When you decide to pursue a social media campaign, it’s natural to get a bit excited. You’ve been thinking about the potential returns of social media marketing for a long time, and you want to start earning the rewards as soon as possible. For this reason, many new entrepreneurs and marketers jump in without thinking—and end up wrecking their campaigns before they ever have a chance to get off the ground.
The execution of your campaign matters—significantly—but if you haven’t set yourself up with the proper research and foundations, your campaign’s potential will be crippled. Before you start posting anything on social media, make sure you take care of these five pre-requisites:
1. Know your goals and targets.
This is by far the most important step of the process. Your general goal may be “success” with social media marketing, but what does that “success” really mean? Does it mean more traffic? More likes or followers? Higher brand awareness? Moreover, how are you going to get there? What demographics are you targeting? How are you going to appeal to them? What platforms are you going to use?
If you haven’t thought deeply about these questions, you shouldn’t start your campaign yet. Dig into some market research, as well as some competitive research, to learn more about your industry’s landscape. You’ll want to set a direction for your campaign, including who you’re targeting, why you’re targeting them, and the precise numbers you want to achieve. Without focus, you won’t even know how to measure the success of your campaign.
2. Confirm individual responsibilities and checkpoints.
Who in your company is responsible for managing your campaigns? What, exactly, are they responsible for? Is someone going to take charge of posting new content, with someone else taking point on responding to incoming messages? You’ll want to make this clear before beginning, or certain responsibilities will be lost in the shuffle.
You’ll also want to set up some key checkpoints for your campaign. For example, you may call a meeting every week or two to get the team on the same page and address any issues, or you might set up a monthly evaluation to take the pulse of your campaign and make adjustments as necessary. Outline this as formally as possible.
3. Establish conversion opportunities throughout your site.
No matter how big your social media audience gets, the real value is going to be people clicking through to your website and converting, whether that means joining your email list or buying your products and/or services. Accordingly, before you post anything, you’ll want to go through your site and make sure it’s fully optimized for customer conversions.
Depending on your goals, this could involve setting up specific landing pages for different audience segments or specific functions. However, most of your focus should be centered on providing ample conversion opportunities on your content-rich pages—as this is where the majority of your social audience will end up.
4. Set up an ongoing blog.
You’ll need to set up an ongoing blog, complete with high-quality posts, for a variety of reasons. First, it’s going to serve as discussion material for your social media accounts. Second, it’s going to serve as a means of not only keeping users on your site, but convincing them that you deserve their business. Your content establishes your brand as an authority in your space, which builds trust and drives conversions.
5. Flesh out your profiles.
Finally, make sure to completely fill out your social media profiles with information about your company. This includes filling out every form offered by each respective platform, and uploading images to your profiles. This is going to optimize your profiles for search engines, so they’ll show up for relevant searches (especially branded ones), but more importantly it will serve as the first impression most of your new followers will have of your brand. Even if you don’t plan on posting actively on other platforms, it’s a good idea to claim as many profiles as possible for visibility reasons.
Think of these five steps as a runway for your campaign. They aren’t going to help you stay in the air, and they can’t guarantee a perfect takeoff or landing, but they are necessary if you want a good chance at success. Once you have them in place, you can start digging into the fun stuff—the actual posts and engagements that will spark your campaign to grow.