What’s needed for a successful social media campaign? That’s sort of like asking what it takes to create a success business. The truth is a successful social media endeavor requires hard work, time, commitment and a dash of good luck. But if your business is considering getting serious about social media with a social media professional, there are some things that you should know. The first of which is that no matter how fantastic your social media professional is, you’ll still be pivotal to the success of the campaign. Here are 5 ways you can support the success of your social media campaign and your investment with a social media professional.
1) From the outset, determine if you have the man power for social media: social media is dynamic and fast paced. Communicating with your clients in this forum will require a willingness to be there when your clients are there too. If you decide to outsource your social media communication, you’ll still need manpower and here’s why: there will be times when a potential sale or compliment or complaint comes in through a social media outlet and having a process flow that is fast and internal is absolutely necessary. You’ll probably quickly get to the point where content creation becomes a topic. Who will create the content? Even if you outsource your content to a PR or video firm, you’ll still need to be involved with the topics and subjects. The people in YOUR company understand the needs and views of your customers better than anyone else, why wouldn’t you want them to be involved.
2) Open up: The more you empower your social media campaign, the more successful it will be. Open up to new ideas. If each new idea or suggestion is met with a “we can’t do that”, then not only are you tying the hands of your social media professional, you’re limiting your own success. Make sure your executive team is on board and enthusiastic. Find an internal champion who wants to see a social campaign succeed. Be ready to share some of the nitty gritty of your company’s inner workings with a social media professional and allow them to help you through the process. Whenever I hear “we tried hiring a social media consultant, but it just didn’t work” I often ask “why?” Because while social media consultants are not all equally successful, some clients aren’t either. Some come to the table ready and willing to create magic, some come with a skepticism that limits the possibility of success from the outset.
3) Tracking Sales: If you are looking to track your sales directly from social media, be ready to invest in some additional tools. Google Analytics is a good start, but it won’t be enough. If you utilize non-digital forms of marketing, then let your social media pro in on the details. Let them understand your marketing cycle so they can support your over all goal, not just the goal of social media. There are tracking tools which will help you identify multiple digital touch points such as email and web and social. But if you really want to dig deep, you’ll want to integrate your CRM with social media. If you don’t have a CRM, then tracking that insight will be considerably harder and more time consuming, you’ll have to rely on causation rather than direct attribution. No social media professional can make you invest in these tools, but if you wish to skip them, then it isn’t the fault of your social media professional.
4) Be ready to integrate: You’ll quickly find that elements of social media include touch points including marketing, sales, PR, customer relations and more. Social media shouldn’t be treated as a silo, I always say, social media is the farm, not the silo. I say that because its the fertile ground where the sun, the rain, the tender care all take place to create magnificent fruit. But without all the elements together, the fruit isn’t as magnificent. Make sure you’re willing and able to have those touch points involved in the discussion. An audit will quickly reveal the areas in which you can have an impact, but at the very least, its likely to include some changes to your website, integration with your email list, some communication with your executive team and support from everyone involved.
5) “What Have You Done for Me Lately”: Social media isn’t really a sales tool, its a marketing tool. Social media helps you create a stronger emotional connection with your customers, but few customers place orders through social media (subject to change?) The effects of social media are likely to be exponential, but perhaps not immediate and potentially difficult to track (depending on your choices of tracking). Give your customers some time to start communicating with you on social media..and give them a reason to communicate with you. You’ll find that things come into play together, over time.
6) Be Flexible, Be Human: What worked for your competitor may or may not work for you. You might find that something that has worked in the past isn’t working now. Be prepared to try something new, in fact, always be thinking of what’s next. Social media is dynamic and so are social media users. They expect you to be interesting, inventive and informative. If you aren’t one of the three “I’s” on social media, then its time to think about how you can be. And don’t forget, at its heart, social media is about communication. Be human, let your customers be human. They’ll think more highly of you and that will pay dividends for years to come!