Masood Bukhari (October 2, 2015)
With the growing popularity of social media, focusing on social networking sites has become a necessity for businesses. According to Social Media Examiner, 83% of marketers believe that social media is vital for their business. However, a company needs to identify and target across the right social media channels, setting specific goals. Every post online should help your business achieve the desired goals thus creating a positive brand image.
In order to successfully run a social media campaign, businesses need a defined plan of action that will enable strategic success. An effective campaign summarizes and provides complete perspective on how to use social media as a tool. If your business already has a social media campaign, it would be prudent to review it and identify the weaknesses.
The design of a social media strategy will make or break the social presence of a company. According to a report by Social Media Examiner, even though 97% of businesses are taking part in social media, 85% of these participants are uncertain which social media tools should be effectively used. It is therefore, essential to have a clear strategy in place which is in congruence with organizational goals. A well-crafted strategy allows you to determine the objectives and goals beforehand. While designing the objectives, it is vital to have a functional understanding of nature, audience and features of different social media channels. This can assist in deciding the amount of time allocated to each objective and determine the right social media channel for it. For example, a business process change highlight is more suitable for a more professional channel such as LinkedIn. However, if you are offering discounts or deals on consumer products, it might be a good idea to post about it on the Facebook fan page.
A right social media campaign, if handled properly, can do wonders for a new product launch or opening a new store. It can also act as an icebreaker in connecting with your customers and portray an ideal image of the organization.
The Social media campaign by Air Asia, a Malaysian airline, can serve as a perfect example of a good strategy. The company was looking to launch a new flight from Australia but lacked the budget to launch an advertising campaign. In order to raise brand awareness, they turned to social media. Air Asia launched a campaign to give away a free plane ride to the winner of the contest, who would then be able to choose and tag 302 of their Facebook friends to take to Malaysia for free. Needless to say, the campaign became viral on Facebook and grew the fan base by 30%. Reaching over 2 million people on Facebook, Air Asia was able to generate a PR worth $1.5 million.
A good strategy will only deliver the planning phase of the project. Resources will determine whether your strategy is a success. Creating a successful social media campaign requires you to have people who understand the impact of this growing trend on culture and technology. While it is generally believed that Generation-Y has a natural affinity to social media, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a right fit to drive social media campaign for your organization. It is essential for the operational team to have complete understanding of the strategy and goals of the business in order to represent it online. Furthermore, your team needs to understand different lifecycles and types of communities involved to better leverage and deliver your corporate image.
The right social media team should have sound skills such as creativity, analytical abilities, an understanding of organizational goals and teamwork. The job description should be clear, well-defined and documented. Every resource should have an in-depth understanding of his or her role. If changes are incorporated in the campaign, roles should be reassessed and redrafted as needed.
Handling a social media campaign can be a daunting task. It is better to have a complete editorial calendar to go with a defined strategy so that you understand what needs to be done on which day. Creating these calendars in advance can help businesses avoid the strategic drift and stay organized. It also allows you to consolidate your resources and allows the manager to determine the next step in the process. Making the calendar available to the entire team allows for goal congruence across different platforms of strategy and you can make certain to deliver high-quality and well-written content online.
Creating an editorial calendar also serves as a check-and-balance system of sorts. By keeping track of the social media posts that performed poorly in the past, you can brush up your content or change your approach to make it more interesting for the target audience. It can also help you create balance between different social media channels so certain channels are not neglected.
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