“A social media campaign is a series of coordinated activities aimed at achieving a specific goal over a set period of time, with outcomes that can be tracked and measured. It can be limited to a single network, or take place across multiple social media platforms.” – Hootsuite
The Internet is a very crowded and noisy space, to be competitive, businesses have to manage to get a bit of attention from their target audience. A well-crafted social media campaign is one of the best ways to make your brand stand out and connect with your audience on a deeper level.
This step-by-step guide provides you with valuable tips and tricks, insights, and recommendations to assist you in making the most out of your social media campaign efforts to achieve your campaign objectives.
The success of your campaign will highly depend on how long you spent in the planning stage, the longer you spend thinking about the different aspects of your campaign, the more chances it has to become a success.
The tool that I recommend using when planning your social media campaign is SOSTAC, a marketing tool developed by PR Smith in the 1990s. SOSTAC will help you define every aspect of your campaign, from identifying the area that needs improving to the strategy and tactics that will be implemented to promote your campaign.
Setting your objectives
The first and (probably) most crucial stage in your campaign is to determine your objective(s). You need to identify an area in your business that requires some support and then decide whether a social media campaign will be the right solution for that. Below are some examples of social campaign objectives:
Whether you want to run a contest, a giveaway, a quiz or any other type of social campaign, you should do some research beforehand, to find out the topics that resonate with your target audience, as well as the trending topics in your industry.
There are different ways of gathering this data, you can, for instance, use a social listening tool such as Brandwatch to know the topics that your audience engages with online and the top platforms where they are most active on.
You can also conduct a landscape analysis, by analysing historic data to uncover the topics and formats your target audience has been engaging with the most through time.
Conducting this analysis will allow you to find patterns that will help you to develop your campaign idea. This analysis will also allow you to uncover popular and niche hashtags used by your target audience, which can help you track social campaigns they engaged with in the past.
Make sure you dig as much as you can to find valuable information that will give directions to your social campaign.
When you’ve conducted your research and gathered a good volume of data, organise a brainstorming session with your team and make sure you share the findings with them before the meeting. In fact, some people may come up with great ideas before the meeting, while running through your findings.
Kick start the brainstorming session by reminding your team of the objectives that you want to achieve with the social campaign. Use a whiteboard to take note of all the ideas then toward the end of the session ask the team to select the top 3 ideas that they think can help you achieve your objectives. During the vote make sure each team member clearly articulates why they decide to vote for a particular idea.
Going through this process will help you to even start gathering tactics to promote your future campaign. For instance one of the answers can be something along these lines: “I choose idea number 2 as I believe this will help us to curate content from our audience, which we can use to promote the campaign to similar audiences”.
Budget and resources
Once you’ve determined the nature of your campaign, you will then need to ensure you have all the resources required to run the campaign. In fact, you’ll need to determine how much the campaign will cost you, and implement tactics that will guarantee your return on investment.
Fix the length of your campaign as well as the incentive, and calculate how much these will cost your business. If you have strategic partnerships with companies that can provide you with interesting products to give away, consider collaborating with them to run your campaign as this will help to increase its reach.
This approach will benefit both parties as you’d expose their products and brand to your audience and in return you’d be able to offer a great prize that will be of interest to your audience.
Strategic partnerships can also help to increase the credibility of your campaign. For instance, after conducting a landscape analysis I realised how much it would benefit one of my clients, a mobile payment app, to run a social competition around charity shopping.
We therefore helped this client to become a member of the CRA (Charity Retail Association) the organisation that represents the interests of charity retailers in the UK, to increase the campaign credibility. As a CRA member, our client was able to share a news article promoting the campaign, within the organisation’s website. This tactic has considerably helped to raise awareness of the campaign to a warm audience.
You also want to have a budget for paid social to build awareness of the campaign and keep your audience engaged throughout the campaign.
Social channels, especially Facebook, have been continuously decreasing organic reach over the last few years. According to a recent report, less than 3% of your fans see your Facebook posts (Ignite Social).
Social campaign tools
If you want to run a photo contest, a giveaway or an instant win then you’ll need to invest on a good social competition platform such as Woobox, which also offers a free plan with some interesting features.
There are many other tools out there such as Rafflecopter, which is also a great tool to run social campaigns. Do your homework and find the right tool for your needs.
You are exposing your brand reputation with each piece of content you share online. It is, therefore, essential to get quality creatives produced following your brand guidelines to promote your social media campaign. Your campaign creatives can be still images, videos, Gifs and so on. You want each creative associated with your business to reflect your brand values.
Make sure to also create headers for your social channels to let anyone visiting your accounts know about your campaign. If you are running the campaign for more than a week, I highly recommend having two creative variations, to keep your audience engaged and hungry for more.
The next step before launching your campaign is to put together your campaign’s social calendar, to plan your promotion. It should include not only the organic and paid assets to be shared during the campaign, but also, the posts for the pre-campaign activity building up to the campaign launch.
In fact, you need to let your audience know about your upcoming campaign with teaser updates. If you have an email newsletter, make sure to include it in your promotional activities. Before the launch get someone to proof all your content and creatives. Also, get people in your business who are not involved in the campaign to read the campaign description and terms and conditions to ensure that the messaging is clear and doesn’t contain any ambiguity.
If you’re using a social competition tool, make sure you test it before the campaign to ensure that it works properly and the images are displayed nicely. two weeks before officially launching your campaign.
Throughout the campaign use the TAR (Test, Analyse and Refine) model to maximise the success of your campaign.
Implement different tactics to promote your campaign and analyse their success once a week. When we launched the charity competition for the client mentioned earlier, we ran a weekly report to analyse the metrics that were key to achieving the campaign’s objectives (engagement, community growth as well as the entry sources).
We quickly realised that more than 90% of the competition entries came from the outreach we were doing on Instagram. We therefore decided to invest more time outreaching to charity shoppers on Instagram to let them know about the competition.
Controlling the success of your campaigns is very important as it helps you to know what works and what doesn’t – thus, gathering insights to optimise your campaign but also for future campaigns. The success of your campaign should be measured against the metrics determined in your strategy.