An ancient Chinese proverb advises ‘to know the road ahead, ask those coming back’. While it’s a safe assumption they weren’t talking with successful social media campaigns in mind, the sentiment remains.
For anyone wanting to develop their own campaign, analyzing and learning from what has worked before is an invaluable part of the preparation. Successful social media campaigns of course need imagination and originality in what the audience will see, but the philosophy behind the scenes contains some staples that have been proven to work time after time.
Plan your assault
Previous successful social media campaigns have all had one thing in common: a clearly defined goal. If you don’t know what you are trying to achieve, how will you know when you’ve achieved it?
Identifying your goals also helps you to tailor a campaign best suited to them; offering a free e-book download in exchange for an email will attract more subscribers if that is your goal, while spreading the word about a limited edition offer can increase sales, and a contest requiring the entrant to like, share, or use a particular hashtag can be great for raising your brand awareness.
Knowing your audience and the social media platform they tend to frequent is also essential.
Spread the word
If your social media campaign is to be successful, people are going to need to know about it. For those that already have a high number of loyal and enthusiastic followers, this is going to be far easier than for those just starting out.
If you are part of the latter group, there are still ways you can get your campaign in front of the eyes of people who may have never heard of your company before, and paid advertisements are an easy way to get your message out.
It is also a good idea to contact influencers in your field who may be willing to help you promote your campaign. If you can give them enough reason to share your campaign, it could be reaching thousands of their followers; thousands of people who listen to what this person has to say.
Ensuring that people are going to want to share your campaign is also vital, as is making it easy for them to do so. Incentives and prizes can help, but the most successful social media campaigns have always had more to them than that; they have gone viral due to people buying into the campaign itself, and whether the tone is fun or serious, generating an emotional attachment will always lead to a more successful campaign than any prize will.
Keep it simple
The vast majority of successful social media campaigns have been lessons in simplicity. If people are confused in any way by what you are asking of them, they will quickly move on to the next thing on their timeline. Simplicity comes in many forms, but the most important one here may be the action you are asking your audience to take. The easier it is for them to get involved, the more likely they are to do so.
Simplicity also extends to the design of your campaign. Keeping words and images consistent across the board will help people to recognize it, and if you’re offering a competition prize, making sure it is relevant to your campaign or your company will also help to keep the message clear.
Break new ground
The final thing we can learn from previous successful social media campaigns is that copying them will lead to failure. Nobody will buy into an identical campaign that is simply being rehashed by a different company to the original.
Everyone is looking for the freshest content online, and successful social media campaigns are often what they find. Learn the foundations from the masters, and use your own originality to make yours stand out from the crowd.