When it comes to making the most of major trading dates like Cyber Monday, Christmas and Valentine’s Day, preparation is key. Managing your stock is one thing, but what about your social media? Sage Business Expert Joanna Wake shares an eight-step guide to creating timely social campaigns.
1. Set your dates
Start by documenting the key dates that your business could design social media promotions around, then plan activity for a couple of months in advance. For each important date, pick a theme and stay with it for the duration of your campaign; the theme should be present across your channels and it should reflect your brand’s personality.
2. Choose a theme
Two minds are better than one. Get together with your team and workshop ideas for your campaign theme, or if you’re working alone run your concept past friends; collectively you will generate broader and better developed social media concepts. Don’t focus on what you’re selling, instead think about your overall message and the benefit to your customer. Take Father’s Day for example; what’s the benefit of customers buying your gifts for their father? What’s the emotional pull? This example of a Father’s day campaign presents dad as a superhero and injects fun into the brand’s message.
3. Craft your message
When crafting your messaging, it’s important to consider not only the style and values of your brand, but those of your target audience. Is your business young and fun, or high-end and professional?
You can easily create promotional material using text and stock imagery to make an impact, fast. Purchase images from the likes of Fotolia that can form the focal point of your campaign and create a visual identity.
Though Photoshop is one of the best tools for the job, alternatives such as Canva can equip you with everything you need to create promotional material for social media posts and advertisements. What’s better, this comes at little or no cost.
4. What about content?
With your assets complete, setting aside a little time ahead of your campaign launch can go a long way. Planning what you’ll say and when you are going to say it will not only save you time, but ensure everything is well thought out and consistent. Using a scheduling tool like Hootsuite can help your campaigns run smoothly and save stacks of time.
5. Find your audience
You can make a small advertising budget go a long way on social media providing you understand and define your target audience. Let’s take the example of the fun and young brand’s Father’s Day concept again.
- Example trading date: Father’s day
- Consumer (the person using your product): Father
- Customer (the person purchasing your product): Mothers of young children
The target audience for your products are likely to use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. Within its advertising tool, Facebook gives you the ability to target niche markets or specific demographics, so you can choose when your advert is displayed and who is it shown to. You’ll be able to design an advert that speaks to the needs of the target audience, and show it only to women under 50 – even narrowing down their location to a specific town.
6. Extend your reach
Find it hard to get reach on Facebook? I hear you! Don’t make the mistake of only posting about your products – think of ways you can increase interaction with broader topics. It’s vital to have some content that creates reach, but also fits with your brand identity. Talk to your audience about what they’re interested in and you’ll begin to build a relationship with them and attract new followers.
This example for Father’s Day is a YouTube video of a baby boy who meets his father’s twin brother for the first time – it’s very sweet and has been viewed nearly 5 million times. Your post could be as simple as “Check out this dad – his son thinks he’s seeing double!”
Keep a note of your ideas year round. You never know when you might come across the perfect content idea and by with a scheduling tool like Hootsuite, you can load your content days or even months in advance.
7. What about giveaways?
There’s little doubt that giveaways can help with social media success, but be careful when creating generic ‘like and share’ posts. Instead, think of a way you can engage people with your content – such as posing a question, asking for anecdotes, or sharing memories – which can be a more powerful way of engaging your followers. Ensure your copy fits with your brand and do comment back; engaging with your audience can make huge difference.
8. And then what?
Measure your social media success, and keep a record of what’s working. If you sell your products online or provide services around the world, make use of your campaign and replicate it in other countries. If you don’t trade internationally yet, could you pilot test your campaign overseas? The web means there are no geographical boundaries and the world is your oyster.
Are you thinking about beginning to trade internationally? You’re not alone. The percentage of companies starting to export rose from 25% in 2014 to 28.6% in 2015, and research shows that companies that export become 34% more productive in the first year alone. The Sage guide to exporting explains how to get started, or for support with growing your business in new markets, visit UK Trade and Investment online.