Setting up a social media marketing campaign involves many factors and all of it can get pretty daunting! Social media activities can go astray due to undefined goals, inappropriate content, executive glitches or other reasons leading to a low fan engagement and ROI. A strong strategy and methodical implementation can ease the process leading to successful results. This post covers the various elements we at DigiWhirl chart out while coming up with a social media marketing plan for a client!

Brand Image
"A symbolic construct created within the minds of people, consisting of all the information and expectations associated with a product, service or the company(ies) providing them." ~wikipedia

In simpler words brand image is the impression in peoples mind when they think of the brand. These impressions develop because of their association with the brand in the past based on customer care, service, quality and other company aspects. The social media campaign would resonate with fans if the activities go hand in hand with the brand image.

Its possible that you may want to change your companies brand image, social media would be a great tool for that, but only after you bring in necessary changes to the company structure itself to express that image too!

Campaign Objectives

"Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social" Jay Baer, Convince & Convert

Set a long term objective for the campaign. Social media is about the people hence, a lot of engagement, conversations, relations and interactions would be an indivisible part of the activities. These activities however would be directed by the objective! Break the long term objective into relevant short term goals to drive the campaign ahead.

Social Media Personality
“An image is not simply a trademark, a design, a slogan or an easily remembered picture. It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service." ~ Daniel J. Boorstin

In your social media campaign every single status update and comment will build your brand personality! Rather than letting it build itself in an ad-hoc manner, you must set a social media personality, for all your activities! It will help enhance the brand image and build a rapport with fans.

Target Audience
“Customers buy for their reasons, not yours.” Orvel Ray Wilson

Who are you catering to? Where are they found online? What do they talk about? Are just some of the questions you need to ask about your target audience.

Content Strategy
“By creating compelling content, you can become a celebrity.” Paul Gillin

Once the objectives and personality of the activities have been defined well, we can start building out the content strategy. It has been said and for good reason that without a content strategy there is no social media campaign! The content curation can be done on the basis of these 3 salient aspects,

1. Resonate with fans so that they keep coming back to your community
2. Viral element so that fans can share it thus increasing word of mouth and organic growth
3. Drive success, it needs to have necessary elements that help the community achieve the decided goals

The content strategy would include,

Social Platforms
Social media platforms are chosen depending on the target audience and type of content. Usually Facebook, Twitter and/or Linkedin are the first choices due to their huge popularity. Flickr, Slideshare, Youtube, Blogs and other platforms are other options if appropriate for your campaign.
Content Generation Process
Once you launch the campaign, content needs to be periodically generated often on a daily basis, hence it is important to have a sustainable content generation process sketched out! It should include content theme, source and other parameters to keep the campaign going.
Community Manager
The role of the community manager should be defined. This would give you an idea of the required social media team behind the project. Any subject matter experts or creative designers should be in place otherwise it could hamper the content generation.
Social Currency
Viral and shareable elements within the campaign will increase organic word of mouth. It will activate fans to share brand content and become evangelists.

Community Growth
Activate your fans, don’t just collect them like baseball cards.” Jay Baer

Once you have a content strategy in place, you can now think about growing your community. Be it email campaigns, advertisements or fan outreach. If you want to start out small you can just start with a few hundred fans and execute the content strategy. There would be organic growth by word-of-mouth due to fan interactions. Its always good to have a plan for recruiting fans because they are the ones who decide whether your social media activities are a success!

ROI Metrics
“Don’t measure what you can. Measure what you should.” – Philip Sheldrake

Identify the parameters you need to measure based on the set objectives. Specific metrics for short term goals as well as track success of long term objective as the campaign proceeds!

Would love to know your thoughts on on how you go about making your social media strategy. I am sure you may be going about somethings differently, would be great if you could let me know via comments or connecting with me!