What are the most common qualities of successful social media campaigns? Is it the technology that matters most? Is it the platform used? Is it the amount of ads that run? These are the types of questions that keep marketers up at night, as they strategize for their next social campaign.
One of the most highly-touted social campaigns is Taco Bell’s Cinco de Mayo Snapchat lens. While the lens was only around for 24 hours, it was viewed 224 million times — making it the most successful campaign in the app’s history at the time.
Since then, countless brands have tried to emulate Taco Bell’s success, whether via Snapchat lenses or another social network altogether — and yet, many of those brands became just another number. If you’re looking for similar success in your next social campaign, here are three key elements to consider.
Audience — With the Taco Bell example, one thing is clear: the brand understood who its audience was and how to reach them at the optimal time. The activation was not only fun but also immensely shareable. That’s why it’s imperative to determine your target before you do anything else. If you’re a brand trying to reach adults through social, ask yourself how adults are behaving on social networks, not how their kids are acting. A brand like Gerber, which collects user-submitted baby photos on Facebook and Instagram to find the next “Gerber Baby”, is a perfect example, since many adults are already sharing pictures of their babies on Facebook and Instagram.
Environment — Beyond knowing your audience range and their preferred social networks, consider the environment they’re receiving your content in. If you’re using Snapchat for your social campaign, you know that they’re accessing your content on their mobile devices. Executing on Facebook or Twitter means they’re probably seeing it on desktop. A 2015 study commissioned by Microsoft found that the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015, due to smartphones. So for any mobile-centric social effort, you need to get to the point quickly, keeping content short and sweet. Consumers want quick hits on their phones, but are more amenable to longer and more drawn-out stories on their desktops or laptops. Also keep in mind that with mobile devices, you’re able to reach people on the go. So if your product is more of a point-of-sale impulse buy, like chewing gum, for example, a social campaign can be just what your brand needs.
Customization — Another hallmark of successful social campaigns is customization. In the Snapchat lens example, Taco Bell would likely have enjoyed even more success had it created a variety of lenses. Imagine you’re a large clothing retailer promoting sales across America in the late fall. You’re far better off showing a winter coat to your east coast audience, and something lighter for your west coast audience. Having multiple creative sets to work with lets you customize your campaign for your audience. According to Charles Cantu, CEO of ad tech company Huddled Masses, brands that develop multiple creative sets can sometimes generate 10x uptick in performance. That’s a sizable impact, so brands need to consider this when the campaign allows for it.
Social networks keep adapting and refining their ad tools all the time. Last year’s silver bullet may fire blanks today. Paying close attention to the core ingredients that make up a successful campaign in the social sphere allows brands a much better shot of breaking through the clutter. Just remember that your audience is in charge. So make sure you know who they are, where they’re most comfortable and how many different ways you can reach them.