As PR professionals and content marketers we all know that social media is an important and necessary channel to connect with audiences, but with the many platforms in the social sphere, how do you decide which to use and what to post?
Pew Research shows the percentage of online adults who follow social media, which should serve as a reminder as to why you should engage with audiences on social platforms.
Before embarking on any social media campaign there are a few questions you need to address at the outset in order to structure outreach and achieve success:
- Who is your audience?
- What social channels do they use?
- How do you want to interact with that audience?
- What are my goals?
- How will you measure the PRketing success or failure of the campaign?
- What content do we have or can we create?
Once you have identified your audience and the platforms they interact with, define the metrics that will represent success. For example, if you are targeting a Facebook audience, are there a certain number of likes or followers you want to achieve? Do you have video content to drive traffic to? It is important to identify metrics ahead of time to provide a goal for the campaign.
Each social platform has merit, but it is helpful to narrow outreach to the one or two where the majority of your audience interacts. Engagement is a key component of a successful campaign, so it is critical to figure out how to garner interest in what you have to say. The general rule of thumb is to provide content that is useful or entertaining. Think of a contest giveaway, or perhaps a video that evokes emotion. Celebrity involvement can also drive a successful campaign. There have been many examples of successful campaigns that have applied these tactics.
For example, there’s the integrated media campaign conducted on behalf of Lactaid, the National Dairy Council, and the NFL Players Association. D S Simon created, produced, and distributed a social media video featuring Deion Branch, who at the time was the wide receiver for the New England Patriots, milking a cow, and scheduled media interviews with DeMarcus Ware (previously with the Dallas Cowboys, now with the Denver Broncos) to kick off National Dairy Month and to promote awareness that lactose-free milk actually comes from cows.
Videos were distributed to leading websites and blogs, in addition to being posted online via video-sharing sites such as YouTube and Metacafe. Through pitching efforts, earned media hits were secured for the video with Deion on sports focused websites and blogs. The result? A viral video that that garnered over 4 million impressions
Why did the campaign work? At the heart of the initiative was an original and humorous concept featuring a celebrity that captured the audience’s attention. After all, who would ever imagine a wide receiver milking a cow.
Not all campaigns require a large budget or have high production requirements. If you can capture the interest and imagination of your audience, success can follow.
Some campaigns can be as simple as hosting a Twitter party – recognized influencers providing useful information for an audience, such as a lifestyle expert offering beauty tips and providing giveaways for people. Blogger outreach is also an effective strategy. Providing giveaways for review can result in positive coverage for a brand. When engaging with bloggers, it is important to connect with those who cover a specific topic and to conduct personal outreach and communication with bloggers – no one enjoys blanket email pitches.
Content is the key component to all successful social campaigns – identifying which content will capture an audience’s attention, such as an iconic photograph or a video that evokes emotion. For brands, it is important to be authentic. Creativity is key in deciding what to share with audiences and to provide the most appropriate distribution tactics to have that content seen and shared. Remember your audience is your biggest advocate.
Bev Yehuda is SVP of operations and digital media at D S Simon Productions, a leading digital, social and strategic video communications firm