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    Setting up your social media marketing resources effectively is crucial before launch. Learning on the fly is perfectly normal, but realising that your materials, profiles or software aren’t up to scratch after addressing the marketplace is unacceptable.

    Setting up is part of the process of pre-launch preparation. Using your research and planning, you would have established which social media platforms you will be actively participating on and what software will be needed to assist you in executing your strategies.

    So now it’s time to get your hands dirty.

    This process is often overlooked and undervalued. Companies with the in-house capacity to pass branding to their graphic design team, or optimising web copy to their copywriters, will be at an advantage. But for the one-man bands who do not enjoy such luxuries, its time to outsource it entirely, or learn it yourself.

    I would recommend going with the first option, unless you have lot’s of time on your hands.

    The foundations of your social media campaigns start with your profiles. Call it the smell test, so to speak. They must attract and retain attention.

    Social media strategy - setting up

    Internet users will typically spend between 10-20 seconds on websites. Those that gain trust early retain viewership (Source: How Long Do Users Stay on Web Pages?). I would imagine this principle would be similar in social networking, although my guess is the average time would be lower.

    If you instantly capture people’s imagination, then you will have won their interest and the prize is the chance to showcase your content.

    Here are the 3 most common mistakes of setting up campaigns in social media:

    1. Inconsistent
    2. Usually a result of businesses trying to match branding to their audiences, without sufficiently taking into account their corporate identity. A good example is an out of place looking background graphic, with a small company logo in the corner. It’s great that the target audience has been addressed, but it doesn’t bode well for brand identity or recognition.

    3. Irrelevant
    4. Sometimes an extension of the first mistake. I have seen businesses go with logo designs that set the stage for their whole branding and copy. When you step back and look at the whole picture, it just doesn’t reflect their identity, vision or culture.

    5. Incomplete
    6. One of my top pet peeves in social media. There just isn’t any excuse for launching campaigns with incomplete profiles and it’s quickly picked up on by users. Don’t lose readership or reputation right off the bat by being sloppy.

     

    Imagine if you launched your social media campaign without taking sufficient time in setting up your marketing resources. You might start tweeting without a bio or profile branding. You could build your list but have no email templates or auto-responders ready. You might even start engaging with your target customers but not have a website to drive people to.

    It would just be messy. So it’s paramount that you have everything in place before launching your social media campaign.

    Here is a quick overview of the typical web components required in social media campaigns. You can use this as a checklist of marketing resources needing to be set up prior to launch day.

      External components
    • Website
    • Landing pages
    • Email software
    • CRM
    • Press release
      Primary social networks
    • Facebook
    • Google Plus
    • Twitter
    • LinkedIn
    • Pinterest
      Rich media sites
    • Video: YouTube / Vimeo
    • Photo: Instagram / Flickr
      Social bookmarking sites
    • Digg
    • Delicious
    • Reddit
      Secondary social networks
    • Quora
    • StumbleUpon
    • Foursquare

     

    The general areas of setting up social media campaigns can be attributed to three distinct job roles. That is why it can be hard for small businesses to find what they would call a great social media manager. Without resources to hire a team of people, the responsibilities fall on one person.

    Web Design and Development

    OK, so most of the time this will be given to a different person or team. But the overlaps are wider than you think. Being able to create custom Facebook tabs, bespoke email templates and tailored landing pages all require various coding knowledge.

    The better social media managers will have a sufficient understanding of web design languages such as HTML, CSS and PHP, and be able to translate conceptual designs into marketing web resources.

    Branding

    If a complete corporate branding package is required then again, the best bet would be to seek a specialist. Setting up social media accounts will always encompass elements of branding, be it; Twitter backgrounds, Facebook covers, LinkedIn banners, PPC ads, social content, promotional materials, email graphics… you get the drift.

    I wrote a piece for the Smart Insights blog on improving your Social Media campaigns using Graphic Design, which you can read here.

    Copywriting

    Social media managers have to be great writers – it’s part of the territory. Content is the main driver in social marketing. I’m sure you have heard the popular social media cliché that content is king?

    What is online engagement without words? How could emails be sent without text? And what would happen to advertising without compelling headlines?
     

    For a more in-depth breakdown on the major activities that should be undertaken prior to campaign launch, read my article – Social Media Campaign Launch: Checklist.

    There have been many instances where brands haven’t quite understood how valuable the setting up phase in social media marketing is. Take these two campaigns that backfired for instance:

    Setting Up Branding – HealthNet

    HealthNet faced total embarrassment when it was learned that they were fabricating tweets and Twitter handles in their advertising and on their billboards. The tweets were ironically punctuated with the hashtag #healthnetcares.

    Social media strategy - setting up branding

    Setting Up Video – Paddy Power

    Paddy Power, not a brand to shy away from controversy, created a commercial which was subsequently banned in four days. “Surely some kind of record,” the brand boasted.

    Social media is a risky environment for brands. But it can also serve to do more harm than good to small businesses too. Think of setting up your social media campaigns like planting a tree.

    A tree needs good foundations in order to survive, grow and mature. If it is not set up properly with the right soil, a suitable pot, the correct watering schedule etc, then chances are it will shrivel up and die a slow but painful death.

    A tree can be saved by quickly adjusting as you go along, but the healthiest tree’s will be the ones that were given the best chance at the start of life. Remember, some tree’s are born into harsh environments and are not handed the luxuries or opportunities others are.

    Social media strategy - setting up healthy foundations

    Similarly, social media campaigns need setting up with vision. Are the foundations being established with future planning, growth and expansion in mind? Is the campaign as a whole scalable? If not, then if you are as successful as you hope to be, where do you go? Start over?

    I frequently experience businesses who have already built a presence in social media, yet want to overhaul their efforts due to recent opportunities for scaling, or refinancing. In these cases, the set up phase didn’t take into account future success and were usually limited to the capacity at the time.

    In other words, it was built on a rigid system.

    Think through the setting up phase thoroughly and don’t feel you have to rush to market with a less than complete strategy. It will pay dividends down the line if your social marketing assets and materials were given the proper handling before being released into the wild.

    Over To You

    Hopefully, you can understand how much effort needs to go into setting up your social media campaigns. And how important it is to get it right, from the start.

    Have you seen any social media profiles that you thought were especially poor or inspirational?

    And do you remember any launch campaigns that blew you away with their creativity?