Creating a Social Media Campaign for Small Business
Today, over 70% of Americans use social media for connecting with others and sharing ideas. As a business owner, your online presence represents a powerful tool in advertising, exposure, and creating overall revenue for your brand.
However, creating the right social media campaign can feel overwhelming or confusing. We’re here to break the steps down in a way that makes sense and helps you even enjoy the process.
Let’s get into it!
Creating Your Social Media Campaign
Plan, Plan, Plan
It doesn’t matter whether you are about to launch a new service or product or just want to create some more buzz around something that already exists.
The important takeaway here is: have a strategy.
Just like any other marketing strategy, never go in haphazardly without intentions or motives. This is a surefire way to look like you lack focus or direction. It’s hard to keep your audience’s attention engaged when you don’t seem like you know exactly what you’re doing.
Your social media campaign allows you to highlight how awesome your small business is at giving their customers what they want. It’s also a chance to highlight what you can offer as a company to a potential audience who may not know much about you.
Therefore, you must plan out your objectives.
Ask yourself these questions to get started. Spend some time with these. Write them down and edit as needed:
- What am I trying to achieve?
- Who is this campaign meant for? And what do I actually want my audience to receive, learn, or do as a result of this campaign?
- Which tactics am I planning to use? (Videos? Blog content? An Ebook giveaway? A tutorial? Celebrity influencers?)
- What is the best outcome that can come from this campaign?
- How much time am I willing to devote to planning and executing?
- Do I need help? If so, who/what will I use? Can I use someone on my team or will I need help from an outsourced professional or social media influencer?
- How much money can I allocate to this social media campaign?
- How do I plan to measure my success? (Increased revenue or sales? Increased number of downloads? Website traffic? New followers, shares, or likes? Shopping cart purchases?)
Answering these fundamental questions allows you to create a tailored focus. They also allow you to then reflect and measure on how well you succeeded in meeting your objectives once the campaign is over.
Remember, a successful campaign is a planned campaign. Don’t wing this one.
Know Your Platforms
Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Pinterest. Youtube.
The top 2017 content marketing trends definitely center on social media. While you have a variety of options available, you need to know which ones to utilize in order to best attract your audience and get your message across effectively.
You may want to focus your social media campaign on just one of these platforms, but you may also want to cross post among different mediums.
For example, Facebook focuses on community. It allows people to share, comment, and create conversation around your brand. Posting Facebook statuses are also simple and require minimal effort. Sponsored Facebook posts can reach out to hundreds of thousands of people. This can be a great way to reach out to new people and generate more attention about your business.
Instagram, on the other hand, allows you to create gorgeous graphics and photos to display your campaign, promotional giveaways, and branding. It’s a great way to attract new followers and attain likes.
Twitter is best for capturing powerful messages in tiny snippets. Consider coming up with a unique hashtag connected to your brand to make your social media campaign shine.
Pinterest is great for sharing designs, art, tutorials, and infographics. It allows you to link to your personal website and generate buzz about new products. Pinterest also allows people to share or “pin” your pins onto their boards, hence creating new traffic.
Youtube still dominates for online videos, tutorials, and shareable content. If you want to create buzz through an audio or visual format, Youtube tends to do well with creating memorable social media campaigns in a live-action form.
In a nutshell, each social media platform offers different advantages. As a business owner, you need to know them inside and out.
You also need to know each website’s promotional guidelines. Make sure you read through each of the terms and conditions, as this will guide you into what you can (and cannot) do as part of your campaign.
Maintain a Consistent Voice and Branding
Each small business has a unique voice and perspective. More than ever, customers want socially responsible marketing. They also want to know who you are behind the scenes. Your social media campaign not only needs to demonstrate what your company offers, but what messages and morals it stands behind.
With that said, focus on being as personal and human as possible.
This kind of marketing allows for two-way dialogue. In fact, social media campaigns build upon interactions with customers in dynamic and collaborative approaches.
The takeaway here? Talk to your customers! Comment. Ask questions. Give people shoutouts. Let people know you are open to feedback and open for dialogue.
Not sure if you’ve really refined your voice? Think about the following elements:
- The character/persona of your brand. Are you trying to achieve a playful vibe? Trying to utilize sarcasm? Want to demonstrate intelligence or maturity?
- The average demographic of your customers. What age group are you targeting? What is the average socioeconomic status? What other hobbies do these people enjoy?
- What do you want people to say about your campaign? That it’s witty? Interesting? Teaching them something new? Showing them a need that they didn’t know they had?
A refined voice is a memorable voice. You want your business to reflect your values and mission statement.
Each social network has its own search engine tools and ways for new customers to connect with your business.
Ideally, you need to come up with several keywords that you’d like to rank for in terms of social and local SEO.
Use these keywords throughout your social media campaign posts. Create a memorable hashtag. Let them generate their own buzz. Not only does this make your campaign stand out, it will actually help you generate more traffic and movement towards your company.
In today’s society, SEO is king of the Internet game. If you neglect this part of the strategy, you’ve essentially lost.
Consider the Budget
Most social networks have the ability to advertise, sponsor, or promote posts. It is absolutely in your best interest to read through each of these options and determine if spending money on campaign advertising is worth it to you.
The advantages can be huge: sponsored Facebook posts, for example, can reach over one million new organic audience members. If you’re looking to drive up your traffic and create more buzz and attention, this may be exactly what your social media campaign needs.
Furthermore, you will need to consider the costs of any web development tools, software, or paid apps you use. If you are using other employees or outsourced contractors to help you with this project, consider their pay scale as well.
Run a Promotion or Giveaway
Want to create some buzz about a new product? Looking to attract potential customers to your business?
Consider running a promotion or giveaway as part of your social media campaign. There’s no secret about it. People love free stuff. Offering an incentive to attract new followers or generate retweets may be just what your business needs.
To be effective, the rewards should be tied into the service or product you offer (no generic cash prizes or gift cards). You want the winner to be proudly using your business services, after all!
The rules should be mentioned in clear and understandable terms, and the method for selecting a winner should also be explicitly defined to your audience.
Consider Running a Challenge
Remember the viral ice bucket challenge that generated over 28 million participants and created over 2.4 million videos?
This social media campaign created tremendous awareness for the ALS charity and brought in dramatic revenue for its company.
If you’re looking for something a bit unconventional, consider hosting some kind of challenge or contest within your company.
It can be as simple as running a contest for creating the most obscure photo or as complex as creating the funniest video.
If you have fun with it, chances are that your customers will, too.
Have a Killer Website
Let’s be real here. Even the greatest social media campaign in the world won’t matter much if you have a nonexistent or shoddy website.
For most businesses, the end goal to any marketing or campaigning is having people reach your landing page. This is because most of the actual business will be conducted on your actual website and through your contact information.
We are in a technological boom, and having an amazing website is a non-negotiable part of your overall business strategy.
This entails having a strong mobile interface, maximized SEO, and accessible and shareable content.
You can do this yourself or you can outsource with professionals, but your website must be engaging, interesting, and cohesive. Do not cheap out on this process. Do not neglect or minimize it in your overall budgeting, and do not assume that people will tolerate a glitchy interface.
The point is: if your website isn’t visible, it basically doesn’t exist. Remember that.
Measure and Reflect
There’s no point in running a social media campaign if you can’t accurately reflect on what went well and what needed improvement.
Any entrepreneur is constantly learning, refining, and enhancing his ideas and work. Consider the following questions after your campaign concludes
- Did I meet my objectives and goals?
- Did this take more time/less time than I anticipated?
- Did this cost more/less than I anticipated?
- Did anything unexpected happen? Was it a good thing? Bad thing? Something in between?
- What did I learn from this and how can I apply that learning to my overall business plan and model?
- What did I learn about my customers?
- What can I do better next time?
The rule of thumb is this: it’s probably not going to be perfect. In fact, you’re probably going to make a lot of mistakes along the way.
But, remember this: even if it didn’t go according to plan, knowing how to measure your success and outcomes is a crucial skill for any business owner. This allows you to enhance your strategies and marketing for the next time you run a social media campaign.
Continue with the Connections
Through your campaign and marketing, you ideally generated some kind of buzz and attention to both new and existing customers.
Now you need to follow-up with them! Continue engaging through social media. Continue posting regularly. Continue maintaining two-way dialogue and showing your customers that you care about what they have to offer and what they have to say.
This speaks to your customer service, customer branding, and overall tone and message of your business. What’s the point of creating buzz if you can’t follow through with it?
You want to remind your customers why you care about them and why you care about your services…over and over again.
Use the new fanbase you’ve acquired, and take advantage of all the potential leads. They are in your contacts for a reason.
Regardless of your small business industry, creating an effective social media campaign is a powerful way to connect with new and existing customers.
It’s one of the best methods for instant communication, feedback, and generating excitement and thrill about your company and its products. Even if it’s a learning curve, it’s definitely one worth learning- and loving.
Still feeling a bit overwhelmed or unsure if you have the time or ability to commit to all this work? You don’t have to go at it alone.
Let the experts help you with your strategy development, advertising management, and measuring and reporting today.