Trick question: if you run a Twitter campaign that directs a customer to your Facebook page and they click through to your site, how many channels did you use?
In this day and age, running social media promotions can be overwhelming. There are large and highly engaged audiences on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google +, LinkedIn, YouTube - and that’s just the social sites we hear about daily.
As a business, it can be challenging to figure out the what, the where, and the how of doing a multichannel social media promotion.
I’d like to address what it takes to be successful at that task, but in order to do so, we should first define what is a multichannel social promotion, what makes each channel unique, and what success actually looks like.
What is a multichannel social media promotion?
It’s a campaign that’s delivered or has impact on multiple social media channels. It can be as simple as providing your customers with additional chances to win a prize by engaging with you via multiple channels, or using other social channels to drive awareness to your campaign.
More importantly, such promotion will frequently be using several social media channels to drive engagement / conversions on other ones.
What differentiates the channels?
The challenge behind running a social promotion is that each social channel has its own focus. For example, using data compiled by the Pew Research Center’s recent social media survey, we see the following trends:
We see some audience trends that help paint the picture of where and how you can target your customers:
- Women are five times as likely as men to use Pinterest.
- Pinterest tends to attract higher-educated women.
- Twitter tends to tailor to urban population.
The other major difference between social networking sites is the types of promotions you can run:
- Facebook: special deals/coupons, sweepstakes, voting engagement campaigns.
- Twitter: live chat sessions, giveaways.
- Pinterest: sweepstakes.
How to measure
What makes such campaigns successful is identifying the success metrics upfront. Each social channel will lend itself to different results. Before you kick off a promotion, you must identify your success metrics and how will you measure them.
You must build a framework for your results. If you are looking to acquire fans, than you should capture your pre-promotion state and compare it with the post-promotion state. If you are seeking to drive traffic, than you must make sure to tag each channel so that you can measure the impact once the promotion ends.
There are also a few metrics that you should consider capturing regardless of what social channels you are using.
- Referral traffic: great campaigns aim to increase traffic to your site. Google Analytics makes it easy to see referral traffic driven by a specific social media channel.
- Conversions: Having traffic to your site is great, but understanding its conversion is key. Google Analytics makes it easy to see conversion path by channel. If your promotion is successful in generating growth, you can easily see if the fan base you acquired is relevant to your product by looking at conversions.
How to set up a campaign
How you set up a campaign should be directly tied to your goals. In the 2013 CMO’s Guide to Social Media Landscape, a few trends are highlighted:
- Driving traffic: use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. Facebook ‘like’ functionality allows for easy viral exposure. Pinterest and the link back to the source of the picture is a great way to drive traffic back to you.
- SEO: use Google+ or YouTube. Active YouTube channels get higher SEO ranking. Google+ and the "+1" button have similar benefits. Although you can’t do sweepstakes on Google+
- Brand exposure: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube.
- Customer acquisition: Facebook, Twitter. Both provide brands with easy access to large population of customers. If you are looking to reach women, Facebook is your channel.
Based on your goals, this will drive which social media channels you want to use. You should always map out what the customer life-cycle flow should look like throughout the campaign. Make sure that you provide consistent customer experience throughout the various channels.
Prior to launching your campaign, you should also always test your program across all vehicles. Many of the social media providers change their features frequently, but your customers are unlikely to be aware (or care) about latest updates to the Twitter API settings.
If you have a website and more than one social media account, chances are your promotions are already multichannel. Before you embark on running a multi-channel promotion, identify your goals.
Do you wish to acquire fans, what type of fans do you want to acquire, how many, what do you want them to do? Based on this framework it will lead you to decide what social media platforms you want to use and how.
If you are looking for an SEO bump from a viral promotion, than you may consider integrating the +1 button throughout your site and try to incorporate a YouTube video. A Pinterest sweepstake may be a promotion for you, if you are looking to acquire female fans.
A successful multichannel social media promotion is nothing more than a conversation that is continued across several different venues. As any conversation that involves multiple parties, it requires planning and understanding your goals in order to capture maximum benefits.