Social Media Campaign Planning Guide
1. Research the Market place to find your Audience
Use Listening Tools to figure out where your target audience is online and discover opportunities for
participating in their conversations. Note what is being said, whether the sentiment is positive, neutral
or negative, what content is being shared, who the more prolific people are.
A few examples of free tools are:
Google Alerts http://www.google.com/alerts emails you whenever your chosen keyword is
Google Blog Search http://www.blogsearch.google.com scans the blogosphere for any keyword
or phrase input.
Twitter Search http://www.search/twitter.com scans all Twitter posts for keyword or phrase
Socialcast http://www.socialcast.com offers realtime analytics on microblogs and other social
SocialMention http://www.socialmention.com enables searching keywords and phrases by
channel category (blogs, images, news, videos, etc) or everything. It will generate emails when
the keyword or phrase is found online.
Alexa http://www.alexa.com analyses your website and provides lots of interesting analytics
including sites linking in, demographics of people accessing the site, top queries, overall ranking
of the website etc
Google Reader http://www.google.com/reader enables creating a dashboard to track, organize
and share different feeds you subscribe to.
NetVibes.com http://www.netvibes.com enables creating private and public dashboard to
integrate content from anywhere on the web. There is a free version and fee version.
Who are the most vocal people, what are they talking about?
What is the general sentiment?
Be sure to look for and listen to the social chatter about your competitors.
How are the competitors participating and responding?
Which social media platforms are they present on? You can find this out by visiting their
Look at their profile pages, what tone and wording do they use?
Who are their fans and followers?
Are these customers, employees, partners or general public?
Are these the same users you wish to engage?
How do they interact with their audience?
How often do they post new content?
What techniques do they use to initiate new conversations?
How do they lead people back to their company website?
Do they link online conversations to offline events?
How do they report on the offline events - video, photo, blog, tweets?
How is their audience responding to them?
How often and what percent of their content gets engagement and how deep is the
engagement? Be sure to check the comments/discussion threads.
How rapidly are they growing their fan/follower base?
http://www.competitious.com (free) and http://www.rivalmap.com (fee) are two tools that enable
tracking information about your competitors.
2. Decide which social media sites to focus your efforts on.
Start with the big ones: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia and Blogs. If you have an
international presence, find sites that are most popular in your target region. Establish profiles on these
sites, after learning about the “culture” within these sites. Find the pages of leaders in your industry
within these sites, analyze how they interact with users; similarly with competitors. Develop a naming
architecture, with meaningful “usernames” or “handles” for each site that represent your brand and
brand values best, that are easy to discover on various social sites. Make sure nobody has hijacked your
brand names or is illegally representing your brand. http://www.namechk.com is a good place to check
whether the usernames you want are available. Make usernames easy to type - avoid punctuations
such as_ , -.
3. Develop Goals and Objectives
Create Specific Measurable Actionable Relevant and Timely goals that tie back to your business goals. at
a high level, goals track back to one of the big 3 business goals: Increase Revenue, Reduce Cost, Ensure
Tied to the Business Goal of Increasing Revenue, could be the Social Media Goal, Raise awareness of
your product or service. The objectives tied to this goal could comprise results from all the social media
sites involved in the social media campaign. For example, Gather 500 Likes on your Facebook Fan Page;
Stimulate 200 retweets of your tweets of blog posts by subject matter experts in your company; attract
2000 views of your product demonstration video on YouTube, all these results to be accomplished in the
first 6 months following product or service launch.
When launching social media campaigns to stimulate awareness, be sure to create and include tracking
handles such as unique URLs, discount codes etc to enable tracking by analytics tools.
Google Analytics http://google.com/analytics/ tracks referrals from the company’s social media profiles.
Twitalyzer http://beta.twitalyzer.com measures how influential a person or company is and how big is
their reach. http://www.klout.com is a similar Twitter influence tracking tool.
The most important point in measuring all these metrics is to turn them into business insights and
return on investments in social media. Examples of business insights gained would be
Amount of new revenue generated by various campaign venues
The conversion rate of people visiting various social media sites and your company website
The cost per lead
Amount of customer service time, resources and costs saved
To generate a return on investment calculation, these metrics can then be compared to those resulting
from traditional media campaigns.
4. Develop a plan to get attention, rise above the din
Creating Awareness is the first step in getting attention. Brainstorm and develop creative ways to gain
awareness on the social sites you have identified in step 2. For example, see case study of Radian6
Twebinar, “a mashup between the real-time, multi-directional messaging and networking power of
Twitter, with the convenience and rich media experience of a video webinar”.
To raise awareness, messages must be heard by many people in the target audience.
Raising awareness is a critical first step to any marketing campaign. As Jim Sterne says, “you can’t sell to
someone who has never heard of you”. Since this is true for all forms of marketing, the metric used in
traditional marketing are also relevant with social media - “Reach”, which is a measure of the
percentage of people in your target audience you want listen to your message.
How many of the people in the target audience can be reached, what/where is the best way to reach
What content can you publish that will stimulate people to share it with their networks, thereby
A mix of traditional media and social media are often the most effective way to reach target audiences:
TV, Radio, Billboards, tradeshows, offline sponsored events, direct email, company websites and social
media. All these are efforts to stimulate word-of-mouth marketing, which can rapidly amplify on social
media. A good example is Microsoft’s word-of-mouth campaign to launch Windows 7 “Get the OS free,
host a Windows 7 launch party”.
The keys to awareness, is to quickly become memorable; people need to remember your
company/brand name, your products or services, your logo.
How many people saw your blog post?
How many people saw your tweets?
How many people got the message?
How many people wrote about your company?
How many people viewed and voted on your videos, photos?
http://www.feedburner.com is a tool that helps track the number of subscribers to various
feeds. It also reports on “reach” which is the “total number of people who have taken action -
viewed or clicked - on the content in your feed”.
http://www.postrank.com is a fee-based website with many analytics to track various social
media metrics such as the number of brand mentions. They frequently publish free industry
reports, eg the recent report on twitter users and their banking practices
http://www.hitwise.com and http://www.comscore.com are fee tools that provide a wealth of
information on social media metrics including audience, demographics, psychographics,
engagement statistics and much more.
http://www.budurl.com offers a free 21 day trial. It integrates many online sites including
mobile and has support for QR codes.
http://www.getclicky.com provides free and fee based realtime web analytics.
http://www.hubspot.com offers an integrated set of tools and a free 30 day trial.
Reach helps determine how many people had the opportunity to learn about your company or brand,
how many outbound messages got heard and whether messages are getting to the right audience.
5. Find your Influencers and understand their sentiment.
Who are the influencers in the audience you can leverage to increase reach? What is the size of their
audience? What is their authority level, or clout? For example, http://www.technorati.com determines
the authority level of blog; http://www.hubspot.com provides services that measure authority. How
often do they share content you publish or share information about your company, product or service?
How often do they return to your online sites? How many times are they retweeted?
http://www.rapleaf.com is an interesting service that derives demographic data from email addresses,
which can be used to send customized emails, tailor content and derive analytics data.
Ken Burbarry maintains a wiki of social media monitoring tools here: http://wiki.kenburbary.com/social-
Fresh Networks created the following list of free tools that could be used to find social media
Addict-o-matic – produces a a consolidated page with search matches across blogs, Twitter,Digg, Flickr and more.
Alltop – the online magazine rack – search for influential bloggers listed by specific subject and topics.
Blogpulse – an automated trend discovery system for blogs. It analyzes and reports on daily activity in the
Boardreader - search engine for forums. Get fast and quality search for your own forum.
Buzzstream – helps you build a dossier about your influencers.
Dailylife - search news and editorial commentary for influencers in traditional media.
Facebook – use the “search” function to identify topics and people who are talking about them.
Google – possibly still the ultimate free tool for finding influencers, especially since the launch of Google Blog
search, Google Realtime search and their “Discussion” search option.
HubSpot Twitter grader – check the power of a twitter profile compared to millions of others that have been graded.
IceRocket – search social networking sites and blogs to find influencers and online creators (people who upload
images or talk passionately on a social network about a brand).
Klout – currently the most respected measure of Twitter influence, Klout allows users to track the impact of their
opinions, links and recommendations.
Lijit – build relationships with the online influencers and connect directly to their audiences.
MentionMap – visualiser tool that allows you to quickly assess the most influential people on Twitter.
Monitter – monitor Twitter for key words, phrases and topics that are being discussed online.
ObjectiveMarketer – find your influencers and amplifiers across various social media platforms.
PeerIndex - helps you discover the authorities and opinion formers on a given topic.
PostRank analytics – discover your influencers, identify which social networks give you most traction and benchmark
yourself against the competition.
Pulse of the Tweeters – uses data mining and sentiment analysis to mine millions of tweets and find the most
influential people on Twitter.
Socialmention – features an interesting combination of metrics including reach, sentiment, passion, and strength for
blogs, Twitter, news, images, video, and audio.
Social Profile – keeps you informed of other peoples’ activity in the social web.
Social Seek – helps you find out who is making the most noise about your brand.
Technorati – considered to be the leading blog search engine – useful for finding influential blogs.
TipTop – Search for current trends and topics of interest.
TouchGraph – interactive graphs to help visualise links and for mind mapping.
Trendistic – find out the what the most influential topics of discussion are on Twitter.
Tribe Monitor – measure presence across several different social media platforms.
Twazzup – real-time news based on Twitter focused sentiment, top links etc.
Tweetlevel – measures an individual’s importance on Twitter.
Twendz -helps see who your influencers are on Twitter.
Twitalyzer – Twitter focused tool looking at influence, impact and engagement.
Refer to social technographics profile.
Find the social broadcasters, determine if they can help promote awareness through their blogs.
Who are the mass influencers? What programs will best stimulate their interests?
What role could peer influencers play?
FMS Group’s Sentinel Visualizer (Free trial) provides a powerful graphical overview of social
connectedness of influencers along many categories such as how connected is a person or group, how
does information flow within their network, what is their overall importance? It also suggests reports all
paths, the shortest path, or the best path between entities. It has a time slider control to see how
networks form, change and interact with each other over time (Jim Sterne).
How many people read your posts, tweets and uploads?
What is the overall sentiment in these posts?
How frequently do people talk about and share information that you publish?
What are they saying?
How often do they retweet, forward, share?
http://www.samepoint.com is a keyword based social media monitoring tool that finds negative
posts, conversations, sentiment, posts on various blogging platforms, social networks, etc
http://www.surchur.com is a hybrid monitoring tool of many social sites and search engines
Go to Online Forums on topics related to your industry or topic and find people who post the most; who
answer questions frequently. Find authors on related topics for example, Amazon Profiles.
Most of these tools also publish sentiment metrics: Positive, Neutral, Negative. Favorable mentions are
defined as Positive, often interpreted as someone who is likely to do business with, subscribe or join.
Negative is interpreted as someone who is less likely to do business with the organization. Neutral
conveys no sentiment. These sentiments can be seen as a substitute for a “Net Promoter Score” - are
your customers recommending your brand, product or service?
Since most sentiment analysis tools search on a set of words, which in different contexts could be
positive or negative, they need to be manually reviewed to draw insights from.
Finding influencers is key to creating a successful social media strategy and campaign. Creating an
influencer strategy is an essential step:
1. Think about who would make a good influencer for your product or service. What would they be
likely doing online? Where are they likely to be online? Which forums or social media sites are
they likely to post on? Where are they most likely to find their sources of content? Who
influences them? Build a list of influencers and begin conversing with them. Ask them for
recommendations of other influencers. If influencers span a variety of topics, find multiple
subject matter experts in your company to interact with them e.g, marketing, product, support.
2. Discover how big their sphere of influence is. Plan an influencer program that lasts at least 6
moths, and involves a group small enough to foster 1-1 conversations. Research shows a group
of 8-10 people is most effective. Cycle new groups of influencers through the influencer
program, thereby cementing the ties with your company and each other and nurture these
groups with ideas, content and other activities that cement and increase their commitment. For
example, the Microsoft MVP program.
3. Two-way communication is essential. Corporate messaging, official position/policy statements
or conventional outbound marketing messages will utterly fail with influencers. They are good
at what they do - building up large numbers of followers by providing helpful insights. Appealing
to these influencers in a transparent, open manner, soliciting their feedback, seeking/allowing
their expertise to influence product/service outcomes will resonate well and form strong
support. The people on your team who interact with them need to be likewise strong at
relationship building and subject matter experts.
4. Provide them with an opportunity to influence you. When influencers seek you out, respond in
a timely manner. For example, Dooce and Windows 7 launch program.
5. Spread the word using a series of steps that are tuned to the social venue, to the social
influencer. Track how well the social influencer strategy is progressing by tracking reach across
various social venues.
6. Design the social media campaign.
Select the social media venues that will be used in the campaign, for example, Blogs, Twitter, Facebook,
YouTube, Flickr. Content that is interesting to influencers, easy to customize and share, optimized for
the best user experience in each venue, yet convey consistent messaging and amplifies overall
awareness of the brand, product or service. Content should not be focused on selling; rather, it should
be helpful as customers and potential customers traverse the marketing funnel, from awareness to
consideration to action. K.D. Payne points out that the old paradigm of reputation-based decision
making has undergone a significant change, from:
Awareness Consideration Preference Trial Purchase
Search Lurk/Observe Participate Engage Purchase
“Most decisions today are influenced in some way by Google, Yahoo, Bing, or whatever your favorite
search engine is” (K.D. Payne). Searches seldom start with a brand name, but rather, with a category or
type of problem to be solved. Based on search engine results, your customer may click through to a
blog post by someone they know (social broadcaster), or look for content posted on forums (mass
influencer) or look for recommendations by friends and family on a social networking site (peer
influencer). The call to action most likely to be heeded will come from a trusted expert or close friend or
Seth Godin provides tips on what makes good content, designed to drive traffic to the venue:
Newsworthy (breaking news or announcements)
Short, pithy posts
Expert points of view
Helpful suggestions and tips
Interactive (poll, survey, meters, voting)
Ad-free (or only relevant, high quality ads)
Always include RSS to make it easy for people to subscribe and create dashboards. Encourage readers
to “vote up” or “like” content to make it appear at the top of various lists (Digg, Delicious, Reddit).
Consider using syndication services such as http://www.synnd.com, http://www.hubspot.com to drive
readership and voting across multiple venues, with built-in analysis tools to track key performance
indicators and measurement metrics.
7. Measure customer engagement and conversion.
Jim Sterne says “Engagement is when somebody cares and interacts. And both are necessary”. K.D,
Payne says that “engagement is a way to determine whether you are really having a dialog or you are
just yelling ever more loudly”.
In addition to measuring “reach”, which is an indicator of how many people had the chance to “listen”
to your message, it is important to track how many people participated by clicking on a call-to-action
button, to share your content on Facebook, tweet, vote, comment, list and/or vote on social
bookmarking sites, subscribe to a feed, or make an online purchase, within a given time span. The value
of friendships and contacts, which result in customer and potential customer engagement, is high. It
follows then that reaching the right members of an audience is more important (see section 6 above)
than reaching massive numbers of audience members.
Clarity of social media goals and objectives, tied back to business goals and objectives is critical. For
example, the Obama 2008 campaign goal to “increase donations” led to a focus on statistical tools and
analysis of average donations per website visitor (new, returning) and multivariate testing and analysis
to determine optimum page design. If the social media goal is to increase engagement, there needs to
be a clear definition of what constitutes engagement. For example, engagement could be measured by
the number of click-through from social channels to the company website, number of registrations or
subscriptions resulting in content download, number and type of content downloads.
Based on the goals defined for the social media campaign, metrics can be chosen to measure and track
the success of the campaign. For the examples above, the metrics could be %increase in click-through
to specific URLs, % increase in online-donations, %increase in member sign-ups, number of comments to
blog posts, star ratings on various social sites, number of Diggs or Stumbles, number of brand mentions
Web analytics tools such as Google Analytics provide engagement measures for the company website.
For example, % increase in unique visitors, Number of Uplinks and Downlinks, Number of visitors that
register or subscribe. Indicators of improved relationships would include Net Promoter Score (number of
positive mentions less number of negative mentions), % increase in trust, % return customers.
http://www.sm2.techrigy.com provides free analysis of brand engagement, including daily volume,
share of voice, demographics, sentiment, Top Authors, Top domains, etc.
8. Driving Business Results
While a social campaign is in progress, it is important to track the key performance indicators of the
goals and objectives defined in section 3 above. Depending on the results, it may be necessary to make
adjustments and iterate (example, Obama campaign’s multivariate analysis of the MyBo splash screen).
In general, social media campaigns will take 3 to 12 months of effort to determine if/how well it is
working, says Web Metrics Guru Marshall Sponder.
Social Media Campaign Plan Outline
Step Description Activity Tools Schedule
1 Listen Audience
2 Develop SMART Tie back to Business goals
Goals and Objectives and objectives
KPIs and Success Metrics
3. Raise Awareness Online participation
4. Find Influencers Analyze online content &
5. Design Social Content Strategy
Traditional Media & eMail
6. Implement & Engagement KPIs
7. Analyze & Refine Multivariate testing
8. Report Results Campaign success metrics
Business Goals impact