The awareness campaign seems to be exactly what social media was made for. An awareness campaign (social media or not) is used to increase the awareness of certain products or the brand itself. This is often used by established companies (like Chevy with their eco campaign, or the GAP ) to keep themselves fresh in peoples minds and assist with their ongoing bid to stay relevant in the current culture.
Front of mind is great for sales, but front of mind with a real personality, trust based relationship, and interaction is even better. One of the major advantages of social media is being able to find and target the exact people you’re looking for. The second big advantage is in the social aspect, people share info, products, and more with their friends and family, so having a good presence online will help increase your visibility.
Before you start a Social Media Awareness Campaign
Listen and then… Set. Your. Goals.
What do you want to do? Increase conversations about your brand, change the current online sentiment of your brand? Want people to talk about your brand at all? What ever level of awareness you’re trying to achieve social media is a powerful tool for that.
Setting up your listening posts and building a solid foundation can be done for free to cheap (on the software side) using tools like Google Reader, Google Alerts, Yahoo Pipes, etc. This will get you a rough idea of what you’re looking at. If you’re still craving more info and don’t want to create an action plan yet then you can look at some of the paid tools like BuzzGain, Techrigy or Radian6. Some of which not only compile online info about your company, but do sentiment analysis as well.
Setting up a Social Media Awareness Campaign
When it comes to setting up the campaign it goes back to your goals and what you discovered while listening. The platforms you need to be on will become very clear once you start listening and looking for your niche and conversations surrounding it. However, to start with we’re going to hit the big three to give some examples and ideas.
Remember the goal is awareness and the name of the game is engagement, so having the personality of yourself or your company shine through is key. You want your communications to be genuine and the value of what you’re bringing to the table to be very apparent.
Twitter – Without a doubt search is the most powerful feature on Twitter to date. Use the search to find people talking about your company, product, or niche. You can also use twitter based directories like twellow, wefollow, etc to find people who fall into the same categories as you. After you’ve found these people join their conversations. Meet them on their level.
In your conversations work your brand in when it’s appropriate, field questions, and build the reputation of you and your product. Twitter is also a great tool for doing giveaways and giving out special discounts. Create offers and tactics that lower the barrier of entry for people to try your product. If you send a free sample, then follow up with the person. If you hand out discounts follow feedback from the purchases.
Building the awareness of you and your product on Twitter is just as much about building up your own brand and reputation on the site as it is the product. People will come to know the product through you and vice versa. Remember Twitter is basically a giant word of mouth engine and your goal is to get people talking and then to keep them talking.
Facebook – Your greatest asset here is going to be your Fan Page. From it you can run contests to get people interested in you and then get them to share that interest with their friends via their walls. One of the best looking awareness fan pages is done by the Crayola. They have plenty of interactive ways to connect and communicate with them on their tabs and fun things for people to do with their kids.
With FaceBook you will want to befriend your fans on your profile (if done for your personal business & not a corporate one) and when you add them create a group that is just for your fans so you can easily look at just their updates and interact with your fans. This will also help you gain some extra insight into what your fans like and talk about as you get to know them.
You shouldn’t stop at just your fan page and profile though. Check out other fan pages and groups that are based in your niche and have some bearing on you or your company. Join these conversations and add value to the communities. This will also help you gain more fans as people get to know you.
Blog – You can help create interest and awareness by having good content that people want to share. As you continue to build up your reputation and build up your network in these different communities you will figure out how to get your blog in front of them. Work on building outposts for your content on social bookmarking sites like Digg and Delicious to help get more exposure for it.
As you build your readership be sure to cover the types of information they want to see. From time to time ask them and look in the comments to see what’s being brought up. Building a blog readership is a long slow process but you can do it by creating good, informative content that people want to share about not just your products, but your niche in general. Become a source of industry news and information.
Managing a Social Media Awareness Campaign
Managing is going to come down to who you have running it and why. Did you contract out the work? If so make sure you’re holding WEEKLY meetings with them to make sure you’re both on the same page (20 min should cover it). If it’s internal then make sure that you’re in contact with them at all times and that they are representing your brand properly at all times.
When it comes down to you (or even anyone else for that matter) time is going to be the thing you need to monitor the most. You will need to be constantly building and typically the more time you spend the more you’ll get out of it. If you’re going to be handling the interactions then remember that integration into your daily routines will always be key.
By building solid relationships and connections with people who care about what you have to say each new product launch, update, etc. will get a little bit easier and you’ll see better results each time. Manage your time, your profiles, and the conversations you’re a part of. Measuring will help you decide if they are worth while to help optimize your efforts.
Monitoring a Social Media Awareness Campaign
Impact, impact, impact! When it comes to awareness you will want to monitor the impact your efforts are having. A lot of how you will measure will depend on what listening tools you’re using so I’ll cover some of the basics and also go over what to look for.
Low end “free” listening tools – Most of the results of these will be delivered to you via either RSS or email. Either way you will be able to see based on the volume if the conversations about you are going up or down. It will help you judge what’s happening with the volume of conversations. The sentiment results will have to be discerned manually.
Mid ground – Here you’re going to be able to compare the previous months results to this months and the next and so on. Many of these have graphs that you can setup and monitor what’s going on. This is going to help you build your ongoing plans as it will be easy to see where you have been and plan for where you’re going.
High level – These tools will do everything except make you coffee and you’ll be able to get a very complete picture of what’s happening. This clear picture will help you shape the next phase of your plan or create a course of action to keep you heading in the right direction.
Make sure that you have Google Analytics or some other web analytics tool running so that you will be able to monitor the traffic coming in and where it’s coming from. This will help you determine which platforms are working best, which ones need some work, and which ones need to be ditched all together. Knowing which ones are working and which ones aren’t will also help you analyze your interactions between the ones that work and the ones that don’t.
You’ll be able to look at how you’re interacting on one platform vs another. Are they different or are they the same? If they are different then look at the successful one and apply the tactics to the unsuccessful one. If they are the same then look at how you might need to adjust one of them to go a different route. The ability to monitor, measure, and analyze what’s going on is one of the powerplays of social media vs traditional media and the more you do it, the more you will be able to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Remember, social media is about the long haul and building for the future
What do you think? Any questions or comments?
Thank you for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters
This is post #2 in a 5 part series about the basic types of marketing campaigns and social media’s place in them.
1. Social Media for Lead Generation and Acquisition
image by Johan V