How to Launch a Social Media Marketing Campaign
Definition of Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is the concept of earning media publicity rather than paying for it. Through social networks a message is shared by a trusted friend rather than from the company or brand itself, causing a higher level of trust to be placed on what is stated within the message.
Start-ups long for a successful social media campaign with the similar vigor that the early explorers had for finding the Fountain of Youth. Just as legends were prevalent in days past, so today there are stories passed around about companies going from nothing to the champions of Silicon Valley in a matter of years, or even months. Are their methods to develop the "oh so elusive" viral campaign that hurls a small company into the realms of success?
The answer is: yes.
Whether you are an entrepreneur with an idea or a giant corporation looking to capture the attention of potential customers, creating a social media campaign is not only a good idea, but a necessity in today's world.
Here we will spend some time looking at how to prepare for, launch, and manage a social networking campaign for your brand. If your message is a bonfire, the internet might be the lighter, but the social network determines how many people are throwing sticks on the fire to make it bigger. Convince people of the value that sharing your brand can provide them with and you will have a glowing and growing online reputation in no time.
Preparing an Online Marketing Campaign
The time is coming to launch your new great idea. Whether it is a book, a new business, an online platform, or a new song or movie, the power with which you launch it online can have a huge impact in its successful integration into the market. So how do you insure that your campaign will have the intended impact? Through preparation.
When preparing to launch a social media campaign, you will want to consider all of the following and implement what is relevant: which networks to use, people and resources to contact, content to upload, and a simple schedule.
Choosing the Correct Networks for a Social Media Campaign
There are many networks that are available and beneficial for spreading the word about a new product or idea. From the sites that everyone uses such as Facebook and Twitter, to more popular sites such as YouTube (for video sharing), LinkedIn (for professional networking),Pinterest (photo/article sharing) Myspace and Ping (for music), and HubPages (for writing online), to thousands of smaller niche blog and forum networks that have great potential for reaching specific audiences. They key is to select the ones that will benefit you the most and not to get too carried away.
What to consider when choosing networks:
- Do not join more networks than you can manage - keep new and fresh content constantly coming.
- Work hard to keep all of the usernames the same (plan ahead). If you are Joe's Plumbing on Facebook, JoethePlumber on YouTube, and share content on Pinterest as Plumber Joe, it's going to be hard for people to find you. Keep your names consistent.
- Be reading to interact with the community. That is what makes a social network successful - when the individual is able to get a response from the brand.
Develop a List of Valuable Resources and People to Contact
As soon as you are ready to launch your campaign, you want to have people whom you can contact to get the word out about - much of this can be done for free. Getting yourself in the news is a great way to spread the word - as is contacting radio and TV shows, YouTube channels, and bloggers.
Having contacts lined up makes the launch much easier. When you can immediately go to the people and resources that you need, you will not be wasting your post-launch time trying to find these sources.
Have Content Ready to Upload
Launching the social networking campaign is much more successful once there is already content in place ready to be used. When getting ready to launch, consider having the following things in order to create a valuable and successful launch:
- Have several articles written that can be shared on HubPages and other sites.
- Write a solid press release developed that can be sent into the media.
- Create several videos to upload onto YouTube. Experts suggest that it is better to upload three or four at first so that people may stay on the site to keep watching.
- Have a few sample products or a bit of money that you can give away in competitions.
- Take or create several photos that describe your company and have them ready to post online.
- Consider methods to develop a guerrilla marketing campaign.
Develop a Schedule or Timetable for Your Social Media Activity
Social media promotion is something that can never been completed. You could spend all day surfing the web and sharing information to attract to customers and fans. However, unless your business is marketing, the rest of your company will collapse if all you do is sit on Facebook all day.
Consider two scheduling aspects when launching your social media campaign:
- Set an amount of time that you will spend every week on social media and stick to it. Consider getting on daily or at least several times a week.
- Set a schedule of when you will release new content that will draw in client interaction on the site - new videos, pictures, coupons, etc.
By having a schedule in order, it will be much easier to avoid spending too much time online while still staying actively involved in the online community.
Launching a Social Media Marketing Campaign
The day has come to share your brand with the world. You have your social network sites up and you are ready to share! Now the question is, what do you do to kickstart your promotional campaign?
Creating a Message That Spreads
A common misconception is that all that is needed to succeed in the social networking world is to create an account and people will flock to it. This is not the case. The internet is loaded with billions of pages. Why should anyone stop by your small piece of the web? Answer this question by following these three steps.
Their are three keys to creating a successful online marketing campaign:
- Provide something of value: knowledge, discounts, humor, motivation, etc.
- Make it easy to share and encourage others to share it on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Promote like crazy. At the beginning it's all about who you place it in front of.
If a brand provides a service online but never promotes it, it is very unlikely that anyone will find it by accident. Additionally, if a brand pushes itself out like crazy and tells everyone to share its message, but the message provides no value to the people being encouraged to share it, the message won't go anywhere.
Methods to Launch a Social Media Campaign
There are many strategies available for marketing online. Implementing a variety of ideas is necessary for a well rounded campaign. Here are a list of useful tools to use in the official launch of your social media campaign.
- Share on your personal social networks: Your friends and family are the easiest targets for your first fans. They know you and support you. To "like" something on Facebook or follow someone on Twitter doesn't cost any money - making it a great opportunity to allow you connections to support you immediately without having to make a purchase.
- Encourage your friends and family to share: Again, it's a great way for them to get involved without much time or financial investment. The more people that are sharing, commenting, and liking something on Facebook or Twitter, the faster it is able to spread.
- Post articles online: Now is the time to use Hubpages and other venues to post useful, informative hubs about content that your potential customers would be interested in. Do not blatantly promote your site (remember you want to add value), but write to provide yourself with credibility and publicity.
- Comment on blogs and forums: Leave good comments and simply have a link at the end of the comments without too much self-promotion.
- Like and follow related brands: Although you may not want to like the competition, get involved in the communities that will be purchasing your product.
- Create a Facebook sweepstakes: The sweepstakes app on Facebook is a great way to attract new users. Although it costs a bit of money to run, you can get more Facebook likes and draw attention to your product by giving away a few things for free.
- Use other competitions: Skullcandy headphones gave out free stickers with their products and encouraged people to post pictures on Facebook of their stickers in the most creative places. IKEA posted several pictures online of furniture sets and gave away each piece of furniture to whoever tagged themselves in the picture first. Do your own take on this and you may have a great way to start a viral campaign.
- Upload videos on YouTube and share them: People love funny and entertaining videos. Post videos that draw attention to yourself and your product and share them like crazy. This can be one of the best ways to get your name out there - think "Old Spice Man".
- Give something away for free: Say that the first 100 people to like your Facebook page will get something for free, or the first 1000 to like it will receive a coupon. Additionally, if you have an ebook, song, photo, or software application that people may enjoy, share it for free in exchange for the fan doing something. You are giving the person something of value and receiving value in exchange.
- Create conversations and not advertisements: With your comments, videos, photographs, and articles, produce content that encourages interaction. Don't simply say, "Visit Joe's Plumbing". Instead, ask a question, "What is your most common plumbing problem?" This way you have people sharing what they struggle with and you can learn what your potential customers are truly interested in.
- Consider creating a simple phone app or online game: This is a bit more pricey, but has the potential to really attract users. Any way to have your brand interact with future customers will certainly create a leg up.
To get the word out their about your brand it is necessary to get people to see the brand often, and in a variety of formats, with quality content. The more times that someone sees something that interests them from a brands social media, the more they will participate in the brands community.
Managing A Social Network Campaign After Launch
As mentioned earlier, social networking is never finished. There are always more people that can view your brand, more people who can interact on a more frequent basis, and more content that the brand can share with the public. The key to managing a successful social media campaign is to share quality content consistently.
To be consist in a social media campaign remember to:
- Only use social networks that you can stay involved on. Do not blog if it is going to be once every couple months. Instead stick to spending consistent time on Facebook and Twitter.
- Schedule a set time to be network - and make sure you do not get distracted. Simply promote your brand and interact with your customers.
- Have backup content for when you have nothing to post. Start bookmarking great websites, products, videos, and quotes that you can share when unable to create your own content.
By sharing quality content often, commenting on the creations of others, and being patient, it will be possible to develop a strong and wealthy social network that will provide you with valuable connections and customers.
Summary of Social Media Campaign Process
To review what we have covered, remember to:
- Prepare ahead of time for the launch with videos, articles, and contacts in order.
- Be consistent in uploading content - only use mediums that can be regularly maintained.
- Create a conversation rather than an advertisement.
- Focus on giving costumers valuable information.
The beauty of the internet is that it has truly leveled the playing field. In the past it took a lot of money and effort to promote a new product or idea - now creativity is far more important than power.
I wish you the best as you start your knew social media campaign. Feel free to share any tips or ideas that you have discovered in the comments section below.