So, do you have an idea brewing for a social media campaign? If this is one of your first campaigns or you’re in the beginning stages of your campaign set-up, it can all seem a little daunting!
Where do you start? What did you forget? Where should your focus be? Regardless of the type of campaign, each one requires careful planning and finesse. It’s a representation of your brand, ultimately formed to accomplish some sort of goal.
We developed a free Social Media Campaign Template (also known as the Checklist) to make campaign planning more painless and, moreover, to help you ensure that you’re covering all your bases!
So, what’s the most important part of building a social media campaign?
Planning. Hands down.
Not just planning prior to the campaign, but planning that will be consistently molded throughout the campaign and even when it’s finished.
Campaign planning is not always an easy task! It’s not only strategic in nature but is also largely creative in forming ideas and building content. There are moving parts to each campaign such as team members, timelines, guidelines and branding elements - each serving as an element to support or obstruct your campaign.
Get serious about your campaign planning by putting pen to paper, so to speak, towards the preparation, execution, and assessment of each campaign. Ask intentional and productive questions that will lead to a sharper vision and more positive results!
Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation. - Robert H. Schuller
Is campaign planning any different now because of COVID-19?
The pandemic has had a massive impact all around the world, and while it has changed the way businesses and people operate, the core principles of a brilliant social media presence are still the same.
Helpfulness and authenticity are what matters in this climate. You need to strike a delicate balance of providing useful and entertaining content without copying what everyone else is doing.
Above all, we recommend creating content that's relevant - always consider the person who will be engaging with your social media posts. Focus on brightening their day and not letting their time go to waste.
And while we created our template before the pandemic, you can still follow our guide and adjust it as you see fit. For example, you may want to spend less time on prepping and run a couple of experiments instead.
Read on to see the highlights or download your free Social Media Campaign Template for the full checklist.
#1 Preparing your social media campaign
With proper planning, you’re saving yourself time in the long-run and setting up your entire campaign to be more successful. This section of our template is an outline of the specific elements that will shape your vision, such as:
- Identifying a primary goal,
- Determining your core audience, and
- Dishing out responsibilities within your team.
Plan your work and work your plan. - Napoleon Hill
Some key questions from the ‘Planning’ section of our template include:
What is your campaign about?
This is where your creativity begins to unfold! The very inception of the idea that has sparked your entire campaign. You might already have one, or it might be time to brainstorm.
When brainstorming a campaign idea, it can be helpful to ask yourself a few leading questions, like:
- Do we have any news or information to provide our fan base?
- What do our fans want from us?
- What kind of message do we want to put out into the world?
Hopefully, from there, you get an inkling of the theme behind your campaign, whether it’s celebrating a new trend, promoting a recent product or building a deeper connection with your audience.
What is your primary goal?
Behind every idea should be a central goal. Setting a strong goal gives you a clear direction to work towards, which should, in turn, make the rest of the content creation process much easier.
Here are some examples of what your campaign goal could be:
- Gain [x amount] followers on [social media platform name]
- Sell [x amount] of [product name]
- Drive [x amount] of new leads
- Get [x amount] of signups/attendance for an event
What campaigns inspire you?
Finding inspiration in campaigns from brands you admire can spark a whole new world of possibilities for your budding campaign! Take some time to comb through campaigns from large and small brands alike, focusing on channels that you’re considering. If you plan to focus on video, search for video campaigns, and if you’re focusing on influencers, look for brands that have mastered influencer campaigns.
#2 Execute the social media campaign
Once your plan is in place, it’s time to bring your campaign into the light of day. The execution stage is where the magic happens, and where your hard work comes to fruition.
Execution is a specific set of behaviors and techniques that companies need to master in order to have a competitive advantage. It’s a discipline of its own. —Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy, Execution
Here are some key checklist items for you to consider from the ‘Execution’ section:
Create an editorial calendar
Yet another brilliant organizational tool … the editorial calendar! An editorial calendar, simply stated, provides an at-a-glance look at what content is scheduled to go live on which days. If your team is on the larger side, an editorial calendar will give everyone the much-needed visibility in what other team members have created. Even if you’re working solo or in a tiny team, you’ll benefit from being able to catch any content gaps or overlap.
If you don't already have a social media calendar, you’re not already using an editorial calendar, this is a great opportunity to integrate it into your everyday content strategy!
There are a handful of ways you can manage your editorial calendar, from the old-fashioned way of putting pen to paper, to using an online productivity tool such as Asana. If you’re not going solo for your campaign, I’d suggest the digital option.
Develop and schedule content
The bulk of your work is going to come in at this point … but it’s the fun kind of work. Here’s what we’re talking about:
- Determining campaign slogans and other copywriting
- Selecting colors (if different than brand colors)
- Images and design elements
- Designing ads and banners
- Writing blogs, articles and post copy
- Creating videos
Don’t worry if you get stuck on creating content, we’ve all been there! There is a process you can follow to create content ideas -- check it out for your next brainstorming session.
#3 Assess the results of your social media campaign
You’re not done when the curtain closes on your campaign! Perhaps the second most important part of any campaign is analyzing your results and making changes for next time. You should assess how your campaign is going while it’s still happening, but carve out an adequate amount of time after the end of every campaign to analyze the full scope of results.
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” —Sir Winston Churchill
Here's what I recommend ticking off from the checklist items in the ‘Assessment’ section:
Did you meet your goals?
Because your campaign should always have a measurable goal, you should be able to easily answer this question. Compiling the proper information to determine if you met, exceeded or fell short of your goal is a key part of making each campaign stronger and stronger! There is always room to grow.
What could you change for the next campaign?
Speaking of growth, now’s the time to jot down some things that might not have gone the way you planned throughout your campaign. Perhaps you found yourself a little disorganized or off track, or maybe some of your content didn’t hit home with your audience. Whatever it is, making note of any pitfalls allows you to get ahead of the problem for next time.
Specific social media campaign types
Our general checklist is applicable to any and every social media campaign, but we recognize that for different campaign types there will be unique pain points and questions to keep at the forefront of planning. For that reason, we wanted to highlight a few of those pertinent checklist items for these four campaigns: Product, Seasonal, Milestone, and Influencer campaigns.
Record these checklist points as mental notes or physically add them to your checklist to give yourself a leg-up in organizing these special campaigns!
It’s exciting news when a new product is launching, and it’s something you definitely want your customer or fan base to be aware of!
Top tip: Don’t start planning for a product campaign until you and/or your team are fully briefed on the new product! You should have every piece of information to properly market any product, including its benefits and pain points.
Top tip: Decide what makes your brand stand out from the crowd, and incorporate these things into the heart of your campaign.
Stay on top of the most popular social media holidays with our free social media holiday calendar.
Celebrating a milestone is a joyous time for brands, and also a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with your customers and fans.
Top tip: What’s your legacy? Think long and hard about the meaning of your brand, what legacy you want to create and how that can be incorporated into a meaningful and memorable occasion.
Utilizing an influencer is a great way to bring awareness to your company or product, however, there is a wrong and right way to approach successful influencer marketing.
Top tip: Spend an adequate amount of time finding the right influencer for you. You can use social media monitoring to uncover potential influencers that are already connected and invested in your brand, or influential in your space.
Ready, set, go
Once you’ve tackled the above steps you should be able to start or continue, planning successful social media campaigns. The key is to celebrate your wins, be honest about your shortcomings and work to ensure that the next campaign is always more successful than the last!
Download a copy of our Social Media Campaign Template below to visualize each element of your next campaign. You can print it out or share it with your team digitally. Let us know once you’ve put it into action, and how the checklist impacted the results of your campaign!
This blog was originally published in August 2018 & was updated for 2020.
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