For the past few weeks, I’ve begun to notice that marketers in general haven’t tuned into the important differences between a social media strategy – and the campaign itself. One seems to easily roll into the other, and yet many rush into the campaign without considering the strategy as its basis.
To our experience, truly acknowledging the great distinction between strategy and campaign may well be the key to social media marketing success.
As a marketing collaborative that’s quickly venturing into a wide range of social media campaigns, we’ve been asked for both – often by folks that need just the other of what they’re asking for. So what’s the distinction?
> Social Media Strategy (SMS) is the birthplace of the social media campaign. If we had our wish, SMS would come at lease 6 months ahead of the intended campaign release date. For this period of time, you might gather internal assets and develop materials, analyze intended audiences, and begin to engage with the target communities – without ever asking for anything in return. This allows enough time to establish a bit of credibility with your target audience – while gathering some important information that could help steer the course of the campaign.
> A Social Media Campaign then, is derived from your social media strategy (seems simple enough, right?). In this launch phase, we should understand the audience that cares about your effort, and know a bit about where they are and gather. If you’ve spent enough time and effort giving away quality information to an increasing base of followers, you can more readily establish realistic goals for the campaign results. By now, you’ve activated your audience, and you are in a position to get something from them with reasonable projections to levels of success.
More than too often, clients wait to consider social media in their marketing mix until they have a campaign, and they’re under some pressure to set and achieve goals in short order. But to act on a campaign without the established base is rushing into a campaign without basis.
Once the platform of trust and communication has been established, you can begin to ask for response. And then you’ll have to re-assess if the offer is of real value to that certain sub-set of the population.
The challenge here is convincing clients to take the time necessary to establish the basis of the strategy before launching the campaign. And of course, for all of those search engines (like Google) to find and index it. And just a little time for people to find it…learn a bit about it, and establish a relationship with the brand that will enable them to share it without reserveration.
Once that sharing process begins in the campaign portion of the process – the true value of a SMM campaign can be revealed. And for the cost of setting the strategy and campaign into motion – there simply isn’t a better ROI in media for any marketing campaign