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How To Run a Successful Social Media Campaign

by Cambie & Co

Campaigns are something that you will see every day – whether it’s on TV, on social media, on a billboard, or even through a social demonstration. Absolut Vodka ran the longest, uninterrupted marketing campaign of all time. In fact, it went on for 25 years because it was so successful! The campaign involved over 1,500 separate ads, featuring bottles of Absolut Vodka in different cities all around the world.







You will probably recognise this video from Old Spice, part of a campaign called “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”, which has attracted over 51 million views worldwide since its release in 2010. This video was a huge viral success, and was followed up with a second video featuring the same actor, Isaiah Mustafa, who became known as ‘the Old Spice guy’.

What made this campaign extra special is that they took it online and made it interactive on social media, which is actually quite ahead of its time for 2010! The company started responding to fans’ comments on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, with very clever, short, scripted video responses featuring Mustafa. This highly personalised and extremely clever approach brought Old Spice 29,000 Facebook fans and 58,000 new Twitter followers.

What does ‘campaign’ actually mean?

So, what differentiates a social media campaign from just regular posting? Hubspot’s definition is “A variety of content assets centralised around one message.” The examples above show how full marketing campaigns include social media, billboards, TV, and sometimes even print advertising. Today, we are focussing on the social media element and how you could even run a full campaign on social media alone. We have split this guide up into 4 sections:

  • Establish Goals
  • Define Your Target Audience
  • Create Content
  • Create a Plan

We are also offering you a free, downloadable Social Media Campaign Checklist to use alongside this quick guide. You can access it here.

Step 1: Establishing Goals

Why do you want to run this campaign? What is your overall goal?

Campaigns can run for a number of reasons, including:

  • Promoting a new product launch, with the goal of increasing sales
  • Generating brand awareness
  • Generating interaction and engagement with leads
  • Drive app downloads
  • Drive traffic to a website
  • Increase footfall (for a restaurant, for example)

Clearly outlining your goals for this campaign is essential, as it will dictate the audience you’re promoting to, the content you create, and ultimately, the results you get. You will also then be able to measure whether your campaign was successful or not at the end, as you will have a goal to compare the results to.

Your goal should be more than just “Increase sales”. We love using S.M.A.R.T goals to define our targets and set truly meaningful goals.

Specific: Make your goal as specific as possible. Instead of “Increase sales.”, try “We want to rapidly increase our product sales of our blue jeans and black jeans.”

Measurable: Numbers are incredibly important, as they will allow you to determine the success of your campaign and keep a numerical record of how your campaign is going. For example, “We would like to increase sales of our blue jeans by 30%, and our black jeans by 20%. This would involve selling 500 more pairs of blue jeans, and 300 more pairs of black jeans.”

Attainable: How are you actually going to achieve this? Is it attainable? Think about how much money you are able to budget for Facebook or Twitter campaigns, and how much time your team has to market this product and create the campaign. You could also consider the market value and how much market share you have for your jeans, in comparison to the competition, and how this affects the attainability of this goal.

Relevant: How is this relevant to your business in general? What will this goal help you to achieve in the long run? For example, it will increase your revenue and profits dramatically, allowing you to hire new staff. It may enable you to access new investment opportunities or launch a new product.

Time-Specific: When will you do this, and within what time frame? For example, you could say “We want to increase the sales of our blue jeans by 30%, within 6 months of running this campaign. We want to increase sales of our black jeans by 20%, within 4 months of this campaign.”

You will most likely have an overarching goal and a number of mini-goals that come along with it. For example, if your goal is to increase turnover by 30%, you may have smaller goals that you need to accomplish in order to reach that bigger goal, such as selling 20% more of one product, and 30% more of another product.

Once you have defined your overarching goal and determined what mini-goals you need to set in order to get there, move on to the next step.

Step 2: Define Your Audience

You have probably heard it a million times before, but you must define your audience if you want to succeed in an online campaign. And I don’t mean deciding that you are going to market to “males between the ages of 20 and 30”. You need to be super specific about this. We call these ‘customer personas’.

Customer personas are fictional outlines of what your ideal target customer would be. For example, if you run a business that sells organic, fair-trade dark chocolate, you may use the following customer persona:

  • Name: Maria (The name has no relevance – this is to make the persona seem more realistic!)
  • Age: 25
  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • Occupation: Lifestyle and food blogger
  • Interests: Fitness, food, healthy eating, charitable work, yoga, natural products, and traveling.

This is a very basic customer persona but gives you an idea of how to fully outline the needs, interests, and lifestyle of your target audience. As a campaign revolves around one central idea or product, you may have a slightly different customer persona for this campaign from your overall business customer persona. For example, a gym will have a number of customer segments including male bodybuilders, men and women between the ages of 30 and 64 who want to lead an active lifestyle, men and women 65+ who want to increase mobility and maintain their health, and women in their 20s and 30s who want to maintain a slim or built figure. In a ‘New Year’ campaign, however, they will only target those who don’t currently attend the gym but want to start leading an active lifestyle as part of their New Year Resolutions.

Step 3: Create Content

Don’t start this step if you haven’t done the first two. Your content should be in alignment with your campaign goals and target audience. As the definition of a campaign states, you need to be making the most of a range of content that surrounds your core topic, idea or product. We came up with a list for you! (You might want to grab a hot beverage and a snack. This one is a long one.)

  • Q&As. This could be in the form of a video, live video, blog post or simply replying to comments on a post. Whichever way you do it, Q&As are a fantastic way of generating interaction with your target audience, creating a relationship with them, and answering questions they may have about what you’re campaigning for or about. For example, fitness influencers often do Q&As, live or not, answering questions from their audience about fitness, diet, and exercise. This also helps to position you as the ‘go-to expert’ in your field! Check out Heather Townsend for more on becoming a Go-To-Expert.
  • Imagery. There should be either an image, video or graphic in every post you make, as this will bring the most engagement, interaction, and will also position your content nearer the top of the news feed. Choose your imagery carefully, as this will reflect highly on your brand and the quality of your product/service. We would usually say that taking photos on your phone will suffice, however for a campaign specifically, we would recommend booking a professional photographer to take the best images for your campaign. These images can be of your product, behind-the-scenes, or even user-generated content. Check out this campaign from Airbnb, called #TreehouseTuesday
  • Video. The most effective type of content to date! The beauty of video content on social media is there are so many varieties to play with: live video, 360 video, timelapses… If you plan on using Facebook for your campaign, video is a must. You can, however, get away with using either a mix of professional and non-professional video, as your content could vary from ad-style videos to more candid videos shot on a mobile phone or shot professionally. Here are two examples:

Heineken launched a purpose and value-driven campaign in 2017 called #OpenYourWorld, focussing on uniting people of all perspectives and opinions, by having them settle their differences over a beer. This Youtube video generated almost 15 million views, and the brand also created a Facebook Messenger chatbot that connected people of diverse backgrounds.

Karlie Kloss, world-renowned supermodel, is the founder of non-profit organisation ‘Kode With Klossy‘. Kode With Klossy is on a mission to empower girls to learn to code and lead in the tech sector, despite its male dominance. The above video is an ‘unboxing’ in relation to the Kode With Klossy campaign. This super simple video could be easily created with a good quality camera phone and a mic!

  • Events. Whether it’s a launch event, conference or charity event based on your campaign, events are a fantastic way to tie together online and offline interaction. For example, Apple held a Keynote last September to announce the launch of the new iPhone X. Use these events to create live video, take pictures, and drive your campaign forward. Here are our top tips for making the most of an event online.
  • Polls. Get interacting with your audience and find out more about them and how they react to your campaign. Charmin has a very humorous approach on social media and often use polls in their Twitter feed:

Airbnb also uses polls a lot in their marketing, with their branded campaign hashtags:

  • Hashtag. Starting a campaign is the perfect time to create your very own hashtag, related to both your brand and the topic/product your campaign focuses on. We have already seen a few campaign hashtags in the examples above, for example:
    • Heineken – #OpenYourWorld
    • Airbnb – #TreehouseTuesday
    • Coca Cola – #ShareACoke
    • Always – #LikeAGirl
    • ALS Association – #IceBucketChallenge
    • Charmin – #TweetFromTheSeat
    • Calvin Klein – #MyCalvins
  • User-Generated Content. And last but not least! User-generated content, or UGC, is a fantastic way to make your campaign about your audience as well as your brand, making them feel a part of it and identified with it. UGC is often used alongside a campaign hashtag, as mentioned above. Aerie, an American brand, launched a campaign with the hashtag #AerieREAL, promoting body positivity among young women. They reposted fan content as part of the campaign:

Influencers are also a great route to go down for a campaign, especially if you want to create maximum impact and reach as many people as possible. Make sure you select an influencer who resonates well with the campaign and whose values are aligned with those of your brand. Also, make sure that they have the right audience to promote your brand to. Puma is currently running a campaign called #DoYou, promoting living life your way. They have enlisted the likes of Selena Gomez and Cara Delevigne in their campaign marketing materials:

Step 4: Create a Plan

If you have managed to get this far in this mammoth of a blog post/guide, congratulations! You are well on your way to building a successful and effective social media campaign. You now have the tools to post content, but you need a plan in place before you go any further.

A plan is essential for social media marketing, especially for a campaign as campaigns are very specific in their purpose and each piece of content should be planned accordingly as part of the project. Going in without a plan would be like doing an exam without studying. A disaster. (In my case, anyway!)

A plan should consist of the following elements:

  • Which platforms you plan on using, why, and your mission statement for each. (E.g We will use Facebook to connect with your audience on a personal, individual level, driving engagement and interaction for the campaign.)
  • List the content types you plan on using and the actions you need to take in order to create them, such as hiring a professional photographer and videographer or investing in a new camera, or Canva for graphics. You may need to research influencers, get in touch with them, and form a collaboration. Make sure you take these actions before you even start putting together a content calendar, so you know exactly what resources you have and what is available to you.
  • A content calendar. This doesn’t have to be rigid – in fact, it should be very flexible, especially if you are going to be running events as part of your campaign. Use the content ideas you listed above to fill this calendar accordingly. Keep this realistic – if you’re a one-man band, you may want to examine how many hours a week you can dedicate to this campaign (we would recommend at least 6 for a successful campaign). If you have a team or even a dedicated marketing team, feel free to go all out and make the most of your resources! Remember to keep each piece of content relevant to your overall campaign. Don’t stray away or go off on a tangent, as your campaign will lose its impact.
  • Your metrics. The metrics you use to measure the success of your campaign will be determined by your goal, which we outlined at the start of this guide. For example, if your goal is to increase traffic to your website, you would be measuring click-through rates, and using the Facebook Pixel to track activity on your website coming from Facebook. If your goal is to generate brand awareness and interaction with your audience, you would measure likes, comments, shares, mentions, and impressions/reach. Determine your most important metrics, and measure them consistently. Larger companies will be measuring their campaigns on a daily, if not hourly, basis, whereas smaller businesses may find it more achievable to measure them on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. The most important thing is that you keep track of your campaign success, as this will help you decide whether something needs changing, adjusting, or even amplifying for the rest of the campaign.
  • Partnerships that will drive the campaign forward. Be sure to list your partnerships, if you have any, and describe how much content will involve that partnership and the steps you need to take to maintain it. Partnerships can include sponsors, charities, or influencers, for example.

That’s not all! Don’t forget to download our free Campaign Checklist here, to make sure you run the most effective campaign you possibly can. We hope you have enjoyed reading this guide.

Campaigns are something that you will see every day – whether it’s on TV, on social media, on a billboard, or even through a social demonstration.

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