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By first setting out parameters for your campaign such as its strategy, goals and success metrics, as well as being sure of your brand’s marketing positioning and target market, you’ll increase the value social media can add to your business. Whether you’re using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Foursquare – or all of them – below are six preparation steps to take before you launch your campaign:
1. Define your goals
For example, is the goal of your social media campaign to drive more traffic to your blog, to increase brand awareness, or to upsell products to existing customers? Deciding on an overarching campaign goal will help you pinpoint which channels are best suited to your business, whether that means education through video marketing, or an informal two-way conversation with your existing customers via Twitter. Deciding on a singular goal before your campaign starts will also inform the strategy that will underpin it (for more on this, see point three below).
2. Define what success means
Once you’ve decided on your goals, what will success look like? Will it be an increase in your database of potential customers to communicate with, an increase in sales, or an increase in positive mentions about your brand across the blogosphere? Defining what success means to you before you launch will help you define more accurately whether your business is deriving benefit from social media once your campaign is running.
3. Have an underlying strategy
“Because I need to be on Facebook” should not be your reason for engaging with social media. In other words, social media platforms should be the conduit for an underlying strategy rather than the strategy itself. For example, a digital camera manufacturer running a photographic competition where participants upload their images onto that manufacturer’s Facebook Page will be more successful than the same digital camera manufacturer using their Page to brag about how fantastic their digital cameras are. A good social media strategy should create an incentive for your consumers to engage with you for their benefit, not just yours.
4. Know your positioning
Before launching your campaign, you should already know your brand’s positioning in the marketplace relative to your competitors. Do you want to use a social media campaign to maintain this positioning, or to shift it in another direction? The answer to this will help you design a campaign that will generate the best possible perception of your brand by the consumers you’re targeting.
5. Know your target market
This is essential for identifying which social media channels are best suited to reaching them. For example, if you’re marketing a service to women aged between 18 and 25, your actions, strategy and the platforms you’ll engage on will look very different compared to if you were marketing to men between the ages of 25 to 40.
6. Have the resources available
Starting a social media campaign is easy enough, but having the resources and commitment to keep it going is another story altogether. In fact, starting a campaign and then stopping it because you’ve run out of steam can damage your brand even more than not using social media at all. Before you start, decide whether you can commit to the time resources required to run your campaign. If you can’t, consider outsourcing your campaign’s management to a third party. Alternatively you could also narrow your campaign’s scope, or postpone its launch altogether until you have the internal resources available to run it.