Every once in awhile there comes along a social media campaign that makes you stop, take notice, and say to yourself, “Damn. This...is...awesome!”
While regular, interesting, and consistent content is the foundation of a social media strategy - creating a campaign that builds excitement, your email list, and brand loyalty is the next level of using social media as a method to attract your tribe.
Any big brand with a huge budget and a large team can come up with a social media campaign and put big advertising dollars behind it. That’s great and can inspire your own creativity for sure.
But the real test is coming up with a campaign that gets noticed by your target audience when you have a small team (or just you) and a little budget. Those ideas are what truly inspire the creative entrepreneur who is trying to do social media marketing better.
I’ve come across two campaigns in the last year that were well-executed, creative - and above all - inspiring. They inspired me to be better and to think differently. I’m also going to outline a third campaign that was created by me back in my Megadeth days and show you why it was successful.
I’ll be hosting two free mini-course workshops in a couple weeks that outline the 5 Steps to Creating a Powerful Campaign on Social Media.
In the meantime, let me introduce you to three incredible examples to inspire your own ideas.
#TheImperfectBoss came onto the scene over a year ago and immediately struck a chord with online entrepreneurs. In this digital world of perceived perfection, it encouraged people to post a picture to Instagram using the hashtag to reveal what made them not so perfect.
To date, this hashtag has been used more than 6800 times and they are getting ready to launch another round in May.
The campaign creator, Ashley Beaudin, tapped into a controversial subject that was going against the tide of the Instagram perfection we so often see. She dared to say what everyone else was thinking. She made it ok for people to admit their imperfections.
Their mission is to “...pull back the curtains on what it really looks like to be your own boss and inspire women to build brave businesses that light them up.”
She gathered a large group of like-minded entrepreneurs and influencers (I was flattered to be featured in that first round) to be partners and sow the seeds of the conversation - everyone from the work at home solopreneur to the big names like Denise Duffield Thomas. These women kicked off the conversation and kept it going.
She created a landing page (now a full website) detailing the campaign and featuring the involved partners with links to their Instagram profiles (win-win for everyone!).
They make it easy! The first round involved a detailed explanation of what and how to post on Instagram. For this latest round about to kick off, we are getting backgrounds, Instagram templates, a campaign guidebook, and a couple of audios - easy peasy!
Most of all, she created a community. It’s difficult and scary to be vulnerable and admit you aren’t perfect. By pulling back that curtain, Ashley has let us all find each other and support one another on this crazy entrepreneur journey.
I first heard of Amber McCue when I saw a Facebook Ad for her course How To Clone Yourself (psst...she’s re-branding this course and has a major sale on it right now)
She was running a free webinar, which I attended and found super valuable, but I didn’t sign up for the course because I wasn’t in a place with budget or mindset to move forward with my business. Regardless, I stayed on her list because I found her perspective interesting and I liked what she had to say.
She gave me hope that there is a better way to do business.
In late fall of last year, I started getting emails announcing the kickoff for her “Planathon” challenge/event. I was intrigued by the idea of finally planning out the next year of my business and getting clear on my priorities and goals.
Although the essence of the event was about learning, planning, and actionable steps - it was wrapped up as a challenge in a Facebook Group. If you know me, you know that my #1 strength according to Stengths Finder is “competition”. If you are looking to attract entrepreneurs that get excited and competitive when it comes to performing - a challenge is your best bet for campaigns.
The challenge/event took place over 5 days within the Facebook Group. Each day from 10am-2pm, there were a series of training videos from both Amber and other entrepreneurs like Jenna Sourd and James Wedmore.
Each participant received a daily schedule as well as daily prompts within the group to take action on the subjects we were learning about (everything from Instagram to goal setting). Members were encouraged to tag accountability partners in the group when they had completed their daily challenge.
Plus, Amber and her team were present and responding to every post and comment by participants (to a level I’ve never seen before). The result was that even though it’s a large group and there were lots of moving parts during Planathon week, the event felt intimate and personal.
The event was obviously well-organized and took a ton of preparation and planning (Amber’s forte). Amber also provided a low-cost (optional) workbook to follow along and get the most out of all the presentations and learnings for the week.
The Contest Campaign
Back in the day, when I was the social media manager for Megadeth, I needed to come up with a way to grow our email list. Why? Because as every musician knows, you don’t make money on the music anymore - all your profits come from ticket sales and merchandise.
The webmaster and I knew that if we could send a newsletter that linked to new merch, the online store, and tour dates, we’d see a bump in revenue.
And as every online entrepreneur knows, in order to get someone’s email address, you have to give them something of value.
Back then (circa 2012-ish), there were limited options for running contests within Facebook and mobile-optimized sites were still not the norm. I was able to find a contest app that worked within the Facebook fan page and would automatically collect emails and randomly pick a winner.
We launched the contest, created a few posts across social media, and garnered about 1,500 emails in one week.
Here’s why it worked:
We knew what the fans wanted. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more devoted bunch than metal fans. They covet expensive and hard to find items from a band like Megadeth with a long history. We gave away the 25th Anniversary Edition of Peace Sells... But Who's Buying (Deluxe 5 Disc + 3 LP Box Set). This set included unreleased and rare mixes of album tracks, plus photos and a booklet. A gem in any fan’s collection.
We gave away something of value. The prize retails for over $100, and the nostalgia/collection factor is priceless to some. You’d better believe if we gave away a t-shirt the contest would have fallen flat, even with that kind of warm audience.
We called out to fans. Over the course of the week, we tagged fans (as Megadeth), encouraged sharing and participation, and got in some posts from Dave himself (meaning me with approval;) ) Any fan loses their lovin’ mind when their favorite band tags them on social media. We knew this even back then and took every opportunity to do so.
We built up short-term excitement, building up to a winner announcement, and gained more loyal followers by engagement.
Even if you aren’t a worldwide band with a 30-year history and millions of fans, there are key takeaways for running a contest.
- Keep it short-term - the key is excitement, which can wane quickly in the online world.
- Give away a valuable prize - no Starbucks gift cards or iPads please. It has to have a real and/or perceived value that’s enough of a passerby (or scroller-by) to stop and think, “Oh damn, that’d be awesome to win.” If you really want a big ticket prize, consider partnering with the manufacturer/store to sponsor your contest!
- Know what your fans want - if you don’t know already what your fans value, ask! Come up with 3-4 options and poll them.
I hope outlining these three types of social media campaign has inspired you to think about how you can go beyond the foundation of your social media strategy and start gaining momentum.
Make sure you sign up for my free mini-course and workshop: 5 Steps to Creating a Powerful Campaign on Social Media - so you can learn the steps to making a successful campaign happen for your business - and grow your brand loyalty and income.