(Editor’s Note: This blog post was written by ENC’s 2012 Strategic Communication Intern, Katie Burger.)
There is nothing scarier than figuring out where to start in creating a successful social media campaign, except perhaps the looming threat of keeping yourself alive during a zombie apocalypse. While these tasks seem equally daunting, it is possible to get through both, relatively unharmed and while maintaining your current human state. Luckily, we have a list of tips that will help you to navigate through either situation with the confidence you need to come out on top.
When it comes to surviving in a horde of draugrs, or to keeping your message afloat online, you just need to follow these steps:
- Develop a strategy
- Adapt to your surroundings
- Know your audience
Develop a strategy
Establish a game plan. Ask yourself what you want to achieve and how you will reach those goals.
If your main measure of success is the number of undead you have killed, you might consider teaming up with those you can trust, fashioning appropriate weapons and building a shelter that is out of reach of those flesh-eating monsters. Because you know what you’re measuring, you will be able to gauge your success accordingly.
However, if it’s broader social media impact that you’re after, a good strategy will include setting up benchmarks for what you would like to accomplish and a plan that maps out how exactly social media will help you get there. Your plan should guide what social media platforms you use (in a way, these are your weapons), and the type and frequency of content you post.
Make your goals measurable — track the number of shares or clicks, or gauge whether sentiment online is positive or negative, in order to determine if you have been successful or if you should re-evaluate the strategy.
Adapt to your surroundings
Zombies never sleep, and neither does social media — so you should never get too comfortable. As the Web adapts, you need to evolve as well, or you risk becoming irrelevant. This means staying up-to-date with new channels of communication, especially those most popular in your industry. If you start to let up, you will get eaten alive (literally by zombies, by competitors, or by noise).
While the plan you have implemented may be going smoothly, the world of social media is ever-changing. Facebook and Twitter are the stalwarts of social media. But there may be more effective outlets for reaching different audience segments and industries. For example, you may reach more people with GovLoop than Facebook if you’re a government contractor. Be on the lookout for relevant emerging media, just like you’d keep your eyes open for supplies during the end of the world.
Know your audience
Whether it’s the zombie apocalypse or social media marketing, your key objective is staying alive, either literally or in the eyes of your target customers. In either scenario, you need a keen understanding of the audience.
Zombies are slow-moving creatures that are not generally good at planning. That’s the good news. However, there are a lot of them, they are persistent and they have an excessive amount of free time, which can factor against you. These are all important qualities to consider when deciding how to handle an encounter with the walking dead.
You need to know similar details about your target audience. In the world of social media, in-depth understanding about what people want to get from your communications and how they will interact with you is paramount.
However, you should conduct extensive research to find the answers to these questions — don’t just guess. Unfortunately, there are probably fewer books, movies, video games and podcasts about your customers than there are about zombies. Surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews and publicly available government data on the economy and demographics are good places to start.
Social networks are great outlets for giving your organization a personality and having a two-way conversation with your customers or stakeholders. Make sure you’re using a voice with which your audience will want to interact, that you have a long-term strategy going in and that you constantly adapt to an ever-changing environment — or risk ending up as a slow-moving husk with a life expectancy of how long it takes to load a shotgun.
Image courtesy Flickr user Eric Ingrum.