In the last decade, the use of social media has become an integral part of marketing. At first glance, it might seem to be the fastest, easiest, and least expensive way to spread the word and gain a loyal client base. Though that’s a commonly-held belief, the actual success of a social media campaign is subject to important factors that you may not have considered. It’s crucial to understand and leverage these factors in order to spend your budget wisely and run an effective campaign. Here are some specific things to take into account.

Audience

Know your audience, and know it well. At the outset, it’s crucial to have a clear picture in mind of the person who wants what you’re offering — that won’t be everyone. Otherwise, it’ll be tempting to spend money on audiences outside your core demographic. The work involved in identifying your ideal client(s) is time well-spent — it can even be an enjoyable and creative part of your marketing strategy.

Strategy

Social media marketing should be part of a cohesive, well-thought-out overall approach. This is an area where business owners often cut corners because they view social media plans as simple — almost as an afterthought. To save money in the long run, it’s a wiser move to seek out the advice of a consultant who’s an expert on social media and familiar with your type of business. The specialized advice you receive will be well worth the initial financial outlay.

Engagement

Closely related to knowing your audience, it’s also vital that you know where and how your target audience engages on social media platforms. Depending on their age and preferences, you may choose to focus more of your time and money on specific platforms, and less on others. Also, closely observe the way your audience engages — their comments, tone, hashtags, and frequency of likes and shares on specific content.

Quality

The quality of your content is key and should be a major focus of your plan. Photography, graphic presentation, and quality/customization of copy all send a message about your brand; this is an area that’s essential to get right. Here, implementing the suggestions of your consultant is a good idea. Also, using high-quality tools to generate your posts keeps overall standards high; it’s a smart move to make it a high priority when budgeting.

An effective social media campaign requires time and money. Consider these factors as you make your plan!