Case Study: Social Media Consultation
This post is a broad overview of how I approach a typical social media consultation. Of course, every client has unique needs!
Social Media Is Not Enough By Itself
One thing I won’t do is promise unrealistic results. Lots of consultants can come in throwing around buzzwords and promising that just posting on Facebook or Twitter is enough to grow your brand. It isn’t! I believe that social media is best folded into a blended campaign that uses both traditional and online marketing in support of larger communication goals.
Television, radio and print media are still more effective in reaching some demographic groups than social media (although the internet landscape is graying a lot faster than you might think) and well-executed email campaigns outperform any social media activity 40 to 1. Did you know only 12% of people who see a product advertised on SM go on to purchase?
So Why Should I Worry About Social Media?
You won’t see huge booms in sales just by adding social media to the mix. But social networking is one of the primary ways that your existing user base can communicate problems, questions, and new ideas to you. People use social media to talk to each other about themselves, you, and your brand – and you need to have a voice to respond to all those conversations.
Additionally, new customers looking for information about your company will often turn to a quick Google check. You’ll want to be there to be found, and you want them to find current, positive information about you.
Developing a Social Media Campaign
My social media consultation with a client generally follows three phases. As each stage is completed, reports are returned to the client. Depending on the client, some of these steps might not be necessary.
- Understand the client target demographic. Are you trying to reach a new audience, or extend service to existing customer bases? I’ll work with a marketing department if you have one to identify this information.
- Identify best new/untapped markets for client demographic through research. For example: A clothing line might not have realized Pinterest is a great modern venue for promoting their new fall fashions.
- Assess effectiveness of existing content strategy and identify areas of weakness. What is the client already doing? Is it working well?
- Consolidate and clean up existing social media accounts. This might mean merging duplicate Facebook business Pages, or standardizing URLs and account names across platforms. Users – and Google search – prefer consistent names from one platform to another.
- Remove or secure any posts or content that may affect the brand’s overall branding going forward. Old profiles and personal blogs can be hidden landmines for company branding. Google remembers things you might have forgotten about.
- Register and prepare new accounts on platforms for use by creating profiles, adding icons and promotional graphics, and writing keyword-friendly bios and descriptive texts.
- Research hashtags and marketing trends that may serve client brand/community as “hooks” for publicity.
- Research existing online reputation and identify any hot spots or potential areas of concern.
- Identify peak times of usage for all channels.
- Develop a content calendar based on Phase One research. This detailed calendar will also be encoded into a Google Doc or folded into a publicity calendar – whatever form of documentation your company prefers. Here’s an example of an initial content calendar: Sample Social Media Calendar.
- Address any online reputation issues by direct engagement.
- Prepare a Quick Guide for client if necessary. Quick Guides help quickly explain how to use and message brand’s social platforms and the underlying thinking that motivated the creation of the content calendar. Here’s an example of an initial Quick Guide: Social Media Quick Guide 2014
- Develop an e-mail campaign if none exist.
- Execute the content calendar, posting at identified peak times for each platform.
- Create all graphics for posting in monthly batches, if needed. Images on Facebook are no longer optional these days – they’re required. They don’t have to be “images with quotes” – but they should be bright, vivid, and illustrative of your post’s content.
- Create or edit any blog or longform content in monthly batches, if needed.
- Continue to research new and emerging platforms and engage these platforms if relevant. Should you be on Vine, Medium, Snapchat?
- Look for additional and unusual ways to promote the client. For example, creating a short free e-book to post on Scribd or a slideshow for SlideShare can help create a long tail effect boosting brand authority and thought leadership.
- Survey users at significant landmark points. I like a 3 month performance benchmark to see how things are going. This is also a great way to create a feedback loop that leads to new campaigns and products.
- Report weekly to the client on gains and challenges. I use follower tracking and analysis of platform analytics to get a sense where the campaign is succeeding or needing improvement. In companies with strong sales tracking mechanisms, it’s possible to do ROI reporting as well.
You may not need a comprehensive plan. Maybe you just want some additional eyes on what you’re already doing. If you’re looking to develop, extend, or get some new ideas for social media campaigns, don’t hesitate to contact me today!