How to plan a winning social marketing campaign
To the entrepreneur or small business, Social Marketing can be similar to Seduction; at first exciting & challenging, and leading to frustration and exasperation.
That is where planning and preparation fit in.
The parallels with Seduction are a useful way of describing the steps and actions one must follow to create that profitable and rewarding Campaign.
In both, success based upon planning, hard work and the application of the right resource.
It always helps if you recognize the full extent of the task before you start the journey.
Of course, ultimate success is never guaranteed but the parallels between Seduction and Social Marketing will help illuminate the work required.
Imagine you are attending an art festival and the opportunity is you might meet someone. So, you prepare yourself. Your character, your clothing and your voice must match the event and personality you present at the event.
It is the same with a Social Media Campaign. Prepare any campaign thoroughly. What are you trying to say? What does the target want to hear? What is the result you want to achieve?
Now back to the art festival. You do meet someone of interest. The first rule is to take things slowly, to listen.
The Social Marketing parallel is similar. Your target is out there, and is exposed to many different messages. Do you know what they want to hear? Talking and not listening never impresses anyone. Make sure that your Social Marketing Campaign listens?
In real life attraction is often not mutual. And that is what exploration is about. And sometimes that requires a little work. And listening will help you more than talking will.
Social marketing is the same. Your message must match the listeners needs at that specific time. Some consumers may not know your product. They might need awareness building. Others will be ready to buy and they need a promotional incentive.
So, you have met an interesting person. Now what? You must meet again and explore those commonalities. “Let’s meet again” is the obvious question!
And in the world of social marketing the next meeting must be in the communities your target frequents. That means you must create a presence in those communities.
The new person has agreed to a date. Before you set the type of date it is often useful to speak to a friend!
With a social marketing campaign, it is the same and any idea is worth pretesting. So, do the research and test your ideas on a small group of people. Find out what they think.
After some thought and discussion with trusted friends you decide a private dinner is most appropriate. And things become challenging. The potential target may have spoken about you with colleagues. That might confirm or create doubts?
So too for the brand message. What about your online presence. Is it consistent across all platforms? Is it one familiar message? Are there obvious misalignments? If there are fix them quickly. One of the easiest ways to quickly fix a message, particularly in a B2B environment is with a direct mail campaign. But make sure it is creative!
The first date is a positive event and you discover things about each other that bode well for the future. Things you want to explore and build together.
And so, it is in marketing. Once you listen to your target market it might become apparent that there is a deeper need. Perhaps by attaching services, you can turn a commodity product into a unique service.
One of the things you discover at that first dinner is the importance of certain friends to your new partner. You want to meet these people. Before you do you must understand the relationships and be able to fit in.
Again, the parallel with Social Marketing.
Different platforms require different resources both in time and money. If video is a first choice, you know you must post at least one video per week. That has a content, time and money commitment.
And a commitment you must stick to over the entire campaign.
And now things become serious.
You are invited to a more personal event where a close friend member will be present. You know your partner will be strongly influenced by that close friend.
So too with influencers. A target consumer may be interested but that interest can be killed by a negative comment from an influencer. Ensure you know who the influencers are.
The relationship grows. And the challenges grow as well!
Summer holidays are approaching. Do you plan that first holiday together?
These challenges often force stops in the Social Marketing Campaign as well.
To this point you have been investing intellectual time and resource in your idea. Now comes the time to invest money. It might be paid for advertising to communicate a specific message. It might be appointing a designated person to manage your social marketing activities or appointing a social marketing agency.
But you must take a more formal financial investment step.
And then comes a more serious test.
Personally, you are promoted to a position overseas, a position that you have been working toward for some time. Now what? That leads to a serious conversion between the two of you about your relationship. That test is resolved with a private commitment. And you agree that you will move together.
Any Social Marketing Campaign hits unexpected obstacles and it is best to plan for these unexpected events. Treat the obstacles expected interruptions. And plan for them upfront. Prepare a Crisis Communication Plan and add that to your list of things you hope you never need to use.
Now the time arrives to make your commitment public. Ultimately you make a public (and legal) commitment that you will spend the rest of your natural lives together as one.
Again, same in a business. Perhaps it is seeking out investors. Or talking to business plan to a bank. And for a business that might demand a refocus. You may have been quietly building awareness, building networks or the influencers. Now is the time to launch that ecommerce site and go for the first sale. That Social Marketing Campaign must become profit focused.
After that public commitment has been made, does that mean the excitement and intrigue should now be forgotten? No. you both must work to keep it alive. And here you must be creative.
Remember that the opportunity of that first client has now changed. That first sale becomes an influencer for the second sale. However the first sale is managed, it becomes an influencer for others. So, remember to build in after-sales service and customer care.
And here is the first real difference between Social Marketing and Seduction. In real life the Seduction leads to a Lifetime Partnership. But in business the cycle continues. A new day. A new customer. A new sale. Momentum is ongoing.
About Garth Sutherland
Garth Sutherland has an extensive multicultural understanding.
He has worked with local brands (creating independent strategic positions) and international brands (integrating the international brand vision with the local demand to optimize the “on the ground” brand presence). His strengths include bringing a strong strategic focus into all aspects of marketing delivery, working with multi-agency perspectives, independent thinking & implementing with a consistent and practical teamwork focused delivery.
Garth is currently working for Six Degrees, a communication and events management consultancy that combines strategy with functional management, always ensuring that every event and every component of every event adds to the strategic value of the brand represented.
If you are participating in an event and want to maximize the strategic value of that participation, Garth (and Six degrees) is the ideal resource to task.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or +971 50 459 2536. Other posts of his can be read at https://www.linkedin.com/in/garthrsutherland/