15 things that happen to every social media campaign

Here are the highs and lows of every big social media marketing campaign, by an experienced pro worked in the trenches, but has kept her enthusiasm for social marketing undimmed.

This article was originally published on PR Daily in June 2016.

You might think being a “social media manager” is a dream job, like a travel blogger minus the packing and jet lag.

It seems easy: You do nothing but publish blogs, humor followers with memes, post a quote, share a link and watch YouTube. Well, if you plan on joining a social media company, you’ve got it all wrong.

Nearly nine out of 10 companies {88 percent) use social media marketing. It’s a virtual slug-fest. Enjoy it but don’t take it lightly. Social media requires hard work. You don’t just fire ideas into thin air. Identify your brand, understand your audience, choose a platform and deliver relevant, interesting content. There are many pain points to overcome, many things that you must understand before you get giddy over every like or share your post gets.

Though being a social media manager isn’t a bed of roses, it’s not a bed of nails, either. Manage your expectations by noting 15 things that can happen while you run a social media campaign:

1. Expect to build a name .

Online presence, visibility, and awareness are part of the strategy. Putting your brand on social media is a cheap way to get exposure. And you’ll get buzz if you do it right. Social media reaches out to a broader audience to pave the way to solid branding.

2. Enjoy brand loyalty.

A Texas Tech University report found brands that engage in social media enjoy higher customer loyalty. A study by Convince and Convert reported that 53 percent of Americans who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands.

Social media offers more chances to convert and improve brand loyalty. Every marketer must take advantage of this.

3. You can lose focus.

A report by Hubspot showed that consumers expect brands to be active on three or four social media channels. Logic tells you to immediately create four accounts at once, but don’t do it.

You must assess your resources before you do this or you risk failing in all. Do you have the people, the time, the energy, and the content to keep all of them going? Be realistic—take it easy. Focus on the platforms you can manage and the ones that cater to your audience.

4. You will stare at the wall.

One study showed that creating content is one of the biggest difficulties for digital marketers. You will experience this too. You will stare at a blank wall. There will come a time when you feel like you have done everything. You haven’t. Continue exploring and inspire yourself by reading and observing trends. Open your mind.

5. Formats can change.

Content comes in many forms: blog, video, photo, infographics, slideshare, DIY, tutorial, list, memes, etc. At some point, you will know which ones work.

This requires understanding your audience. If you have a young audience, you might want to go easy on data and graphics. If your market is old, go easy on memes. Draw up a strategic formats plan.

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6. Followers will get angry.

Stop telling yourself that you can please everyone. No, you won’t; no, you can’t; no, you don’t have to. The things you put out will get good and bad feedback. Learn how to deal with feedback. Do not ignore it.

7. Outsourcing to find the right people.

One tip for winning social media marketing: Find the right people to do it.

For start-ups, this is a real difficulty. It’s best to outsource. Don’t force yourself and your small team to do things you have difficulty doing. If you lack a good writer, hire freelancers. If you have difficulty scheduling, hire a virtual assistant. Assemble a team with potential, talent and the right motivation.

8. The fight for time and consistency.

In drawing up a plan, decide at what hour you should publish a piece of content. You must make sure that deadlines are met and schedules followed. Most social media channels enable you to schedule posts—but consistency isn’t just timing. It’s publishing the right content at the right time.

9. Analytics that are lost in (data) translation.

Analyzing metrics and data will be pain points. But don’t be scared of numbers. According to Propelrr, a digital marketing agency, data is important in any social media campaign. It converts buzz into revenue. Measure ROI against goals, know the competition and go deeper into every like, comment or share.

10. Dropping everything if your post just went viral.

You’ll occasionally experience the bliss of going viral. Viral content spreads like a disease. You’ll be surprised at how fast everything happens.

Enjoy virality, because it’s pretty hard to come by. Never rest on your laurels. Keep the ideas coming and get ready for your next viral content.

11. Winning the game of hashtags.

The #GetCovered campaign of the Obama administration is a social media campaign success story. Obama’s healthcare plan was off to a bumpy start, but things changed as soon as they launched the hashtag, reaching out to 26-35 year-olds and older adults. Millennials helped boost the government’s healthcare website traffic by 40 percent.

Get creative with hashtags without losing focus on the people you target. Soon you’ll know the difference between a poorly-constructed and a spot-on hashtag.

12. Find time to repurpose content.

The blog you published several months ago has become relevant again, but fight the urge to publish the same blog.

Repurpose it by turning it into a list article. Turn (for example) a step-by-step guide to putting up wall decals into a video. Learn how to recycle content. It saves time and energy.

13. Prove you are not robots.

Social media is tricky in the way it connects people, but risks losing people at the same time. It seems very impersonal. Don’t fall into that trap. Let your followers know to whom they are talking.

HBO’s “Girls” promoted their show on Snapchat in a personal way, filming behind-the-scenes videos. Imitate the social media campaign to improve your audience engagement. When you feel your campaign has gotten too mechanical, get personal—it might help things flow again.

14. Revenues are climbing.

Companies launch social media campaigns to boost website traffic, followers and revenue.

A Social Media Examiner study found that 50 percent of brands that used social media for at least three years reported a spike in sales and revenue, which is good news for companies who take social media seriously. If you do things right, expect increased sales.

15. Select trends to ride.

In the blink of an eye, Facebook introduces an update, Instagram announces a new policy and a new social networking site is born. Learn about these trends, but don’t ride all of them. See which serve your goals and your audiences’ interests.

Social media is a big marketing help, but it poses big risks if you use it without know-how or a good plan. When done right, social media marketing is dynamic and fun.

Aby League is writer and researcher, and the owner of About Possibilities blog, where she writes about health, lifestyle, marketing and technology. Connect with her on Twitter: @abyleague.

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