13/11/2013

By Jonny Rosemont, head of digital at Seven Hills

To many an untrained eye — and even to many skilled practitioners – social media has become a complex beast that is difficult to both navigate and take advantage of for your business gain. As we move into 2014, we really need to start thinking differently.

We should start to consider how we can simplify our approach to social media activity. In truth there is significant overlap in activity such as PR, SEO, content marketing, social media marketing and beyond. Could it be time to simplify the chat and just call it campaigning?

Here is a three-pronged approach to effective, yet simple social media campaigning:

Community

Before any activity has even begun, the first crucial step is to define the audience you are trying to reach. This will encourage you to focus on the social media channels most relevant. Effective social media campaigning begins and ends with understanding your audience, their behaviours and wishes.

Equally it is as much about you as it is they. What is it that you offer, what are you trying to say and what are your clear messages? You need to define what you have of value and the reasons for you to engage in social media in the first place. The important point here is relevance.

Content

Once you know the whom and where of your audience as well as what it is you are trying to say, then you need to think about what content you have or can use to tell your story.

There really should be no doubt in your mind that digital content – whether video, photos, infographics or otherwise – is the undisputed currency of social media. Investment and commitment is very much obligatory.

Explore the type(s) of content that you have or need to tell your story, and at the same time try to understand the types of content that your community itself is consuming or even creating.

Conversations

Last, but not least, is ultimately the core component of social media – the dialogue between you and your audience.

You’ve already defined where you need to be, what you need to say and what content you have to tell your story. Now you’ll need to fit this all together and decide what it is you’ll be saying across your social media communities. Establish an activity plan or calendar to distribute content.

It is key to establish ongoing analysis or monitoring of conversations, which will ensure greater performance of activities. You’ll better understand peak moments of interest and ultimately what content works to drive conversation and interest in your business.

Other important considerations are ways to influence conversation further. Using social media advertising to amplify your reach is proving to be a required activity, as is the ability to identify and engage with the influential people that talk about your interest and can advocate your business on your behalf.

So there you have it. Despite what others will have you believe, social media campaigning is rather straightforward. Kick off the New Year with a revived appetite to make social media work for you.

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