Expanding on my last post which concerned the development of a coherent strategy for social media campaigns, this post will address the setting up and use of social media channels.
It is not my intention to discuss technical issues, instead I will explain how the channels can be used tactically as part of the overall strategy. It is written from the view of a specialist digital or PR agency who will be providing social media marketing services for their client.
Setting up the social channels and technical considerations
In most cases a social media campaign will require that social channels are set up. Usually the accounts are free but some have additional, paid for features. LinkedIn, for example, has a premium version that costs a few dollars per month.
Social networks can either be used “out of the box”, that is, used as is, with no bespoke features. Or they can be customised which may involve branding the channels or creating code to make them more interactive. This process will require design input and may see the appointment of a specialist, third party development agency.
You should also take into consideration how your proposed social channels work:
- Social networks’ members are people, not businesses. Many require that individual users have a single, personal account and don’t allow shared corporate accounts. Facebook, for example, allows corporate Pages but they must be administered by a member who has a registered account.
- Plan for how you will rescind administration rights from staff that have left the agency or client’s business. Facebook administrators can remove other administrators but for Twitter you must change the password in order to prevent unauthorised access.
- Bear in mind the terms of usage for social media channels. They tend to have quite rigorous conditions and failure to comply with them can lead to accounts being closed. For example promotions or competitions in Facebook can only be run from an app.
- Use the appropriate account type. In Facebook businesses can only have Pages, so never set up a personal profile for a brand or company.
Before they can start posting content and messages online the client’s social media champions must be trained. The training will usually take two days and could be delivered at the client’s premises or at the agency’s office.
Typically training would cover the following topics:
- Why use social media? – discovering brand advocates, SEO, better customer service
- The social media landscape – blogs, social networks, Twitter, Facebook etc.
- Owned media vs. earned media, the importance of good content
- Brand reputation
- Specific Twitter techniques
- Specific Facebook techniques
- Blogging techniques
- Producing video for social media
- Managing the campaigns
- Measuring success – ROI, Google Analytics
A nice touch would be to supply the client with branded training manuals and a social media toolkit which will contain templates, tools and links to websites that will assist them in their social media marketing efforts.
Social media advertising
Facebook and LinkedIn offer a pay-per-click advertising model similar to Google AdWords. Advertisers can specify certain user criteria such as age, gender and interests to ensure that their ads are only shown to members who match that profile. Twitter’s promoted tweets can appear in the timelines of users depending on who they follow and what they are tweeting about.
Social media advertising is very cost effective and can be activated and deactivated at any point throughout a campaign which means that its beginning, ads could raise awareness for a period of, say, three months and then be turned off until they were needed again.
Another technique for generating early buzz is to ask friends, staff and customers to follow the client’s organisation or brand. Be careful though, it is simple to look up people’s profiles on social networks, and there is nothing worse than seeing that a brand’s followers are all working for its owner’s PR agency!
Setting up social media accounts is a reasonably easy task but to get the most from them you must consider aspects of functionality, use and relevance to your target audience. Avoid biting off more than you can chew by starting social media activity at a small, manageable level and then ramping up as returns become apparent. Finally, consider advertising in your social media networks to drive traffic to your own channels or website.
The next post in this series will concern recruiting followers to your social sites.