This is a guide on how to setup a viral social media marketing campaign for small and medium sized businesses.
Social Media Marketing is a relentless affair.
If you’re a business owner or a marketer, then you likely have already learned this.
First, you have to attract the attention of your audience. Then you have to maintain it, all the while making sure that you aren’t being outmaneuvered by competitors who’d like a piece of your audience’s attention, and then… their money.
One way to make sure that your business stays front and center in the mind of your audience is by running social media marketing campaigns. This is defined by HubSpot as, “a business’s coordinated marketing effort to reinforce information about a brand, product or service using at least one social media platform.” This can be better explained using the Coca-Cola ‘#ShareaCoke’ campaign as an example.
In 2014, Coca-Cola in the United States wanted to increase its sales and its engagement with its audience, specifically the younger generations. So they brought in what had by that time become a global campaign that started 4 years earlier in Australia.
First, they offered customization of their Coke cans and bottles. Next, they encouraged people to share posts of virtual bottles with the hashtag ‘Share a Coke’. It was a massive success.
On Twitter and Instagram, the hashtag was used 89,000 and 496,000 times respectively. Other social media platforms showed similar amounts of traffic. The consequence of the campaign was an increase in sales volume, revenue, and share price. This is the sort of thing you can expect if you run a good campaign.
Now you know what a Social Media Marketing Campaign is, and you know what it looks like. The only thing left is to know how to go about it.
That’s what this article is here to tell you, you just have to keep reading.
1: Start with your goals in mind
A campaign requires time, effort, and energy. If you choose to invest all of that, then it’s likely because of an expected reward at the end. You might want to:
- Improve your Brand Awareness
- Build a stronger connection with your audience.
- Increase the traffic going to your website
- Increase Sales
- Establish yourself as a thought leader
Whatever it is that you want to achieve, you must make sure that your expectations are clearly defined. Both to you and your team.
A good way to do this is by ensuring that your goals are SMART. This means they are:
Once you use these dimensions to structure your goals, then you have something practical to work towards.
2: Use your environment to create your message.
After deciding what you want to achieve from your campaign, you still have to come up with messages that will resonate with your audience. You can get your creative juices flowing by taking advantage of the resources in your immediate environment, specifically, your past campaigns, and the activities of your competition.
a. Your Past Campaigns
These are a potential treasure trove for you. Because within those campaigns of times past, lies insight into the behavior of your audience. Here you can discover what they have responded well to in the past, as well as the things that they didn’t take kindly to.
All of that information is useful to you. And with it, you just might be able to develop a message that is new and fresh.
b. Your Competitor’s activities
Like we’ve established previously, your competitors are working hard on campaigns of their own to increase their market share. Analyzing their performance can provide insight into current trends, which will be helpful for you when you make your own messaging decisions.
3. Make a Posting Plan
Once you have established what your goal is, and you’ve pinned down your message, you need to decide how you will express your message as content. Then, you need to figure out how to distribute your content in such a way that it produces the results that you are aiming towards. To do this, you should create the following:
a. Buyer Persona
This is a detailed description of your ideal customer. Having this persona makes it easier to identify and understand your customer.
To make it useful, it should include qualifiers like gender, age, income, location, pain points, hobbies, and favorite social media platforms. This information can be obtained through analytical tools like Google Analytics.
b. Relevant social media platforms for your campaign
Once you’ve figured out the identity of your buyer, then it’s time to streamline your marketing to the platforms where they will be relevant. For example, if you’re advertising a product that is aimed at younger men in the 18 to 30 age range, then advertising on Pinterest would be wasted on them.
c. A list of effective content types per social media platform
The question of what best resonates with the platform user is what is raised at this point. On Facebook and Instagram, it would likely be pictures and videos. On Twitter, it may be short and pithy. The point is to discover the type of content that works best per platform, and then to express your message in that format.
d. A Content Calendar:
This is exactly what it sounds like, it’s a calendar upon which you schedule the content that you intend to publish over any given period. Once you’ve sorted out the specifics of where and what to post, you have to determine when. A content calendar comes in handy here because it gives you a visual depiction of your campaign, and it makes it such that everyone on your team knows the direction that your campaign is going. It’s important to figure out not only what days you intend to post, but at what times as well.
Once you’ve sorted out all the things listed above, then you’re ready to start posting your content.
4: Keep your audience engaged.
Awareness is not enough.
Once you’ve kick-started your campaign, your goal should be to make sure that it makes a lasting impression on the consciousness of your audience.
The nature of social media is that there is loads of content competing for attention. Amidst all of that, you have to make sure that your audience remembers you.
You can use either of the following ways to make sure of it:
a. Replying to comments:
When people engage with your content online, reward it. Replying to people’s comments makes the interactions personal. This makes a deeper impression in people’s minds than posts on the timeline.
An added benefit is that it makes an impression on others who see the interaction as well. And depending on how helpful you are, you just might make an ambassador for your brand.
b. Updating your audience:
People invest in narratives, make sure they have one to follow. Whatever your campaign is, be it a product launch, or a giveaway, provide your audience with a storyline of the events surrounding it. You could show pictures from behind the scenes of your launch, or pictures and testimonies from winners from your giveaway.
What’s important is that the campaign is reinforced in the mind of your audience by adding the context that narratives provide.
5. Analyze your performance.
It’s important that you know how well your content is doing on the platforms that you have chosen.
You can get all this data by using tools like Google Analytics or Hubspot’s Metric Tracking tool. Once you have the data, it’s up to you to interpret it and see what adjustments you can make, so you get the maximum returns on your investment.
Check for the number of followers you’re gaining, check for the type of content that people are responding most positively towards. Check for engagement with your posts in the morning, afternoon, and evening. All of this information will be useful for optimizing your campaign, and for providing insight against the next one.
1. Use scheduling software to automate your posting:
You already have a lot to think about in terms of content creation and planning. Use tools like Hootsuite, Crowdfire, and CoSchedule to relieve some of the pressure by posting automatically.
2. Use Hashtags:
The Coca-Cola campaign we looked at earlier used #ShareaCoke, another example is a hashtag used by Snickers called #EatASnickers. Hashtags make it so that all the engagement can be easily found on social media platforms. You have to make sure that they are concise though, hashtags shouldn’t be used to tell a story.
You now have the knowledge necessary to design a successful social media marketing campaign. Don’t be overwhelmed if it feels like a lot. Breaking down what you want to accomplish simplifies the process, making your job 70% easier.
To create a social media campaign for a specific platform, take a read through our guides:
- Instagram Marketing Ultimate Guide (With examples!)
- Facebook Marketing Guide: The Ultimate Guide for Brands
- LinkedIn Ultimate Marketing Guide for Businesses.
- A Beginner’s Guide to Twitter Marketing
- TikTok Marketing Ultimate Guide: How to Leverage TikTok positively for your brand.
If you’re consistent with following through these full-proof strategies listed in the guides, you’ll definitely create a brilliant campaign.