Which companies have the most successful Social Media campaigns?

Who bleeds their brand online and off and stays true to their business model?

Is it the company that has delegated their Social Media to an intern or an admin assistant? Umm, guess again.

I can’t iterate the value of planning enough. No one, no one serious that is, starts a business without a business plan. A roadmap of where they are at the start and where they hope to be in specific, measurable time frames. Successful companies refer back to their plan, adapt it, grow it, massage it and worship at it’s feet because it keeps them goal-oriented and on-track.

Why should a Social Media campaign be any different?

It shouldn’t. The very first thing any organization should do is sit down and map out their specific, measurable goals.

The following exercise can help you, and your clients, work through a process to set any Social Media campaign up for successful execution.

1. I have always found it helpful to sit down with the c-level executives and discuss what it is about their company they love. What’s the story of the brand? That “story” should be authentic and include why these people do what they do. Do they love it? If they do, your job is a lot easier.

2. Define expectations. What does the client hope to gain from Social Media? Brand awareness? More business? A stronger reputation?

3. Where’s the value? This is probably the most important question to ask because if you (or your client) are not providing something of value to the world, what on earth are they doing? Most executives should be able to tell you what their contribution to the greater good is. Sometimes this question takes them by surprise so make sure you get an authentic answer, even if you have to wait for it.

4. Define how you will measure success. This relates back to #2, defining expectations. If you’re creating a Social Media strategy for a client they are going to want to have some specific measurables to which they can hold you if it doesn’t work out.

I have always found it helpful to attach some of the measurables to the level of participation from the company. No matter how great you are online, there has to be a level of commitment from your client to successfully promote their brand. Whether that comes in the form of engagement or utilizing their contacts or content, you have to insist on involvement from the client if you want to be successful.

(I’m sure there are people out there who will disagree with this point but it has been my experience that if the execs aren’t turned on by what they do, no one else will be either. Authenticity among company leaders is the very best tool for success.)

5. Make sure you know where the customers are. It’s not going to do much good to promote skateboards on a wedding forum. TED conversations is a great place to engage people as they have such an incredibly wide range of subjects. Make sure you know who the audience is and where they hangout online.

6. Speak in the vernacular of the demographic you are trying to engage. Or…dude, shred up the page with some sick vids of skaters and boarders. Whomever you’re speaking to, make sure you speak their language.

7. If you don’t write well find someone who does. Crappy writing is the opposite of providing valuable content and it won’t take long before your audience drifts away. And don’t underpay someone to crank out rhetoric or re-mix something they’ve found online. There are lots of great writers out there who can put together amazing copy that you can use to attract both your audience and the search spiders. They know what they’re doing, so use them.

Once you’ve gone through these steps you should have a solid notion of what kind of a campaign you’d like to run and how you’e execute it. It’s not a ton of prep work but it will make all the difference in the end when you’re “winning” (thanks Charlie) the popularity contest that is Social Media.

Written by jax