The 7 Dos and Don'ts of Successful Social Media Marketing Campaigns

Social media marketing campaigns

Social media platforms dominate the conversation by building and delivering customer relations on a global scale, but how does that relate to your business? Is it measurable and, most importantly, is it driving customers to your products or services?

In this article, we’re going to delve down into what you should be doing, and what you shouldn’t be when implementing a social media strategy to fuel your business growth.

1. Do - Find the Right Channels

Know your market and know your channels. Social media can be a daunting task even for the largest of companies, so adding additional elements of CRM software and transposing the results through the sales cycle can be even more ominous.

Social media is becoming a pay to play environment, even for viral content. Take for example the world’s largest social platform, Facebook, who are constantly cutting back organic reach for company pages to focus on “family and friends”. We’ll get into detail on this later in the article.

Unless you’re Coca-Cola or Apple level, you can’t just burn money in the name of brand building. Regardless of which channel and approach you choose your north star should be your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). Normally it’s associated with PPC campaigns, but don’t be fooled, some of the best content is driven by CPA.

Take for example DollarShaveClub’s infamous video. The real production cost of $4500 is artificially low as CEO, Michael Dubin, has a lot of theatre connections; but estimates for a similar video have been put at about $50,000 - and for how many leads? 12,000 after 48 hours. Even if we take the higher estimate, a CPA of $4.10 is incredible. It’s no surprise then that YouTube became one of their social media channels.

While all social media platforms offer analytics with PPC promotions, a vital tool for tracking your CPAs is source tracking utilising Google Analytics and UTM tags. For each campaign and source, you’ll want to at least create different UTM parameters to see where your website audience came from and link that with your CPA. Also, consider creating a vanity URL and bespoke landing pages in association to what you’re promoting so that you are able to at least track some of the organic search traffic you generate from a campaign.

While this may sound like a lot of data to manage, CRM tools have the ability also track the UTM source and generate regular reports based on deals closing. That way you can easily identify what stage of the sales cycle each channel source starts to drop off at and make subsequent optimisations, and effortlessly view the CPA for each campaign. If you're a Sellsy user, you can do this by inserting some Javascript on your landing pages to note the UTM source, set up the linked sources in your "Opportunities" settings, then simply apply the source filter:

2. Do - Monitor Each Channel Source Through the Sales Cycle

Once you begin monitoring your social media campaigns through cross-platform analytics, don’t stop there. A sale doesn’t just happen because someone has started following you or downloaded a white paper. You need to build a sales process that every prospect should go through, and then be able to analyse at which stage each of them drops off according to the social media channel that they converted from. You’ll also want to monitor the average sales cycle length per social media channel to get your sales teams some quick wins.

Although it’s one of the first steps in your inbound strategy and likely your sales cycle, it is important not to confuse site visitors as a success metric. Sure, this is often the easier metric to track and the prettiest on a graph, but unless your business model is selling advertising space your revenues are probably tied more to engagements such as newsletter sign-ups and content downloads. Keep a keen eye on your CRM to follow this from when prospects first visit, to when they download something, so that you can determine how qualified each audience is.

If your CRM is really good, you will also be able to do automatic lead scoring based on the most promising behaviours that your analysis highlights. If you’re like us and you’re selling software, you want your salespeople focusing on the prospects that visited your pricing page and not those that keep going to the careers page. You’ll probably want them spending less time on the ones that don’t open the emails and invoices and following up with the ones that do.

Following each prospect through the stages of the sales cycle will not only help understand the success of your social media campaign but will define and shape what stages could be improved to optimise your marketing strategy. If customers are failing to click through to your site, then you know there is a problem with your message or it’s not the right channel for you. If customers are visiting your site but not downloading or signing up for anything then you know there are issues with how well your website converts. If your campaign isn’t successful or you’re not happy with your results then adapt your channels, whether that’s stopping or testing new ones, or adapting your communication to each audience’s personality.

3. Do - Track Brand Mentions

If you have customers they are going to have discussions online about your brand - good and bad. First thing’s first, this is a treasure trove of information for your sales, support, and marketing teams.

Now you can find out where your brand sits as an archetype and how it echoes amongst your customers. You can also delve into who your promoters are and what characteristics they share to target a similar audience in the future, and vice versa. There’s plenty of software out there to help you do this outside of various Excel sheets, such as Mention, Iconosquare, and HootSuite.

You can also use this analysis to determine what brand voice would resonate more with your clients. Maintain this throughout your interactions with potential and existing customers; whether it’s caring, funny, or straight up aggressive, and you will be well on your way to modern-day brand building. Every interaction and response you give will simply serve to reinforce the brand image that you want to build for your company.

Outside the scope of big data are also some smaller hidden communities that can serve as a powerful target market or feedback groups. Perhaps they aren’t talking about you already, but there’s no reason that they shouldn’t be. Imagine for a minute that you just created a cool new tool that saves startups time and money. You could simply search “UK startups” in Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google to find communities, then ask for feedback on the product to get some new users that are engaged and more importantly, willing to give you valuable feedback to improve your product or service. This is especially important if you are trying to go international with a product that needs to be adapted to local markets.

Finally, you’re going to want to make sure that every (or nearly every) time someone mentions your brand, you have someone responding or engaging with them. Good feedback is the easiest of course, but you’re going to get the bad too. The true test of your customer service is going to be how you deal with that in a social context. Things can spiral out of control rather quickly and your brand can take years to recover if you don’t have a handle on it.

Either make it part of your customer success team’s role to monitor the social mention software or create a role specifically for managing social media support. This will, of course, depend on the size of your business. The crucial part is that all bad feedback is recorded, linked to their customer file, and that you have someone internally following up with them. Software like ZenDesk, Freshdesk, or Sellsy Support will help you add and manage tickets so they’re followed up with; and Sellsy comes with the benefit of having the CRM native so the customer file will also be kept up to date for future interactions with everyone else at your company.

4. Do - Optimise Engagement Rate

Now when you post on pretty much every social media platform your update is displayed to a small percentage of your followers. For the first 15 - 30 minutes algorithms are watching closely to see how the audience reacts and then decides if your post is interesting enough to show to more of your followers. So if you want 100% of your audience to see your content in this modern paradigm you need to get into the mindset of optimising engagement rate.

One well-known trick is to test different posting times to understand when your audience is most likely to engage with your brand. Normally the next step for people now is to Google “best posting times” and take a time that works for someone else to use that. The thing with these figures is that they are normally not adapted to your business (industry is not enough), your time zone, or your target market’s personality. Our advice is to put in a bit more elbow grease.

Sure, take a hypothesis to test from someone else that has done in-depth research before. Sprout Social’s article on the best posting times should give you a really good foundation to start with, but don’t take it as gospel. You want to make sure that you’re testing outside of those suggested times/days and logging the engagement rates for your audience afterward.

One other little trick to boost your initial engagement is to join or create what is known as an engagement pod. The idea with this is that you will be part of a private group where everyone shares their content and immediately engages with the content that other members’ posts to appear higher in that initial virality test. Best case is that you create your own by gathering some like-minded influencers together, but if you’re a bit worn out by doing all of the aforementioned tips you’ll be happy to know that there are public and paid engagement pods out there.

5. Don’t - Neglect Employee Advocacy

Marketers are continually developing their strategies to have a presence on new marketing channels, and your employee’s voice online should become a significant online asset for any successful marketing strategy. One of the main reasons is down to online audiences finding individuals more credible and trustworthy than brands; which means that all of your employees have the potential to have a more potent online influence on people’s buying decision than your company. They have a certain air of trustworthiness when they speak, one that can only really be had when you are a person and not a corporation.

Out of the gate, you should probably be a little bit scared. When your PR and marketing team publish anything online they will normally be double and triple checking the tone of their messages for the possibility of things going south if the message is misinterpreted. They’re trained for that as they know all too well the consequences. The thing is, you cannot expect the same awareness of everyone else in your company.

Don’t fret too much though, for you can rather simply counter this by implementing some posting guidelines. A simple start could be making an “only positivity” policy where any comments or publications online need to be as if the Dalai Lama had written them himself. Whatever your guidelines, the important thing is to make them as simple to follow as possible. You need to make guidelines, not an EULA that nobody reads.

If that didn’t sound easy enough, you’re also going to have to break Newton’s third law - the pull needs to be greater than the push. You can get employees sharing and posting content about you online by being authoritative and pushy on a beaurocratic level of course, and that will yield some activity, but the best is always when they do it out of free will...and desire for goodies of course.

You can gamify the process by making social leaderboards and challenges, or have a “fastest-draw” championship for the employees that are fastest to react or respond to social content. Consider also allocating marketing budget towards gift cards and goodies to those that are top of the leaderboards or win the challenges. You may also want to make it part of your company culture for managers to give recognition for engaging. A simple “Yeah, I saw you’re always sharing the posts on Facebook. Thanks for that!” from the boss can go a long way to changing the company culture to make it a normality.

6. Don’t - Use Automation as an Easy Out

Automating social media content has become an essential part of managing audiences at scale. With thousands of followers as part of your network, the demand is there for personal connections. The problem is that most marketers correlate automation with little effort, leaving a lot to the imagination when it actually comes to developing a personal approach and demonstrating authentic human interaction.

If you want a perfect example of what bad social media automation looks like, take a look at 2017 Twitter. In the B2B world, it was all too common to send automated direct messages the moment that someone followed you, and the messages rarely differed from “Thanks for the follow {account_name}! If you have any web design or marketing needs that scale please do let me know. Bests…”. It also wasn’t too uncommon to see Twitter feeds that were just dumping grounds for content, with the same regurgitated images and promotional text to promote them.

Now, that’s not to say that these tactics don’t generate results or have some underlying logic. Just Google “Twitter reshare schedule” and you’ll see exactly why someone would resort to such tactics (although Twitter has now tightened this up). Even at Sellsy, we reshare our content from time to time. Sometimes people miss the updates in a sea of content, sometimes they’re not online at the time, whatever. The important distinction here is between the motivation for your business (i.e. results) and the motivation for the audience to pay attention.

If your social media touch point with a company is through an automated direct message with minimal effort, why should you respond? If you see the exact same post in your feed time and time again, why would you react positively to the next one? If your audience starts to feel like they’re dealing with machines, they’re going to act less human; that means fewer shares, fewer likes, and fewer comments for your content.

The good news is that you can still rely on automation to help you out at every corner. To get your reshare schedule set up first have an idea of what posting times get you the best engagement per country. Then simply reshare your content with a slightly adapted message when it’s posted during the most engaging times for each country/timezone. It can be as simple as changing z to s to target America vs the U.K. or changing the tone and type of images that are used. The hard work here is that you’ll need to continuously adapt, test, and analyse the different ideas that you use so that you can be aware of what content, tone, and images work best across different regions/time-zones.

Automated messages can stay on the menu too. Step one is to have at least five different variations of the message, step two is to make your automation decision to trigger it as segmented as possible. Let’s take for example a customer success scenario: someone downloads your white paper. First, make sure the web form you’ve generated asks for a social account username. You’ll want to track that, as well as have every customer touch point registered in your CRM. The second step is to reactivate the contact later by shooting an automated Tweet asking what they thought about the white paper.

In summary, make sure you’re tracking and collaborating on your customer’s multi-channel touchpoints, that your communications and actions are not obviously automated, and that you always start with open-ended questions to build relationships (rather than a sale) and you’ll be far ahead of the field.

7. Don’t Track Vanity Metrics

We define vanity metrics as data such as page views, subscribers, and social media followers that looks impressive at first glance but has no clear link to how well your business is performing. The data allows a brand to appear successful to an outsider but in reality, has no real value. What’s more, this data is easily manipulated and as a result, can lead your marketing team to develop strategies based on bad information and steer your marketing in the entirely wrong direction.

One of the easiest ways to determine if something is a vanity metric is to do the investor test. When you’re thinking of the statistics to track ask yourself “Would an investor give a damn?” and don’t try to think of ways to you could sell it to them. Investors are always looking for something that shows potential to scale, that shows monetary growth, and most importantly ROI.

So let us take the data types mentioned before, and show you an example of the data you should be tracking instead:

  • Page views -> % of and number of visitors that download gated content, number of visitors that become an SQL in your CRM, time and money spent attracting website visitors, website bounce rate, average landing page bounce rate
  • Subscribers -> percentage of viewers that share the video (reach increase), number of leads generated with UTM source of YouTube/Vimeo/DailyMotion (trackable in your CRM), average view time (relevancy)
  • Social media followers -> active community members, leads generated from social media posts, average share percentage per post

You’ll also want to break things down by channel, by type (post, advert, comment etc.), and by spend if it’s PPC. The key part in this process is at some point the social media touch point must direct customers and prospects to your support ticketing touch point or your CRM; that way you can be certain that you are either generating more opportunities or reducing the rate that you lose clients.