online advertisements, staffing, global coordination, app development to analytics – social media has morphed into a tool that has several exciting touch points that require an exciting amount of money too. If you’re a small organization unable to commit to big investments, clearly identify your objectives and decide which slice of the pie will best deliver. After all, attempting to understand consumers and posting relevant user-generated content can still be achieved for free.
With the masses gathered online, waiting to be stimulated and connected in ways more personal and cerebral than consumers before – successfully growing a community of brand advocates and supporters can produce astonishing returns – almost like having a one-on-one engagement on a mass media platform.
The beauty of social media is that several aspects of a business can take the forefront in communicating directly to consumers – from customer care responses, updates from a design team, insight from company engineers, so forth – that creates an authentic relationship. So why not take advantage of that today?