In the article, “Are Your Customers Ready for Social Media,” we discussed how you can use Forrester’s Social Technographics® profile tool to asses how your customers will engage in a social media campaign based on what they’re already doing online.
Today we’ll review five types of social media campaigns that you can create to engage your consumers and promote your brand. We’ll also discuss the pros and cons of each campaign type so you can decide which type of campaign best suits your audience.
Before we begin, I’d like to clarify that the term, “social media campaign,” is used in this article to describe customized contests and promotions that companies launch to engage consumers in their advertising message.
Social media campaigns leverage user generated content (UGC) created by brand loyalists to promote a company’s brand, product, or advertising message on multiple social networks. UGC in general can be broken down to five categories: Photos, Blogs, Design, Videos, and Mixed Media which combines all types of UGC.
Photo campaigns are easy for consumers to participate in. Majority of online users have photos stored on their desktop and are familiar with how to upload photos to websites (i.e. Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, etc.). As a result, the barrier to entry for photo campaigns is relatively low.
With photo campaigns, you decide what the theme of your campaign should be. One example of a photo campaign is Sugarloot’s Paparazzi Princess Contest. Sugarloot asks members to submit their ‘paparazzi-worthy’ pic to the to be eligible to win a designer handbag.
While photo campaigns are low barrier to entry, it’s important to keep your campaign theme simple. A theme such as, “Share a photo of you and your best friend,” may draw entries of two girls as best friends or a girl and her chihuahua. Be specific or you’ll be moderating irrelevant entries all day.
Social media campaigns that ask participants to create a blog or submit a story are also low barrier to entry campaigns. As the campaign sponsor, you create the theme and list the requirements that participants need to meet in order to be eligible to win a prize(s). DebtGoal, for example, is currently running a campaign on Facebook that asks participants to share their thrifty tips on how to save money.
The skill level required to post a blog is easy and you can expect to see a lot of entries. Unfortunately, what you might find in a blog campaign are entries that don’t relate to the prompt or entries with multiple grammatical errors. Furthermore, blog entries in a campaign are typically less engaging than photos. Visitors to the campaign will see lines of text and may become bored with the campaign and leave versus a photo campaign that’s more pleasing to the eye and drives more engagement.
Design campaigns are fun because the company is asking their consumers to be creative with the brand. One of my favorite design campaigns was the Design a T-Shirt for Honest Foods campaign. Honest Foods and Brickfish provided the artwork and T-shirt template that participants could use in their designs. Over 2,000 original designs featuring the Honest Foods logo were submitted to the campaign and shared across the Internet.
For participants that aren’t familiar with Photoshop or other photo-editing software, they may find this type of campaign difficult and the number of creators in your campaign may be smaller than what you expected. As a result, design campaigns are generally medium to high barrier to entry. A good rule of thumb is to provide the artwork that artists can build upon and be clear with how participants can and cannot use your logo.
Video campaigns are entertaining but just like design campaigns, they are also high barrier to entry campaigns as it requires basic video editing skills.
If your target audience isn’t experienced with video-editing, you may find yourself with only a handful of entries. However, if you do find the right audience, you can make the campaign easier by providing the creative assets .
Mixed Media campaigns are perfect when you want a mix of UGC and want to open your social media campaign to a broad audience that way anyone can participate. You can even drive more engagement to a mixed media campaign if you offer a prize for each medium (i.e. best photo, blog, design, video, etc.).
Still not sure how to get started or which type suits your company? Below is a list of companies that sponsor social media campaigns: