Another day, another course successfully completed! I am loving these short and informative learning opportunities, especially as I’m missing learning at university so much now I’m a graduate! Every course completed feels like I am gaining more and more knowledge about marketing, using social media for business and all the technicalities that are essential to know. This was my favourite so far, it was in-depth, interactive and at the end came the chance to put into practise the skills and information taught. The first week gave the foundations, the core elements and the reasoning behind strategy. The second week acted as preparation for the final assignment task at the end of it. And of course, here is my shiny certificate to say I successfully completed the course – and got 100% on the tests first time.

As I mentioned, the first week laid the foundations. We were prompted with many questions to stay engaged with the topic, such as: What do you think made the use of social media so effective? To which I replied: I think it’s the way you can get pretty much instant responses instead of having to email, you can just tweet and get a quick reply for example. The interconnectedness, especially competitions and giveaways, the ability to spread the word so easily through stories.

There were 3 case studies to keep in mind and return to for our assignment. We covered topics such as: what is a strategy, what should the strategy include, how do social media campaigns work and how they are created. The main takeaway for me was knowing your audience – how they behave, what they like/dislike, when they are active and how you can engage them. Think like a consumer! Also, having clear objectives for your campaign that you review and revisit regularly to make sure you are on track. Platform choice matters depending on what content you want to share. I noted: I think that the continuous giveaways on fashion brand Instagram accounts like I SAW IT FIRST are incredibly engaging – you can win outfits simply by liking a post, sometimes also by tagging a friend in the comments but you both must follow the account – an easy way to drive up followers.

Choose wisely where you want to implement organic reach and paid promotions – Instagram’s algorithm isn’t chronological so you might need to pay to be seen if you are a small brand. Although, a combination of both organic and paid allows for different audiences to be reached. A large following means you can take advantage of maximum organic reach if they are legitimate accounts that also engages with the brand or business account.

The second week looked at how to measure success through metrics, looking at many overall for a holistic view of campaign effectiveness. KPIs show whether you have met your campaign objectives. A lot of platforms have built-in measurement and analytics tools, but for measuring social media referrals to your webpage and conversion rate, this is where Google Analytics can come in handy. In reference to this and one of the case studies: I think conversion rate is really important – it’s great to know that 1000 people liked or shared your post, but to be successful, the call for action needs to be carried out. If you are advertising a new product, sales of that product should increase. Or, like Samir’s dog walking business, say his campaign has a high engagement rate but his appointments have changed negligibly – this isn’t successful for his business.

But also: read what your consumers and followers are actually saying – comments, DMs, reviews. Likes don’t always reflect true opinions and real words are often more valuable. We also considered timing and calendars – understanding your follower’s schedules and routines to make sure you post at appropriate times and don’t bombard them. Also, considering how you may be able to tie in your campaign with a major event, say National Best Friends Day – win a new wardrobe for you and your bestie by tagging them in the comments below and making sure you both follow our account.

By planning out the content and campaign, it is useful for sense-checking and coordination across the team. We briefly also looked at SEO and how to place hashtags so that readability is maximised.

The following is my assignment, outlining target audience and a week-long social media campaign:

Samir, the dog walker and pet sitter, wants to expand his reach in his local area and fill out his appointment book with new clients. Due to the nature of his work, his target audience is likely to be busy, working adults (30-60) that do not have time to regularly walk their dog and people that like to holiday and do not have any available friends or family to look after their animal when away.

I think that Samir would benefit most from Facebook, for local group posting and sharing, and Instagram, to visually display some of the pets he takes care of and the quality of his home so potential customers are able to virtually vet the surroundings their pet may be living in temporarily. I would like to employ a narrative arc which develops as follows: introduction of his business online, finding out more about the business and services, introductory offer and promotion of loyalty if the client decides to book a block of dog walking.

Working professionals that would be Samir’s potential clients may not frequent social media as much at the weekend depending on their down time, hobbies and schedule so I think it would be appropriate to post Mon-Fri during their downtime in the mornings and evenings.

  • Monday would involve an introductory text post on Facebook into local area and community groups to explain what the business is, as you will directly reach your target audience in the local area this way. Link the Instagram account and post from the business page itself, imploring users to check out your pages.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. One Instagram post per day so as not to clog up the feeds of the followers but by doing this, at least one of the three posts should reach the follower. The message of these posts would be a visual display of the business: showcasing what the environment is like where the pets would live if you purchased a pet sitting service, some of the dogs that are involved in the dog walks, a bit more about Samir himself to boost the local and friendly business approach. I would use appropriate hashtags such as #localbusiness #[location]dogwalking and follow accounts in the local area to make them aware of the service. The key message of the Instagram posts would be to be transparent and create trust. Link the Instagram so it posts to the Facebook page too and those who don’t use Instagram will still be able to see the posts.
  • Friday. After spending the week building up your brand and showing what you do, you can introduce an offer for new and returning customers. Again, this can be posted in the local Facebook groups and on the business page – once users have had an insight into your business, an attractive discount or offer may convert them into customers.

The final social media post on Facebook would read as follows:
Hi everyone, it’s Samir again! I hope you all have had the opportunity to learn about and follow my dog-walking and pet-sitting business this week, if not, you can click on my profile to see my page or have a look on Instagram at @samirdogwalking.
Good news – if you are a new customer, I’m offering 25% off dog-walking when you purchase a month in advance! And if you’re a returning customer, every 10 sessions means 1 session free!
Be sure to keep up with my socials to see “pupdates”, photos and information including prices and working hours.
Thank you!

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