We’ve all seen the millions of online articles about the benefits of social media marketing, why your business should use social media marketing, and how social media marketing is the future of advertising. This is all true, but there is catch: not all social media marketing campaigns are created equally. There’s more to it than simply creating a Facebook page and Twitter account for your business. Before embarking on a marketing campaign, there are a number of things to consider and decisions which should be made before you even create a fan page for your business.

Here are three questions you should ask yourself:

1. What Are Your Goals?

Are you trying to increase sales? Reach out to customers? Increase brand awareness? Most likely the answer is “all of the above”, but if you can identify a single main goal, this can slightly alter the game in terms of your content strategy.

2. Who Is Your Target Demographic?

A big mistake people make when running a social media campaign is that they post content that they like, as opposed to catering to their actual demographic. I am certainly guilty of this myself, and it is beyond frustrating when the posts that I think are witty, clever and amazing flop miserably.

3. What Is the Concept Behind Your Content?

Many people start posting before they have a plan. Posting on a whim can sometimes convey a message that is disjointed, or just plain sloppy. Instead, brainstorm some themes that complement your product or service. If you’re a nature photographer, your thematic goals could include conservation, volunteer tourism, or exotic plants. Pick some appropriate themes and stick to them. If you post about tropical fish one day, then camera lenses the next, it might seem like there isn’t a clear narrative that connects everything.

How to Go VIRAL

Getting a viral post is the Holy Grail of social media marketing. As the manager of multiple social media accounts for a large company, I’ve had the good fortune of seeing a post catch, and go viral. So far, the best post we’ve had got over 10,000 shares in less than 24 hours without any promotion. Here is how we did it:

Choose Your Image Wisely

Viral posts are almost always an eye-catching image—something people will see and share in a matter of seconds. Funny memes that convey your thematic objectives are always a good choice.

If your boss is comfortable with them, pictures with shock value are extremely popular. Pictures that are funny or cute will do well, but in order to go viral, you will want to have something totally outside the box, and possibly a little edgy. Just make sure it fits in with your business.

Elicit a Strong Reaction

Appeals to emotion are usually an efficient way to get people fired up and willing to take action by sharing your post. I was managing a Facebook account for a background check company, and we posted a mugshot of a sex offender who had been caught in the act by his victim’s father and given a doozy of a shiner. This post appeals to our demographic on multiple levels:

  •  It has a strong family element, which illustrates a father’s protective instincts.
  •  It’s a great revenge story—the absolute worst kind of criminal getting what he deserves.
  •  It’s a true story.

This was a good strategy that fit the leanings of our demographic. For most businesses, it wouldn’t be appropriate to post a picture of a beat-up sex offender, but you can use similar techniques and adapt this strategy to content that makes sense for your business or organization.

Keep Your Copy Simple and Powerful

The copy that you include with your post should be written as carefully as you would write an ad. Powerful writing will take your post far. Just like you would tell a potential customer to “subscribe now” or “click here,” the same strong, directive copy should be applied to social media marketing. Always include a sentence at the end which says “Like and Share.” If you can work in a way to say “Like and Share if you think that. . . .” and then include something most people would agree with, you’ll be amazed at how popular your post will be—as long as you just keep things simple, straightforward, and shocking.

Featured photo credit:  Social network concept finger via Shutterstock

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