I recently gave a lecture to under-grad students at Christ University. Below is a snapshot of the guest lecture session.
What typically goes into planning a social media campaign.
Concept >> Connect >> Content >> Communicate
The first step to structure your campaign is to have a detailed concept. You campaign concept will include two major actions:
Idea is the first step towards structuring your campaign. You need to detail all the parameters of the specific product, service and / or brand entity you are trying to promote through the campaign, make sure you have all the information about it in hand before stepping forward.
Conceptualize or visualize the parameters and elements that surround the product, service and / or brand entity in focus.
Understand the brand identity that needs to be represented through your campaign. Make sure to have product / service brief, brand identity guidelines, brand image study, brand history and communication brief in place
Set the objective for the campaign. What is the intention of your campaign and what are you trying to achieve from it? Once you are clear on this, most of the campaign plan is set for you with clarity on further steps to make it better.
Identify the connect elements carefully. The elements are the ones which make your campaign viral to have the best possible results:
Target segmentation: Have a selected audience segment based on your campaign objective. Identify the segment demography in terms on age, gender, interests and preferences, geography and their online behavior. It is always a good practice to have a wider audience than restrict to specific interest group if you intend to have higher conversions.
Understand the existing audience base and strategize to expand the base using the current followers as champions. The key is to establish a reconnect with your current followers so that they engage in your campaign which then triggers the ripple effect towards their friends who happen to see the update.
Understand all the brand elements that are to be communicated or used to draft the essentials of the campaign. Details as simple as the colors and fonts to be used matter the most since each of these represent the brand itself and your audience observe all of it.
Social Media Influencers and Celebrity Associations play an equally important role to design your campaign. Do not neglect this aspect since these partnerships determine how your campaign would perform. Selecting the right influencers, and using them to communicate the right message at the right time in the right format becomes highly important.
Once you have a set objective and have clarity on the audience profile to target through the campaign, spend time to strategize your campaign content.
Creative and innovative content
Creative content makes or break a campaign altogether. It is very important to stand out among your competition and ensure you get the maximum eyeballs if you want your campaign to be viral.
Concept association is highly valuable. Creating unique and interesting yet fitting content is the most important step in your campaign. Content will make no sense no matter how interesting and unique it is if it not related to your brand and the campaign objective.
Representation of the content
Right messaging is essential since that is where you hit the right audience and establish the needed connect required to make the campaign a success. Your content needs to include all the necessary elements of the brand and concept / campaign objective to make an effective representation which will appeal for desired results.
Right Format of the content needs time and proper planning. Depending on the objective of your campaign, spend enough time to visualize all the elements included in the content plan and accordingly decide what format of representation would be ideal for the same be it text, visuals, videos, audio, still images, animations or a combination of two or more of these. Take proper measures to experiment with the right mix to bring out the objective of the campaign in the right way to get maximum attention to the campaign.
This being the final step before your campaign goes live, is of utmost importance since after this you will not have a window to undo what’s live already.
Select your social media platforms based on thorough research and analysis of the end target segment online behavior along with your campaign objectives and communication plan. Your content could be different for different platforms. You might want to make a short video for your Youtube channel while the same could be shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – even LinkedIn. Or chose to make image posts for all social channels and keep the video for Youtube only. Make proper analysis on what you intend to communicate and which form of content representation would make the sense to the campaign on each and every platform. Treat each platform individually with equal importance.
Allocate budgets to each platform based on detailed analysis what would be the conversion parameters based on historic data. If there is no historic data, collect information from various 3rd party online resources (there are plenty available). Information such as cost per click, cost per app download, cost per impression, cost per engagement etc., will help you understand what budgets need to be allocated for each of the platforms of your choice.
Hit the ‘go live’ button and once your campaign is out there, ensure you constantly monitor the campaign. Continuous analysis is required especially since your campaign will need small tweaks, adjustments, edits and changes in certain places during the ongoing process to ensure it is driving the desired results.
Once your campaign ends, always make it a practice to collate the reports. This becomes your data for your future campaigns. It provides you data and learning to make your future campaigns better.