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How to Plan a Social Media Campaign

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SmallBusiness.com How-tos are step-by-step instructions for specific small business tasks. They are created and edited by readers like you. You can help edit this How-to or you can create your own. Find more How-tos at the SmallBusiness.com How-to Hub.

Introduction

Ready to jump into a formal social media marketing campaign? Many companies have found that the interaction and connections they make with their customers is an indespensable tool for them. But just as with marketing with catalogs or postcards, it takes the proper perspective and a clear set of goals to be successful. You are not going to dive right in without a plan.

Steps

*Build Brand Ambassadors

Have an army of ambassadors who will shout of the wonders of you and your brand. Never underestimate the power of friendship and friendly support both online and otherwise. Staunch supporters are never to be overlooked! Empower and award those who promote your brand because they love it. One of these brand ambassadors can create more positive energy for you than hundreds of thousands of text-based ads.

*Manage Reputation

Be aware of what is written about you and your brand. When a “bomb” is thrown, take heed. Sift through the statement for nuggets of truth. Initiate contact with this bomber with absolute diplomacy. Realize that often your biggest haters can become your most loyal followers. The ticket is to be open and humble to complaint and criticism. Also, counteract criticism, push positive posts, tweets, pins, and messages to even out the playing field.

*Lead with Thoughts from a Blog

Build a blog that is based on your goals and objectives. Knit your niche and be passionate and consistently productive with the ideas of your brand. Create an editorial calendar which establishes how often you will post and what you will provide. Cushion yourself with at least ten posts before opening the doors of your blog to the web world. As you get into the nuts and bolt of your social media campaign planning, keep these big picture concepts in mind. As the conversation picks up, you'll see more and more people gravitate to you as you actively interact with them.

*Use Audience Awareness

Who would make use of what you have to offer? Where are they hanging out online? Where they go, you and your brand should go. Participate in social networking activities. Visit others' sites, forums, and blogs so you SEE and are SEEN. Leave thoughtful, relevant comments and messages and exit by leaving your URL. This lays a foundation for friendship. Expect a return on this type of investment.

Tips

To start the social media marketing race, you must be prepared by being SMART:

  • Specific: Make a definitive goal for your brand. Then establish objectives to meet your goal. Only you know what these are - no one-size-fits all approach works.
  • Measurable: Measure your progress based on your goals and objectives. What equals success? Is it return on investment through repeat sales? Is it reaching 1 million friends on Facebook?
  • Attainable: What is possible for you and your brand? It may seem lofty, but is it attainable? This is NOT a vision statement; this is something you know you can reach in two months, 6 months, a year, etc.
  • Realistic: What can be accomplished NOW with the resources and time you have allotted? All things are attainable, but in reality, it also must be in “good” time.
  • Timely: Create a finish line for each milestone with a hard calendar date. As you meet goals and objectives, they begin to morph into new things, be it broader or more refined.

Social media is about conversations. People interacting with other people. Even when they interact with your brand, in essence the social media site is your brand personified - with a voice, pictures, and overall tone that a person has in these same environments. So get out there and get some "friends", but have the right approach of relationship building from square one.

Warnings

Bear in mind that your customers may not use traditional social media. It's entirely possible that the big sites like Facebook aren't a good fit. Pinterest is a great example as many people who use it are not necessarily big on Twitter or Facebook. So make sure you are where your customers congregate.

See also