Most marketeers dream of creating the perfect campaign that takes their business viral and creates a stream of new customers, but gaining your place in the marketing hall of fame is easier said than done. What seems like a fun, breezy social post is often the culmination of months of campaign planning.
Whether you want to introduce your brand to the world or sing about a certain product, creating a successful social media campaign can produce incredible results for your business.
What is a social media campaign?
A social media campaign is a series of coordinated marketing activities, aimed at achieving a defined goal over a limited time period, rather than an ongoing marketing strategy. Furthermore, the content involved for a social media campaign tends not to be evergreen, it is focused on achieving a one-time or one-off goal.
Social media campaigns are embedded into your ongoing social media and marketing plan and are part of a longer-term marketing and social media strategy.
Social media campaigns should be somewhat disruptive and impactful, with a clearly defined goal. They work well cross-platform (spread across multiple social media networks) to generate maximum impact and awareness, and in a shorter duration rather than on a longer-term basis.
What is the difference between a social media campaign and a social media strategy?
A social media strategy is a long-term social media plan full of different elements such as content, schedule, campaigns, research, collaborations and launches to reach defined, overall business goals – such as increased lead numbers, a larger social media following and boosted brand awareness.
In contrast, a social media campaign is a short term plan, which is incorporated into your ongoing strategy and schedule, as part of a larger plan. Social media campaigns involve specific campaign led content and the execution of promotional material to encourage social media users to complete a short-term goal within a limited period.
Your strategy and plan may involve social media campaigns centred around time sensitive business objectives such as product launches, sales, seasons such as Christmas, events such as Black Friday, and so on – anything that is going to require a short-term marketing focus with the incentive to achieve a business goal is a campaign!
Campaigns are quick, impactful and focused around a specific aspect of your business, whereas strategies are implemented to achieve long term, larger goals for your overall business.
What should be the goal of a social media campaign?
Because of their disruptive, short term nature, social media campaign goals should be revenue and conversion orientated, rather than aimed at achieving goals that are not going to produce immediate, measurable return.
Common goals of effective social media campaigns should focus on a specific component of your business, and they include increasing sales on a particular product line, lead generation within one area, and customer acquisition – goals that tend to make up the latter part of the conversion journey funnel. What outcome do you want from your social media campaign?
For example, a University might decide they want to increase placements on their Arts courses and will therefore need to execute a marketing campaign to do so. Their goal is to acquire customers – students – on a definitive selection of courses, and this is the metric they will use to measure the campaigns success. This campaign would need to be a lot more targeted, powerful, and disruptive than a generic campaign with a goal of acquiring student newsletter subscribers.
What makes a good social media campaign?
A strong and effective social media campaign should follow a social media schedule and should have specially created content with a clear CTA.
Furthermore, social media campaigns need to generate maximum impact – so your campaign needs to be seen by as many of your target customers as possible.
All of your efforts, especially conversions, should be measured and tracked, and you should use data acquired from your social marketing campaign to adjust and adapt your campaign accordingly. For example, you could boost or post more of the content which is generating the most engagement or goal completions.
How to plan and run a social media campaign
Planning a social campaign starts with consolidating the goal of your campaign and work backwards.
Common social campaign goals are time sensitive, and have a specific objective, whereas goals of a social media strategy are more long-term and don’t have a set duration. Once you have established a clear social media goal you want to realise from your social media campaign, you should ask yourself;
Which social media channels should I use for my campaign?
When it comes to social media marketing, you should be investing your efforts into the platforms your target audience and customers are using. If you’re going to run your social campaign across multiple platforms, ensure you repurpose and vary your content and creatives to avoid ad fatigue. You should also allocate more of your marketing budget to the social channels that generate the best results.
How long should a social media campaign run for, and when should it finish?
You should be running a social media campaign for an allocated amount of time dependent on how quickly your business typically produces conversions (how long your consumer journey down the conversion funnel typically takes).
If your leads take a long time to convert (perhaps you have a high AOV, or your purchase decision takes months), you should consider running a campaign over a few months, yet if your leads convert more quickly – e.g., they purchase from your company after only a couple of online interactions – you could run your social media campaign over a matter of weeks.
What promotional steps should I take before launching a marketing campaign?
Generating build-up is a great way of initiating interest, brand awareness and engagement around your business ahead of your launch. You could run content over a selected time frame prior to your campaign launch hinting at a new product or offering sneak previews or offering an early sign-up incentive. If your audience are made aware of your business and forthcoming social campaign beforehand, they’re more likely to be engaged with your campaign when you kickstart it. Read more about planning a campaign and the steps you should take ahead of launches.
Which audiences should I target, and how?
Audience targeting makes or breaks an advertising and marketing campaign. Ahead of your social campaign you have got to establish the audience groups you’re going to target.
You can do this by defining fictional audience personas, leverage existing campaign data on your audience, and establish your target customer segments by demographics, behaviours and interests to you know exactly who you are going to be marketing and advertising to, and what content they are going to engage with.
Consider how you are going to appeal to your defined target markets and what your audience wants out of your campaign. How are you going to appeal to your audience, benefit them and add value?
You can target audiences selectively and quickly with high impact at a granular, in-depth level by creating a paid social advertising campaign, as well as using organic social media strategies, such as hashtags and keyword usage.
What should my campaign’s content schedule look like, and how often should I post on social media?
For organic post scheduling, use your existing social media and insights to determine what times and days the highest amount of your followers online. There’s no magic number re. how often you should post, because what works for some companies does not work for others. Aim to always have a story on your social channels every 24 hours to maintain a top of feed presence, and follow a posting schedule that’s realistic and achievable for you e.g. 3 or 4 times a week. The lifetime of in-feed content varies for each social media user, depending on how often they use each network and how many accounts they are following.
Paid advertising campaigns are easier to schedule because you can turn them off and on whenever you like or set them running for a selected duration and they’ll always be served for that period. Plot your schedule – what you’re going to post, where and when – and then think about the social content you need to create for it.
What social media content will I need to create for my campaign?
You need to create enough content to follow your social media posting schedule and consider how many channels you need to create content for. So, if you were going to post on feed on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook 3 times a week, you’d need 9 pieces of in-feed content prepared (you could use the same 3 pieces yet repurpose them for each channel to offer your audience varied content, so they don’t get bored). That’s not even including the social content you need to create for your stories, or videos, reels, and so on!
Therefore, campaigns take months to organise and plan, and this is where social media marketing agencies come in very handy!
Types of content marketing on social media
Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves creating and sharing online material, and the type of content that is most effective is that which is designed to serve a purpose or evoke an emotion. It is an integral part of a social media marketing strategy.
Types of social media content include:
- Images, graphics, visuals, photography
- Videos, reels, GIFs
- Micro blogs, captions, long-form blogs, guides
- Live material such as IGTV and Facebook Live
- Audio recordings (increasing in popularity since the advent of Clubhouse)
And you can use those content formats to promote;
- People (team members, customers)
- Filler content
- Testimonials and reviews
Content and social media go hand and hand because you must create and share material to promote your business on social media in the first place.
Content is a crucial part of a social media campaign and can make or break its success. You cannot expect your social campaign to be effective if your content isn’t adding value to your audience.
What type of social media content works best for a campaign?
Content that adds value and benefit to your audience works best of course, despite the medium it is in.
Keep your content varied – mix it up with videos, reels, carousels, graphics, photography, GIFs, guides, and so on – but always make sure what you’re posting is adding some sort of significance and substance to your potential customer, and ensure it is leading them further towards completing your defined goal.
Think about what content your target audience and current customers currently engage with and enjoy, and what the purpose of your content and your campaign is – is it to educate, inspire, encourage, advise, or motivate, etc?
The golden rule for content creation and social media growth is quality over quantity! If you have strong content and a plan to it, that alone will drive your conversions, without any hard-salesy stuff.
How do I know if my social media campaign is successful?
A social campaign should generate you better results from marketing than usual, because of the effort and strategy that is put into it – whether that’s more leads, conversions, website visits, purchases. You can determine this with analytics and social media campaign tracking.
Typically, businesses measure a campaigns success with ROI and conversions, comparing results from similar, current campaigns with that of previous campaigns. But, if this is your first social media campaign, you have no previous marketing campaigns to measure it against!
If you feel that your own social media campaign isn’t yielding you the results you want, you can use data to adjust your social campaign strategy and campaign budget accordingly. Which content is performing better than others? Which network is driving the most engagement and results? Do you need to narrow or broaden your target audience?
Try not to be unrealistic when setting yourself goals for your marketing campaign, and monitor and adapt your campaign as it runs, and leverage the social media analytical data that is produced.
Does running a social media marketing campaign cost money?
Whilst running a social media campaign doesn’t necessarily have to cost money, you may find that your social reach is initially limited. That’s not to say you can’t create a campaign that goes viral world-wide, but it just may take longer and a lot more work.
Using social media marketing without using paid-for ads is referred to as organic social media marketing.
How to get the most out of an organic social media marketing campaign.
Unless a campaign is specific to one social media network only, your campaign will work best multi-platform because it will be at the forefront of people’s minds, increase your presence, and have a larger reach.
It’s important you utilise all features of social media networks and create a content calendar and a social media schedule when promoting your campaign organically, to be seen by as large an audience as possible.
Post valuable, high-quality content consistently, maintain a presence, have a clear CTA on your posts, use relevant hashtags and keywords to expand your reach, and foster engagement around your campaign – this is what spreads the word on social media and gets you seen by more eyeballs.
Should I include paid-for social media advertising in my campaign?
When running a social media campaign, implementing paid campaigns on social media to run alongside your organic efforts will maximise your impact and boost your campaign results. This is paid ad campaigns enable you to reach and target new, defined audience groups who you are not reaching organically already, in any chosen location.
Social media advertising and social media marketing
Advertising and marketing are closely linked. Advertising, similarly to marketing, is the act of business promotion to achieve business goals.
Paid advertising campaigns are the paid promotion a business incentive to a targeted audience across chosen channels, such as paid campaigns on Facebook, or paid marketing on Instagram. It’s a type of marketing communication which is done to promote a company’s products and services to drive sales.
Social media advertising is defined as a form of digital advertising that serves sponsored, boosted or paid ads to defined target audience segments using social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram to name just a few popular social media channels.
How Do I Advertise On Social Media?
If you want to reach even more people with your social media marketing, then you should consider investing in social media advertising.
Paid social media ads give you the ability to reach an audience beyond your current set of followers. Often these platforms will allow you to create a target audience based on demographics, interests etc, this is great for ensuring your adverts are relevant to the people viewing them.
These adverts are served or “promoted” on social feeds, often sandwiched between posts of other accounts you follow.
Here is what you need to consider before advertising on social media:
It’s important to set a social media advertising budget, and if you’re using Facebook and Instagram, you can set this budget and Facebook will work out a daily spend that’s optimal for your budget. Social media marketing agencies can manage your budgets and daily spend for you. Determine what ROI you want and what your conversion rate is and make sure your marketing spend is realistic.
- Decide what adverts to run on which social platforms (and when!)
You’ll need to decide who are your target audience and what your adverts should look like for that customer – from channel to channel, it’s likely your audience will vary, for example on Facebook you could have your older customers and audience. This may mean creating multiple visuals and messaging If you’re running a multi-platform campaign, in order to appeal to your different target audiences. Planning what to run and where should be part of your social media plan and schedule when planning an advertising campaign.
- Your advert design and copy
Social media users tend to respond better to visual content. According to Buzzsumo, Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images. Here are some components worth considering when putting your advert together:
- The messaging (keep it concise and engaging)
- Font style used
- The ‘Call to Action’
It’s worth remembering that less is more when it comes to creative social media adverts. Your audience may switch off or scroll past your advert completely if it’s over-run with text and too many offers.
Where do I run a paid social media advertising campaign?
All social media networks offer paid social ads to business users, each with their own targeting capabilities and goal optimisation strategies. Facebook Ads run across Facebook and Instagram, and like most social networks, your adverts are given numerous placements on these networks, including stories, messenger, in feed, right-hand, meaning that they have maximum visibility and are seen more often, by more eyeballs. Choose to run your paid advertising campaigns on the social channels your target customers are most actively using and engaged with.
You can advertise on all social media channels however Facebook offers the most articulate and granular targeting.
Advantages of running Facebook and Instagram advertising campaigns
When you run an advertising campaign on Facebook and Instagram, not only can you choose your placements, but you can also choose your audience targeting ensuring that your campaign will only be served to the right people! Here are some huge pros to running a paid ad campaign on Instagram and Facebook;
You can target your adverts by audience demographics, behaviours, and interests, and you can be extremely specific and detailed if you so wish. This means you are reaching people most likely to convert and become your customers.
Furthermore, you can serve your adverts in your chosen locations only, allowing you to infiltrate local markets or reach an audience of a national scale.
You can simultaneously run as many creatives or advertising campaigns as you like and view your campaign results, analytics, and data at any given time.
Your adverts can have multiple placements across platform, increasing your brand awareness and visibility
Find out more about Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat social media advertising for your business, to establish what’s right for you.