Campaigning on Social Media

Every day, brands try to connect with consumers on their level. But nowadays the best way to connect with consumers is through social media. Whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, YouTube, Instagram, or Snapchat, brands are constantly making campaigns that surround social media. It does not matter where you reach them, but how you engage with them is the important part.

So why is social media taking over? According to Andrew Perrin, 65 percent of adults now use social networking sites. Michael Georgiou said, “Facebook has 1.35 billion monthly active users and Twitter has 284 million of them.” Social media continually grows in popularity because it’s user-friendly, free to use, and it’s an opportunity to meet new people. The influence that social media has on our lives has completely taken over, so it’s important that brands and companies take part of this if they want to engage with their customers successfully.

“65 percent of adults now use social networking sites”

I’m sure you’ve seen a ton of hashtags that brands have been using. Hashtags were created to organize the massive amount of content that goes through Twitter. Lately, hashtags have evolved into something much more than what it was created for. Hashtags have become a way for brands and people to create conversations, and most importantly to promote their products to massive amounts of new users. Such as #ShareACoke, #OreoHorrorStories or #NationalFriedChickenDay by KFC.

Juliet Carnoy wrote an article for the Entrepreneur and said, “Campaigns are the fastest way to increase engagement on social media.” She talked about the various reasons why brands decide to launch a campaign on social media, such as to build an online community, celebrate a company milestone, and launch a new product. “…They are ultimately looking to increase brand awareness, customer engagement and brand affinity,” said Carnoy.

“Increase brand awareness, customer engagement and brand affinity”

But what makes a social media campaign so successful? According to Georgiou, there are five things you need to do to make a campaign so successful. The first thing for any plan is to set strategic goals. Are you looking to boost brand awareness, sales, get more followers, or are you looking for more engagement with your followers?

After you have set your goals, you must implement strategies and tactics that support your goal. The example that Georgiou uses is if you wanted to increase your engagement with your audience, you could hold a photo contest and use a hashtag that represents your brand.

The third tip that he gives us promoting the social media campaign a ton. He says the effective marketing technique is building anticipation in your audience. Such as sending out email blasts to your followers, or making a countdown so they know when the campaign is being launched.

The fourth tip he gives is to encourage engagement. Georgiou says, “Social media works on dialog, not monologue.” A good way to do this is to offer something that will get your followers excited and make them want to talk about your campaign. Dominos Pizza in the UK wanted more people to use its hashtag — #letsdolunch — so Dominos offered cheaper pizza in return to anyone who tweeted using that hashtag.

The final tip he gives is analyze your metrics. The best way to understand if your campaign was successful was to evaluate it. He said, “Analytics on posts will reveal data about how many actions the post inspired and the number of times it was viewed, shared and liked. You then can compare this to your original goals.” Evaluating will help show you what you did good and not so good, you can take notes from your findings and use this new insight for your next campaign. The best part about launching a campaign over social media is it’s easier to see successful it really was.

You do not need to spend a lot of money for your campaign to be successful on social media. One of my favorite examples of this is the Obermutten Facebook campaign that was launched in 2011. Although it is an old campaign, it’s one that many digital marketers can learn from. Obermutten is based in the Graubünden area of Switzerland and had 78 residents living there at the time. There goal was attract more people to this town and they knew the best way was via Facebook. They made a Facebook page on this page they announced a motto: we take you seriously and want to be personal. They announced they would print out the picture of everyone that likes their page and put the picture on their village bulletin board.

Not only did they accomplish their goal by attracting more tourists, but also international media picked up the campaign. Obermutten became the most active Facebook page in Switzerland without having to pay that much. It cost the town 10,000 Swiss francs ($11,000 in US) and they earned around 2.4 million Swiss francs ($2.5 million in US).

“Four out of five fans interact with their Facebook page, which is better than Lady Gaga, Coca Cola and Justin Beiber.”

But not everyone is as lucky as the people in Obermutten. Scripted wrote an article analyzing good and bad campaigns and said, “According to USAToday, a whopping 61 percent of small business owners have invested in social media and are not seeing any type of return on the investment.” But it’s not just small businesses that have failed, big companies like McDonald’s dealt with this issue too.

McDonald’s thought it would be a good idea to run a Twitter campaign to encourage people to share “inspiring” stories about their experiences at this popular fast-food restaurant. Unfortunately for them, the hashtag #McDStories didn’t go the way they expected it to. “Instead, it seemed to bring out the worst in their customers, who chose to use the hash tag as a way of sounding off about everything from employee horror stories and type 2 diabetes to obesity and worse.” Not everyone can weep the benefits of social media, but that is why it is important to implement strategies and tactics that support your goal, not destroy it.

Social media can be a powerful tool for marketers and brands if it is used correctly. As more and more people are using social media, it is important for brands to tackle into the social media world if they want to engage with a bigger audience.