When you think about a brand or business, which resource do you use to learn more about them? While a website might have all the general information that you need, it lacks real-time, dynamic content and the same challenge remains with a newsletter or an email.
If you’re a social geek like me, their social media account is the place to find out the latest updates and to connect with their online community.
Most brands and businesses are aware that the rise of the social media scene has transformed from getting likes and posting announcements to a deeper sense of connecting with their online audience.
This idea is further proven in The State of Social Media 2016 Report by our friends at Buffer, who surveyed 1,200 marketers. They found out that the most popular reason for using social media was for brand awareness (85%) followed by community engagement (71%).
Further staggering statistics also record a total of 60 million Facebook business pages and according to eMarketer, 48.8% of US companies used Instagram for marketing in 2016 and the number is predicted to rise to 70.7% in 2017.
You get the point. Nearly every brand that you’ve heard about is jumping on the social media bandwagon.
However, the real question lies in how a brand stands out in a sea of competitive social media accounts trying to win the attention of their audience. Viral content and attractive visuals may be good bait but the most effective reel (no pun intended) has proven to be a social media campaign.
In this post, we’ll share the why and how of social media campaigns from our personal approach and a few practical tips to create your own campaign.
Let’s get started!
Understanding social media channels
As a SaaS startup founded back in 2011, one of our marketing strategies was to increase brand awareness and just like any other new organization, social media seemed to be the right place for us. It was the right move that helped us to garner some attention, especially in the fresh Malaysian startup scene that soon extended globally due to the demographic of our user base.
While we were able to maintain an active social media presence and conduct a few social media campaigns, they were mainly seasonal and weren’t as effective as we expected. If your brand is facing the similar challenge, fret not as you’re not alone ☺️ Over the years, we’ve learned to redefine our social media presence starting with a clearer objective for our social media campaigns.
We started with an important question of understanding the why behind the what. The “what” was clear for us:
- garner x amount of mentions
- garner x amount of engagement
- drive x percentage of traffic to website
- acquire x amount of signups and paying users
- increase revenue by x percentage
However, the more important question remained: why are we trying to achieve the what. It eventually became clear to us – we want to build trust and relationship with our customers. This mission resonates closely with our content marketing mission, so we shifted our focus to achieve the larger purpose of our social media presence.
This translated to different goals for each social media channel. After some brainstorming with our marketing team, we laid out clearer objectives for each channel to also act as the objectives for the underlying social media campaigns.
If you haven’t set the objectives for your social media channels, this might be a good time to bring out the sketchbook and start brainstorming with your team. With a better understanding of your objectives, you’ll be on the right track to creating your own social media campaign.
The golden rule of social media: Understand the why behind the what.Click To Tweet
Need more inspiration? Check out this TED Talk by Simon Sinek on the topic of starting with why.
Getting started with social media campaigns
With our social media channel objectives set, it’s easier to align our social media campaign ideas.
To start off, we plan the schedule of our social media campaigns a half year in advance. If your organization has a marketing or content calendar, it’ll serve as a good guide in planning your campaign – as it’ll give you a better idea of the other campaigns scheduled for the rest of the marketing channels. Here’s a free social media calendar template you can use provided by Flycast Media.
With that, you can plan your social media campaigns to support those marketing efforts but that shouldn’t be all. Remember our why – it’s to build trust and relationships with our customers. It’s a good measure to stay focused on your why and ensure that your campaign is built around your objectives.
Here’s an example of our social media campaign ideas for the first quarter of 2017. We’re not spilling the beans on the rest of the campaigns we’ve planned for the upcoming months – we’d like to keep that as a surprise for you! ?
Besides the campaign ideas above which are all aligned with our mission, we have a few regular social media campaigns that are conducted on a weekly basis such as #MotivationMonday and #PiktoTakeover – with the latter being our best performing social media campaign up to date.
#PiktoTakeover was inspired by brands such as HubSpot and Buffer, which hosted Instagram takeovers by their team members. Overall, it’s a great way to humanize a brand.
It turned out to be a great idea for our Instagram channel since our objective is to showcase the culture and values at Piktochart. On average for each #PiktoTakeover session, we receive more than 300 likes with an engagement rate of 5.7%.
If you’re interested in hosting an Instagram takeover for your brand, check out this post by Buffer on how to host a takeover in 6 simple steps.
Beyond just great ideas for social media campaigns, the execution and presentation of these campaigns also play important roles in ensuring success. Our marketing team works closely with the design team to make that happen – from discussing our creative ideas, curating engaging copy, creating visually attractive designs and media, and finally optimizing the campaign to reach our audience.
We believe that strong teamwork and communication between teams will further enhance your campaign’s success, so be sure to involve other teams in your organization that can contribute to your campaign.
Now that you have a better understanding of social media campaigns, we’d like to walk you through a few helpful tips!
Practical tips to create effective social media campaigns
While we still have lots to learn when it comes to conducting social media campaigns, here are some practical tips based on lessons we’ve learned along the way.
1. Understanding your audience
This is a common tip in every social media rule book and it’s one that is worth emphasizing again – even if you’ve heard of it hundreds of times before. We believe this is the holy grail of every marketing activity as it gives you a better insight into creating campaigns that are relevant and effective for your target audience.
Creating marketing personas will help you understand your audience better and create campaigns that resonate with them. When you reach the right audience, you’ll be hitting a home run!Understanding your audience will help you to create content that is relevant and effective for them.Click To Tweet
2. Set goals and metrics
How do you define success for your social media campaigns? Here at Piktochart, we measure success based on the goals and metrics we’ve set for each campaign. All across our team, we set our goals based on a goal-setting technique known as OKRs, better known as Objectives and Key Results, made popular by Google.
Objectives are usually based on what you hope to accomplish and key results are measurable numbers or tasks based on the objectives.
Here’s a snippet of our OKR for social media campaigns:
Objective: Conduct social campaigns to increase brand awareness and engagement
- Reach 200 engagement in interactions from National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Reach 20,000 impressions and 200 clicks from Spring Design Inspiration board on Pinterest.
Besides OKRs, there are also other metrics such as link clicks, website traffic, follower growth, and new signups, all of which we are tracking via our social media efforts. Here’s an article by Hootsuite which provides a good idea of tracking important social media metrics that matters.
3. Be experimental with creative ideas
When it comes to social media campaigns, creativity is what sets you apart and helps you to stand out. Don’t be afraid to experiment with creative landing pages, visuals, GIFs, Instagram Stories, Boomerangs, videos, and more.
Instead of offering just a giveaway, inspire your audience to showcase their own creativity. We recently celebrated National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day and called for all peanut butter lovers to share their favorite peanut butter combination with us – which received a good number of engagement!
Another example of a past campaign is Piktochart’s 4th anniversary in 2016. As we celebrated 4 years of Piktochart, we wanted to also celebrate our 5 million users who have supported us over the years. So, we sent an invite to a selected group of users to help us make this world mosaic project happen!
If you’re looking for inspiration, here’s a list of 25 social media campaign ideas that are creative and have proven to be successful for brands such as Airbnb, Pepsi, NASA, and more. Go and unleash your creativity!
4. Value > Product
A good marketer understands that in order to sell their brand effectively, one should focus on selling its value rather than the product. The success of brands such as Apple and Airbnb is a testament to this belief.
It’s similar to social media campaigns: set your mind on providing value for your users. Remembering the why behind the what will help you stay on the right path of your initial objectives. If your objective is to showcase your organization’s culture in order to build a relationship with your audience, then don’t go down the road of selling your product with the goal of increasing revenue.
Rather, your social media campaigns should serve as an inspiration to your audience in order to build the engagement. Campaigns such as #MotivationMonday, #GivingTuesday, Random Acts of Kindness Week, and Instagram takeover are some examples of campaigns that we’ve conducted which proved to be effective in providing value and building relationship with our audience.
5. Be authentic
Someone once said: Seek for inspiration, not imitation. We couldn’t agree more and we believe every brand is unique in their own way. While you can gain new campaign ideas from other brands, it’s important to determine if the ideas represent your organization’s value and culture.
If you are an eco-minded startup, it wouldn’t make sense to be imitating campaigns from fast-food restaurants. Your audience will remember your brand for who you are – your value, voice, tone, style, design, and more. When you stay authentic and be yourself as a brand, it also helps build its credibility.Be authentic - every brand is unique and your audience will remember your brand for who you are.Click To Tweet
We hope you’ll be able to put this set of tips into practice for your next social media campaign. Here’s a visual to summarize the whole idea!
We have previously experimented with social media campaigns solely to sell our product and while it might have been effective in driving sales, it doesn’t resonate with our mission.
Since then, we’ve changed our approach to building trust and relationships with our audience instead – and it’s paying off in higher numbers of social engagement and following among our community.
There are many ideas and approaches to social media campaigns, and we think that it’s all about finding what works best for your brand.
We hope this article gives you a different perspective of social media campaigns and helps you create effective campaigns in the future. If you have any other thoughts or tips related to social media, feel free to share them with us in the comment section below!