Posted to Volacci's blog on August 30th, 2011

9 Things You Oughta Know if You Want a Great Social Media Campaign

twitter social media cartoon_0.gif

Making social media work can require a certain balancing act at times. It takes planning and foresight, drive and ambition, creativity and vibrance. And while there's no cookie cutter mold to transform your campaign from sheets of dough into a gingerbread house, we've put together some general guidelines that should help lay that sugary foundation. Here we go...

Know what you want. We get it. Social media is new! It’s exciting! And you just have to have it! But hold yer horses there, cowboy. If you don’t know what you want, you can't make sure you’re hitting the target when evaluating your success. A great social campaign takes planning. Know your goals and make sure you have a clear understanding of what it’ll take to get there.

Merge your split personalities. Your social media accounts should be a clear extension of your brand. Not the evil step-child. Not the black sheep. There should be a cohesive thread sewn into anything that has your company’s name on it. If you’re witty on Twitter, you don’t want the prose on your site to be serious and verbose. A brand with multiple personality syndrome is bound to confuse and isolate customers who know one side of your brand but land on your site and get another.

Abide by the 80/20 rule, with a twist. You’ve done the research. You’ve heard time and time again about the 80/20 rule. And for those just joining, a quick breakdown: 80% of your social interactions should be goodwill-based (informative, interactive) and 20% promotional. But I like to add a little bit of a twist to ensure 100% success with that 20% part: Write promotional posts that are as compelling and creative as your regular ones. In fact, your followers and fans shouldn’t be able to tell the difference. The goal isn’t to trick anyone, but to create and share content that is just equally as valuable and market it as such.

Know the golden rule: content is king. You can post 500 million times an hour on Twitter and Facebook, but if you’re not ultimately driving traffic back to your site, engaging your visitors there and converting, then you’re missing the point. The backbone of any great social media campaign is great and consistent content. So get those creative juices flowing and give your followers something to get excited about.

Make yourself easy to find, and easy to follow. If I can’t tell that you have a Facebook profile or a Twitter handle from looking at your homepage, I’m probably not going to fan or follow you. And if I can’t add your blog to my Google Reader, I’m not likely to regularly read your blog posts. Add social buttons that link to your accounts on your homepage and make RSS feeds that are easily accessible for your blog.

Provide value. Period.

Take engagement beyond the social spectrum. If your goal with social media is to bring traffic to your site, this means you need to drive engagers back to your site and giving them something to do once they get there. If you want to attract quality employees, this may mean encouraging portfolio downloads or collecting letters of inquiry. Getting the conversation going on social networks is only half the battle-- encouraging your brand’s followers to engage each other where *you* want them to is key.

Don’t stop... measuring. Use Google Analytics to see how much traffic your social networks send back to your website. Buffer is a great little tool that monitors your click through and retweet statistics (and allows you to schedule your tweets!). Hootsuite or Tweetdeck can track your brand name, your social conversations and just about anything else you can imagine. Here at Volacci, we use a great custom tool called Iris that tracks everything all at once. Whatever your poison, use it and use it often.

Tie it all together. With most things, social media has no silver bullets. There is not just one thing that will create instant success. These things work hand-in-hand and, most importantly, these things take time. Don't add that gingerbread roof until the icing holding the walls together has dried. Careful planning, execution, understanding, and monitoring all work together. Add in a dash of creativity and a leap of faith, and you’re bound to get your social campaigns picking up speed in no time.