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Successful social media campaigns require careful planning, often by experts with experience in the field. But through a combination of planning and analytics, businesses can deploy effective social media campaigns without paying a specialist to help plan everything. The key is to have tools in place that help get those results.

Through the use of workflows, your business can apply a proven planning tool to your social media campaigns. Whether you’re familiar with workflows or new to the process, here are a few steps to take to ensure your next marketing campaign is a success.

Step One: Choose a Goal

Every new campaign needs a goal, with each of your efforts aimed at achieving that goal. You likely already have a social media presence, and your marketing campaign should address each of those platforms. If your campaign is connected to promoting a product release or special event, for instance, your workflow should address the goal of getting the word out about that specific item. That goal should be attached to something measurable, which means it should drive traffic to a specific landing page, where they can read more about your product, buy it, sign up to be notified when it’s available, or RSVP to attend your upcoming event.

Step Two: Choose a Tool

You don’t have to use a piece of paper or whiteboard to get started, and you certainly don’t have to struggle with creating eye-pleasing workflows in Word or Excel. There are tools available that automate the marketing process, including Microsoft Visio, which is part of the Microsoft Office suite. You can also use paid tools like GetResponse’s marketing automation solution, which will make creating drag-and-drop workflows easy. Once you’ve created your first workflow, you’ll be able to use the same process to plan future campaigns based on the information you gather from studying the results of previous efforts.

Step Three: Plan for Engagement

As you’re creating your workflow, go beyond merely posting updates and creating share-worthy blog posts. Your workflow should include engagement efforts, including replying to those who comment on your posts and following up on any questions. Once your product is live, plan to share photos of the item in stores or in the hands of customers. If your campaign is event-oriented, add into your workflow plans to share photos and follow up with any attendees who post about it. When you add engagement into your plans, you’ll be far more likely to win over customers than if you merely marketed to them.

Step Four: Assign Roles

Once you’ve outlined your workflow, you’ll need to determine how the work will be done. Make sure you have a plan in place to allow all appropriate employees to contribute to your social media efforts without duplicating efforts or overloading followers. Once you have the right team, assign an appropriate employee to handle each item in your workflow and make sure they know their role. Use a tool that lets you pre-write and schedule your posts across multiple platforms to make it easier for your team to space updates out over a long period.

Step Five: Analyze Results

As you plan your campaign, you may find that you lack the expertise necessary to know how often to post, what to post, and where to post it. Have top-quality analytics in place to monitor your results and provide feedback in real time. Task someone on your team with monitoring progress throughout and advising you if something needs to be adjusted for better results. Most importantly, at the end of each campaign, review the reports and use the information to inform your future efforts. You may learn, for instance, that posts on Tuesdays or Wednesdays got more engagement than posts on Mondays, Thursdays, or Fridays. This information is unique to your own customer base and lets you know what you need to do to get more shares, likes, and follows on your next campaign.

Workflows can guide your social media campaign planning, encouraging you to think through each step you’ll take to get the word out to customers. With each new workflow you create, you’ll learn from previous workflows, which will eventually help you create social media campaigns like an expert.

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