This semester, in an effort to promote the web series “Often Awesome,” which tells the touching story of Tim LaFollette’s struggle with ALS, on Blip.tv, our team of 11 students learned a ton. For many of us, myself included, it was our first social media campaign, and we weren’t sure what we were in for. Using Facebook? Well, we do that every day. Twitter? Seems simple enough. Add some Google+ into the mix and looks like we’ve got ourselves a campaign. Or so we thought.
As our living/working case study progressed, we found we were having trouble meeting our main goal, which was to increase viewership. We had become deeply connected to the ALS cause, having watched the web series ourselves, and many of us had experienced the challenges of ALS through a friend or family member. But how could we best translate our passion and our interest in the cause to an actual campaign that would produce results?
We tried everything from tweeting at influential spokespeople for various causes, creating a press release about one episode, writing blog posts on Project Quinn about the show/ALS (such as this one), reaching out to the ALS community on forums, and, of course, using preexisting platforms that we were very familiar with: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
At the end of the campaign, we did indeed meet our goal of increasing viewership, a very rewarding outcome. I just wanted to share 4 tips for conducting a social media campaign that I believe allowed us to reach our goals:
- Create conversation, not just content – Of course, producing great content is essential to any campaign. But, instead of simply pushing content at your followers/audience, you must be able to create a conversation by asking questions or finding other ways for them to engage. People are on social networks to be social, so find ways to utilize that fact.
- Know your audience – With creating conversation comes a knowledge of who your content is being delivered to. Even if it’s something that you don’t think they will necessarily care about, find an angle that will make them care. For example, our ALS series may have not appealed to all college students; however, many of us utilized the “love story” angle to at least get college females to click the links, and it worked!
- Stay connected internally – When you have 11 (or more) people working on a team at once, internal communication can suffer. What our team did was have a private Facebook group to avoid long e-mail chains and facilitate the behind-the-scenes work that needed to be done for the campaign. It made it much easier to share information, updates, and links, and to coordinate meeting times.
- Persistence matters – There were times that our actions yielded no retweets from our target, no comments, no “liking,” etc. Yet, we learned that it was important to keep pushing the content that we knew was valuable, and by following the 3 steps above, this became much easier.
Hopefully, these tips are helpful in conducting your next social media campaign. Our “Often Awesome” team definitely learned a lot from this experience.