How Businesses Get The Most Value From Externally Managed Social Media Marketing Campaigns

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How Businesses Get The Most Value From Externally Managed Social Media Marketing Campaigns

If you’ve hired an agency or freelancer to manage social media or digital marketing for your business, this post may save you time, money and disappointment.

Why Does Social Media Work For Some Businesses And Not Others?

With the rise of social media + digital marketing, there’s an expectation that this is the magic combo businesses need to succeed. The cost to reach people has decreased and the ability to “spray and pray” (the practice of broadcasting your message anywhere and everywhere) has increased. The ease of setting up multiple social channels and access to cheap or free content (sprinkle a meme here, a gif there) and badda boom – marketing success!

Except when it comes down to it, we really have no idea if our efforts amount to anything or help our business at all.

To add insult to injury, businesses are commonly focused on vanity metrics; using them as proxies for marketing success. We see our competitors who have a high number of fans or followers, video views or likes and assume that they must be doing it right and reaping major rewards. The truth is that that assumption is complete piffle.

How To Ensure Your Marketing Campaign Is Managed Effectively

Consider this scenario, a business hires an agency to run its social media + digital marketing for them. They invest $9000 per month on marketing (which includes both organic and paid social media and ads for Google.) As new content rolls out, the business is excited to see lots of their content published to social channels consistently; in fact, their customers have even commented about their online presence. But after a couple of months, they still haven’t gotten any leads. They’re beginning to wonder if social media and digital marketing are working for their business.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of new channels and new marketing opportunities. Here are a few things you should check off before you spend another dollar marketing your business online:

Do You Have A Great Product Or Service?: Duh. This *seems* like common sense until you’ve been asked to market lipstick on a pig. Before you jump into the social + digital world, make sure that your product or service is exactly what you say it is. If you promise something, you have to follow through on it. As Jerry Della Famina has said: “Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising.”

 Try This: Assuming you already have customers, send them a satisfaction survey. Keep it simple (like 2-3 questions.) In fact, there are services out there like SurveyMonkey who have “ready-made” surveys available for use. This is when the rubber hits the road and you get a true idea of where your products or services excel or disappoint. Use this information as you work with your marketing agency or consultant.

Are You New?: How well known is your brand or business? Is it trusted among your ideal audience? If you’re starting from scratch, be ready for the long-haul. Don’t immediately advertise to cold audiences with the *hope* of turning them into customers on the first try. This isn’t a good approach and it can cost you.

 Try This: Create custom saved audiences in social channels where it is available (you can do this, by activating a pixel code on your business website.) These saved audiences will populate and allow you to begin sharing content with a warm audience. From there, you can build out “look-a-like” audiences. Keep in mind that you want to provide value (yes, you’ve probably heard this ad nauseam by now… but it’s true.) Think about what you have on hand that may be valuable for this warm audience – for example, do you have a special FREE offer you can extend?

Are You Clear On Desired Outcomes?: At the outset of any marketing campaign, it should be clear what the expectations are. The agency or freelancer will look to you to determine what’s important to your business. Realistically, if you leave it to most they’ll have no idea and pick the lowest hanging fruit … duh duh duh… impressions… maybe likes… but it depends.

 Try This: What is most important to your business? Do you want to reach more people? Or do you want a specific number of leads? Communicate these outcomes to your agency or freelancer.  Be as specific as you can. This can be hard when you don’t have a baseline, but the agency or freelancer should be able to tell what to expect.

Have You Chosen KPIs and Metrics?: Now that you know the outcomes that are most important to your business, you must carefully choose which metrics and/or KPIs you will watch in order to ensure things are heading in the right direction.

 Try This:  If your project is entirely focused on lead generation, you must watch metrics such as cost per lead, number of leads, lead source, etc. Keep in mind that cost metrics aren’t considered good KPIs but they will help you make decisions in terms of where and when to spend time and money (the cost won’t indicate the overall success of the program… that would be your CVR.) Other outcomes you may be following could be brand awareness, in that case, the metrics you choose should reflect that.

Have You Matched Channels To Outcomes?: Social media is a “See, Think, Care” channel; whereas Google and other search engines are considered “Do”. Few people (if any) visit Facebook with the intention of finding a new plumber, but it wouldn’t be unusual for them to hit up a search engine with the explicit intention of finding and calling one. Therefore, it’s important to match the channels appropriately with the desired outcome.

 Try This: If you’re running “Lead-Focused” ad campaigns to a cold audience on Facebook it is probably costing more than Google. Compare the numbers (look at those metrics you outlined previously.) Sometimes it will cost less to reach more people in a social channel vs. a search network but the outcomes differ (e.g.: impression vs. click.)

Are Your Assets Aligned?: Make sure that there is alignment, both in copy and visual, between ads and supporting landing pages. Ads with perfect copy that send people to less-than-stellar websites can send red flags to both the consumer and the channel (reflected in the cost you pay; you will be rewarded when they match.)

 Try This: Before publishing any ads, do the 8-second test. This is when you ask someone who is not part of the marketing team to scan the ad, visit the accompanying landing page and give you feedback. The limited-time doesn’t allow them to agonize over details but rather give you their first impressions.

Remember that there are several variables that can impact the success of a marketing campaign such as (1) what’s happening in the market? (e.g.: is it Christmas?), (2) the industry you represent (e.g.: retail vs. service), (3) the target audience (e.g.: are they a hot demographic that everyone wants to get in front of?)

In my experience auditing marketing campaigns, I find many opportunities for businesses to optimize their marketing efforts. From content and copy, to ads and landing pages – a business can save hundreds (and even thousands) of dollars by taking the time to review the above.

If you’re looking to maximize your marketing budget and get the results that are important to your business. Or if you need a second look at your current campaign(s), please fill out this form and I’d be happy to help!


Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay is a Marketing Strategist, Writer + Speaker known for her no-nonsense approach to pretty much everything. Using data insights, she helps organizations market more effectively to get results that matter. She's also a high-scoring instructor at Mount Royal University, where she teaches Social Media Analytics and Google Analytics + Marketing Measurement. She holds certifications from Google, as well as Facebook and is currently working toward a specialization in Marketing Analytics and a certificate in Data Science from IBM. When she’s not busy juggling kids, volunteering + work, she’s busy planning her retirement to Cape Breton.