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As the number of people who regularly use social media networks and platforms continues to grow (digital statistics firm We Are Social estimates that 31% of the global population and 59% of the U.S. population will use social media in 2016), social media marketing campaigns are now the best way for brands to target an increasingly mobile, social consumer base. Before launching their first digital initiative, however, companies should understand the basic definition of social media marketing campaigns and what makes a social media marketing campaign successful.
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Social media marketing campaigns are advertising initiatives that appear on social media networks and/or platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, blogs, or other media channels that exist in the digital space. Social media marketing campaign content can be:
Owned Media: This is any content controlled by the brand, including anything that appears on the brand’s own social media channels and website.
Earned Media: Refers to any type of brand-related content shared and/or created by social media users.
Paid Media: Content that is paid for by the brand for the purpose of increasing brand awareness, expanding reach, or boosting engagement.
The goal of social media marketing campaigns is to increase brand awareness, customer engagement, and brand affinity. To accomplish this, brands employ various strategies—branded hashtags, user-generated content (UGC), contests, viral content, and/or highly-shareable photos, videos, or branded features—to transform audiences into active campaign participants.
Social media marketing campaigns (and the content they produce, if any), therefore, must be creative enough to entice users to share them with their own social media followers. Social media engagement (and in some cases sharing) is the essential component of what makes a social media marketing campaign a success.
Though every social media marketing campaign may have unique goals, strategies, and implementation, a few of the “best practices” for campaigns include:
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The following are examples of how the world’s most innovative brands engage audiences with creative social media marketing campaigns:
For this engaging social media marketing campaign, Dominoes developed a way for users to create, name, and order a custom pizza on a special branded web page then share their creation on social media platforms like Facebook. As a way to incentivize participation, customers who order through the Pizza Legends promotion receive a 30% discount.
One of the most creative social media marketing campaigns in recent memory, Expedia’s #ThrowMeBack campaign asked users to tag their old photos with #ThrowMeBack for a chance to travel back to the place where the original photo was created and recreate it.
Starbucks’ social media marketing campaign asked coffee drinkers to doodle on their Starbucks cups and post their artwork with the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. Because consumers first had to buy a coffee before entering the contest, the campaign served to drive sales as well as increase social awareness and brand affinity.