CommonSense Blog

Strategizing a social media campaign

By Rohini Jatkar | Sep 19, 2013

Social Media Campaign

Some of this is going to read like marketing 101 and it is! The thought process is applicable for practically any digital marketing campaign (online ads, email campaigns, mobile marketing, and more) but the lens I am using is for social media campaigns. From an overarching strategy standpoint, you want to talk to the right audience, and communicate relevant and valuable messages, agnostic of platform and device at the right time during the audience journey. What makes a social media campaign particularly interesting is the sheer amount of audience information that is readily available, the two-way nature of communication and the immediate feedback you get for your efforts.

I ran several of these campaigns at Safeway as part of their digital marketing team as well as through my independent consulting, and this post draws from personal experience.

So what should you think of as you craft a social media campaign? Two main things really – the audience and your brand.

Audience:

Understanding your audience

Are you trying to talk to a new mom, a Hispanic teenager or a financial advisor who is not comfortable with the Internet? What channels is your audience on? Language, internet-savvy, channel-preferences, life stage, geography, industry – everything matters. Social media gives you ways to pick and choose your audience and engage them directly.

At Safeway we once recruited a chef for their culinary kitchens via a social campaign. That particular campaign targeted a very different audience compared to the usual target of 25-54 year old women.

Content relevance from a consumer standpoint

With the overdose of Internet content and shortage of time, staying relevant and helpful to your audience ensures loyalty. Social listening can help you hone in on what makes your particular audience tick or spot what’s hot in your space. Studying a look-alike brand’s social strategy can help you see what works or what does not.

For a grocery retailer, seasonality of produce, major food holidays, everyday discounts, recipes and quick tips, contributed to relevant and valuable content.

Engagement

If a person ‘likes’ you on Facebook they are raising their hand in all likelihood. While the level of engagement varies by person, be unafraid to engage your audience directly and ask them what they want from you. People love to talk and share. On the flip side though, they also expect you to be responsive so make sure you are resourced to provide service over social channels.

For Nationwide Finance, we surveyed their Fan base with a quick-hit 10 question survey that garnered the target number of responses within one day and led to insightful findings for the brand.

Brand:

Marketing objectives

Do you want a niche consumer base to reach out to for product ideation? Do you want to bump up sales with a monster marketing campaign? Do you want to test a discount coupon? Think about what you are trying to achieve and set measurable goals around this. Also take a look at competition. If your immediate competitor did something very similar recently you need to work extra hard to achieve your objectives this go around.

At Safeway, we ran campaigns with varied objectives –to grow our fan base, to solicit holiday recipes from consumers, to provide them with a fun activity to do with their kids, to get samples of a new product into consumers’ hands, and many more!

Content relevance from a brand standpoint

Make sure you have what it takes from a content standpoint to continuously keep up on social. Nothing is worse than a social presence where nobody does anything. Create an editorial calendar, and a campaign calendar. Identify and recruit content creators. Lay out a simple process and execution plan to bring content to life. You are operating in a rich medium so plan for multiple campaign assets i.e. videos, tweets, visuals, etc. but also remember that a single piece of content can lend itself to many forms. And while you are content planning, keep in mind user generated content. Done right, UGC can be a win on social.

For Webroot, we sold to and recruited internal subject matter experts to blog regularly to a calendar and facilitated their contributions by making the logistics very easy for them.

Tactics

What tactics are you comfortable with and resourced for? Are you in a regulated industry? Do you have a storefront? Are you a global brand or a national brand that operates in niche markets? What social channels do you play on? Practically everything is possible but you need to be able to execute it.

A pharma social campaign is likely going to look very different than a grocery retail campaign or a finance industry campaign. The tactics ultimately ladder back up to the marketing objectives tempered by real-life business constraints.

Best practices

Ask yourself if you need to operate on multiple social channels. Make your mainstay social channels work hard rather than dilute your brand by being on every possible social channel. If you run your campaign on multiple channels, make sure you are consistent across the board for ease of execution as well as to avoid user confusion. Support you campaigns with paid media and lots of cross-promotion in your pre-existing marketing channels. Make the user experience for the campaign simple, intuitive and share-able. Apply learning from your last campaign. Be resourced to respond and hand-hold especially if things go south. Lean towards transparency.

At Safeway, we learnt by trying things out and gradually built up informed SOPs for everything social. The biggest win lay in gaining senior management trust and their increased asks for social media marketing services over time.

I venture to say that if you think of these things from an audience and brand standpoint for your social media campaign, you will set the stage to succeed. Whether or not you do, depends on how well you execute the strategy you just thought up.

Readers do let me know if I missed out on anything!