Are you brand new to this whole social media marketing phenomenon? Perhaps a brand new business looking to make an early start on social media before initiating your marketing plans? In any case, you’re here because you’re worried that you might be missing something before you start.
This will help you get to the starting line.
Define A Goal
The first item on your checklist should be asking yourself what you’re trying to accomplish by engaging in social media marketing. In the other words, what is the objective or goal you are trying to reach? Constructing a goal isn’t too difficult either. You simply search for a certain aspect of your business you’d like improve via social media marketing and condense it down.
For example, let’s say you’re a relative new start-up. You’re just getting the business on its feet and you’d like to get the word out about who you are and what you do. This means the objective of your marketing campaign will be centered around improving brand awareness. From there on, your marketing efforts will be directed to accomplishing just that.
Once you’ve identified a goal you’d like to reach, you can further improve your goal-setting by getting more detailed. To do this, you’ll want to use the gold standard for defining your goals – setting S.M.A.R.T goals.
S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
In more depth:
- Specific – What exactly you are trying to accomplish?
- Measurable – How exactly are you going to measure the progress of your efforts?
- Achievable – Is your goal actually achievable given where you are starting from?
- Realistic – Given the resources you currently have at your disposal, is your goal a realistic one?
- Timely – How much have you given yourself to accomplish this goal?
As you can see, setting a S.M.A.R.T goal makes you look your goals in more a more objective fashion. Forcing you to consider what actions you can take to reach it. Goal-setting is detailed as it is because it’s the most important step of this checklist. Everything else that follows builds up from your goal. Take the time to think about what you are trying to accomplish before moving on to the next step.
Pick Your Audience
As part of your goal planning, you also need to know to whom you are trying to market. If you’re a new business selling health foods for pregnant mothers, your target audience would obviously be pregnant mothers and not single men over 50. If you are thinking “wouldn’t narrowing my audience down reduce the exposure of campaign?” Yes. It would. But you only want to expose your message to an audience that will have the greatest chance of becoming a customer.
Trying to sell health food to single men over 50 might work if someone they know is pregnant and could use it. But that’s really pushing the boundaries of who you’re trying to communicate with. It’s much better to direct your efforts to reach a smaller, more motivated audience.
To help you discover your target audience, you should consider creating a customer avatar. A customer avatar is a hypothetical customer that would be the perfect fit for your product or service. To go about doing this, simply write down, in great detail, about the characteristics and traits your perfect customer would have.
Don’t spare any details. Be as granular as you possibly can and include things such as:
- A name
- Sex (if it matters)
- Age (the average of your defined age range)
- Number of children
- Level of education
- Employment status
- Wealth bracket (how wealthy are they)
The list can keep going, but just make sure the details are relevant to your campaign. Having a very specific audience you have in mind also makes it easier for you to craft content. They’ll be more easily able to identify how your business can help them solve their problems, making your marketing campaign more effective.
Choose Your Platform
No doubt you know about the existence of multiple social media platforms. You are after all, looking into starting a social media marketing campaign. Just like narrowing down your what your perfect customer would look like, you need to find out which of the many platforms you like to start on.
To do so, you’ll need to find out where your audience and their friends are hanging out on. If you created a detailed customer avatar, you should also have the possible social media platforms written down. If your audience consists of mainly corporate professionals, there’s a good chance you’ll find them on LinkedIn.
While your audience can be found on different platforms, don’t forget that each platform serves a different function. LinkedIn is designed to connect professionals, Instagram is very picture and image focused, YouTube is a video-orientated platform. It’s important to understand if the focus of these platforms falls in line with your campaign (i.e if you aren’t going to be producing videos, it’s best to leave out YouTube for now).
Remember that just because you are choosing your preferred platform right now, doesn’t mean you can’t use other channels. As your campaign gains traction, you could consider opening up more channels and cross-linking your postings. The key thing at the start is to focus on getting the campaign running on one platform first.
Create A Content Schedule
Keeping a schedule is a must if your social media marketing campaign is going to have any chance of succeeding. Just like defining your goals, keeping a schedule forces you to map out who is going publish what piece of content when. More questions to ask yourself! The benefits of keeping a schedule definitely outweighs the effort it takes to build one which includes:
- Allowing you to plan in advance how frequently you will need to post content
- Allows you to map out what elements of your business you would like to cover over a certain period
- Allows you to have a something you can measure your progress against (or you on schedule or are you behind?)
A content schedule also gives consistency to your campaign. Imagine if you released a few pieces of content and promotional material this week, but the couple of weeks you went totally silent. That would be a devastating blow to your marketing progress. As far as your audience is concerned, you were there for a week and then vanished in the next instant. You will be forgotten, so keep a schedule to stay in sight. As they say – out of sight, out of mind!
The type of content you intend to publish also has a hand in determining your content schedule. Long blog post (1500 words and up) typically don’t have be posted as often as you would 500 word articles. Producing high quality videos will inherently take more time than publishing a short blog post about your company’s latest developments.
Your choice of platform can also influence how you plan your content schedule. As Facebook and Instagram have the “Stories” function – content that will only hast for 24 hours that later disappear from public view, ephemeral content publishing is an option available for these platforms.
With that in mind, create your schedule taking into consideration both the type of content you intend to publish as well as the platform you choose to publish on. Stay consistent.
In beginning, social media marketing can be a very overwhelming experience, especially if you’re still learning about the process. To prevent yourself from feeling lost or discouraged, you should start with small steps. Consistently making small bits of progress and receiving a constant flow of feedback will make you a better marketer.
For example, today you released a 500 word blog post and you didn’t receive the level of response you were hoping for. Why? Was it the content? The timing of your release? Maybe for your next 500 word post, you’ll publish it at a different time and see if anything changes. There is so much you can learn from taking small steps that don’t end up costing you too much.
Create A Content Pipeline
This point is tied closely with your content schedule. While it’s great you are able to map out your content in advance, it’s often a good idea to have something ready just in case. For instance, you could have 2 or 3 pieces of content in the pipeline that were crafted with schedule in mind that are ready to publish.
That way, if something causes you delay a big release, you’ll always have something you can post over the next few days, buying you some time to fix the problem.
Mix Your Content Offerings
Mixing your content offering doesn’t mean swapping between your regular and promotional content. It means actively looking and curating piece of content that, although you did not produce, would be useful or interesting for your audience to engage with. This doesn’t mean you should go and find content written by other people and pass it off as your own. Instead, (as an example) you’ve come across an article that has some bit of news regarding the future of your industry. You could do a write up about that piece and put down what you think about it – while linking back to the original creator of the article.
“Why would I want to promote other people’s work?” I can hear you ask. You are doing so not because you want to promote that writer, but rather, you have found that his content contains some interesting information that your audience might enjoy. Instead of simply reposting it, you add your thoughts to the mix and give your opinion on the topic of discussion.
By doing so, you’re adding value to the topic, and enriching your audience with information. You get to voice your thoughts on the matter while diversifying your content, and the original writer gets the exposure he deserves for putting that piece together. It’s a win for everyone!
So be on the look out for news or articles that relate to your business. There’s always an opportunity for engagement.
There you have it! A guide you can run through before you begin your social media marketing campaign.
All best to you and your campaign, and thanks for reading!
Social media marketing can be scary stuff for businesses just starting out. Between working on the core products and services of your business and juggling the important need to market yourself, it can all seem so overwhelming. This is when you might consider getting a team to help you manage your social media marketing needs.
At Digital Zoopedia, we are ready to offer our support in getting your campaign off the ground. Let us do the heavy lifting on the social media marketing part so you can focus on creating the best products and services for your customers. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s discuss how your campaign will begin. For more information, click here.