You’ve got a good number of social media clients under your belt and you feel fairly confident in your own service or product content marketing strategy. To new clients, you’ll tell them how you’ve tripled someone else’s engagement rates but how do they know this is true? Enter the case study.
Social media case studies are often used as part of a sales funnel: the potential client sees themselves in the case study and signs up because they want the same or better results. At Sprout, we use this strategy with our own case studies highlighting our customer’s successes.
Writing and publishing case studies is time intensive but straight forward. This guide will walk through how to create a social media case study for your business and highlight some examples.
What is a social media case study?
A case study is basically a long testimonial or review. It commonly highlights a social media service, product or strategy from your company by sharing how a client used it in specific situation. Some case studies are written just to examine how a problem was solved or performance was improved from a general perspective. For this guide, we’ll be examining case studies that are focused on highlighting a company’s own products and services.
Case studies come in all content formats: long-form article, downloadable PDF, video and infographic. A single case study can be recycled into different formats as long as the information is still relevant.
At their core, case studies serve to inform a current or potential customer about a real-life scenario where your service or product was applied. There’s often a set date range for the campaign and accompanying, real-life statistics. The idea is to help the reader get a clearer understanding of how to use your product and why it could help.
Broad selling points like “our service will cut down your response time” are nice but a sentence like “After three months of using the software for responses, the company decreased their response time by 52%” works even better. It’s no longer a dream that you’ll help them decrease the response time because you already have with another company.
So now that you understand what a case study is, let’s get started on the how part of putting it together.
How to write a social marketing case study
Writing an effective case study is all about the prep work. You’ve got to get all of the questions and set up ready so you avoid lots of back and forth between you and the client.
1. Prepare your questions
Depending on how the case study will be presented and how familiar you are with the client to be featured, you may want to send some preliminary questions before the interview. It’s important to not only get permission from the company to use the quotes and graphs but also to make sure they know they’ll be going into a public case study.
The preliminary questions should cover background information about the company and ask about campaigns they are interested in discussing. Be sure to also identify which of your products and services they used. You can go into the details in the interview.
Once you receive the preliminary answers back, it’s time to prepare your questions for the interview. This is where you’ll get more information about how they used your products and how they contributed to the campaign’s success.
When you conduct your interview, think ahead on how you want it to be done. Whether it’s a phone call, video meeting or in-person meeting, you want to make sure it’s recorded. This ensures that your quotes are accurate and you can play it back in case you miss any information. Tip: test out your recording device and process before the interview. You don’t want to go through the interview only to find out the recording didn’t save.
Ask open-ended questions to invite good quotes. You may need to use follow-up questions if the answers are too vague. Here are some examples.
- Explain how you use (your product or service) in general and for the campaign. Please name specific features.
- Describe how the feature helped your campaign achieve success.
- What were the campaign outcomes?
- What did you learn from the campaign?
Since we’re focused on creating a social media case study in this case, you can dive more deeply into social strategies and tactics too:
- Tell me about your approach to social media. How has it changed over time, if at all? What role does it play for the organization? How do you use it? What are you hoping to achieve?
- Are there specific social channels you prioritize? If so, why?
- How do you make sure your social efforts are reaching the right audience?
- What specific challenges do organizations like yours face when it comes to social?
- How do you measure the ROI of using social? Are there certain outcomes that prove the value of social for your organization? What metrics are you using to determine how effective social is for you?
As the conversation continues, you can ask more leading questions if you need to to make sure you get quotes that tie these strategic insights directly back to the services, products or strategies your company has delivered to the client to help them achieve success. Here are just a couple of examples.
- Are there specific features that stick out to you as particularly helpful or especially beneficial for you and your objectives?
- How are you using (product/service) to support your social strategy? What’s a typical day like for your team using it?