The Ultimate Social Media Project Management Guide

Social media strategies fail often. Not so much for lack of trying, but because of poor planning and execution.

While you can get lucky once in a while and have a viral post bringing you tons of new followers and traffic, it would not be a wise decision to rely on such unpredictable strategies for social media growth. 

But here is the thing. 

Most organizations rely on freelancers and agencies for their social media marketing campaigns. And many times, these agencies are themselves organized remotely. 

Planning and coordinating campaigns among these workers can be tricky and also inefficient. 

For one, outsourced workers are often spread across different time zones. As a result, coming together to publish a post can take time.

Also, there are a lot of bottlenecks when it comes to producing original social media campaigns. Planning in advance for these hold ups can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful launch. 

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Understanding the Project Cycle

Like with every other aspect of running a business, every social media campaign is also a project. 

They start with a primary objective, followed by planning, execution, and result tracking. The lessons gained are then looped back into the process for better execution. 

This is where a lot of companies get it wrong.

Social media marketing is not a standalone project. The marketing objectives for these campaigns need to be tied in with your overall objectives. 

A good start would be to borrow the marketing calendar and start your planning from here. This marketing calendar would cover all the major product launches and seasonal promotions. 

Typically, organizations have a marketing window around each of these dates — you have the pre-launch, launch, and post-launch campaigns through this marketing window. 

Unlike traditional media where budget is only spent around product launches or promotions, social media campaigns need to be run on a daily, consistent basis. Therefore, you may need to build upon the traditional marketing calendar to build a larger, more sophisticated schedule.

This will include holidays, events, and pop trends that the marketing department may not be concerned about.

For instance, a bank or a corporate insurance seller may celebrate events like the National Small Business Week to target their small business customers. Or a confectionary maker may look for occasions like Friendship Day to target their audience.

Once you have marked these smaller holidays and events in your calendar, the next step is to tie them to the nearest marketing window. This way, you know the objective of your social media campaign.

Project Collaboration

Having a clear idea of upcoming campaigns can make a lot of difference in the way you plan for social media marketing.

The right social media management tool can be critical. When you start looking at social media as a project, you will notice that it is not all about scheduling an Instagram post or posting the next meme. 

A project collaboration tool like Slack can help your team with brainstorming your campaigns. With Slack, you may create separate user groups for each of your upcoming calendar items. This way, you make sure that discussions regarding one project do not get mixed up among the other chatter among your team members.

Using tools like Slack for project management also has a few other benefits. You can quickly integrate your app with tools like Asana, Standuply, Google Workspace (fka G Suite), and Dropbox to easily share and collaborate with different team members.

Why is this useful? Because not all stakeholders are necessarily a part of your Slack group. So if you want approval from your marketing head for a very specific creative, you could quickly share it over Dropbox or Google Workspace so that they can check them out without having to sign into Slack. 

As a group communication tool, Slack is also great to gather feedback from different team members before you take a social media post online. You can integrate JotForm into Slack to gather feedback on creatives and make changes.

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Managing Bottlenecks

A typical social media campaign works like this:

The social media team identifies the marketing objective and brainstorms on a variety of different content ideas. After this is finalized, the creative teams get to work on the assets. This could be photos, videos, infographics, or even pure text content.

After a lot of back and forth communication driven by feedback, the creatives are passed on to other stakeholders, like legal or compliance teams (in industries like finance or insurance), before it is finally scheduled for posting. 

The social media team then works on building engagement and promotion, followed by analytics monitoring and feedback management. 

Now, there are a lot of bottlenecks in the process. But the biggest choke point comes from producing creatives. It is simply not possible to produce high quality creatives in a short turnaround. 

There are instances where creatives get rejected at the final stages due to issues flagged by legal — then, content creation has to start all over again. 

One way to get your social media planning and execution right is by cutting down on bottlenecks. 

For example, instead of working on the creative first, prepare wireframes and pass those down for feedback and approval. This way, you can avoid lengthy production times in the initial stages. 

Another way to do this is by increasing your resource bandwidth on creative production. This is not viable for most organizations. What they can do instead is by investing in graphic design software applications like Canva or AppyPie that anybody can use to produce their creatives. 

This way, social media teams can produce a first-cut draft without having to involve the creative team.

Perfecting Your Social Media Campaigns

Campaigns go wrong all the time. This is especially true with creative marketing campaigns like those on social media. 

What separates the successful marketers from the not-so-successful ones is their tendency to keep ears to the ground to understand what works, and what doesn’t. 

One way to do this is through ads. Even if you are looking at organic social media marketing, a small advertising budget can help you execute A/B tests between various creatives — posting schedules and messages to benchmark performance. 

You can take lessons from such tests and apply those to your organic post to maximize ROI.

Managing Social Media Campaigns Remotely

If the various challenges described above don’t seem daunting enough, the reality is that a lot of social media marketing campaigns are executed by remote teams.

This complicates the process further due to time zones and related communications challenges. 

Using non-real-time channels like Trello or Slack is a good start. But what really disrupts such processes is the lack of a standard operating procedure (SOP). 

SOPs help establish a workflow that cannot be violated. Team members are forced to follow a series of checklists while planning a campaign. This brings down the chances of an error while producing a creative or seeking feedback to a minimum. 

On the downside, however, this further stretches the execution cycle since team members cannot proceed with their tasks until the earlier tasks are complete. 

One way to fix this is by assigning deadlines to every task. With a deadline in place, the project management cycle is more predictable, and this lets the social media team plan their campaigns well in advance so that they are not left scrambling during the launch phase.

Interested to know more about social media marketing strategies? Check out the Advanced Social Media Marketing Course. Enroll now.

In Conclusion

Social media channels like Instagram and Facebook are where all the fun is. But this does not make these platforms any less important than other marketing channels. Treating a social media campaign as any other project can make a huge difference in the way you approach these campaigns and, consequently, derive success from them. 

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Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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