How to Create a Winning Social Media Campaign

Social media is about sharing. But what – and when – you share matters. Here’s how to master the art of digital in your next campaign.

Surf Life Saving Western Australia

This animated social tile supported a direct mail pack delivered to Surf Life Saving Western Australia’s donors for the organisations 2020 Tax Appeal.

Today, social media is a part of most winning campaigns. From Obama to your local charity, the results are in – digital engagement matters.

Successful social media managers know it’s not just what you share, but how – and when. It’s about working smarter to make digital work for you. Here’s how:

  1. Be clear on your goals

You want to create a winning social media campaign. But what does that mean? What are you trying to achieve? Donations? New followers? Audience reached? Actions taken? Your goals will help shape your work and maximise the results you’re reporting on.

If you’re running a fundraising drive, your focus will be on donations and responses to calls-to-action. A campaign to grow your audience will be more about inspiring people to share your content (although this is, of course, important for fundraising too).

Like any project, clarify the end goal and be strategic in working towards it.

  1. Use milestones to build momentum – and plan

Now you’ve got your goals, it’s time to make a plan. Draw up key campaign milestones and build your strategy around them. Plan content around these moments to maximise supporter engagement.

Set targets you want to hit – supporter engagement, donations, actions. And don’t forget to build flexibility into your roadmap – you want a mix of planned content and responsive, spontaneous posts. 

  1. Be data-driven

We’ll say it once, we’ll say it a thousand times: data, data, data. If you haven’t yet pulled together some insights from past campaigns, do it now.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. Review which posts shared well, list them in a spreadsheet, look at what they have in common, and see if you can replicate your success.

Learn about your audience – who are they? What do they like? Do you know someone like them you can speak with? Use Facebook insights to see what times of day your audience is most active, and schedule your posts then.

The best performing campaigns are data-driven – don’t miss out. 

  1. Save time with scheduling

Platforms like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite can save you a lot of time, helping to schedule content in advance and track engagement with your followers.

You can also set up feeds in some platforms to track things like conversations that are important to you, comments, and shares, providing an easy at-a-glance overview of your campaign. 

  1. Create a conversation

Social media: used effectively, it’s about creating a conversation. That means communication goes both ways.

Organisations that do social media well know that you need to listen and respond, as well as share your own content and ask people to do things. This means finding ways to interact with your audience, reply to comments and questions, and build on what you learn along the way. 

  1. Know when to ask (and when not to)

Often, to get what we want, we need to ask for it. Social media is no different. Want people to share and like what you’ve posted? Ask for that. Some organisations have success saying it straight – “Please like and share”. Try out a few different approaches and see what lands best with your audience.

By the same token, it’s a valuable skill to know when not to ask. Balance posts that ask for something with content that is simply sharing something valuable, without expecting anything in return.

People have busy lives, with long to-do lists. Become a valuable source of information without overwhelming your audience with more demands than they can keep up with.

  1. Share inspiring content

Inspiring, meaningful content stands out – maybe it’s an urgent campaign compelling people to challenge an unfair policy, or a moving story that readers want to share with others. Create something worth sharing.

A crucial part of your post is the visual content. Do you have a beautiful image, a heart-warming video, or a chilling infographic?

Use pictures to grab your audience and tell your story. Pictures of people, videos, and text over a beautiful background are all winners. Online platforms like Canva can help you create simple designs and infographics if you haven’t got access to graphic design software or services.           

Finally, when you post something, stop and think: “Would I share this?” There’s so much content out there, even using your favourite platforms can feel like wading through never-ending quicksand. Cut through the noise with something you think is worth it, and your campaign will reap the rewards.