By Adam Wakefield 

What is a social media campaign?

Alson Bhebe, managing director of marketing company Alef Innovations, describes a social media campaign as a marketing strategy where the marketer engages with their target audience in real time and move the campaign beyond the target audience through viral interaction.

Anschone Claassen, a social media specialist at 2 Clicks Social Media Marketing, offers an alternative way to understanding it.

“A website (which by the way is your first social media strategy) is like buying a house in Johannesburg. This house is beautiful and looks amazing, has great functionality and has everything that opens and closes but nobody knows about it,” she says.

“There is no traffic going past it and no visitors. It takes the Internet (through crawlers and bots) about six months to discover your website. By using social media marketing campaigns, you not only send the traffic to your ‘home’, you also get the internet bots and crawlers to get there faster, increasing your presence and reaching your target market much quicker.”

Separating the wheat from the chaff

When it comes to executing a social media campaign, Bhebe breaks it down into a three-step process, beginning with pre-campaign planning.

“Identify your needs and plan how you are going to achieve them – your aims and objectives. You need to see which platform will best suit your campaign.” Additionally, the campaign needs to be designed for the targeted audience.

The next step is execution, going live, tailoring your approach to give your targeted audience the chance to see and interact with the campaign. This is followed by what Bhebe refers to as the “most delicate stage”, reviewing the campaign, engaging with the audience depending on the responses they give.

Sonny Ganguly, chief marketing officer for online wedding marketplace WeddingWire and a columnist for website, listed four components of the best social media campaigns in a recent post. 

These were:

1. A carefully developed plan that is both campaign specific but also fits into your business’ overall social media strategy.

2. Clearly defined goals, which makes it easier to analyse and measure your results

3. Cross-channel promotion, where the efforts made on social media are support by other channels.

4. Thorough analysis, which is linked to the defined goals your campaign earlier set. If you identified the key metrics associated with your goals ahead of time, it’s easy to benchmark your progress against your initial starting point. 

Claassen, like Bhebe, notes the importance of researching your target audience so you know who they are and how best to reach them. She also touches on another important factor: quality content.

“Creating great content is the key to all successful campaigns. Great content builds brands, increases conversion rates and drives quality leads and improves search engine optimisation.  You have 758x more chances of closing an inbound lead (client that came from your content) than any other marketing medium."

Rising above the competition

Claasen, when asked about what makes for an effective social media campaign, stresses the need for consistency.

“Consistency is key. It's no use going through all the hard work of setting up a campaign with great content and not following through. Posting once every two weeks or once a month will not get you through the noise. Emailing once a month will get lost in all the other day-to-day business,” she says.

Other important factors to consider are using headlines that attract and reach the audience on an emotional level, staying relevant to your business, being visible on multiple platforms related to your target audience, and always focusing on helping others first and then promoting your product.

Bhebe says an effective social media campaign comes down to the ability to meet one’s goals, the amount of engagement generated such as likes and comments, and lastly, return of investment. 

“When we add up our tangible and intangible input to a campaign, the return must outweigh our input for us to conclude that it was successful,” he says.

Do you work with or run social media campaigns? Let us know in the comments below.