Things to Consider Before Launching Your Social Media Campaign

I have been attending the Social Media Success Summit 2012 and while listening to the Keynote Speaker Jeremiah Owyang, I heard an interesting comment - it went something like: 'Would you fly in a plane with someone who didn't have their pilots license? Have an operation performed by someone who wasn't a doctor? {Heck no, I wouldn't!} Why then, would you let someone in your company interact with customers online that wasn't properly trained in Social Media?' This comment really resonated with me. I often hear frustrations from business owners who have been trying to market on Facebook by themselves - or have an employee do it - saying that they don't know what they are doing or how to measure it's success. Here are some tips for launching your own Social Media Campaign.

Before diving into a Facebook or Social Media Campaign, you need to do some planning. How will your online campaign integrate into the rest of your marketing? How will you deal with a crisis or an unhappy customer - responding online isn't always the best option, you could open the door for more online negativity. Having a plan in place before this happens (which in my experience - is not often) will put you more at ease when journeying into the world that is Social Networking.

Figure out what to post and when. When I take on a new client, I start with market research - find out what similar companies are doing (or not doing) well. This can generate some great ideas. Then I create a content calendar - usually posting at least 2-3 times/day depending on the product and platform.

Brand your Facebook Page (Twitter Profile etc.) as much as possible - for example, create a great cover photo, profile picture and branded application images within Facebook.

Finally, the most important piece of your Social Media Marketing Campaign: determine how to measure your success. Most clients say that they will determine success by the increase. This can and does happen, but it may take time, and I don't want you to get discouraged early on when results are not what you expected. I suggest measuring the engagement rate on your Facebook Page (anything over 2% is good) and monitor the visits to your website. I've had client's increase traffic to their websites by over 40% in one month just from the referring links on Facebook!

When you look into launching a Social Media Campaign and you are trying to decide whether to outsource it or do it yourself - consider your time vs. your desire to learn about Social Media Marketing. I have found - and the reason that my business exists - that small business owners are great at what they do sometimes marketing and networking get pushed to the side as other important issues (like clients) arise. I've encouraged clients to watch and learn how Social Media Marketing can be done - and done right - before taking it over themselves. The Social Media world is fun - but time consuming and you need to remain consistent for it to work.