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In it to Like/Pin/Tweet it: How to run a social media campaign

In it to Like/Pin/Tweet it: How to run a social media campaign   Social media campaigns are proving to be valuable investments for many solid business strategies. So strong are these campaigns, many leading businesses are forgoing the traditional routes of product launches and concentrating solely on their social media efforts. From advocacy issues to event promotion, social media campaigns are the new norm.

How to run your social media campaign

Engaging consumers on your social media platforms is both energizing and vital to your social media strategy. A novel and powerful way to do this is through a campaign, which can come in many shapes and sizes, such as contests, chats or fundraisers. Though there is no one way to run a campaign, there are some general steps to take.

1) Identify what the campaign will accomplish

Just as you set objectives for your social media strategy, a social media campaign should also have an endgame in mind. This will help you to identify what format your campaign will be, what social media platforms will best support the campaign, and the resources you’ll need to put it on.

In a previous job, I ran a campaign for an environmental department supporting Earth Day. The main objectives were to increase participation in Earth Day-themed activities and gather images of employees participating in the activities. With these results in mind, I decided to run a Facebook campaign to encourage participation through a photo and trivia contest where participants were featured on the Facebook page and in the local newspaper’s online edition.

2) Know the rules

Each social media platform has its own sets of rules for running business campaigns. I was happy to learn that Facebook recently relaxed its standards on promotions. You need to abide by each platform’s regulations to ensure your account isn’t penalized.

Due to Facebook’s former rules that contests had to be ran through a third-party application, I decided to make the photo contest for the Earth Day campaign easier by having participants email their photos to me directly. I then made a photo album on the business page to display the photos.

3) Pick a memorable name for the campaign

Fans of your social media accounts should be able to distinguish between your regular posts and those for the campaign. By creating a specific and memorable name for the campaign (avoiding any awkward or offensive titles), your community knows the difference. By making the name of the campaign easy to remember and content easily shareable, your fans can also spread the word throughout their social networks.

To make sure Earth Day activities stayed top-of-mind for the audience, the environmental department  came up with the theme “Sustainment today to secure tomorrow.”  All the Earth Day-related social media posts then used the theme to identify posts for the campaign.

4) Set a start and end date

As with all campaigns, you should have a start and end date that you announce to your online community. By doing this, you not only can easily measure your results, but you also create a sense of urgency for your fans “to get it while it’s hot.” During the specified time period, you want to consistently share campaign content that keeps your audience engaged, and with the time period set, your fans will know that the posts won’t be dragged out.

The Earth Day photo and trivia contest was announced at the beginning of April, and it concluded the last week of the month. During that month, environmental facts were shared each day on the Facebook business page, fans were encouraged to share what they were doing to help conserve natural resources, photos from each event were shared, and other content was used to promote the activities.

5) Conclude with gratitude and information 

Once your campaign is over, thanking your fans for participation shows the value you place on your online community. After you’ve generated so much interest and excitement, don’t leave your audience hanging on a limb. Be sure to share your results and plans for follow-up campaigns.

At the end of April, articles with stats about how many acres of land were cleaned, how many trees were planted, how many volunteers there were, and other activity figures were shared on Facebook. An appreciation picnic was held for the volunteers, and photos were uploaded from the event. The campaign also brought in numerous user-generated photos that could be used in future Earth Day marketing materials, and this was also announced to the community in final thank you posts on Facebook.

Knowing how to run a social media campaign can bring new life to your online business strategy. Be creative, engage your community and have fun. What ideas do you have for a social media campaign?

photo credit: Jason A. Howie via photopin cc

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