Post Modern Marketing has long been committed to working with small and growing businesses in and around the Sacramento area. As a result, many of the social media campaigns we’ve developed have been sleek and efficient, confined to one two social media platforms, and dialed in tightly to get the most out of every dollar.
However, creating an effective social media marketing campaign at the corporate level is a more challenging matter, especially in cases where a corporation has not previously implemented a strategy for their social media, or perhaps hasn’t created social media accounts at all. Larger scale campaigns have larger audiences and more geography to cover, across many social media channels. There are more moving parts, so it’s easy to get bogged down and lose sight of the necessity of generating ROI from marketing dollars. This results in a lot of focus being placed on unprofitable “brand awareness,” which is only a reasonable goal in the short-term for a very new business, or long-term for the Nikes and Apples of the world.
For a small- to medium-sized corporation, particularly those that are chains or franchises, to profit from their social media marketing, there needs to be a balance between drawing attention to the brand, while also paying attention to customers in each geographic region served by the corporation’s outlets. There has to be a structured approach that keeps the brand in lockstep with the brick and mortar stores through which it generates income.
Here’s a general outline of how we develop a corporate campaign strategy, from top to bottom.
1. Establishing a framework for the corporate brand.
In many cases, franchisees and chain outlets are allowed to establish and maintain their own social media profiles, with little to no guidance at the corporate level. Some corporate offices don’t even have their own profiles. This means that even two outlets in the same town may have online marketing efforts that differ wildly in look and feel.
This results in very uneven brand perception, which can unsettle customers. Think about the amount of effort that McDonald’s, Budweiser, and other top-level brands have expended in order to create consistent, predictable experiences for their customers.
This is why the first thing we do when developing a new corporate campaign is to establish corporate guidelines that flesh out the brand identity of the business: the company’s look, feel, history, values, goals, and unique selling proposition(s).
We then detail how this identity will be accurately represented both online and in print. A style guide is compiled which details appropriate color schemes, typography, taglines, and logo usage. We also define what the brand’s tone of voice is, with examples of appropriate social media posts to be used in both organic and paid efforts.
Lastly, we create a social calendar with events, sales, promotions, partnerships, and sponsorships which should be promoted at the corporate level.
2. Defining an organic approach to social media.
Social media at the corporate level should articulate the brand’s identity as outlined in the corporate guidelines, creating that consistent brand experience that customers desire. To do this, we have to take a strategic approach to identifying the purpose of each social media channel where the brand is or should be represented, and how the brand benefits.
First, we identify current social media channels which do nothing to bolster the value of your brand. For instance, we might say that while Snapchat is popular with some customer bases, a brand that targets customers in the 55 to 69-year-old age bracket likely won’t engage their demographic on the social platform. Or it may be that the business has been carefully maintaining their Google+ presence for several years, despite the fact that the platform was effectively dead back in 2014.
Missteps like the two above are problematic in their own ways. In the first, you’re spending money on a popular platform that your target audience doesn’t use. In the second, you’re funneling money into a graveyard, and you also give the impression of being out of touch with current trends.
We then look at the current social media channels that should be retained, and identify ways to improve them, while also potentially identifying new channels that are appropriate to your goals. In each case, create customized imagery to liven up each account, ensure that they are verified as official channels. For instance, if you haven’t already, we will arrange for you to receive a blue verified Twitter badge so that potential subscribers recognize your account as being the official corporate Twitter account. This can be important, as spoofed brand accounts can cause confusion, and even make headlines.
For each platform, we will identify what role it will play in the larger picture, and how it will be used. As an example, let’s say that we’re going to create a Facebook account for your corporation, which is a franchiser with franchisees throughout the Bay Area and Southern California. Some of your franchisees have created their own Facebook accounts, but there’s no rhyme or reason to what they do—there is no corroboration between them, and their self-made advertisements and promos vary wildly in theme, look, and tone.
We would set up a Facebook account that would represent your corporate identity, and manage all of your franchisees’ accounts utilizing Facebook Locations. This feature is extremely powerful, as it gives us the ability to establish a parent-child relationship with every existing franchisee page. We can then edit the contents of those accounts to make them more consistent with your corporate brand identity and with one another, feed branded posts and ads from the corporate account to all of them, publish location-specific posts to franchisees in certain geographic areas, and much more. At the same time, each franchisee can still post to their respective accounts as well. Of course, we would ensure that they adhere to the established branding guidelines.
Similar plans would be drawn up for every other platform which has a role to play in the larger campaign. In the case of franchisers/franchisees, we might make the case for using LinkedIn to establish a behind-the-scenes connection between you and your existing franchisees, with an eye towards leveraging the platform to identify and connect with other potential franchisees, thus growing your business’s real world presence (and your revenue).
3. Creating paid social media campaigns.
Most social media outreach is done using organic, unpaid strategies. But in many cases, it makes sense to dedicate resources to paid social media campaigns as well. We often use paid Facebook ad campaigns, published through the account(s) created in the previous step, to target potential customers.
We are big advocates of Facebook advertising, as its extremely inexpensive compared to other outlets, and Facebook allows advertisers to focus your outreach only on the audience you want, based upon a huge number of variables including demographics, location, employment, shopping preferences, behaviors, and more.
In the case of the franchiser example above, we can push ads out through the corporate accounts, and/or feed streams of localized ads that are tailored to each geographic region you wish to target. Every ad campaign has its own unique objectives. We might develop a brand awareness campaign that helps to alert would-be customers in a new service area that you are now present in their market, while running engagement campaigns in areas where you’re well established but want to increase your subscriber numbers or get people who are already following a local franchisee’s account to take advantage of a special offer.
The above is just the groundwork for developing a corporate social media strategy.
It’s one thing to create a campaign, and another altogether to actually run it. Growing your social media presence, and doing so in a profitable manner, takes a lot of patience and effort. But it can be done.
If your business would like assistance in creating a corporate-level social media campaign, or in improving your existing one, Post Modern Marketing can help.