Guest Post by Ryan Ayers
Any successful marketing strategy aims to influence consumer behavior. Generally, the behavior a campaign aims to influence is the behavior of purchasing a product or service. Social marketing aims to influence a recurring behavior.
The popular Truth anti-smoking advertisements that influence people to stop smoking are a well-known example of social marketing. Regardless of the message, there are effective steps to create a great social marketing strategy.
Step 1, Evaluate
All steps in the social marketing process require some evaluation, but in this case we’re talking about evaluation of the issue that the social marketing is looking to address. Research is not only important, but it’s also a moral obligation when you’re aiming to inform the public for societal good.
Step 2, Plan
Planning comes after analyzing everything that was collected during the evaluation phase. This, too, is dependent upon the message, but generally the plan involves creating a message that can be shared across multiple channels. Social media if often a key channel when trying to reach a younger audience.
Step 3, Development
Having a plan is very important but sticking to it is even more important or else you wasted your time planning. Some parts of the plan can be released while others are still being developed, as long as it is logical.
Step 4, Track Progress
Part of the plan and the development process should be making the success (or lack thereof) measurable. Google analytics and other analytic programs make this much easier than it used to be, and social media is also very trackable.
The same tactics used to evaluate the landscape can be used to track your own progress within said landscape. Surveys and questionnaires about how often people saw the messages and how much of an effect it had on them, should be a regular part of the process.
Step 5, Make Needed Adjustments
Tracking progress doesn’t do any good if the analyzations are not utilized in making changes deemed necessary to increase reach and effectiveness of the social marketing campaign. With social campaigns, success is a little more difficult to measure, but the more times things are evaluated and adjusted, the easier changes are to implement.
Social marketing helps things change for the good and motivation is a key component in any successful social marketing campaign. There are plenty of resources online to help with each of these steps, and most campaigns have a similar campaign to learn from. Advertising within social media (Facebook ads, sponsored content on Instagram) is a good way to up the ante a little bit in that medium.
Everything should be evaluated regularly, and change should be more than expected when starting out. If your message is strong and hits people in the heart, it will most likely find success if these steps are followed.
About the Author
Ryan Ayers has consulted a number of Fortune 500 companies within multiple industries including social media, information technology and education. After earning his MBA in 2010, Ayers also began working with start-up companies and aspiring entrepreneurs, with a keen focus on communication and marketing.