October 15, 2013

Why can’t I just hire an intern to run my social media campaign?

Think of social media as a piece of the brand engagement puzzle. To be effective, it needs to fit into a strategy aimed at the right audience.

Think of social media as a piece of the brand engagement puzzle. To be effective, it needs to fit into a strategy aimed at the right audience.

Well, you can — if you don’t mind it ending or taking on an entirely different tone when the next semester starts.

Social media has become the latest stepchild in the world of digital marketing campaigns. At least it has good company. When Quark and Pagemaker came out in the ’90s, everyone was an instant print designer. With the dot-com bubble, everyone’s nephew was a web developer. Digital cameras turned the world into professional photographers. Now, interns can manage social media campaigns. Why not? They spend their whole day on those sites anyway.

It’s easy to think of social communities as the realm of kids hanging out with their friends and boomers sharing cat videos. In reality, the social networks are one piece of what has become the omni-channel. As marketers, we need to stop thinking about coming up with plans to reach our audiences through print, outdoor, radio, TV, a website, paid search and social. We need to figure out who we are talking to and where they are, then develop content that interests them and make it available through whatever channel they choose.

Think of social media as a piece of the brand engagement puzzle. To be effective, it needs to fit into a strategy aimed at the right audience. Once you have your target audience and strategy in line, you’re ready for Scott’s Three Steps to Social Media Success:

  1. Competitive analysis — See what’s working for the competition rather than learning slowly through trial and error. Measure content types, time of day and day of week to find trends in what’s working, when people are likely to engage and when your competition is dormant. This will keep you from getting lost in the noise. It’s like looking over the competition’s shoulder to see their test results instead of cramming all night.
  2. Engagement and growth — Don’t think of social as another marketing channel. Get involved with your fan base instead of talking at them. It will make you a more valuable community member while improving your edge rank, which means more people are seeing your posts.
  3. Conversion We aren’t doing this just to grab “likes,” “retweets” and “shares.” We want customers. So, give your fans a call to action to keep them moving down the conversion process. Be sure to have a plan in place to report what those conversions are worth to your bottom line.

Ask your intern for a plan to make all of those things happen. If they have one, hire them.

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