Six tips for a successful social media campaign

  • Social media campaigns can be as simple or as complicated as you want them to be
  • So what do you need to pay attention to when planning a social media campaign?

Six tips for a successful social media campaignTHREE years ago, brands in Malaysia refused to spend money on social media campaigns. Fast forward to 2013 and dropping RM100,000 on a campaign is considered normal. For some brands, that’s just the budget for advertising!
In this article, I’d like to share the six key things you need to keep in mind when planning a social media campaign for your brand.
Social media campaigns can be as simple or as complicated as you want them to be, depending on the objectives, budget and timelines.  Running a photo voting contest is easier than a “spend and win” contest which may require back-end integration with other IT systems within your organisation.
Smaller budgets force you to be more creative and compel you to focus on the important features, so this usually results in a less troublesome experience. Similarly, running a year-long campaign vs.  a month-long campaign will be more complicated.
So the question then is, what do you need to pay attention to when planning a social media campaign?

1) Objectives

What are the campaign objectives? You need to be very clear about this. Write them down and refer to them often throughout the planning process to ensure you’re not losing sight of what’s important.
The challenge sometimes is, as brainstorming takes place, you walk out of the room with a completely different list of objectives.
Why? Because sometimes the mechanics of the campaign is so interesting (in your mind) that you justify the objectives based on the mechanics. Don’t make this mistake!

Let me offer an example to illustrate this.

I was once called in to a meeting to discuss strategies to grow an engaged community. At the end of the brainstorming meeting, the client was fixated on a cool idea to increase sales (note that the objective changed from community growth to sales) which would have made them the first to do this. The thought of the cool campaign mechanics and being first outweighed business sense and in the end they justified this idea to management by saying it would also grow an engaged community. Needless to say, the cool idea failed as the market was not yet ready for it.

2) Leading or supporting

Is the campaign supporting an on-ground campaign or is it a standalone campaign?
If it’s supporting an on-ground campaign, then you need to ensure the customer journey is smooth and ties in logically. Many brands don’t pay attention to this and this can lead to dropouts – which is not something we want!
Where it gets tricky is if the social media campaign is supporting an on-ground campaign but has a different set of participation rules and prizes. This can be confusing for users, so where possible, try to keep it uniform and link the online and offline campaigns.

3) Budget allocation 

So what do you need to budget for? This list is not exhaustive, but most campaigns would need to budget for the following: Application design and development; project management; tech support and hosting; advertising; prizes; delivery costs if there are prizes; costs related to an on-ground event (if any); sponsorship (if any); and third-party costs like EDMs, SMS and more.

4) Internal support 
Do you need the support of your colleagues? For example, those in Public Relations, Events, Legal and IT, as well as the product stakeholders?
Chances are you do!Often we fail to consider the importance of their support and it is important that everyone is on board so that if and when challenges surface, it can be dealt with swiftly.
This is important to manage timelines, especially if you’re planning a big launch or something on a grand scale. Remember to involve everyone in your working meetings so that everyone is kept up to date and there are no surprises.

Six tips for a successful social media campaign5) Agency 
Having a capable and experienced agency is great and you’ll know what I mean if you’ve worked with a great agency which is responsive, sees the big picture and produces quality work.
Once you come up with an idea or when you’re brainstorming for ideas with your agency, the next step is project management and execution, which is where experience and capabilities come to the fore.
If your campaign requires back-end integration or solid coding, then you need to ensure the agency’s tech team is top-notch. If they’re sub-contracting the work out, make sure there are back-to-back SLAs and NDAs (service-level and non-disclosure agreements) and the people doing the work are capable.
A solid track-record would be the best measure for this – even better if you can speak to past clients.
Coding skills aside, experienced agencies and partners can play devil’s advocate and challenge you so that all aspects of a campaign are addressed. If the agency has a global network, it will be able to tap into insights of past campaigns throughout the partner network.
What’s most important is the project manager keeping the work schedule tight!

6) Advertising 
Well, you can create the best, most exciting and most rewarding campaign in the world, but if nobody knows about it, what’s the point?
Make a list of all the ways you can reach your target audience, list down the cost next to it, and make sure every touch-point ties in.
For example: EDM, SMS, calls, banner advertising, Facebook advertising, Google Display Networks, monthly bills to customers, envelopes of the monthly bills to customers, your print newsletters or magazines, etc.
Clearly, there are plenty of touch-points – just decide which works best within your budget. Once you’ve selected the touch-points within your budget, make sure your communication points are easy to understand and standardised in a relevant manner across all touch-points.
Happy planning!
Jagdish Singh Malhi is an ex-banker turned marketing and communications specialist with a deep interest in brands using technology and data to meet business objectives, and has been on both sides of the client/ agency divide.
Previous Instalments:
Five tips on social media community management
10 components of a social media strategy (Part I)
10 components of a social media strategy (Part II)
Tips on hiring a social media agency/ consultant/ ninja/ guru
Clueless about social media for business? Follow this …
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