Running a great social media campaign that generates leads and gains customers has little to do with finding a job on LinkedIn or sharing photos of your kids on Facebook.
All too often, people tell me they have hundreds of Facebook friends or LinkedIn connections, thus they know how to run social media campaigns for their businesses. Sadly, this mindset has led to countless failed campaigns and millions of dollars left on the table.
Running a successful campaign requires strategy, expertise and perseverance. Here are the 10 things I have learned, through the years, that are essential to running a truly great social media campaign.
1- Make a plan
Like many things in life, not making a plan for your social media campaign is planning to fail. If you don’t know where to begin, use this blog post to help you formulate your plan. Read it carefully. It walks you through the major things you need to think about and/or figure out. Once you finish reading it, make a to-do list of actions you will take each month, week and day. Your initial plan should be at least six months, because that’s how long it takes for a social media campaign to gain traction.
2-Know the difference between branding, marketing and sales
A big reason social media campaigns fail is because they try and do too much. People forget that marketing is only a third of the puzzle. The other two pieces are branding and sales.
Before you start tweeting and sending snaps, you need to work on your company’s brand positioning. In short, you must:
- Determine who your potential customer is. Learn their age, gender, geographic location, etc.
- Discover what will emotionally motivate your customer to engage and ultimately buy your product.
- Create a company name, tagline, logo, color scheme and website.
Once you have established your company’s brand, you can start developing a social media marketing strategy. Make sure you give plenty of thought as to how you will turn social media engagement into actual clients. You need a sales funnel in place to convert traffic into leads and, ultimately, customers.
3- Establish your sales funnel
It is extremely rare for people to learn about a service or product and immediately purchase it. People spend weeks, even months learning about a service or product before they engage. There are three phases in the sales funnel:
This is all about educating your lead and providing information and resources to help meet their needs. Content is key in this phase. This is why an engaging, informative blog is so important. You can use your social media channels to distribute this content. Other things that work well in this phase of the sales funnel are newsletters, infographics and market guides.
At this stage your lead knows about you, but hasn’t engaged your services or bought your product. Your goal here is to stay in front of them and continue providing them with information that helps them and engenders confidence. This is where you want to use automated drip campaigns (sending them more information each time they engage with you) and focused landing pagee to get them to convert.
This is where a lead becomes an actual customer. You can provide content to help them do this, such as buying guides, case studies, demos and testimonials. Special offers work well in this phase. Ideally this is where you turn the lead over to an experienced sales team to close the deal. Never under estimate the importance of a good sales team. I’ve seen great social media campaigns generate thousands of leads and never get paying clients because they didn’t see the importance of having a sales person follow-up and close the deal.
4- Determine which platforms are optimal for your business
Two things will determine the platforms you should focus on. Your target demographic and the nature of your business. Your branding research should have taught you about your ideal customer. Click here for a “cheat sheet” that tells you the demographics of the major social media sites.
If you are selling to a business, you should focus much of your efforts on LinkedIn. If you’re selling directly to consumers, LinkedIn can be a waste of time or even hurt your business.
If you’re selling to consumers, focus on consumer oriented sites. Businesses that have strong visual appeal (fashion, design, real estate, etc.) should have a presence on Instagram and Pinterest.
5- Create landing pages for your social media campaign
Traffic from your social media sites should be driven to separate landing pages. The goal of these is to get people to convert. Make sure the graphics and the language of the landing pages are consistent with the messaging they see on your social media platforms. The landing pages should always include a CTA (call to action) to get people to convert. The conversion doesn’t have to be a product sale- it can be getting them to submit an email address, or some other step in your marketing funnel.
6- Differentiate yourself
If everyone in your business is doing the same thing, do something completely different! Not only will you stand out, but you will intellectually and/or emotionally connect with people that feel the same way you do.
7- Connect with leads and customers emotionally
Most purchase decisions are guided by emotion. Logic is used to justify these emotional decisions. Take the time to identify your ideal client’s emotional needs and what will meet those needs. For example, if you’re selling homes, tap into the fact that people buy homes so they and their families feel secure. When viewing a new home, they imagine themselves making memories in it. It is as important, if not more so, to connect with your customer on this level as it is to detail the financial benefits of home ownership.
8- Engage daily
Social media isn’t just about posting content. It is about engaging with people online. Any time someone comments on one of your posts make sure to respond. Be pro-active about engaging. Don’t wait for people to comment on your posts. Go through their feeds, like and comment upon posts.
9- Be consistent
Like anything, building a great social media campaign takes time. Too often I see people start out strongly, then lose momentum after a few weeks. You have to constantly create content, post, engage and take people through the sales funnel. It generally takes six months for a social media campaign to produce results. This is with consistency. Inconsistent posting and interaction is just a waste of time.
10- Stay on top of the analytics
Immediate access to deep data is the reason digital has revolutionized sales and marketing. Any time you post content you get new information about what appeals to your target market and what doesn’t. Monitor analytics daily so you can constantly refine your message and offer potential customers increasingly valuable content.