1. Understand the goal of the campaign.
The first step is to collaborate with your team on the particulars of the campaign. Are you promoting an event? Are you offering a new ebook or download? Maybe you’re working on a social giving campaign with a non-profit partner. Whatever the campaign is, understand the end goal. What action do you want the user or follower to take when they see your post? Is the goal clearly articulated, while still being entertaining, lovable and share-worthy? How will you measure the effectiveness of the campaign?
2. Decide how to promote the campaign on each channel.
Now it’s time to decide what kinds of content you will need for each social media channel. You might want to create a short video for Facebook and Instagram. An event on Facebook will need a special banner image. You might also need to create images for Twitter and Pinterest. Understanding the purpose for each channel is key to making this step work.
Social media advertising is critical if you actually want people to see and interact with your posts. If you haven’t started using the advertising tools native to each social media channel, start with just one channel and experiment to find what works best for your audience and content. Read our Facebook Advertising Primer for Beginners here.
Once you’ve finished planning, it’s on to the next step!
3. Create a content calendar for the week/month.
The next part of the planning process is actually plotting out your schedule on a calendar. What days of the week and times will you be posting content to your social channels? What messaging and creative copy will you use to generate engagement? You can set up a basic outline of what each day looks like for the week or month of the promotion on a calendar template, like the example below from one of our campaigns.
Each day has 1-2 special posts for the campaign on different channels.
4. Create supporting visual content.
Now it’s time to create all of the visual components you planned out in steps 2 and 3. You don’t need a graphic designer to make really fun and engaging images. Check out this post on how to find free or cheap images, plus tips for creating your own. My personal favorite is Canva for creating quick, easy images with text. I made this social media image (for our client Indiana Retired Teachers Association) in just a couple of minutes using Canva.
Another good tool is Design Wizard. It’s a new graphic design software that allows you to create a personalized image in seconds. It has over 1 million high-quality images in its library and thousands of templates. As a bonus, Design Wizard integrates with Hubspot, Marketo, Buffer and Intercom.
5. Schedule posts.
Now it’s time to schedule! You’ve got a plan. You’ve got a calendar. You’ve got awesome content! You’re ready to put it all together in your social media scheduling tool of choice. Hootsuite will do, as will your HubSpot social media scheduler. Buffer is another option. Or any of these social media management tools.
If you’re feeling extra ambitious, check out this sortable mega list of 599 social media tools from Chris Makara.
6. Monitor and respond.
Don’t just set it and forget it! This is not a rice cooker, people. This is a well-oiled social media machine and while it might be running smoothly in the background, you still need to be involved. Part of managing social media like a boss is simply being present on your profiles. With those management tools we talked about earlier, you can set up alerts on your phone. That way, if someone comments on your Facebook post or replies on Twitter, you can respond quickly.
7. Follow up after the event or promotion, if necessary.
If your campaign is based around an event, or say the launch of a new product, then it may make sense to follow up with photos or an update. If you did a giveaway or contest, post photos of the winner or stats about how many people participated. For an event, you could posts photos of the event with a recap.
8. Analyze and adjust.
Take time to go over your analytics to see what worked and what didn’t work. Maybe all of your early morning posts did really well and your mid-afternoon posts totally flopped. Or one type of visual content or messaging had higher engagement than another. Then, use that knowledge to adjust your tactics for the next campaign.
Not every social media campaign will have all of these steps, but it’s a good baseline. Your social media activity should be tightly integrated with your overall Inbound Marketing plan. Which means, don’t lose sight of your end goals for more visits, more leads, more customers.