Social media channels today are a battleground for millions of brands to capture the attention of their audience in the blink of an eye as they're scrolling through their feed. Attention spans have only gotten shorter and our time has become more and more valuable. If your target audience is going to pay attention to your campaign, you have to make sure it's worth their time, and that you've thought through it enough to create a bigger impact than just brand visibility. You might have a new product that you're ready to promote and share on your socials. Unless you have a thoroughly planned out campaign, you're probably missing out on a great opportunity to create some noise for your brand that will not only create brand visibility but create conversation and generate conversions as well. Want to know how to get started on creating a captivating campaign? Get ready to jot down some notes and see how you can get your campaign on the right track.
When you're brainstorming on a campaign, it's important to understand right off the bat what your goals are. It's easy to say that you want to get brand visibility or get more followers, but to create a campaign that is going to have a robust strategy, it's important to have goals that can be measured. To get you started, here are a few questions that you should ask yourself when setting your goals:
Now that you've set your goals, it's crucial to understand who exactly your audience is. You probably know your audience from the top of your head, but for you and everyone on your team creating the campaign, it's important to create an audience profile, so you truly know and understand your audience. A lot of brand marketers miss the mark on this important step and go off what they think their audience is, thus creating a very disconnected message that does not resonate with them at all. (Think of all the brands that have used "yasss" and "bae" in their messaging and only sound like a parent who's trying to stay with the times to talk to their kids. Exactly.) When creating your audience's profile, it's important to really dive into doing the market research. See who they follow, what they listen to, what they dislike, what kinds of stores they shop at, what they do in their spare time, what kind of publications they read, etc. In today's digital age, doing this kind of research is readily accessible, so you can create an even more accurate target market profile. Create content that will not only resonate with them but that creates a dialogue to show that you truly understand and level with them. A great example that not only gained a lot of attention from their audience but also the media was Gucci's #TFWGucci Instagram meme campaign to help promote their new line of wrist watches. Had Gucci not done their research on the impact of memes in social media today and collaborated with top meme curators on Instagram and Twitter, their campaign would have been lack-luster and the message would have come off as very try-hard from the luxury brand. Many brands do this and fail at actually leveling with their audience in an effort to be #relatable, but the last thing anyone wants from a brand is to see a campaign that was probably made by an older relative that was trying to be cool to promote a product. Yikes.
No matter what type of campaign you're going to do, be it digital or traditional, it's important to understand where exactly you're going to send your message to your audience. This is why it's crucial for you to create an audience profile so that you not only understand who they are and their behaviors, but know exactly where you can deliver a resonating message to them. A lot of brands make the mistake of exhausting their marketing efforts on various platforms and mediums to get as much attention as possible. However, if you think of how brands like Glossier were able to grow from the ground up, Emily Weiss knew precisely where her audience was and how to talk to them. It was only until the brand was able to hold itself strong via social media and word of mouth, that they began integrating traditional outdoor marketing into their strategy. By placing outdoor adverts in select markets like Los Angeles and New York where the traditional "Glossier girl" is not only helped them reach new audiences but gave their already established audiences a quick reminder to keep up with the Glossier lifestyle and maybe restock on a little bit of Boy Brow.
Not only is it critical to know your audience like the back of your hand, but you should also know your competition and always try to be ten steps ahead of them. Social media has made marketing 10x more competitive than it ever was, but it also allows you to be more creative with a smaller advertising spend than you would on traditional media outlets like TV and ad spreads. Marketing 101 always tells you to do a SWOT analysis when evaluating a brand, so it's helpful to do this not only for your brand but for your competitors as well. Break down all the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats your brand and their brand may face and create a campaign that has a gameplan with a defense that is always a step ahead of your competitor.
Now that you know your audience, your goals, and your competition, it's time to put all those elements into consideration when creating your campaign concept. It's important to understand that with the power of social media, you don't have to feel boxed in to do a 30-second commercial that will roll before a YouTube video, but you can think outside of the box and create an online campaign with some of your audience's favorite influencers. Whether it be a social campaign that truly integrates them into the campaign and allows them to create their own user-generated content or even a campaign that merges offline and online like Outdoor Voices' AR shopping experience launched earlier this year. Whatever route you choose, make sure your campaign breaks through the noise of social media and creates some type of conversation or positive reaction from your audience. Above all, what do you want them to walk away with after seeing your campaign? Make sure that your campaign, no matter how outside of the box and creative it is, always circles back to your main goal and levels with your audience rather than talking down to them to sell something.
You're almost close to launching your campaign, but a vital element of a captivating campaign also comes down to the perfect timing, and how long it's going to last. Is it a month-long campaign, or a campaign that's going to take over an entire season? Not only that, what is the schedule that you're building to lay out all your content on your social media channels? One good example of a campaign that focuses on timing is Birchbox's annual Holiday campaign "12 Days of Prizes and Surprises", which partners with not only with brands but also influencers to roll out 12 prizes every day from December 1st-12th. It's important to plan all of the content you'll be rolling out ahead of time, as well as all your partners, so that everyone is on the same page for when and where they need to post. Scheduling on tools like PLANOLY makes it even more seamless so that way you can focus more on engaging with your targeted audience to further bolster your campaign.
When your campaign wraps up, it's important to grade its performance based on the goals that you set for your brand from point #1. Not only is it crucial for you to see how you can improve your strategy for any future activations, but it will also help you understand your audience even better to debunk any theories about how they respond to certain campaigns and strategies. Think of every campaign as a research opportunity for you create a case study to help improve campaigns in the future.
-- By following the right guidelines and truly investing your time in researching your audience, your investment in promoting will not only be successful but also bring you a return on your investment. Now put your plan into action and create an unforgettable campaign!