When done right, the benefits of social media are plentiful: bigger yet targeted audience, greater interaction, immediate feedback and measurement, increased SEO, and unlimited opportunities to showcase your projects and your people. Below are eight steps to consider when creating your next social media campaign.
1. Assemble a Team: Social media should be a group effort even in the smallest of firms. While you may only have one or a few staff members posting content, everyone should be on the lookout for stories, taking photos and providing content (preferably already vetted for any permissions needed and facts verified). The size of your team will depend on how you divvy out responsibilities such as research, content creation, specific channels, and tracking and reporting.
2. Prepare a Present-State Audit: How will you know if you’ve made progress if you don’t benchmark your current state? There are many free ways to find your metrics such as downloading your Twitter archive, accessing Facebook Insights or signing up for free analytic apps. In your audit, be sure to include information about your competitors and which channels they are using.
3. Develop your Strategy: Before you start your strategy session, be sure your team has the present-state audit and does his/her own research as well. Set an agenda and include time for brainstorming, discussing pros/cons of different channels, setting goals, identifying key messages and measures of success (within a specific timeframe), allocating a budget and delegating specific responsibilities.
4. Comply with Policy & Guidelines: Before any employee starts posting content, they should have read and agreed to comply with any social media policy and guidelines set forth by the company. If you don’t have them already, there are lots of samples online. Topics covered might include best practices, privacy and copyright protection, use of company logos, blogging policy, disclosures and approval process.
5. Research Channel Development: There are many channels that you could be using on social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Only select the ones that make sense for your company and that you can do well rather than try to do all of them. Each company will be different in what is the best use of your resources. Once you’ve selected your channels, dig deep and learn them inside and out. There are also lots of free guides available online to show you how to leverage each one.
6. Provide Global Training: If you don’t provide training globally, you risk creating content that is disjointed, losing accountability and having lackluster results. Share the strategy, but also provide training on the channels–what works and what doesn’t. For employees that aren’t posting content, make sure they understand what kinds of information or visuals you’re looking for so they can become advocates.
7. Create Engaging Content: One of the most important factors in social media success is engaging content. Does your content add value? Does it educate or inform? Is there a visual? Try to maintain an authentic voice and keep blatant self-promotion to a minimum. Consistency is another key to success. Create a publication calendar and be thoughtful in developing topics and visuals (don’t forget the people shots).
8. Launch, Measure and Evaluate: Now to the fun part…launching your campaign! Once you’ve started posting and sharing content, you’ll immediately have metrics to measure and evaluate. Where are you falling short? Do you need to allocate more financial resources? Are certain channels not providing the results you wanted? Are people engaging in your posts? Do you have the right team on board? Continue to evaluate your results and adjust your strategy accordingly.
We hope this helps you get started (or get re-energized) on promoting your firm through social media. Feel free to contact us directly with any questions or to share your success stories.
Vice President, Business Development
Michelle Yates, APR, CPSM
Director of Marketing