5 Campaign Planning Tips from 5 Smart Brands

No matter how hard I try, I am notorious for being that traveler who throws her clothes into a suitcase and finds herself running through the airport to catch her flight. Whether it’s planning a trip or preparing photos for this week’s Instagram posts, people can be pretty bad at planning.

What’s often missing is setting the intention to plan in the first place. To help you get started down the path of intentional campaign planning, I want to share with you information I presented during a recent webinar we hosted here at Spredfast on Campaign Planning.

1 | First, more content does not always equal good content

Focus efforts their level of purpose: high-quality, relevant, well thought-out content that aligns your target audience with a message that resonates. To accomplish this, start with a clearly articulated content strategy. Other helpful tools that feed the strategy include a social brand audit, a conversation audit, and a cultural calendar. These tools help drive purpose, ensuring that you are reaching the right audience, with the right message, at the right time.

Booking.com’s #WingItYeah 2015 summer travel campaign is a strong example of a well-researched, targeted content approach. The brand recruited 40,000 new followers and drove over half a million to their summer travel hub through a campaign deep-rooted in social listening research which revealed that travelers love to share summer travel photos with a competitive wink.

2 | Coordination and collaboration are key

Nobody likes to operate in fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mode. So plan your content creation efforts in advance with collaborative planning tools. Whether it’s a basic editorial calendar, or a campaign planner tool (like the one Spredfast recently launched), make sure you have the tools in place to coordinate efforts across teams. Other keys to collaboration include a creative brief, an editorial meeting, a shared editorial calendar, and gathering assets and approvals in advance.

HomeAway, a Spredfast customer, is a great example of a brand who plans collaboratively. Homeaway’s social team uses an editorial calendar and Spredfast's Campaign Planner to streamline their process —they plan their content and campaigns at least two weeks in advance, coordinating across multiple teams, agencies, and time zones.

3 | Distribution matters

“If you build it, they will come,” is not a formula for success. Especially not in a crowded space like social, where brands are competing for the same audience’s ever-shrinking attention. Content and distribution should be coordinated hand-in-hand, and each piece of content should be tailored with the end publication in mind. Develop a plan for distributing content to your desired audience across owned, earned, paid and shared media. Build in promotional levers that will give your brand a leg up on the competition, such as influencer promotion.

Take a note from Dictionary.com, who grew their channels by 16% with their #NewWords campaign’s influencer engagement, reaching over 2.9 million followers and garnering 95.8k total video views.

4 | One size does not fit all — measure for impact

Speaking of results and ROI, when it comes to measurement it’s important to map your social content goals to your overarching business goals and measure for impact. If brand perception shift is your goal, then it’s fruitless to measure sales, and vice versa. If your goal is reach, then focus on real results that show how far your actual reach was, e.g. actual views. The bottom line is, don’t gather data for data’s sake. Because unless the data is impacting your goal, it doesn’t matter.

If your challenge is the trickier problem of perception change, steal a page from Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful playbook, which set out to change the negative conversation that women have about beauty. Dove used social listening tools to develop a baseline for measuring the volume of negative beauty or body image tweets, that women published in 2014 — 5.3 million. After their campaign, which focused on positive beauty and body image, the number dropped to 3.4 million in 2015 – a 36.8% decrease year over year.

5 | Take risks

Now that you’ve made the basics brilliant, be bold and get noticed. Aim to be the first of your competitors to try a new method, medium or channel, or aim to do it best. Optimize for awesome. One way to do this is to plan for “unexpected” real-time and give a boost to your content. Another way is to experiment with new channels and mediums.

Draw inspiration from brands like Honda who are experimenting with virtual reality, ASOS who is actively incorporating Snapchat into their marketing strategy, or Spredfast customers like The Recording Academy who are using tools like Intelligence to hop on real-time trends and serve up relevant content.

We tend to let the primal brain take over—the voice in your head that tells you to bring along everything you could possibly need. A valuable trait if you’re ranging hundreds of miles to find food or hunkering down in a cave for the winter, but not so good for the average marketer trying to plan out the next month's content calendar. So keep these five pillars of content planning in mind to set your team up for success and get the results you want.

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Kelly Ferraro is a Strategy Director for Spredfast, where she leads social strategy for global customers. Kelly is a social media and running addict. She is an east coast transplant currently living in Austin, TX.