Practical Guide to Social Media Marketing

social media marketing guide

Social Media Marketing is growing

Research by Forrester suggests that the average marketing spend invested in social media will grow by 34% for the next 5 years, they estimate that $716 million will be spent on social media marketing in 2013 and $3.1 billion in 2014. At that point, social media will have larger marketing spend than both email and mobile (although still much less than search engine marketing, SEO and PPC, which they estimate to reach a total of $31.6 billion).

There’s a lot that you can do with social media to market your business without spending a lot of money, but don’t underestimate the value of your time.

Before you start, define your objectives

Before you start any marketing campaign, you should have an end goal in mind.

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Who do you want to target?
  • Timing (seasonal targeting, and campaign duration)
  • What budget, time and resources will you allocate?
  • How will you know if the campaign is successful?

The metrics that help you understand whether the campaign is successful are your ‘Key Performance Indicators’ (KPIs).

Here are some example objectives, and examples of how you could measure results:

social media for a record shop (2)Social Media for a Local Record Shop

  • Objective: Increased brand awareness of people who are likely to buy CDs from the local music shop
  • Example target audience:
    • People who like music, within a certain age group and location.
    • Musicians.
  • When you know it’s a success:
    • When [X] number of people visit the store and ‘check in’.
    • [X] Musicians ‘re-tweet’ or ‘likes’ something you post.

social media for a leisure centreSocial Media for a Leisure Centre

  • Objective: Improve search engine rankings
  • Example target audience:
    • People within the leisure industry who are influential in the social space.
    • Celebrity sports personalities.
    • People who may visit the leisure centre on an ad hoc basis, or might sign up for membership.
  • When you know it’s a success:
    • When [X] people on your target list engage in some way – e.g. ‘re-tweet’ one of your tweets with a link, ‘like’ content, send a direct message.
    • When rankings for target terms improve by [X] places for landing pages used for social media campaigns.

social media for an online shopSocial Media for a Retail Lingerie e-Commerce Store

  • Objective: Deepen engagement, increase customer retention & repeat buys
  • Example target audience:
    • Existing customers.
    • Fans and followers.
    • Consumers who might buy your lingerie.
  • When you know it’s a success:
    • When [X] previous customers sign up to the newsletter.
    • When [X] visitors from social media make a purchase.
    • When [X] existing customers make a new purchase.

social media for an accounting firmSocial Media for a Global Accountancy Franchise

  • Objective: Increase leads & franchisee sign-ups
  • Example target audience:
    • New business owners.
    • Business owners disheartened with their existing accountant.
    • Accountants considering a new career.
  • When you know it’s a success:
    • When [X] business owners contact, where traffic source was social media.
    • When [X] accountants sign up for more information about becoming a franchisee.

social media for a universitySocial Media for a University

  • Objective: Increase attendance & improve communications
  • Example target audience:
    • Students.
    • Parents.
    • Teachers.
    • Potential students.
    • Graduates.
  • When you know it’s a success:
    • Feedback via social media survey shows that [X]% of students feel that they always have up to date information about homework deadlines and room changes.
    • [X]% of students follow or ‘like’ their course social media account.

Think about how you will track these actions, and how you will tell whether social media activity influenced the action.

You could use a CRM system, KissMetrics or Google Analytics with tagged links, for example (e.g. using a Google Analytics url builder).


Think about how you can tie the campaign in with your other marketing activity. For example, if the central part of your offline campaign creative involves a character or strapline, you could follow this through to be the theme of the campaign.

It’s also important to ensure that your staff know about the campaign and how to respond to customer queries.


Social media competitions can be a good way to get results quickly, but there are some best practices and rules that you’ll need to be aware of.

Facebook rules

Promotions on Facebook must be managed within Apps on, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.

You must include the following small print:

  • A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
  • Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  • Disclosure that the participant is providing information to you and/or partners, and not to Facebook.

You can use the following as a condition of entry:

  • Like a Page
  • Check in to a Place
  • Connecting to your app

You can’t use:

  • A user liking a Wall post
  • Commenting
  • Uploading a photo on a Wall.

You can’t use Facebook features or functionality as the registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.

This seems to conflict, but it means that you can ask people to like, check in or connect with the app as a condition of entry, but you must use some other method for the registration – e.g. enter your email.

You can’t use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism.

And you can’t notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.

So taking details, such as email addresses or phone numbers, before you start will save a mad scramble when you’re ready to give out prizes.

You have a number of options to help manage a Facebook competition; here are a couple of examples:

Host the competition on a Canvas Page or Page App

You can use an externally hosted application embedded into a tab on your Facebook page.

Some tools that will help you do this:

  • Offerpop
  • Google Wildfire
  • Shortstack

Offerpop has a free 14 day campaign, and they also have volume discounts for agencies.

Offerpop social media campaign management

Google Wildfire lets you pay per promotion or by day, and is designed to be scalable.

Google Wildfire pricing table

Shortstack has a free version, with lots of templates, and is very easy to use.

Shortstack pricing table

Facebook fan gate

You can ask a user to like the page before they can access content – including competitions.

You can use Blinkd for a very custom experience, or Free Fan Gate from My Clever Agency.

Blinkd custom Facebook fan gate

My Clever Agency Facebook Fan Gate

Host the competition on an external website.

You can host the competition on the main website or a microsite, which can be integrated with Facebook and other social platforms and will allow non-Facebook users and mobile users to enter. Content can also be shared independently of Facebook.

You can use organic Facebook functionality within your Page App or external site. Just not as a method of competition entry.

Twitter Rules

Twitter isn’t quite the control freak that Facebook is, and allows you to run your own campaigns.

They do have some rules though:

  • You should discourage the creation of multiple accounts – e.g. state that only one entry per person is allowed.
  • Discourage posting the same Tweet repeatedly – state that multiple entries in a single day will not be accepted.
  • Ask users to include an @reply to you in their update so you can see all the entries. Because some updates in a public search may have been filtered by Twitter for quality.
  • Don’t ask people to add your hashtag to unrelated topics.

And whilst it’s OK to manage the campaign manually, you might want to use apps to make it easier to monitor or select winners.

Examples of some apps you could use:

  • Blinkd Free (basic) Twitter Contest App or a premium paid contest.Blinkd Twitter competitions
  • OneKontest, which has a variety of contest ‘types’ and a monthly or per contest fee (starting at $29).

    OneKontest Twitter Competition

  • Interactwive, which has free and premium options.Interactwive Twitter Competitions

Evaluating and planning the next one

Now you’ve set your tracking up and defined your Key Performance Indicators, carried out your creative campaign, and compiled the results, you can evaluate the success, and plan your next campaign based on what you’ve learned.

Post by Katrina Gallagher, Director of Digitangle Internet Marketing.

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