With billions of active users on social media, brands are finding it more challenging than ever to break through the noise to engage with the right audience. To compete with other brands and viral influencers, crafting a social media marketing campaign is like the perfect game plan to effectively promote your brand, execute strategy, and interpret your results. From TikTok hashtag challenges to seasonal holiday promotions, social media marketing campaigns are the bread and butter of a successful social media strategy.
So, what is a social media campaign? A social media campaign is a form of promotion that reinforces a message about a specific brand, product, or service on at least one social media channel. Successful social media campaigns are strategically focused and have measurable goals. This form of social media advertising is one the most creative and effective ways to consistently promote your unique brand messaging to a target audience on multiple channels.
This guide will cover the four steps to creating a social media campaign and how to promote and track its performance.
Social media campaigns require more than just posting content. To ensure your social media campaign is effective and achieves your goals, planning and preparation are essential. These four steps will help you create a social media campaign that delivers on your goals and generates business growth.
The first step in creating a social media campaign is defining your campaign goals and aligning them with your brand’s needs. Increasing sales, improving brand awareness, reaching new audiences, and boosting website traffic are all goals to consider for your next campaign.
Using the SMART method to define your goals more clearly can help outline exactly what’s needed for the campaign to be successful and the goals to be achievable. The SMART method is helpful for both your organic and paid goals and will help you pinpoint places in your strategy to pivot when things don’t work well or to continue when they pay off.
The next essential step to creating a campaign is establishing your target audience. When looking at your social media analytics, consider your audience’s age, gender, location, income and interests to understand who you want to reach. Understanding what your audience likes, what influences them to action, and their interests will help inform your content strategy. Creating content that appeals to your target audience is crucial to a successful campaign, or you would risk users simply scrolling through your post that took you so much time and effort to make — Google analytics for social media is a great way to pull in the most relevant audience data for your social accounts and website.
Next, conduct a competitive analysis to determine your competitors' strengths and weaknesses. This template will depend on the metrics and content factors that matter most to your brand and strategy, but it's a helpful way to analyze competitor's social profiles, video content, feed posts, and any other factor relevant to your social campaign. Competitive analysis’ also ensures you don't miss any content opportunities once your campaign is underway.
Now that you know your audience, you should have determined which social media channels they most frequently use. It’s important to meet your audience where they are, especially if they are using the channel looking for solutions to a problem your campaign can solve. According to the New York Times, Gen Z prefers TikTok as a search engine over Google. If Gen Z is your target audience, you might want to prioritize TikTok over Google or any other channel.
Each channel serves a specific purpose, and you can’t always repurpose content across them all. Consider character limits, content formats and even the culture of the channel to run the most effective campaign. Run a social media channel analysis with tools like Dash Hudson to help you deliver content that truly resonates with your audience by channel.
After completing the upfront work of defining your goals, audience, and channels, you can now start planning your content. Analyze your best-performing content for patterns of your target audience's likes and dislikes.
Content segmentation helps teams plan the best quality content with the data and insights to support their creative decisions. Segmenting content can also uncover types of content you need to utilize more, like UGC. For example, suppose your social media campaign focuses on a new lipstick product launch. In that case, segmenting content can inform you that your audience loves close-up lipstick swatches or a makeup tutorial from a specific influencer.
Determine the formats and types of content you need to create or source for your campaign, then start creating! Collaborate with your team, designers, photographers, and content creators to build a robust strategy.
Scheduling upcoming posts and arranging them in a calendar is helpful to visualize when and where different steps of your social campaign will take place — it also gives you plenty of lead time to reschedule posts as needed, reflect on content issues, and generally make posting more proactive. Dash Hudson's Social Scheduler function gives you a calendar overview, allows you to schedule posts, and can even tell you when your brand's best times to post are.
Finally, it's essential to report on the success of your social media campaigns. Refer to those goals you set up in step one throughout your campaign, and most importantly, when it ends — just because it's over doesn't mean there aren't valuable learnings for social and marketing teams. For social teams, this will likely require sharing relevant KPIs and metrics with your wider team, whether you reached your social campaign goals, how your paid ads performed and how these goals contribute to your brand's needs. The measurement phase is also a great time to share what went well, what didn't, and what lessons you can leverage in future social campaigns.
Great content can take your campaign far, but strategic promotion can take it to the next level. Successful social media campaigns require key tactics to deliver the best results effectively.
The best social media marketing campaigns deliver one key message throughout multiple channels. Keeping it strong, concise and consistent makes your campaign easy to understand and easy for your audience to retain your key message. In contrast, repetition within your campaign helps to build familiarity and trust.
Though repetition is good within your campaign, continue to post non-promotional content, too. While you want your audience to become familiar with your campaign, you want to avoid pressuring your new audience into customers immediately. Strike a balance between promotional and non-promotional content that your audience finds engaging.
Social media is a two-way street. You can’t expect to receive engagements without giving back to your audience by interacting with them. Be sure to connect with your followers who comment, like and share your posts. One of the most rewarding parts of working in social media is engaging with your audience, and these moments of connection between your brand and your followers can help you build brand loyalty and a sense of community.
Learn more about building a social community with our 5 Creative Ways to Build a Social Media Community article.
Like your key message, a hashtag can tie your campaign across multiple social channels with little effort. A unique and memorable hashtag is a great way to keep track of your campaign and can be used as an opportunity for your audience to participate with you.
One of the most notable hashtag moments on social media in recent years is Calvin Klein’s #mycalvins campaign. The collaborative campaign that started with celebrities grew organically on a global scale. By celebrating individuality and self-expression, fans joined in to share their own creative and unique perspectives. #mycalvins has over 800,000 posts on Instagram.
Automate your campaign promotion and give yourself more time to engage with your audience and create great content. Use a tool like Dash Hudson to schedule social media posts ahead of time to make a consistent posting schedule and ensure that other non-promotional posts balance out your campaign.
It is essential to track your campaign’s performance to optimize your content strategy and make any necessary changes for your campaign’s success. Invest in a tool for integrated campaign reporting to uncover the ROI of your multi-channel campaigns and collaborative content. Social teams can tap into Dashboards to discover how their social ads performed, from visibility metrics like impressions to the cost-per-click.
Dash Hudson’s Campaigns tool creates holistic reports to track your key insights, inform your creative strategy, and optimize for future campaigns in a comprehensive and streamlined view.
The most common social media campaigns for brands revolve around launching a new product or a big promotion like Black Friday. But campaigns can also highlight a brand’s values, like promoting a sustainability initiative or participating in an awareness campaign for a specific cause.
Some examples of the best social media campaigns include Calvin Klein’s #mycalvins campaign that celebrated inclusivity and self-expression. Another good example is e.l.f. Cosmetics’ #eyeslipsface campaign that helped launch their TikTok virality.
Your social media campaign should deliver a clear message and call to action to your target audience. By clearly defining goals, types of content to create, target audience, and ways to track performance, a social media campaign can provide the direction your team can work towards to succeed.