Learn the tools and technologies needed to meet the challenges of tomorrow with a Professional Diploma in Social Media Marketing. Download a brochure today!
Deciding to embark on a social media marketing campaign can be equal parts thrilling and daunting. Steering an audience to focus on a particular idea and engaging with followers is an exciting concept.
But before you send out your first tweet or publish your first Facebook post, you need to come up with an idea that will resonate with consumers. It's the starting point to planning any social media campaign.
Coming up with creative ideas on the spot isn't easy. There might be times when your brain is firing on all cylinders, but others days it can feel like the well has run dry. What you need is to create a process to help you deliver quality work consistently.
In this article, we've come up with some tips to help you come up with data-backed social media campaign ideas.
Start With the Big Idea Behind Your Campaign
A good social media campaign will attempt to drive meaningful change. It should encourage followers to step up and take action.
When we talk about “big ideas” we're talking big picture stuff designed to leave an impression and motivate your audience. The concept doesn't necessarily have to be anything extravagant or ambitious. It just needs to be memorable and focused on a clear message that will get people moving toward a desired goal.
These types of ideas can't just be picked out of the air. They require a lot of mental labor and thorough research before they can be considered viable for a campaign. The end result should be an idea that accomplishes the following:
- It hits on something your target audience finds interesting
- Can be linked back to your brand, products or services
- Drives the desired change in your favor
Coming up with such a concept is no small feat. But we're here to help you get the ball rolling.
Perform Strong Audience Research
Before going any further, you have to know who you're shouting from the top of the hills to down below. Knowing your own audience is key to getting the message across. There are several ways to do this:
Facebook's Built-In Analytics
The world's largest social media platform gives users access to a powerful analytics tool. Go to your page and click on Insights and then People in the navigation bar. Facebook will provide you with aggregated data about people connected to your page.
You get demographic breakdowns, including location, age, gender, education level, relationship status and more. There's also information about people's hobbies, interests, and lifestyle.
Analyze Twitter Following
Software tools are available to help you analyze your followers on Twitter. They can give you demographic data, which includes location, age, gender and languages spoken, along with the hours they're most active on the platform.
All of this information gives you a better picture of your audience and when best to hit them with your campaign's content.
Sometimes the best way to find out what makes followers tick is just to ask them. Several different social networks have a polling feature, which you should take advantage of. They're a quick and easy way to get feedback.
Just think of a few topics that might interest your followers and craft a question asking which one they find most interesting. Yes, it really can be that simple.
Conduct a Survey
This type of action can help with your marketing strategy, both on and off social media. There are a number of survey platforms to choose from, such as Polldaddy and SurveyMonkey that will make answering questions fast and easy for followers. The key is writing good questions focused on figuring out what your followers want.
Some great questions might be asking about their general interests and which products they enjoy using. You should also ask them about the challenges they face and the types of solutions they desire.
Consider Creating Personas
Creating a persona basically means coming up with a fictional character description to fit your target audience. This can be a great method for visualizing and understanding a target audience. In a social media context, it can be extremely helpful. See this example as reference.
Do Competitive Research
Know your enemy — thankfully the public nature of social media networks makes competitive research pretty easy. Monitoring the accounts of your competitors can tell you a lot about them and any successful strategies they may be employing.
You should take notes regarding their creative messaging, visual style and engagement with their followers. Try to parse between what they do that works and what doesn't.
Survey the Playing Field for Your Industry
It pays to stay on top of the latest discussions on social media regarding your industry. Here are a few simple ways to keep your ear to the ground.
Read Industry News
If you aren't already, you should be following news sources, such as magazines, websites, and blogs, related to your industry. It's the best way to stay current about hot topics and breakthroughs. Anything newsworthy to your audience should be of interest to you.
Follow Thought Leaders
Find out which players in your industry have the most pull on social media. These people often have their content shared the most, so figuring out who they are should be easy. Give them a follow and keep tabs on them. More often than not they're the ones driving discussion among your target audience.
Keep Track of Keywords
Keep track of certain topics and keywords on social media. They can give you a heads up on where certain discussions are trending.
Brainstorm Creative Ideas
It's finally time to start putting things down on paper, even if they're not your final ideas yet. Brainstorming is a collaborative effort; even if you work alone, there are ways of pulling ideas from outside sources. Here are some tips.
Find Crossovers Between Your Brand and Audience's Interests
After reading the demographic data available about your social media followers and combing over the responses they provided to polls and surveys, you will likely find they have diverse interests.
The common thread is the connection to your brand, so finding areas where your brand and their interests overlap is a good base for coming up with ideas. Don't forget your campaign messaging must be targeted at the intersection of what the audience is interested in and your brand's proposed value.
Here's how you can apply this principle toward creating a social media campaign. Start by identifying an interest common among your followers. This is where your trawling on social media and survey data comes into play.
Next, think about how that interest might overlap with your product or service. Do your customers use your product or service in conjunction with a different type of product or service? If the answer to this question is yes, you have a few options. You could reach out to the other brand and pitch a collaborate effort on a campaign.
If you have the capacity, you could also have a campaign built around a giveaway of the same type of product or service. The point is you must create a campaign that leverages interest in said product or service to raise your own brand awareness.
Develop a Brainstorming Process
There needs to be a method to the madness. Have some guidelines when it comes to brainstorming sessions so you and your team can stay on track and have something to show for it when it's all said and done.
Here's an example of an easy 30-minute brainstorming session:
- Spend the first 10 minutes silently brainstorming, writing down every idea you can think of and only basic information
- The next 10 minutes can be spent sharing your ideas and getting rid of the duds.
- The final 10 minutes can be devoted to focusing on the real winners and sharpening them
In the end, you might have several awesome ideas ready to take shape.
Break Out the Whiteboard
If you're more of a visual thinker, laying out ideas on a whiteboard can be most helpful. Write down thoughts and ideas related to your campaign along with sketches of what you think the visual design might be. Take a step back and see what everything could look like.
This can be a relieving and fulfilling process, especially if you spend most of your day in front of a computer like many people. A whiteboard can get you away from staring at your monitor and get you to move around while you think. It forces you to actually be creative rather than sit around waiting for an idea to pop in your head.
Time to Get Started
It's hard sometimes to come up with creative ideas on a deadline, which is why it can help a great deal to come up with a routine or protocol designed to help you think of something, anything, once it's all said and done.
Providing structure to your creative process will help you consistently pump out ideas, which will make everybody happy at the end of the day.