5 Essentials to Plan a Social Media Campaign

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It can be a totally exciting experience to execute a social media marketing campaign yet the results of success will most often be determined by the planning of said campaign.

The planning can only be crafted well when it’s based on a careful strategy designed to fulfil your business objective and this can only be successful if the campaign is targeted to the right audience on the right platform.

Phew! There’s more to a social media campaign than meets the eye!

That’s only the start! Once the objectives are in place and the social framework has been agreed then it’s time to determine the content substance and planning schedule.

There are so many variables to consider that may affect the cost and the outcome. These can include:

  • Do you need a paid advertising budget and plan?
    Do you need graphics?
    Do you need fresh content on your website to link to?
    Are you conducting a competition?
    Do you need automation tools?
    How are you going to monitor and measure the campaign?

It begins to get a tad exhausting right?

If, as a business, you have decided to implement your first campaign then the best advice would be to start small and familiarize yourself with your social audience reaction to all aspects of your efforts and measure those results. You can then expand campaigns based on the best practice findings whilst mitigating large scale failure.

No matter how large or small the campaign is there are certain fundamentals that are vital to the implementation of a successful campaign.

social media campaign

Campaign Planning

Campaign planning seems so obvious yet you just have to go to familiar platforms like Facebook and Twitter to see that they can be inundated with competitions and promotional material which has been thrown up without thought.

We see competitions that may not have a date deadline, clear rules and T & C s, graphical images that don’t purvey a clear message and posts that do not have a relevant call to action that complements your business adjectives.

These are only a few of the pitfalls yet they can all be easily avoided through careful planning.

Start to plan by dividing the Campaign into relevant sections. On a high level these would include:

  • Campaign objectives
    Campaign time-frame
    Campaign budget
    Campaign strategy: platforms & content themes
    Resource and reporting

Once you have this high level framework then the detail will become clearer and an overall plan will come together.

So take a look at five these five essentials that will ensure you have the tools in place to execute a campaign well.

#1 Campaign Objectives

There’s absolutely no point in creating a social media campaign if you are not clear on WHY you are doing so! There should be a tangible reason why you are going to the effort and resource so this is where you should start.
The objectives may be simple but simple can be effective and some popular campaign objectives can include:

social media campaign

  • Increase your online audience
    Drive traffic to your website
    Create lead generation
    Promote an event
    Promote a Product
    Generate Sales

Once you have a clear objective then you can expand on the detail and create tangible metrics to measure against.

E.g.: When you want to use a social media campaign to increase your online audience, what are you actually saying you want?

Do you want to look good against competitors with the amount of followers you have or do you want to generate REAL potential leads or customers that may help to increase your business ROI in the future?

This type of questioning will determine the type of strategy you create to achieve these goals… so keep asking why?
Ensure that the metrics you attach to these objectives are measurable and realistic …. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment before you even start!

#2 Campaign Time-Frames

If you don’t set a specific time frame for a campaign then you will potentially confuse both your customers and yourself!
Your time frame will depend on a wealth of variables that will be based around the reason for the campaign. Some of those variables can include:

  • Lead time to an event
    Your campaign budget
    Your resource capabilities

Make sure that the time frame is clear and transparent to your audience, especially if your campaign strategy incorporates competition deadlines. There’s nothing as bad as a potential dissatisfied customer before you even start!

#3 Campaign Budget

There are two ways you can approach a budget. One makes sense and the other only makes sense if you are not under pressure with your cash.

social media campaign

The first is to decide on an affordable campaign budget that when measured against the estimated results of the campaign will have added value to your business. Will you have made a virtual or real profit in terms of your business? This will depend on the type of objective you wish to achieve as some can be calculated quite easily and others not so much.

If you are planning an event for 100 people who will pay €20 to attend then it is not feasible to allocate a budget of €1000 or more to it. However if the plan is for the attendees to convert to customers or to buy a product or service on the night then the comparative gap suddenly widens and the budget amount appears more realistic.

Think ahead on your objective and measure the potential long term value that can be gained from your campaign. This will give you a good guide to a reasonable budget and determine your campaign approach.

The second approach is to work out the detail of the Campaign incorporating all the resource, expenses and advertising cost and then calculate the total budget this way. This seems quite sensible however it can lead to disappointment when suddenly you realise that the fantastic campaign you have planned is going to cost a lot more than you envisaged and when compared to the potential business value …. makes no business sense.

Always keep an eye out for potential costs that you may not have thought of. Are you going to employ a resource person to fully monitor the campaign or are you going to outsource? Are you going to utilise the many online automation tools that vary in price? Have you considered the cost of competition prizes?

Once you are aware of the potential costings then you have the ability to manage the budget without any hidden surprises.

#4 Campaign Strategy: Platforms & Content Themes

We love creating a campaign strategy here at Content Plan! It starts with an empty canvas where you can be as creative as you want!

Create a framework strategy first that incorporates the themes, content type, platforms and scheduling. This will then lead to the creation of a content calendar that will document where and when specific content is to be published within the time frame agreed.

There are certain factors to take into consideration that will provide a framework that you can work creatively within.

Most Effective way to exceed Campaign Objectives

The content that is created for publication should be designed to create interest but, most importantly, be driven towards the campaign objective. If the objective is to drive traffic to your business website then the content should include clear call to actions to the designated landing page on the site. In in this case it would be beneficial to incorporate website content creation into the campaign that gives potential leads an incentive to visit the site.

So you can be as creative with the content as you want however make sure that creativity has a specific message that stays in line with your business objectives.

Incorporate Brand Values and Ethos

The content created within the campaign strategy should emulate your brand image and values. Whether you outsource your social media campaign or are creative in-house, clear direction should be given as to the type of content that you feel best represents your business.

This includes:

  • Graphic design, fonts, colours, image type
    Tone of wording … edgy or warm? Family orientated or appealing to a corporate client base?
    Branded content … do you want your logo to appear on all content?
    Best content type … does video, image, text best represent your brand? Or all of the above!

These are just some of the factors that need thought whilst planning a campaign that represents your brand to its full potential.

Connect with Existing Audience and grow – platforms

To implement an effective social media campaign you need to know your audience and know where they are online.
social media campaignThere is no point in putting time and effort into creating content for a specific platform like Snapchat or Pinterest if you are not sure if the audience is there. If you have previously been executing a long term social media strategy then you will have a clear indication of your online audience type and the platforms they use.

If not then the recommendation is to make this your first campaign objective. Build your online audience and engage, find out what they like and where they like to be online. This will then determine where your social media campaign is going to be fully effective.

A Company may have multiple objectives throughout a Campaign that are determined by the platform that you work from. We recently had a request to drive traffic to a site from Facebook and Twitter and then separately build up an online audience on Instagram and Snap Chat. These objectives determined strategy path variables for each platform yet also merged together as we worked to cross –promote and build through engagement.

So the message is to don’t spend money on a campaign that is not going to be served to an established audience, unless that is the campaign is to build said audience making sure that this audience are of a quality that will enhance your business prospects and not just inflate volume figures for show.

Work within the budget

As previously mentioned, the content that is produced is going to be dependent on budget. Professional video is going to be more expensive than graphic design or content writing. Your strategy and content will be driven by the costings involved.

social media campaignCreate a Hashtag

Ah, it’s not a campaign without a hashtag! Create a snappy hashtag that best represents the campaign theme. This will provide the campaign glue across all the platforms you are engaging on whilst giving a title to the campaign.

Paid Advertising

We recommend some form of paid advertising be incorporated within your campaign budget, especially when the objective is to build a targeted audience that may be specific to your location and interest type. This gives a quality to your potential lead generation and no better way to attract that audience is to design adverts that are then granular in targeting that may get you seen to an audience that may not have come across you before.

Competitions

Believe me, competitions are so much more than the typical like and share offers that you frequently see on platforms like Facebook. If not planned and managed well, they can come back to bite you!

Some points to note:

  • Make sure you have an interesting prize that will engage your audience type.
    Have clear guidelines for competition entrants, don’t change any part of the competition process midway as this leads to chaos.
    Ensure you have written terms and conditions that are watertight in case you do get that bite back!
    Have a plan to measure and determine the competition winners. Let the entrants know how the winners are going to be picked. If you are having a random draw then be transparent … do a short video showing you picking the winner. Again, this avoids the bite backs!

There are some great online apps that will provide a framework for your competition and make sure that all guidelines are followed. We will do another post on this but just make sure that if there is a cost, this is incorporated into your budget.

#5 Resource and Reporting

Now you have your objectives in place, you know your budget and you have a documented campaign strategy and social calendar. You are ready to go!

So who is going to implement this campaign? Have you a dedicated resource to execute on the publication schedule and then regularly monitor for engagement? Have you included this resource in your budget?

social media campaignWith regards to resource, as well as using your own employees, you have the option of outsourcing ALL of the above. Sometimes that’s a lot easier as an effective outsource solution will plan, create and implement all of the above on an agreed budget whilst also taking on the pressure of meeting the agreed objectives and reporting back on the results.

Whichever way suits it is vital that the resource allocation employs a consistent measuring tactic that enables you to assess how effective the campaign has been. If clear and realistic metrics have been set within your initial campaign objectives then the results will be easy to measure against.

If the campaign has been successful then, believe me, you will catch the social media campaign bug and want to do it again!

It’s an exciting way to connect with your online audience, advocates and potential customers and receive vital feedback that will only serve to add value and be beneficial to your business.

This is only a small part of planning a social media campaign. What other factors would you consider when conducting a campaign? Would love to know!

 

 

Eileen McCabe

Eileen’s creative imprint weaves an interesting trail across the internet where she has written for many businesses within a wealth of diverse industries. A specialist in content creation and promotion, she also enjoys wearing the project management hat and has worked on many digital campaigns with established stakeholders. Having written extensively for both web and print media, Eileen believes that content should be written with specific goals in mind where words drive engagement, leads and ultimately sales. A co-author on a number of Social Business Reports, she has found that regular content creation that adds value to the online audience will most definitely add value to your brand reputation too.

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