Trail-Blazing Social Media Campaigns — A Startup Founders Guide
Updated: Apr 2
Managing your company’s social media accounts isn’t the same as creating an engaging social media campaign.
While both social media management, and social media campaigns usually have the same goal, raising brand awareness, a social media campaign will be a shorter campaign that might use a separate marketing strategy from your overall social media marketing strategy.
So how do you create a trail-blazing social media campaign? We’ve taken a look at some successful social media campaigns of the past for some pointers.
Timing is Everything
The content of your social media campaign is important, but the timing is what sets a decent marketing campaign apart from a wildly successful one.
While you’re brainstorming your campaign, try to think of occasions or events that might be relevant to your idea or overall business.
Launching your campaign at a time when your audience is already talking about a topic, will make them more likely to engage with your content, as well as shared with their friends.
Take the ADT Ghost Monitoring video as an example. The concept of a ghost alarm that alerted the police to ghosts was entertaining in itself, but the fact that it was posted right before National Ghost Hunting Day, made it even more relevant and shareable. As a result ADT had more than 1000 links to their website and as many as 130,000 views, likely as a result of the timing of the video.
Don’t Use All the Channels
Instead of spreading your campaign across all your social media accounts, consider if any of the channels might be a better vessel for your particular campaign. If your campaign is visual or focuses on pictures Pinterest and Instagram are natural choices. Longer video clips might benefit from a focus on YouTube, whereas text based campaigns might do better on Twitter or Facebook.
Putting all your focus into one, or a few, social media channels suited to your campaign will prevent your time and resources being spread thin, especially if you are a small business.
The spray paint brand Krylon did this when they bought items from a yard sale, sprayed them with paint, and sold them on Pinterest. They also got the timing right since this was right about the time Pinterest launched their “buyable pin” feature.
Simplify Your Message
It’s no secret that your audience has a short attention span. Short and sweet is going to beat any pages long article.
An example of this is Corrine Ellsworth Beaumont’s “Know Your Lemons” campaign. She designed a self-explainatory graphic that shows twelve lemons in an egg-carton displaying the signs of breastcancer.
The campaign was wildly effective, reaching 166 million people in a month. Keeping it simple and getting your point across quickly will make your content more shareable as well.
Collaborate with Businesses
Look for businesses to collaborate with. Do a little research on businesses that are in line with your brand, and consider featuring them in your content. Mentioning them in a social media post is one way to get the ball rolling. If there is a business that features you on their social media or on their website, make sure to reach out to them. It’s natural to thank them for featuring you, and the exchange can be the start of a partnership you will both benefit from. All the big companies do this, and benefit from it.
Engage Your Audience
Do you remember the #TacoEmojiEngine campaign Taco Bell ran a few years ago? In it, Taco Bell encouraged the audience to tweet them the taco bell emoji in addition to any other emoji, and the Taco Emoji Engine would respond with a taco-based GIF or photo. The result was 798,000 tweets and record setting brand mentions of Taco Bell in a day.
Co-Create with Your Audience
Engage your audience by letting them create your content.
An example of this is when Starbucks encouraged their customers to share their drawings on the company’s red holiday cups with the hashtag #RedCupArt.
They received 1,200 red cup drawings in about 8 days. Other companies have done similar challenges, often featuring selected artworks on their social media accounts.
Get Your Audience Talking
Promoting your social media campaign with ads on social media platforms is a common strategy. You can even run ads before launching the campaign to get your audience interested in the campaign before it starts.
This strategy was used by Airbnb and Amobee with the former’s “Don’t Go There. Live There.” campaign.
Don’t be Afraid to Try Something New
New features pop up on the big social networking channels all the time, and you shouldn’t be afraid of utilizing them. If you think a new feature will make better, or more valuable, content for your audience, go for it! There’s a good chance the simple novelty of the feature will add more interest and get you more shares!
Don’t be afraid to give your audience an unpolished, live experience.
Visit Victoria, a state tourism board, wanted the audience to experience Melbourne live, rather than in a polished high-quality movie. So instead of a film crew, the host traveled around Melbourne bringing the audience with him using Periscope.
Your audience can be part of the real time experience through apps like Periscope, Facebook live, or Instagram Live.
A live event allows your audience to stay engaged by asking real time questions, share their thoughts or vote in polls.
We hope you find some of these proven ideas helpful as you launch your own social media campaigns!