Despite what your fourteen-year-old niece tells you, social media is not an easy channel to master. It demands exhaustive creative energy. And constant consistency. How do you avoid the rut and create consistent, quality campaigns that resonate with your audience?
Here are five ways to get ahead of — and more out of — your social media campaigns.
1. Find your creative process.
No one can be a creative genius all the time. Everyone knows what it feels like to hit a creative block, or an entire wall built of them. Waiting for a lightning rod of inspiration to strike from nowhere, though, rarely does the trick. In most cases, it’s best to have a plan in place that gets your mind thinking differently when it’s stuck in a rut.
Processes vary based on the individual, and the trick is finding the one that works for you. For some people, it’s enough to pick up an AdWeek to mine for inspiration in what others are doing. For some, it involves stepping away and doing something entirely different for awhile. For others, it means keeping a running list of those lightning-strike ideas to turn to later when inspiration or time is scarce. Try out a few and find what works for you. (Maybe a few constrained writing exercises can get your brain churning.)
2. Set goals early.
Goal setting shouldn’t be the last to-do on your list before launching a social campaign. It belongs at the front end of your planning so that the ‘why’ for your social campaign connects back to your overall business objectives and company goals. Make sure you’re setting benchmarks you can measure and use to gauge success. If growing your followers is a goal, use past performance to develop a realistic percentage of users you want to reach by the end of your campaign. If driving traffic to your website is a top objective, set an attainable goal and make sure you have analytics set up to track your success.
If you know ahead of time what goals you want to hit, you’ll have a more focused picture of what actions you want users to take and will plan clearer messaging and CTAs. Just remember, if your goals are helping to drive your planning and tactics — instead of vice versa — then you’re more likely to pull off a successful campaign.
3. Go cross-channel.
Sometimes it makes sense to run a Facebook or Twitter only social campaign, but when you have the chance to bridge channels, go for it. Just be sure to tailor your content for each channel’s personality. People use different social channels to do different things, and a successful social campaign hinges on knowing the differences.
For example, friendship and community are at the heart of Facebook culture, and people are more likely to engage with brands that also feel authentic and personal. Twitter is a fast-paced and newsy channel, where people prize authenticity. Users also value wit and brevity in this space. Then there’s Instagram, where users go for a fully immersive and visual experience.
Don’t be afraid to use some trial and error to find out what plays well with your audience on different channels. You know them better than anyone, and what works for one brand may not work for the next.
4. Don’t forget about outreach.
The days of counting quick, easy shares are over. As the name implies, social media cannot do much for you if you’re trying to operate in a vacuum. Influencer marketing is the next level of social media marketing and can help you cut through the chatter by taking advantage of existing networks.
Think early on about the influencers you want to help promote your campaign, and reach out to them ahead of time. Be prepared to give and take on this one. It might mean returning the favor sometime in the future, so be sure you’re choosing reputable, like-minded people and organizations. If you’re really proactive, ask some of these influencers to contribute a quote to a blog post, white paper or other piece of content. If it’s collaborative, they’ll be more willing to hop onboard.
This is the heart and soul of social. Be responsive. Make sure you’re responding to questions and engagement from followers. This is also the most rewarding part of social media—even when it's oftentimes the most time-consuming. Sometimes, when we spend weeks or months planning a social campaign, we forget about the actual social part of social media (i.e., talking to your followers). You can have thoughtful posts and stunning imagery, but if the resulting conversation doesn’t feel fluid and authentic, your campaign will lose traction.
If you’ve been in the social media marketing game for awhile, none of these are groundbreaking secrets. Success in social media marketing is difficult to master, but having a steady process and steadfast commitment is a solid place to start.