The idea of using social media to grow your business may feel like a distant dream, but if you’re reading this there’s no denying that the world of social media is changing.
Where once businesses tended to rely on newspapers and TV to reach audiences, now they can tap into a worldwide audience via a smartphone.
If you’re not equipped for this new world of digital marketing and you want to improve your odds of success, then you need to learn how to build a successful social media marketing campaign.
Here we’ll run down the essential steps you need to take to create a social media marketing plan that will catapult your business forward.
Step one: Set a benchmark for your campaign
The starting point of any business strategy, whether you’re executing a social media marketing campaign or not, is to have a clear benchmark. This is particularly important in digital marketing where everyone’s metrics and figures can be very different. You may have a clear view of your numbers but the people behind the stats may have a different view. Setting a benchmark also helps you to track your progress and identify any areas where you’re struggling.
In order to set a benchmark for your social media marketing campaign, you need to consider a few key areas. First, what is your desired outcome? What do you want to see happen as a result of this campaign? For example, did you set a target audience in mind when designing your social media platform? If so, you can use this as a benchmark to measure your success. Did you set a limit on the number of new customers you want to acquire, or did you want to see an increase in brand awareness? The list of benchmark options is endless, but these questions will guide you in the right direction.
Step two: Create key benchmarks for measuring success
Once you have your benchmark established it’s time to think about key performance indicators (KPIs). These are specific numbers that you can use to track your progress, both initially and over time, against your benchmark. They don’t have to be hugely sophisticated, a simple percentage increase in a particular metric will do just fine.
For example, if you want to see an increase in brand awareness amongst a certain audience then you could measure the number of people who recognize your brand versus the total number of people in your database and use that as a benchmark. The same applies if you want to see your website get more traffic – find out how many people are landing on your website each month versus how many people are in your database and use that as your benchmark.
Step three: Create key performance benchmarks based on a marketing calendar
The final step in the process of creating a successful social media marketing campaign is to create key performance benchmarks based on a marketing calendar. A marketing calendar is essentially a blueprint of all the activity you plan on executing throughout the year. This could include social media marketing, advertising, and direct marketing. You may also want to add another component – email marketing, which we’ll discuss in more detail later.
The advantage of having a marketing calendar is that you can easily see at a glance what activity you’re planning on doing throughout the year. You don’t necessarily have to fill in the calendar right away, in fact, you can save it as a reference point for later. This way you don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about the plan, you can simply refer back to it when needed.
Step four: Identify specific goals for each area of your plan
If you’re coming from a traditional marketing standpoint then the last step of your plan will seem very familiar. You need to identify specific goals for each area of your plan and then measure whether or not you’ve achieved those goals. Once you have specific goals in mind it’s much easier to track your progress and determine whether or not you’ve reached your desired outcome. The same principles apply to a social media marketing plan – you need to have clear goals and then you can determine, at the end of each month or quarter, whether or not you’ve reached those goals.
Step five: Identify the platforms that suit your business
Another thing to consider when creating a successful social media marketing strategy is the platforms that suit your business. There are hundreds of channels out there and it can get overwhelming to decide which ones to join. If you have a clear understanding of how each channel works and how you can tailor your strategy to suit the platform, deciding which ones to join becomes a lot easier.
For example, if you’re a clothing company then you may want to consider creating and engaging with content on popular fashion platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. If your business is B2B then you might want to look at platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook for business pages.
Step six: Identify the key demographic you’re targeting
Who is your target audience? This is a question that you need to answer before you start your social media marketing campaign. It’s easy to get distracted by the idea of bringing in more customers so let’s not be fooled – your main purpose is to attract the right audience to your business. It’s important to have a clear idea of who you’re trying to reach and what they want, this way you can tailor your strategy to suit them.
Step seven: Plan for growth
If you’re coming from a traditional marketing standpoint then this step will be very familiar – you need to plan for growth. Your benchmark for this step is very similar to the one you set in Step one – you want to see how much your business has progressed against that point. If you were to sit back and wait for the traffic to roll in, you could find yourself in a bit of a pickle. More and more people are discovering the power of social media and more and more customers are turning to digital marketing, meaning your competitors are leaping forward, too.
You don’t want to be left behind, especially as you’re the one who set the benchmark in the first place. It’s time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor – as long as you keep up with these guidelines, you’re sure to see your business flourish.