Guest post brought to you by MSLGROUP: Laura Ganci, Assistant Account Executive; Bats Jafferji, Account Executive; Victor Miltiades, Account Associate
Social media can’t be ignored in the always-evolving world of communications. During a PubClub panel on successfully integrating social media into your PR, content and digital campaigns, almost every hand was raised when attendees were asked if they use social media. It’s become an integral part of our personal lives, as well as our professional lives.
In professional use, social media is effective in giving our clients a voice through a medium that allows them to interact with their customers directly and create reactive content (remember to always map all content, messaging and posts back to overall business objectives). Below are some helpful tips we gleaned from the panel with Ryan Lilly of Matter Communications, Alexandria Byer of Wayfair, Sonja Mindrebo of 360 Public Relations and Natalie Grogan of Brafton for successful social media use:
- Know your audience. Discover where your audience is, and then build a plan around those channels. Don’t waste resources trying to force a social media campaign on a medium where your client’s demographic isn’t present. For example, if middle-aged doctors are the target, Snapchat may not be the best place to start. Research your target market, understand their social media habits and work to reach them on the platforms they actually use. Don’t try to include every single person in the world in your social media purview and outreach — build a message that will directly resonate with your audience. Talking to everyone interests no one.
- Test your content. Once you’ve established your message and figured out your target audience, it’s always best to test out your platform. If you’ve done the research and set reasonable goals and KPIs, why test it out? The answer is simple: you’ll never know until you try. No matter the platform, testing content is the only way to know which messaging resonates with your target audience. Using A/B testing (comparing two versions of a web page to see which one performs better), create a social post that only uses a link alone, then measure the results. Next, create a post that uses a link and an image, then measure the results; link and video – results. Through comparison, you’ll have a better understanding of what content works. Sometimes, the results may surprise you. For example, it could lead you to another platform where you didn’t expect to have much engagement. This in turn helps to gauge your overall strategy, and good strategy is simple, but it’s not always easy.
- Set reasonable expectations. Don’t forget to manage client expectations upfront — setting reasonable expectations early on avoids struggling to meet unobtainable goals. Prior to implementation, it’s important to discuss the overall strategy and align on reasonable expectations by: defining what success looks like from the media landscape perspective and the client’s perspective, and creating realistic benchmarks and setting realistic goals for the social campaign. Research and analysis should drive the conversation to define benchmarks tied to real numbers based on findings from your initial media landscape research and budget. Post-campaign, be honest about the things that didn’t work. Quantify and measure everything from the start so that you can show real numbers, address why something didn’t work and make recommendations about trying something new.
One of the pieces of advice that really resonated with us from this panel was to embrace your expertise! Our clients are coming to us for our expertise, guidance and strategic advisement. Being upfront regarding reasonable expectations and what did/didn’t work well benefit the client relationship in the long-run.
Do you have any more best practices on integrating social media into your PR, Content and Digital Campaigns? Comment below!