How to Create Powerful Social Media Marketing Campaigns: The 2016 Guide

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It’s safe to say that the antiquated thought process that social media is where brain cells go to die is well behind us. For many businesses, social media is a powerful channel for generating leads and building your brand. If your business hasn’t acquired new leads and customers through strategic social media marketing, it’s almost certain that a company in your circle has.

In fact, when it comes to social media marketing:

  • 83 percent of marketers indicate that it is important for their business
  • The majority of those marketers (59%) use social media for 6 or more hours per week
  • It has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing

So, if you want to get started building effective social media marketing campaigns for your business, you’re in the right place. Below, we share strategies and tips that will show you how to create a powerful social media campaign and execute it to success.

How to Create a Powerful Social Media Campaign: 7 Expert Strategies

In this guide, we’ll show you how to create an optimized social media campaign that will drive results. But before we dive into choosing which platforms to use, first there’s something every marketer should do to set themselves up for success (before all social media marketing campaigns!):

Determine Your Campaign Goal

Just like any great marketing campaign, you shouldn’t begin to build out your social media campaign without first understanding what you’re looking to get out of it.

Do you want to increase public awareness of your brand? Great! Are you looking to generate new contacts to add to your lead nurturing campaigns? That’s great too. Want to drive traffic to a new piece of content you’re hosting on your site? Awesome!

Social media marketing campaigns can help you reach all of these goals. However, knowing the specific end result you’re looking to achieve helps you better align your social media marketing strategies to get you there. Before building out your next social media campaign, write your campaign goal down on a whiteboard or prominently-placed sticky note to keep it at the top of your mind.

Choosing Your Platform(s)

When it comes to creating powerful social media marketing campaigns, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing which platform (or platforms) to use. For businesses who are in the beginning stages of strengthening their social presence and growing their followers, we recommend sticking to a single platform that you know you can rock. In this section, we’ll share strategies that will help you choose the most effective social media platform for targeting your unique audience.

1. Know Your Target Audience Inside and Out

Before you can choose the social media platform through which to reach and engage your target audience, first you have to understand who they are. What kind of information interests them the most? What are their shopping preferences? How do they prefer to be spoken to by businesses? This is the kind of valuable information that can help propel your social media marketing campaigns to even greater success.

How do you figure these things out? By creating buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictional and generalized representations of your ideal customers created by interviewing and surveying a variety of people related to your business. These include customers, prospects, and even members of your target audience outside of your list of contacts.

Target Audience Inside and Out
A buyer persona template from HubSpot

For a more detailed break down of how to create buyer personas, check out our blog post “Buyer Personas: What They Are and Why Your Business Needs Them”.

2. Find Where They Are on Social

Once you understand your audience’s likes, dislikes, motivations, and behaviors, you can more easily determine the best platform for targeting them. There are platforms through which to create and execute social media marketing campaigns, but it’s a good idea to start with one of the most populated, such as:

  • Facebook: Facebook is the social media market leader with the largest number of monthly active users at 2.5 billion. If your audience consists of adults and especially if you have sentiment-inducing content to promote, Facebook is a no-brainer.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn’s 414 million-person audience is comprised of professionals who are interested in connecting with others in and outside of their industry. If you have content or offers to promote that speak to business decision makers and executives, this might be the best channel for you. For B2B marketers, LinkedIn is an especially effective social media platform for lead generation.
  • Twitter: Twitter is a microblogging platform that averages about 320 million monthly active users. If you’ve got content and offers to promote that you can pare down into 140 characters, Twitter is a great platform choice. (Tip!: Twitter is also a great channel to utilize for cross-promotion purposes.)

3. Optimize Your Presence on Your Chosen Platform(s)

Choose your social media platform

Once you’ve chosen the platform you want to campaign across, you need to develop a strong presence there. How do you begin? With your profile!

No matter which platform you’re using, you’ll need at least the following three elements:

  1. Your company name
  2. A profile picture & cover photo
  3. A built-out company bio

Here is an image of our Twitter profile as an example:

In our Twitter profile—which is limited to 160 characters—you can see we’ve hit on all three of the necessary elements:

  1. Company name: Our company name is featured, and our Twitter handle is also a variation of our name.
  2. Profile picture & cover photo: We use our logo as our profile picture, and our un-pictured cover photo is highly-visual and unique to our company.
  3. Company bio: Not only does our bio explain who we are, what we do, and where we are located in a concise manner, it’s also riddled with relevant hashtags that make us more easily searchable on Twitter.

Making sure you’ve optimized each of these elements is a great starting point for your business’s social media profile, but you’ll want to take it a step further once you’ve honed your social media voice and audience. We also recommend taking a look at your competitors’ profiles or those of companies you admire to see what you can replicate on your own.

Before moving on to the next phase of your social media campaign—set up and execution—spend some time building a following or increasing the following you already have. Growing your audience will improve your future campaign results, and taking the time to do so can give you valuable insight into what content your followers respond to best.

Setting Up and Executing Your Campaign

So you’ve chosen the best platform or platforms for your social media campaign and you’re ready to get going. Next, check out these top strategies for set up and execution:

4. Develop the Content Your Audience Wants to See

Once you have optimized your presence on your platform of choice (and ideally have spent time developing a following) you can begin to build the content that will comprise your campaign. At this point, it’s time to refer back to your original goal—what is the purpose of your social media marketing campaign? This will help inform everything from the type of content you post to how you craft your messages.

While effective social media marketing campaigns will promote a variety of content types, what’s most important is to ensure that with each message your copy, creatives, and content are aligned. Consider a tweet from our own Twitter social media marketing campaign:

Twitter social media marketing

This tweet includes a link to a blog post we shared on “Finding and Targeting Your Audience on Social Media”. To entice clicks from our audience, we included an image featuring a quote from a marketing expert pulled from the blog post. In our tweet itself we included a short message, along with the Twitter handle of the influencer we quoted and relevant hashtags.

Whether you’re promoting a specific piece of content or just sharing a news item with your followers, it’s important that your message be engaging and highly visual. Consider including these types of updates in your social media marketing campaign:

  • Company or industry news
  • Tips and tricks relevant to your target audience’s pain points and challenges
  • Fun posts relating to current or trending events
  • Engaging videos, images, and other media

5. Organize Your Content with a Calendar

If you are wondering how to create a social media campaign, then the natural next question is: how on earth do you organize one? To effectively organize and manage your social media marketing campaigns, you’ll need a content calendar and publisher.

social media calendar

The image above is a screenshot of our Hootsuite content calendar, showing the tweets we scheduled for automated publishing through the site in February 2016. We certainly wouldn’t be able to keep track of the 8+ tweets we publish each day without our content calendar, and it’s a great way to keep everyone on the team in-the-know.

Ongoing Campaign Management

Your social media marketing efforts don’t stop once your campaign starts. In fact, it’s only the beginning. When it comes to ongoing social media marketing campaign management, here are your need-to-know strategies:

6. Get Everyone Involved

Once your campaign is up and running, share your strategies across teams besides your own. Most of the employees in your company have their own social media accounts, and many use them in part to build themselves up professionally. Leverage this engagement and ask that employees share posts from your campaign amongst their own networks.

7. Monitor Your Analytics

To make sure your social media marketing campaigns are constantly seeing results, it’s important to set up analytics processes to track your progress. As an example, we use our content calendar dashboard (pictured below) to track conversations that other social media users are having around our brand and content, see how many users our sharing our posts, and source potential opportunities for engagement.

Monitor Your Analytics

When assessing data and measuring success we also refer to our Twitter and LinkedIn analytics pages. For more information on how to creation social media campaign analytics processes that work for your business, check out this great post from Kissmetrics.

How to Create a Powerful Social Media Marketing Campaign: A Summary

So, how do you create a powerful social media marketing campaign? First, take the time to better understand who it is you’re targeting buy developing buyer personas. Then, find where it is your target audience spends their time online and strengthen your presence there. Next, start developing the content your target audience is most likely to respond to and organize it using a content calendar. Finally, get other people from your company involved in sharing and engaging with your social media campaign content and refer to your analytics to make sure you’re on track to reach your goals.

Author Bio

Andy Beohar

Andy Beohar

Andy Beohar is VP of SevenAtoms, a Google and HubSpot certified agency in San Francisco. Andy develops and manages ROI-positive inbound and paid marketing campaigns for B2B & Tech companies. Connect with Andy on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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