Is a Social Media Marketing Campaign Right For You?

During the past few years some well-known companies have been experimenting with social media marketing campaigns, using tools like Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Flickr, YouTube, WordPress, and Digg for the first time. The reason? It’s an easy, fast and low-cost alternative to reach, and continuously engage mass amounts of people online.

One very important element, however, you need to encapsulate a social media strategy that works for you (and not every company should use social media as a marketing channel). Some companies clearly didn’t develop an effective strategy or understand the power of the web before launching their social media marketing campaigns and unfortunately, failed. Some well-known social media blunders include the “Wal-mart Deceit”: Wal-mart’s PR firm, Edelman, deliberately set out to deceive the public with fake blog posts, “Dell Hell”: a customer service issue that blew up on the web overnight by letting down a tech influencer and blogger. Another example was the infamous Ford Chevy Tahoe campaign, where the crowds began dissing the car and Ford’s marketing team was not able to control the negative messaging on the campaign’s microsite.

Here is my recipe for planning a social media campaign:

Step 1: Figure our your target audience and conduct some comprehensive analytics on where they are spending their time online

Step 2: Create a strategy on how to reach your audience and make your campaign viral

Step 3: Delineate some clean-cut, clear objectives

Step 4: Execute on the tactics that can help you reach your campaign’s objectives

Step 5: Create metrics and integrate tools to track impressions, registrations, sales, tone or whatever it is that you’d like to measure

Some reasons to practice social media marketing include:
•    What you see is what you get: your website is exposed to the public immediately and spontaneously
•    High returns: there is a relatively low-cost to produce social media campaigns because most of the tools are free and you can reach several people at once
•    Easy to absorb: it’s really easy to acclimate yourself with social media tools and use them in a strategic manner
•    No interference: social media campaigns will not interfere with other corporate web properties, so you can launch independent campaigns and choose to enhance assets or not

Rules to follow to achieve a successful social medial campaign:
•    Listen A LOT; read customer feedback, capture conversation snapshots
•    Respond; be accessible
•    Contribute; be a part of the conversation
•    Open the discussion
•    Educate consumers
•    Encourage; create inspiration, empowerment, motivation
•    Be real, be human; never create automated responses for social media campaigns
•    Acknowledge the community; highlight and showcase the “super users”
•    Be transparent; honesty is the best policy
•    Use metrics; track successes and failures


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