How to build a social media campaign, the 4 golden rules

Creating a social media campaign from your virtual drawing board can be a bit of a head-scratcher. Who’s your audience? What are you trying to achieve? Are you using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or all of them? Although there’s no sure-fire winning formula to ensure your campaign will be the cream of the crop, you can follow some essential initial steps will ensure you have a solid grounding and clear direction. These five tips will help you to outline a focused strategy, which every social campaign needs to come to fruition.

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Know your audience

There’s a heck of a lot of difference between a Batman-loving 11-year-old boy and a 71-year old knitter who isn’t as savvy or even at all active on social media. First off you must decide who you are targeting. Male or Female? Age? Language? Location? Demographics and key markets will be vastly different campaign to campaign – so catering for every demographic out there will simply leave your strategy flat and redundant, not to mention confusing for both yourself and your audience.

Fatal errors are made when a brand assumes to know what their audience think or feel. Before you can make any decisions on what your audience wants to hear about, thorough research must be carried out to determine behaviour. Look at competitors and ascertain what they are doing well (and not so well) to pinpoint their strategy. Pay attention to how they are listening and engaging with their target market. Furthermore – get involved! Post on forums, carry out questionnaires and host focus groups. Do everything you can to reinforce the solidity of your campaign and understand your audience. Once you can understand their likes and dislikes, you can start targeting your message to them.

Where will it sit?

Ever heard that less is more? Why do you think it’s such an overused phrase? Make sure you can justify what each social platform is adding to your campaign. You’ll be able to determine better what will work from the research into your target audience. The demographic might primarily be Facebook users as opposed to Twitter, they might engage well on Google+ but be equally uninterested in Pinterest. Video friends will love Vine and YouTube content. Don’t just pluck platforms out of cyberspace – if you’re only using certain ones to simply replicate previous content – get rid of it! If you can keep each stream focused and with a consistent tone, you’ll reap the rewards in the long term.

Have a plan

They say the best-laid plans can often run awry – but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for the worst, does it? Having a fully formed emergency plan in place not only means you’ll be ready to put it into action if the moment arrives, but also can help to stop any problems arising in the first place. Everyone loves a good disaster story – and you’ll remember the brands which have been publicly named and shamed in the past. Be proactive – recovery time will be quicker and less painful if you do all you can to plan for every eventuality.
Look beyond your community
You will never be able to reach everyone out there in the overcrowded social space, so why stop trying to reach new groups? Continue researching to see who might be missing out on what you’re broadcasting. New followers and likes which rack up at the start of a campaign will eventually peak, and if new areas aren’t discovered, then your community will never grow. Think of people who you can align your brand, product or project with. Most importantly, peek into unusual places for some unique ideas which just might give you the extra boost to make your campaign rapidly spread.

Where in the world are you?

If you are targeting multiple regions, there are a multitude of things to be wary of. Localised content is essential for catering to different regions and markets worldwide. Want to advance to France? Don’t just translate. Online translation misses out on slang, tone, local phrasing, cultural referencing and style. What’s more, it won’t make much sense to your audience. The only way to be sure is to use native speakers; there are simply too many nuances of language that only a fluent speaker will be able to grasp.

Be culturally aware also and create content related to worldwide events. By continually posting out information that isn’t relevant to a particular region will mean that you will lose followers, interest will dwindle, and your campaign will quickly appear not to be an authority on what you are trying to broadcast.

It can be a bit of a sandstorm, the social media realm; there’s an infinite amount of deafening tweets. There’s too much over-sharing. Everyone and their granny has an opinion. And a blog. It’s more than a little daunting to dive in. So before you do – just dip a toe. Lay good foundations, research every channel and listen to even the smallest and shiest of voices. Then you’ll be much better placed to kick-off your campaign with confidence. What else would you add to the list?

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