Planning a big campaign for your clients or your own brand? Make sure you’ve checked off all the boxes for a successful social media campaign. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you stay focused (and not skip anything important).

You have been using social media to publish content and engage with customers. Maybe you rely on Facebook for blog promotion, Twitter for customer service, or Instagram for shopping features.

But do you know how to run a social media marketing campaign? More importantly, a successful one for your brand or your clients?

What Is a Social Media Marketing Campaign?

A social media marketing campaign is a series of efforts designed around a specific marketing goal.

Any effective campaign has a clear objective, follows a time frame, and involves one or more social media platforms. So how can you develop a winning campaign for your brand?

Find out how to create a successful social media campaign in six steps:

  1. Decide on Goals
  2. Do Your Research
  3. Set Up a Campaign Calendar
  4. Develop Copy and Creatives
  5. Implement and Monitor
  6. Evaluate and Optimize

1. Decide on Goals

The first action a marketing team should take when initiating a campaign is setting SMART goals. What exactly do you want to achieve?

Start with common campaign objectives like:

  • Improving brand awareness
  • Encouraging new signups
  • Driving traffic to your website
  • Getting customers to visit your store
  • Selling a new product line

Be specific

Then make your objective is as specific as possible. To get more precise, review the who, what, where, and why with your team.

For example, you may want to sell out your new product line on your e-commerce store so you can use the data to guide next quarter’s production.

Pick measurable objectives

Next, make sure your goal is quantifiable, so you’ll know when you’ve reached it successfully. Think about how you can measure your progress in a way that matters to your team.

For example, you might aim to sell 100% of your stock or generate $20,000 in revenue.

Aim for achievable goals

There’s nothing wrong with setting the bar high for your campaign. But it’s important to set a realistic goal that you have a chance of achieving, or else your team may not take the campaign seriously.

For example, if you have a small campaign budget, it may be more realistic to aim to sell 75% of your stock.

Strive for relevance

Give your goal context by framing it within larger marketing goals.

Ask your team if now is the right time for the campaign and if it fits with other marketing efforts.

If you have higher priorities or if next year would be a better time, consider rescheduling your campaign.

Be timely

Every SMART goal needs a time frame so you can stay on track as you work toward a deadline. Think about the final date to meet your goal as well as the milestone dates along the way.

For example, you may plan to meet your goal within 30 days or by the end of the quarter.

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2. Do Your Research

Once you’ve set goals, you’ll have a framework for your campaign. Before you start planning content or scheduling photoshoots, research your audience and your channels.

Identify your audience

Your social media campaigns shouldn’t target just anybody. Instead, you have to know who to target, especially when you want to get the highest possible return on investment (ROI) from your campaign.

To understand your audience, create a buyer persona with details like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Education level
  • Marital status
  • Goals
  • Challenges
  • Related interests

how to create a social media campaign - audience research

Choose the right social media channels

In some cases, you might run a social campaign on one channel.

Others may call for two or more channels.

To decide which social media platforms to include in your campaign, consider aspects like:

  • Which channels does your target audience use?
  • What platforms typically generate the most engagement or traffic for your brand?
  • Will you take a paid or organic approach?
  • Which social media sites can give you the best ROI?

3. Set Up a Campaign Calendar

After making preliminary decisions about campaign goals, target audience, and social channels, draft a content calendar for your campaign. Mark the start and end of the campaign, and fill in the intervening dates with content ideas.

how to create a social media campaign - campaign calendar

Rather than creating the social media posts, focus on plotting the type of content you plan to publish.

For example, your calendar might include blog posts, sales pages, testimonials, user-generated content (UGC), and other relevant categories.

Although your campaign calendar should stay separate from your brand’s social media calendar, the two should coexist effectively. After all, you’ll want to make sure you don’t publish campaign posts and evergreen posts at the same time or otherwise overwhelm your audience.

4. Develop Copy and Creatives

Once you’ve outlined the type of content you need for a campaign, how to create a social media campaign becomes easier.

At this stage of social media campaign planning, you may need to involve copywriters, designers, or other creative team members.

Design creatives

To decide what kind of creatives to include in your campaign, reflect on your goals, your audience, and your brand. Depending on your social media marketing campaign ideas, you may need to:

Write copy

Next, write the captions for every post in the campaign.

As you develop the copy, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Use your brand voice. Whether your campaign targets new or existing customers, write each post in your brand voice. Using a distinctive voice helps social media users self-identify as your target audience and lets you connect with customers on a deeper level.
  • Listen to your audience. If you aren’t sure what to write, read what your audience says. Check customer reviews to find the language your audience uses to talk about their problems. Create social media surveys to get your followers’ take.
  • Add variety. Just because your campaign has one main goal doesn’t mean your social media posts should all repeat the same message. Come up with different ways to share your message and get customers to think about your brand.
  • End with a call-to-action (CTA). When writing CTAs, think about smaller steps your audience may need to take before the final conversion. For example, your customers may need to watch a video or read product specs before buying.

Download this free social media calendar packed with ideas and examples!

5. Implement and Monitor

As the start date approaches, get ready to launch your social media campaign. At this stage, your team should be finished with planning and prepared to focus on execution.

Here’s how to run a social media campaign …

Schedule and post content

In most cases, you can schedule campaign content in advance.

Use a social media scheduling tool to upload images, videos, and copy. Reference your campaign calendar to make sure you schedule each post at the optimal time.

how to create a social media campaign - schedule content

If your campaign includes live video or other time-sensitive content, make sure the right team members know when and how to publish.

Consider setting up live events on relevant social media platforms so your target audience can sign up for alerts.

how to create a social media campaign - schedule live video

Engage with your audience

Whether you schedule content in advance or publish it at the moment, set aside time to engage with your audience.

Be prepared to respond to comments, answer questions, and remove spam. To handle engagement in a timely manner, set up saved replies that you can use to provide standard responses in seconds.

how to create a social media campaign - saved replies

To make sure you don’t miss a single comment or question, assign items to team members. Automate these assignments in advance so you can feel confident that the right person will respond to important mentions.

how to create a social media campaign - assign tasks to team members

6. Evaluate and Optimize

As your campaign runs its course, take steps to make sure it reaches the goals you set.

Plan to start evaluating your results shortly after the campaign kicks off, and continue optimizing your efforts until the end.

Review metrics periodically

Don’t wait until the end of the social media campaign to check your social media metrics. Instead, check them periodically throughout the campaign.

Depending on the scale of the campaign, you may need to review social media reports multiple times a day or just a few times a week.

how to create a social media campaign - reports

Avoid wasting time on irrelevant metrics and focus on the ones that matter for your campaign. For example, if your goal is selling products, you may need to review the click-through rate (CTR), the number of “adds to cart,” and the total purchase amount.

Troubleshoot as necessary

As you review the metrics, identify areas where your social media campaign is underperforming. Ask questions like:

  • Did we target the right audience?
  • Do our social media posts include effective CTAs?
  • Did we schedule posts at optimal times?
  • Do the customer comments suggest any areas where we can improve?

Then use your findings to troubleshoot problems and optimize your campaign. Change the schedule, edit the copy, adjust the audience targeting, or make any other necessary adjustments.

Discuss and debrief

When the campaign ends, review the final results with your team at your social media agency.

Identify areas where you succeeded and aspects that didn’t work as planned. Share lessons you’ve learned so your team can make the next social campaign even better.

In Conclusion

An effective social campaign goes way beyond routine posting, monitoring, and listening. With these five essential steps, the team at your social media agency can develop successful social marketing campaigns that accomplish ambitious goals and take your brand to new heights.

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Your Must-Have Guide to Creating a Winning Social Media Campaign