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A good social media marketing campaign is the most powerful tool that any business can use to boost its sales and reputation. We have gathered a variety of the best social media marketing campaigns from the past year to show you how they were carried out.

What do you Understand About Social Media Campaigns?

A social media campaign is a type of marketing activity that can reinforce or assist your efforts on social media. It involves various actions that are designed to achieve your goals. A social media campaign can be customized to measure and track specific results. It should be more focused and specific than your usual content.

A campaign can be created on a single network or it can be spread across multiple platforms. Usually, it will have a specific focus, such as Black Friday or Fashion Week.

Your Guide to Creating an Ultimate Social Media Campaign

In this section, we’ll talk about the various steps involved in creating and implementing a successful social media campaign. You’ll learn how to plan, create, and manage a campaign like a boss.

Define your Goal

Before you start a campaign, it’s important that you work with your team to identify the goals of the campaign. For instance, if you’re planning on promoting an event, then it’s important that you understand the end goal of the campaign. Having the right strategy and plan will allow you to reach the target audience and create a memorable and effective post.

Identify the Right Channels

Before you start creating content for your social media channels, it’s important that you understand the goals of each channel. For instance, a short video for Instagram and Facebook might need to be created. Creating images for Pinterest and Twitter might also be required.

Create a Content Calendar and Stick to it

The next step in the planning process is to create a schedule that describes how you’ll be presenting content to your social media channels. This will help you determine what days of the week or month you’ll be promoting. You can also create a template that will allow you to set up a daily schedule for your promotion.

Create Engaging Visual Content

After that, it’s time to create the visual components of your plan. One of the most useful tools that you can use is Design Wizard, which is free graphic design software that lets you create personalized images in just a couple of seconds. It has over a million high-quality images and thousands of templates. In addition to being able to create a variety of visual components, Design Wizard also integrates with other leading platforms such as Hubspot, Marketo, and Intercom.

Monitoring is Integral Analyze and Adjust

After examining your analytics, take a look at what worked and what didn’t. For instance, your morning posts may have been successful, but your afternoon posts flopped. Then, use the knowledge you gained to improve your next campaign.

Some of the Best Social Media Campaigns Wrapped Campaign by Spotify

Through its Wrapped campaign, Spotify was able to bring its customers’ data to life. The platform used various channels to celebrate its users and music, and it was able to humanize its brand.

Spotify’s customers receive their personalized listening data, which includes their most recent streams, genres, songs, and the amount of time they spend on the platform. The campaign included various social media posts and billboards, which were designed to poke fun at the yearly music trends.

#RealBeauty Campaign by Dove

In 2004, Dove found that only 2% of women considered themselves to be beautiful. To create a brand revival campaign, the company created a series of messages around female empowerment, inner beauty, and authenticity. The campaign was first launched through digital activation. In 2006, a video ad called “Evolution” went viral on YouTube.

#ShotOniPhone Campaign by Apple

The brand identity of Apple is composed of ideas, dreams, and aspirations. It aims to inspire people to live their lives with passion and freedom. This is why the company’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign works so well.

In 2024, Apple asked users to share their photos taken using their iPhones. The company then gave them a chance to be featured on thousands of billboards around the world.

#UnicornFrappuccino Campaign by Starbucks #WorldsApart Campaign by Heineken

Over the years, Heineken has been dedicated to being open and diverse. Through their Worlds Apart campaign, they were able to demonstrate how a brand can engage with political issues while still being respectful of different communities.

While the campaign is focused on selling a product, it also shows how beer can be used to create a more inclusive experience. Through their beer, they were able to create a space where people could talk about their differences and similarities.

Conclusion

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7 Inspirational Social Media Campaign Examples (Free Template)

Social media campaigns are the rocket fuel of your marketing efforts: a concentrated burst of energy that boosts your brand.

Social media campaigns are the rocket fuel of your marketing efforts: a concentrated burst of energy that pays off in a major boost to your brand reputation, awareness, or sales.

Looking for inspiration for your next social media campaign? We’ve gathered a selection of the best over the last year to show you how it’s done.

Bonus: Download a free social media campaign template to help you plan your next goal-crushing campaign of any size or budget. Assign responsibilities, set timelines, list deliverables, and more!

What is a social media campaign?

A social media campaign reinforces or assists your social media marketing strategy. It’s a series of coordinated actions that are intended to fulfill the goals set forth in your strategy.

A social media campaign will feature specific outcomes that can be tracked and measured over a specific period of time (e.g., one month). It should be more concentrated and targeted than your “business as usual” social media content.

Your campaign can be limited to a single network or take place across multiple social media platforms. Often it will have a specific theme, such as “Black Friday” or “Fashion week.”

7 inspirational social media campaigns

Look no further than these seven examples for inspiration for your next social media campaign.

Cheetos’ Snap to Steal Snapchat campaign

Platform: Snapchat

What did Cheetos do?

That Chester Cheetah is a demanding guy: when it came time to launch a brand new snack product — Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix — a Super Bowl Sunday commercial just wouldn’t do. So the Cheetos marketing team devised a specialized Snapchat AR experience that allowed Snapchat users to point their camera at a Cheetos TV commercial and virtually “grab” a bag off the screen.

Taking part in this digital experience paid real-life dividends — people who used this custom AR experience received a coupon for one free bag of Crunch Pop Mix.

This one took some serious planning (and dollars) between the Super Bowl ad itself and uploading all 1,440 frames of the commercial into Snapchat’s machine-learning software, but it paid off big time.

More than 50,000 bags were “stolen” from the commercial, and traffic to the Cheetos site increased by 2,500%.

Screenshot: The Webbys

Why it worked

This campaign was an innovative mix of “old” media and new and gave Snapchatters two incentives to take part.

First, because the commercial was only airing for a limited time, it made the experience of using the AR filter quite exclusive. And who doesn’t want to feel special? Secondly, there was a real-world reward for participating: free snacks!

What you can learn

Blending digital experiences with real-world ones is a powerful way to stand out and be memorable amid all the social noise.

Can you create some sort of “treasure hunt” moment — like spotting a unique TV commercial or finding a specific real-world space — to spark joy and inspire users to share their triumphant discovery with an exclusive filter or AR effect? Can you make someone feel special for being part of your campaign — or at the very least, feed them something delicious?

Platform: Twitter

What did Aldi do?

In 2023, UK supermarket chain Marks and Spencer launched legal action against competitor Aldi, alleging a copyright infringement on the design of a caterpillar-shaped cake. M&S felt that Aldi’s “Cuthbert the Caterpillar” cake looked a little too close to its own “Colin the Caterpillar” cake. Yes, you are correct; this is truly stupid. Instead of lawyering up, Aldi took this ridiculous clash online with a big dose of British cheek and a Twitter campaign that would go viral.

“‘This is not just any court case, this is…#freecuthbert,” Aldi tweeted, playing off of Marks and Spencer’s catchphrase.

This is not just any court case, this is… #FreeCuthbert

— Aldi Stores UK (@AldiUK) April 15, 2023

Why it worked

Treating a caterpillar cake like someone who has been wrongfully accused? Comedy gold.

The tweets just write themselves!

Adding the hashtag to the ongoing “drama” was a clear invitation for others to join the conversation and take part, and the premise was so open-ended and low-barrier that it just begged to be memed.

What you can learn

You don’t have to face legal action to stir up some fun, but if you find your brand in a mild crisis, maybe there is an opportunity to put a positive spin on it and have some fun.

Saying “oops, we got it wrong” or “we’re in an irritating situation” is a relatable sentiment, and asking your audience to laugh with you in hard times will only build good vibes and brand reputation.

For instance, maybe you have a supply chain disruption. Can you apologize for the delays but also jokingly blame it on some sort of adorable stuffed animal who becomes a mascot for the issue or a hilarious scapegoat in the future?

Just spitballing here. It’s hard to think straight when you suddenly crave caterpillar cake.

The UN’s Empower Moves TikTok campaign

Platform: TikTok

What did the UN do?

That’s right, the United Nations are using TikTok, and we are here for it. The UN Women’s council launched a TikTok dance trend to help spread the word about self-defense moves. “In a year when women’s safety took up more of the conversation than ever, UN Women wanted to come up with a way for girls to feel safe again,” says the organization’s Webby awards application.

Working with a self-defense expert and a choreographer, the UN created and filmed an #EmpowerMoves dance routine that included a sequence of four simple, easy-to-remember defense moves.

It launched organically as a TikTok dance trend. After it had taken off, the UN revealed the moves that were secretly within the dance, sharing tutorials of each action in their TikToks (yeah, this campaign’s got layers, baby!).

From there, even more influencers and media personalities jumped onto the trend.

In addition to 130 million video views, the resulting earned media coverage had a 4,924% ROI. Cha-ching! (Except I guess the goal is to empower women and not to make money. But I don’t know what the sound effect is for that?)

Why it worked

The UN Women’s council had a message to get out to a specific audience (young women), so it wisely looked around at where that audience was spending time online and what they liked to do there.

By packaging educational material in a fun, interactive, trendy format, they organically blended in with the rest of the TikTok world.

What worked well here is that they collaborated with a pro choreographer and filmed their original videos in a style authentic to TikTok — this didn’t feel like your try-hard co-worker trying to get everyone to come to a safety seminar at lunch,

What you can learn

Join your audience where they are, and have fun doing what they’re doing. And if you’re not an expert in the activity or the style or the lingo, don’t be shy about asking for help from someone who does, whether that’s collaborating with an in-the-know influencer or outsourcing your graphic design or video production to someone who ‘gets’ the aesthetics of your target audience.

Smirnoff’s Social Ingredients Instagram campaign

Platform: Instagram (and beyond)

What did Smirnoff do?

The vodka brand looked at the trending headlines of the day and whipped up a custom cocktail recipe to match. When Britney Spears’ conservatorship was stopped, they shared the #FreedBritney; when Squid Game was all the rage, the Traffic Light was on the menu. You get it.

Source: AwardEntry.org

By tapping into conversations that were already attracting online attention, Smirnoff earned 11 million impressions with this 100-day campaign. Cheers to that.

Why it worked

Smirnoff spent 100 days creating cocktails that didn’t just show off its product — these drinks were designed to tap into the zeitgeist. They didn’t try to start a new trend or come up with the next big thing: they happily hopped on the bandwagon and offered their own unique take on the cultural conversation. Smirnoff also was smart to brand the series as a campaign, though cocktail riffs on current events could also be a great ongoing addition to the general content calendar.

What you can learn

If you’re a sparkling water brand, for example, you could do a TikTok series where your colleague tells you the weirdest thing trending each day as you’re sipping your delicious product, and you do a spit-take reaction. Obviously, this would be called #SpitTake, and obviously the views would come pouring in. You’re welcome.

Fi’s ‘Chief Broke Officer’ campaign

Platform: LinkedIn and Instagram

What did FI do?

The posting was detailed about experience and strengths and acknowledged in a playful, sardonic way just how many people have a broken relationship with money.

The sentiment struck a nerve: the LinkedIn post was shared widely across that platform and trickled over to Instagram, too, ultimately inspiring a whopping 3.3 million people to apply for the role. Fi’s social media channel followings grew by 5,000%, too. Not bad for one little post.

Source: The Shorty Awards

Why it worked

This job posting may have been an unconventional way to build buzz about a new brand, but it hit home for many people: at least 3.3 million folks felt seen. Connecting with your audience is definitely an art, not a science, but Fi cracked the code here by reframing a common vulnerability as a strength. There’s something fun, too, about posting a goofy job post alongside serious ones. It instantly frames the brand as not-like-the-others.

What you can learn

What pain points or challenges does your desired audience struggle with? If you can narrow in on whatever that may be and build a campaign around celebrating that, you might just strike a chord.

Another great lesson here is using a platform or medium in creative ways. Here, they’ve disguised a marketing campaign as a job posting. Maybe you could launch a new mascot by creating a Facebook profile for him (or a Tinder profile?).

HBO Max’s #BadaBinge campaign

Platform: All of ‘em!

What did HBO Max do?

To build anticipation for the Sopranos prequel, The Many Saints of Newark, HBO and HBO Max spent six weeks encouraging people to binge-watch all six seasons of the original series. The marketing team gave the assignment across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: “Start now!”

They created weekly check-ins and prompts, sharing memes and photos along the way that lined up with the suggested timeline of watching so that fans could enjoy the same jokes and moments together again, just like they might have if they’d watched it weekly on the show’s original run.

HBO also used Checklists on Twitter and quizzes on Instagram Stories to offer a playful, interactive way to engage. There were first-time-watch recaps on TikTok, “Best of the Sopranos” clips on Youtube, fan-made compilations, and more. There was even a “six degrees of separation” game on the HBO Twitter where fans could name an actor (any actor), and the HBO Twitter account would try to connect them to the Sopranos universe.

Every possible twist on Sopranos content was spread across every possible channel. To consume it all, you’re going to need to carbo-load on Carmella’s ziti.

Why it worked

The 360-degree social media coverage made it impossible to ignore that this new film was coming up. Was it intense? Sure. But it garnered some serious success: a 200% increase in streams of The Sopranos and 1 million streamers on launch day for The Many Saints of Newark.

What you can learn

Sometimes, more is more. If you’ve got something big coming down the pipe, don’t be afraid to obsess over it.

The key to this type of all-in campaign, though, is a variety of content, not just reposting the same thing over and over again or cross-posting identical content on every channel. Get creative, aim big, and explore your idea from every different angle without repeating yourself. If someone follows you across all channels, seeing the same GIF seven times a day is a surefire way to annoy. Capice?

Havana Club Rum’s Amparo Experience Instagram account

Platform: Instagram

What did Havana Club Rum do?

While most Instagram social campaigns are based around hashtags, Havana Club Rum has done something pretty creative with the platform and created an Instagram account for a historical figure: its founder, Amparo Arechabala.

Havana Rum Club is very proud of its history. By sharing that history through an Instagram account as if it were Amparo personally posting back in 1957, it amplifies the humanity, authenticity, and romance of the brand.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Amparo Experience (@theamparoexperience)

Why it worked

Here, Havana Rum Club takes the familiar format of Instagram as day-to-day documentation of our lives and applies it in a new way. Sharing the history of your company can either be dry and boring, or it can be vibrant, visual, and personal. HRC’s is the latter. Plus, the marketing team seems to have dumped some money into production value here — it looks like there is a full-on film somewhere that they’ve mined for images and clips.

What you can learn

If you want to contain a campaign or one-off story in one neat-and-tidy package, a specific Instagram handle might be the way to do it, particularly if you’re anchoring it around a person, whether they’re a real, historical, or fictional character. It’s a particularly great way to breathe life into possibly dry content — not every brand is lucky enough to have “betrayal by the Cuban government” as part of their back story, Havana Rum Club.

Social media campaign template

Feeling inspired? Ready to get started with your own great social media campaign? We’ve got a template ready to help you hit the ground running.

Bonus: Download a free social media campaign template to help you plan your next goal-crushing campaign of any size or budget. Assign responsibilities, set timelines, list deliverables, and more!

Social media campaigns: frequently asked questions Why do a social media campaign?

Social media is a powerful communication tool for brands. After all, platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, and LinkedIn are where people spend an average of 147 minutes a day. If you have a message to get out into the world, this is a great place to spread it.

When done right, social media campaigns can be an effective and inexpensive way to raise awareness or increase sales with your target audience and maybe even earn some customer loyalty along the way.

What is the cost of a social media campaign?

The cost of a social media campaign can range from $0 to $10,000.

In other words: there’s no one-size-fits-all solution in the thrill-a-minute world of social media. Your campaign budget can be as spendy or as scrimpy as you want it to be.

You can absolutely create a free social media campaign if you’ve got time (and talent!) to spare. Read a guide to creating engaging content, get your hands on some free stock photography or free graphic design tools. Schedule your posts to go out at the best time, cross your fingers that you’ve done everything right to appease the platform algorithm, and then make sure you’re spending some time engaging with your followers and answering questions.

How to pitch a social media campaign?

To pitch a social media campaign to a client, you first need to identify your audience and the goals you want to achieve with your campaign, i.e., how will it help grow engagement among high-income millennials or drive more sales among tennis-playing boomers.

Then, you’ll need to create a comprehensive plan. Here are the steps you should consider:

Research – Do your research on the audience. What are their pain points? How do they communicate? Which networks do they hang out on?

Define Goals – Set the goals of your campaign, such as increasing brand awareness or driving more sales. Be specific. How much of an increase in brand awareness can you expect to drive from your campaign, for example?

Get inspired by competitors. What types of campaigns do your competitors run? How would this one compare to theirs? Is there a gap in the market you can fill?

Develop Content – Based on the research and goals, mock up some examples of content that will resonate with your target audience in this campaign.

Once you’re done with these steps, put it all into a brief or a deck and present it or share it with your client or manager. Be open to feedback and prepare yourself for questions. Sometimes pitching a campaign idea is just the start of a brainstorm that can lead to an even better campaign idea.

How to track social media campaigns?

Tracking the success of your social media campaign starts with defining what your goal is. That way, you’ll know what social media metrics actually matter.

For instance, if the goal of your campaign is to get tons of website traffic, measuring your likes might not be relevant. Alternatively, if your goal is to rack up followers on TikTok, then that follower count is your golden ticket.

Once you’ve decided what numbers you’re looking at, you can use an analytics tool to review the data you need.

All of the major social media channels have their own in-app insights tool. Here’s the step-by-step guide for everyone because we’re sweeties like that.

Of course, we’re a bit biased towards a little all-in-one tool called Hootsuite Analytics. With Analytics, you can review your data at a glance or schedule regular custom reports. Drag-and-drop tiles with the metrics of your choice to create your own flexible, interactive interface that exports in whatever file format your heart desires.

Pro tip: If you want to nerd out on the numbers even more, there’s the paid Hootsuite Impact option. Impact measures organic and paid content metrics for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and organic content metrics on Pinterest and YouTube.

Find a more detailed guide to social media analytics here.

Okay, that’s enough out of us. You’re informed, you’re inspired, and you’re ready to create a social media campaign that will take the internet by storm. Happy (campaign) trails to you, friends.

Use Hootsuite to manage your next social media campaign. From a single dashboard, you can schedule and publish posts across networks, engage the audience, and measure results. Try it free today.

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Do it better with Hootsuite, the all-in-one social media tool. Stay on top of things, grow, and beat the competition.

What Are “Stories” On Social Media?

Facebook, Skype, and YouTube all saw the “story” format of media added back in 2023. Coming from seemingly nowhere, these little bite-size pieces of content have been a bit of a hit with social media users. For people who haven’t been keeping up with the newest developments within social media, they can be a little confusing! So, what are stories, where do they come from, and what’s the best way to use them?

Story Origins

People who are familiar with SnapChat may find it weird to hear stories as a “newest development;” after all, they’ve had the feature available to them since 2012! It wasn’t until 2023, however, where the story format started to creep into Facebook, Skype, and YouTube, where some people had their first encounter with the format.

The name “stories” is a little misleading, as these aren’t actual stories. In fact, stories depend more on visual elements such as photos and stickers than text-based stories. Regardless, they’ve become a popular feature, so much so that other social sites are adding their own story-based features.

What Do Stories Do?

Stories are a little weird compared to regular content. For one, they don’t show up directly in users’ feeds by default. If someone wants to view the stories you create, they have to manually access them. Different apps and sites have different ways of displaying new story notifications; for instance, Instagram has icons of users who have created stories along the top, and users can tap them to see the stories.

Secondly, any stories you do make aren’t around forever! Twenty-four hours after posting, the stories automatically delete themselves. This is what makes stories a little more unique than regular status updates –their lack of permanence means they fit a difference niche than normal updates.

When Is It Best to Use Stories?

If you’re thinking about using stories yourself, it’s a good idea to use them properly so you don’t get disappointed with them. When used correctly, they can be a lot of fun!

Stories Are Great For:

Small daily updates. Did the waiter bring you some good-looking food? Find a cute cat on the street? Snap it and upload it as a story. It won’t clog up your follower’s feeds; only those who actively seek out your dailies will see your beautiful lasagna.

Silly images. Stories typically come with stickers and filters to make your photos a little more fun. If you feel like making funny photos and sharing them with your friends, stories are perfect for this. Not only do they let you do fun things with your images, but it keeps them off of your friend’s feeds so they’re not inundated with you wearing silly shade stickers!

Updates you want to delete later. Are you hanging out at a specific place for a short period of time and want others to know? Make it a story, and it’ll delete itself after twenty-four hours. Some sites with stories allow you to manually post them to your timeline, so you can get all of the attention and none of the permanence.

Stories Aren’t So Good For:

Serious updates. Because they don’t appear on the main feed, people can easily miss them. Then, after twenty-four hours, they’re gone for good! It’s best to use a proper status update when you want to say something to all your friends and ensure they catch it.

Long text-based updates. Stories can support text, but their main forte is photos. If you want to share a quick text update, stories can do the job fine. Anything longer and you might want to consider using a regular update instead.

Anything you want to save for longer than twenty-four hours. Think you’ll want to go back to this memory at a future date? Put it on your timeline proper so that it’ll still be around when you need it.

Sussing Stories

Stories have been around for a little while, but it was only recently adopted by other, larger social websites. Now you know what stories are and how to best use them.

Do you think you’ll get good use out of stories? Let us know below!

Simon Batt

Simon Batt is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cybersecurity.

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How Should I Start A Social Media Campaign For My Business?

Social media campaigns provide a wide range of business growth when used properly. It brings in potential customers within the business and promotes the same. Read on to know more about how should you start a social media campaign for your business!

This process will allow you to make an effective social media campaign without confusion, and by following it, you don’t have to go anywhere regarding social media marketing.

Set Your Goals

Everything starts with a goal, and so does marketing. So, before you create or think anything about social media marketing, set your goals. Do proper market research and industry analysis, and create your objective carefully. Also, set optimum standards that will define your social media campaign success. Marketing is a wide concept, and every business has different marketing goals. You have to make sure that each social media campaign has one specific goal. In simple words, a separate campaign should be created for every objective, like brand awareness, sales, lead generation, etc.

Choose the Channels

Social media is endless, and it has multiple channels. Now you can’t do marketing on all channels, and thus you have to choose some specific channels. You can choose anyone, but sometimes you can select your channels based on your market research, business requirements, and industry analysis. There are multiple channels, from Instagram to Facebook and LinkedIn to Twitter, and every channel has some special characteristics. All you have to do is identify the channel which suits your business requirements. The budget for social media campaigns also differs, so you must keep the budget in your mind while choosing the channels.

Make a Social Media Calendar

This is very important because timing and discipline matter a lot in marketing. Now when it comes to social media marketing, it becomes more important because here, you will come across different types of audiences from all across the globe. Social media calendar means you must decide how much time you will give to every channel in a day or week. You also must set a specific time for posting content and other stuff. You can select any random time, but the thing is, it makes you consistent and disciplined. After one or two campaigns, you can change the time if required. The main importance of a social media calendar is it helps you remain consistent and disciplined and smooth the process.

Choose Your Content Type

Content is everything. Now you have to work on your content. Great content requires a lot of things, but before that, you have to choose the content and, most importantly, stick to that type for at least some time. Content type simply means in what way you will show your thoughts, ideas, etc. Some popular content types include video, images, info graphics, text, visual data, etc. Now the selection of the content types depends upon various factors like business requirements, targeted audience, location, and latest trends. For example, short videos are currently trending everywhere and bring great user engagement and reach.

Choose Right Tools

Doesn’t matter which digital marketing module you have chosen; you have to take the help of tools; otherwise, you will not get desired results. Selecting the right tools is very important because tons of tools are available in the market. Also, you have to take care of the budget because to use these tools fully, you have to purchase their premium plans. From posting to creating content and tracking to guiding, you will find tools in every aspect of the social media campaign.

Management

A social media campaign is not limited to creating and posting content; it’s all about connecting with the audience. So, when you have started your campaign, make sure to interact with the audience regularly. Ask for their preferences, feedback, and suggestions, and help them whenever they want. It plays an important role in the success of your social media campaign. So proper and effective social media management is necessary. It includes updating the content, following the trends, customer interactions, content management, etc.

Tracking & Analysis

Tracking your social media campaign is very important to measure the success of your social media campaign. By using a proper tracking system, you will get accurate metrics defining the success of your campaign against your predefined benchmarks. Only tracking will not help; you also have to analyze the data of the tracking system for improvements. The data helps you to make more effective and strong social media campaigns.

Final words

We have described the whole process of starting a social media campaign for a business. The process is suitable for every type of business, irrespective of its type and scale. The process not only gives you great results but also saves your time and ultimately makes the whole process conflict-free and smooth.

5 Tips To Run A Sustainable Link Building Campaign

Do I want to do link building?

As I wait for the collective sigh of everyone reading this to subside, I think that this is a question that everyone in search asks themselves on a regular basis.

While the answer being overwhelmingly no for the majority of the population, the main reason being the time that needs to be dedicated to the campaign, everyone knows that link equity is a necessary part of the equation for a successful run.

Do I Need to Do Link Building?

The answer to that question depends on your perspective of the industry and where your site falls from an equity standpoint.

To me, sites fall into three buckets which determine how much time and effort need to be dedicated to these types of campaigns:

Unestablished.

Established.

Big brand.

If your domain authority (yes, we all know this isn’t a real thing, but it’s widely accepted so let’s get over it) is low because you haven’t been paying attention to your search presence (for shame), then you are probably going to need to spend a sizable amount of time here just to get off the ground.

Being an established site means that while you don’t hold big brand equity, you have been building your authority up over time and can compete on terms that are important to your business and probably have some form of link building in the mix.

The three buckets above are not just to characterize sites by equity, it also characterizes them by the challenges they face from a link building perspective:

Unestablished: Have to launch a campaign from scratch, most likely has zero resources to dedicate to this effort and even less budget.

Established: Have established search processes and budget but are most likely paying a third party so they don’t own the process or relationships.

Big brand: While links are naturally coming in, most of them are pointing to the home page, which doesn’t help the site as a whole. On top of that, most big brand sites are glacial when it comes to changing processes and development.

So now that we understand how sites stack up against one another from a link perspective, or at least how you can easily place where your site stands, what do you do next?

Getting Started with Sustainable Link Building

These days you simply can’t just “start doing link building” as there are many questions that need answers:

Who is dedicating the time to this?

What’s the process of identifying links?

How do we avoid appearing unnatural?

Can I trust this won’t trigger some type of penalty against my site?

While all of these are important questions that need answers, they still don’t speak to the more important over-arching one, “How do we do link building in a sustainable way?”

Sadly, most folks are still doing link building like it’s 2004.

People are burning calories on these campaigns, but they aren’t burning them in a smart way. Thinking a little bit differently about how you approach this effort will bring much more value in the long-term.

Below are practices and ideas that you can try to run a sustainable link building campaign that won’t burn out in six months or burn your website down.

1. Look Before You Reach…Out

Let’s use data people!

Link building campaigns are typically very myopic in scope as most people think this way:

Look for a relevant site with high domain authority.

Send out prospecting email asking for a link.

Hopefully get a response and work out a deal, rinse, repeat.

2. Get More Specific

Are you focusing on the domain as a whole?

The problem with this approach is that you are only focusing on the overall domain authority, which, as I referenced before, is actually not a real thing even though it is a widely accepted metric.

So why are we basing our efforts on a made-up number?

The solution?

Get more specific.

It makes more sense to dig down and look at the individual pages that make up a domain you would like to link to and what their backlink profiles look like.

If they have strong page authority and you have a piece of content (or can create one) you believe would make sense for them to link back to, that’s a smarter way to find linking opportunities.

If you are selling baseball tickets to a certain game, wouldn’t it make sense to get a link to that page from someone writing a specific piece of content about that game or the teams playing?

This analysis isn’t hard to do if you are looking at the right data. You can set up a simple table and match up URLs:

Your URL # of Backlinks Page Authority / Equity / TrustFlow Topic / Category Their URL # of Backlinks

Page Authority / Equity / TrustFlow

If you want to get crazy (and really don’t want to do any manual work) you can also pull rankings from large indexes such as SEMrush for each URL you discover in your link tools and do some math that calls out which URLs rank for the same keywords, which would indicate they are about the same thing.

It would look something like this:

Your URL Page Authority / Equity / TrustFlow # of Backlinks Their URL Page Authority / Equity / TrustFlow # of Backlinks # Common Keywords Avg. Rank

Total MSV

If you’re worried about where you can get the backlink data, there are many tools for large sets of links to do this type of analysis (e.g., Majestic, Ahrefs, Link Research Tools).

Most of these tools will have the URLs categorized already, but even if you have to roll up your sleeves and look at what the content on the page is, that is better than blindly sending out emails with no data behind them.

This approach can also help with your outreach because you can include the rationalization of why that site should link to you and the shared benefits you two could potentially provide to one another over time.

3. Form Partnerships

There is absolutely nothing wrong with forming alliances with sites and writers that are doing things related to your business.

A lot of negativity clouds around this approach because people start throwing around “guest blogging” and “link networks”, which really isn’t what this approach is about.

First off, there is nothing wrong with guest blogging if you do it the right way.

The problem with guest blogging stemmed from a network of sites that were trading them back and forth in an unnatural way, not because Google felt like too many relevant people were writing for each other’s sites.

If you find like-minded folks who run websites in your industry and you feel there is a mutual benefit to contributing to each other’s sites, then you should do that, just do it in moderation and keep expanding the pool of folks you are partnering with.

4. Work with Influencers

In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and that people are going to talk about stuff on the internet.

No matter what product or service you sell, there are people who are considered experts on that product or service – and a lot of other people are listening to these experts.

Your job is to find them.

Most influencers – whether they are writers, vloggers, or speakers – actually aren’t that hard to get a hold of.

Mine YouTube for folks who are reviewing products or services like yours and send them a message to see if they are open to being sponsored.

Most of the time they will partner with you for a free product or a small fee (depending on how popular they are).

They will just have to disclose that they received compensation for the review per Google’s guidelines, which isn’t a big deal.

Or they won’t, but you didn’t hear me say that.

5. One Last Thing: Don’t Buy Links

I can’t believe I still actually have to say this, but buying links shouldn’t even be on your radar.

This is an outdated, time-consuming, soul-crushing methodology.

And let’s be serious – you can do better.

While link [building / earning / whatever you want to call it] isn’t the most fun activity, it’s a necessary evil of our trade and shouldn’t be ignored.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve read this, figure out which bucket your site falls into, pull some data, and start making smarter decisions.

Featured Image Credit: Paulo Bobita

Selecting Social Media Listening Tools

Ideya’s new report shows the why, what and how of selecting social listening tools

Investment in social media monitoring (SMM) requires careful consideration since it is a long-term and potentially costly commitment. Understanding of the key SMM concepts, benefits and possible applications is of utmost importance. In order to realize the long-term value of SMM, SMM needs to become part of the business strategy and well-integrated with the business processes.

Only by having a clear understanding of how SMM supports your business, you can transition from experimental, tactical to a more strategic use of SMM.

There are many social media monitoring and management tools on the market and making an educated choice about which SMM tools can best address company’s needs and justify social media investment, has become a challenging task for organizations as social media technology business has branched out into a diverse set of technologies, data types and countless vendors confusing buyers.

This August 2013 comparison of social media monitoring tools by Ideya Ltd shows that there are at least 250 tools now available. Of these 199 are paid, with the remainder free or using a combined model.

New tools and services are emerging continually, while already established SMM companies are frequently improving their products by introducing new features and coverage to accommodate their clients’ needs.

Each tool offers specific set of functionalities and differs in focus, coverage and approach, with some focusing more on engagement, publishing and workflow management, while other offering strong analytics and reporting functions.

The 70 pages long report extract below has good detail on how to approach selecting tools, a listing of all tools and detailed profile of 11 tools (out of 250 profiles available in the full report).

How do social listening tools help in marketing campaigns?

SMM tool metrics and measurements are designed to evaluate company activities and inform an overall social media strategy. The metrics may involve statistics about the share, reach, impact and speed of conversations about the company. These parameters can be used to assess the company image and perceptions before and after campaign and measure campaign effectiveness, and identify trends that lead to new marketing and product tactics.

Ideya says that social media monitoring tools typically assist organizations in:

1. Acquiring real-time social marketing insights to inform social media marketing and communication plans

3. Developing social content strategies to promote products and services and engage with current and potential customers across social media channels in real time,

5. Making better decisions about campaigns and brand extensions with a clear understanding of the key factors influencing brand’s health – monitoring how key metrics across SM channels change before and after company’s campaigns, detecting drops or spikes in buzz or sentiments and drill down to examine the causes,

6. Supporting rapid social marketing engagement, and

7. Developing performance metrics.

Ideya’s SMM Tools report also examines other SMM tool applications such as Marketing, PR, Event Management, Search Engine Marketing, Market Research, Advertising, Investor Relations, Social Media Marketing, Business Development, Sales and Lead Generation, Product R&D and Innovation Management, Operations, Customer Services, Legal and Human Resources.

Requirements for social listening tools

So that’s the ‘why’ of social media listening tools, but how do you decide? Issues to consider when selecting social media tools are summarised in this chart.

Finally, here is the introduction to the report, we hope you find this alert useful.

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