I will admit it. I used to be a rogue social media campaigner. I would start the day by browsing current events, social channels, and my photo collection. I would later post, across multiple channels, the theme that picked the mood of the day. Sure, the posts had a following, and they were fresh, but was I really creating impactful social campaigns?
In this blog, I explain why your social campaign should be less than 20% rogue (aka “by the seat of your pants”) and why it is time to create a campaign with thought and longevity.
Do Your Homework
Before starting the method I outline in this blog, do your homework. Who is your customer? If you do not know your customer, it will be impossible to craft an impactful social campaign. It will also be impossible to pick the social channels that reach those customers. Start by reading my blog, How to Select the Right Channels for your Audience.
Take the time to survey your customers. It is not only the perfect opportunity to collect feedback on your product or service, but it is the time to ask about social channels.
It is also time to ask yourself, and your sales team, some tough questions. Do some soul searching.
- Is your current social campaign increasing your sales?
- Is it gathering leads, helping close deals, and retaining customers?
- Or do your followers love your content but never really convert to buy your product or service?
5 Steps to Creating a Social Campaign
Once you have surveyed your customers, picked the social channels for your market segment, and investigated the revenue generated by past activity, it is time to build a campaign.
Follow these 5 steps to create an impactful social campaign.
Step One: Craft the Campaign Theme
Instead of posting random ideas and sales promos, have a theme and stick to it. Of course, you can run a few themes at a time, but your goal should be to avoid random messages. As an example of a themed campaign, let’s check-in with Brown Dog Brewery. (Name Changed)
It is three weeks until Brown Dog Brewery launches its next seasonal beer. Their goal is to use the release to capture revenue across five avenues. Here is a snapshot of the different ways that Brown Dog can increase revenue with the launch of their new beer.
- Pints, growler fills, and packaged beer in their Tap Room
- Food, from their in-house kitchen, paired with the new beer
- Merchandise branded with the new beer’s artwork (glassware, T-shirts, etc.)
- Tickets for the launch party with live music—a one-day festival on their property
- Retail sales: kegs and packaged beer through distribution to bars, restaurants, and grocery
There are five ways that Brown Dog Brewery can generate revenue from the release of their latest seasonal beer. They would like a four-week campaign around the launch of the beer, three weeks before launch day, and one week after. As you may have guessed, all five of the Avenues of Revenue will be showcased within this single social campaign.
It is time to brainstorm. Look at your event, product, service, non-profit, or associations and write down at least four avenues to grab your social follower’s attention. You are going to weave the four to five avenues into a four-week campaign. Write down your avenues and move to Step Two.
Step Two: Build a Media Library
An impactful social campaign has texture. It includes eye-catching photos, videos, graphics, quotes, interesting facts, videos, and evergreen content (evergreen is content that your followers will want to download or save for later use). Once you know the theme of your campaign, spend time to collect the content to add texture to your campaign.
Here’s a Wellspring Digital blog about the Importance of Images. Before moving to the next step, be sure to understand the power of an image.
Curate this texture content before you launch your campaign. This process takes time, probably longer than you may anticipate. If you are going to do five fresh posts a week, across multiple channels, a month-long campaign will use at least 20 curated pieces. Ensure that each piece is post-ready and portrays your brand.
Look at the list of four or five avenues that you created in Step One, and browse through your archives of content, hire a designer, take some photos or make a video. You will want to find a few pieces of content for each of your avenues.
Step Three: Find Your Favorite Social Media Calendar Template
Google “Social Media Calendar,” and there is no doubt that you will find hundreds of both free and paid downloads. Make sure that you find a calendar that is not only easy to use but a system that includes a Month-at-a-Glance view. You will also want to color-code your blocks.
Find your favorite social media calendar system and customize it to your brand, such as adding your company or campaign name and logo. Remove any channels or options that you will not use for your campaign. For example, you may decide not to post to Pinterest and remove that option.
If you are using something like HubSpot or another marketing automation tool to schedule your posts, make sure you’re using a calendar you can import into that tool. To start your hunt for the perfect calendar to fit your needs, HubSpot has six templates.
Step Four: Color Code Your Calendar
Go back to your list of avenues and assign a color to each. For Brown Dog Brewery, they assigned a different color to each of their five avenues of revenue for the release of a seasonal beer.
Now, it is time to color the date blocks on your Month-at-a-Glance Calendar. Mix up the posts and keep a balance. When you are finished, you should see a balance of colors/subjects throughout the month.
At this point, I often receive two essential questions:
- Q: “Why do you color-block a calendar before writing the text content of the campaign?”
- Q: “Why do you collect the visual content in Step Two before setting up your calendar?”
- A: Because writing the actual text content is the hardest part, and everyone tends to not create texture when they only work with written words first. Let the images that you create and your color-blocked calendar be the source for inspiration. Let the images and the patchwork of colors keep your thoughts creative. Remember, creativity sells and builds your following. Who follows boring?
Step Five: Add Written Content
It is now time to add written content. Pick an image that matches the day on your calendar and craft the words. You are not writing a book or even a long paragraph.
You have less than three seconds to make your point. You want to stop their thumb from scrolling right past your post (see our interview with Sarah Weise about Gen Z and their Instabrain). When directing fans to your website, a blog, or even a sales flyer, provide a teaser and a link in less than three seconds.
Stay a Little Rogue
As you are building this campaign, save some space (days) for some rogue, off-plan posts. Brown Dog Brewery’s campaign started three weeks before the launch of their latest beer and continued a week after launch day.
Before the launch, they encouraged fans to post photos of their brown dogs. On launch day, a photographer captured the event, and the Brown Dog Team posted live, saving a few great images for the afterglow in the next week.
Even though you used five steps to create an impactful social campaign, always remember that it sells fun and creativity.