Whether you’re a scrappy, no-name start-up or a monolithic powerhouse with years of experience, the success of your social networking efforts depends on one thing – focused goals. Without clear expectations, your creative team will be mired in indecision. Here are a few crucial ways to keep your social networking arm on task and under budget.
Establish a bottom line
While it’s tempting to be hands-off with your marketers, remember that limitations are often liberating. And one important limitation is the bottom-line return on investment. Once your team knows exactly what their budgetary constraints are, they’ll find innovative ways to work around those constraints. Before making social networking a major force in how you market your brand, have a preliminary meeting about the budget so that everyone has realistic expectations about what they can accomplish.
Know your demographic
Marketing, particularly through social networking sites, has one major obstacle with many demographics today – people will go out of their way to avoid advertisements. Open source ad-blockers are more abundant than ever, so you’ve got to be clever. The market research advertisers can collect from Facebook’s sidebar ads is a great example of marketing to anti-ad demographics. Polling social network users on an ad’s appropriateness, relevance, and effectiveness is one of the quickest and simplest ways to understand your target audience. Never underestimate the power of irony – the non-sell – in getting through to your demographic on today’s social networking sites.
Allow for mistakes
Social networking is so dynamic and interconnected that you can’t expect every single idea to pull in target numbers. Failure and success are intertwined – the lessons we learn in failing help us to succeed next time. Stress that your marketing team needs to bring their “A game,” but also let them know they’ve got the freedom to fail. The budget has to account for this somewhat. One or two projects may turn out to be a bust, but even they will help to fuel the creative process. And don’t forget that your team can just as easily learn from the competition’s failures!
A successful social media budget will incorporate these tips (and many others) for any company, regardless of its stature, age, or talent pool. If you’re always reactive and always researching, building your brand through social networking sites is just a matter of time.