Bridging the Gap to Information

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Essential Tips On How To Integrate Social Media Into Marketing Campaigns

We all know what social media is, but what exactly is a marketing campaign? At a very basic level, a marketing campaign is a plan of promoting your business, that is strategically placed to guarantee a certain percentage of return on investment. In other words, random publicity that may or may not get tangible results is hardly a 'campaign', leave alone marketing.

To put things in perspective: you have a company page on Facebook and a certain number of subscribers to that Page. This is good, since it allows a regular audience engagement and maintains your presence online. However, apart from building goodwill (which is important) and generating a certain number of leads, the normal Page activities are not doing anything that you can either measure or predict. It is time to put together a campaign, in that case. The campaign, let us assume, will consider Facebook as its locus and use whatever resource necessary to bring the plan into fruition. 

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The Game Plan

Let us hope that you have a distinct presence on at least three other social media sites: Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Let us also hope that you have a dedicated team for social media management. We have chosen Facebook for no particular reason (although we would prefer it to Twitter which offers relatively less scope for interaction). The strategy is two-fold: lead generation and lead nurturing. The second will obviously include your existent leads and a focused email marketing strategy. The first will take a little more planning.

Stage One: Conceive and Lay the Foundation

Who is your audience and what do they like? It may not be easy to have all the answers, but it appears that videos work well to generate a buzz especially if they are short ones (6 - 10 seconds work extremely well). There is no need to reinvent the wheel: just create the most brilliant video you can think of and post it on YouTube. The only difference is to prominently advertise your Facebook Page inside and below the video and mention what else awaits there (something must, else, why would anyone click through at all?).

Stage Two: Plan Your Personal Timeline

You can blast the Internet with your videos and place them on all social media and video sharing sites at once, but that is a strategy more commonly used by Affiliate Marketers trying to promote a newly launched product before anyone else can. For a company marketing campaign, you want the interest to stay alive, you want people talking about your product for a long time. Try to recall a few products, if not brands, that have faded into oblivion and yet, were most talked about when they were launched, and you will remember quite a few. The takeaway: phase the campaign - move from one site to another, always with social sharing and follow / subscribe options to keep the buzz alive. The Internet is a huge playground, and not everyone will notice your video even if the number of viewers and 'likes' reach sky high on a single site.

Stage Three: Follow the Timeline

A sample plan would be: YouTube > Google Plus > Other Video Sharing Sites >Twitter > LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn Company Page should contain more than just the video - you should put in something extra: photographs, interviews, anecdotes and so on. Ditto for Google Plus (but updated over a few days, at least, not all at once).

So where is your Facebook Page in all of this? If you placed a Facebook link in all the places your posted the vid, you must have received a lot of visitors to the Page and a lot 'likes' as well. What did you do with all that? Let your dedicated social management team handle it, of course. They answered all the queries, monitored all the conversation and hashtags, diffused tension, provided information and updates and kept the topic alive. Every potential customer wants to know about after sales service. Prompt replies to queries are a great confidence builder for them.

Stage Four: Time to Reflect

The only reason Facebook (or a single social media platform) was chosen was so that we could get everyone in one place - drive them to a Page from where they could be driven further down the sales funnel with offers and sales pitches combined with pre-sales social activity. Once you have your data after your stipulated time (allotted to the campaign) is over, rinse and repeat on Google Plus. Analyze LinkedIn responses (which are going to be different from that of other networks') and consider publishing something informative and professional (and linking to your other social profiles).

Why make things complicated? Because it is not necessary that a person active on Facebook will have equal interactions on Google Plus or even an account there. However, Google +1s reportedly have more impact than Facebok likes. If you phased your campaign right without the need for instant gratification, your popularity, leads and conversion should each show a steady upward climb for a very long time. This happens because people keep talking about your in various sectors and circles, spread the word, and your first point of interest, in this case the Facebook Page, continues to gather fans who in turn publicize you more.

MUST READ: Social Media 2020: The Future is Bright

This is like a perpetual energy machine - with a subtle push from your side. If this appears too good to be true, Google for 'Dumb Ways to Die' , 'Nike #findgreatness' , 'Granata Petfood, Foursquare' , and 'Tippex'. Each of the campaigns was hugely successful and utilized a cross-platform strategy with single aggregating points to generate and maintain interest.

The Email Marketing Part

This is so simple that you may have ignored it completely, but it doesn't hurt to keep follow and share buttons in your emails. You'd be surprised at the CTR when you trust your leads to be the lazy bums that they (and we all) are: keep a button to click, and they will click it, if not for any other reason than to feel that that is all the work they have to do! No, seriously, even clicking a button takes a lot of willpower, and when your already gathered leads click, you can be sure they mean business. Include a call to action line with the buttons (Come visit us at Facebook), add a carrot (...for the latest offers and discounts) and you've pretty much got them hooked.

Concluding Words of Wisdom

Why include Social Media at all into marketing campaigns? Because people are lazy by nature. Instead of making a careful research into some product and its efficacy, we tend to find out how many others have used it prior to us and say to ourselves ' so many people can't be wrong!' And not surprisingly, this is a line that a lot of companies use with much positive effect.

When you use social media, people talk, refer, complete a full circle of sorts and you get maximum word of mouth publicity which an 'unsocial' marketing campaign cannot generate. The only thing to remember is : Sustenance. Your campaign will be of no use if it behaves like a comet and fizzles out soon after it catches everyone's attention. Build it, maintain it, nurture it and with the proper social media integration, you can keep it alive for as long as you don't come up with the next biggest idea.


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