Fast, focused and first – creating short social campaigns

Right now, as lockdown lifts, marketers are looking for short-term quick wins that will deliver impact. A fast move to recovery, a chance to grab market share and make a distinctive difference that will run the rest of the year.

It makes sense. For many brands marketing had slowed to the minimum over the last few months. But as we exit lockdown, consumers and customers have renewed interest in markets that they had abandoned for the last few months.

And Brandwatch has some interesting data on what we plan to buy in the coming weeks. Big ticket items, such as cars and property are back on the cards. Brandwatch data shows that 63% of people who had planned to buy a house (pre-outbreak) in 2020 still plan to do so. And everyday items we just couldn’t get our hands on such as plants or furniture.

Some of the changed behaviours from lockdown will continue – buying clothes online and DIY (63% still plan to do large scale home improvement according to Brandwatch).

Marketers understand that there is an opportunity to grab a share of market if they can position themselves in the right place with the right context with the right message.

And of course one of those places is social. A place many consumers and customers have turned to whilst they were isolated at home.

You won’t succeed, if you don’t change too

But you can’t just ramp-up your social media output. Doubling down on the same content as pre-pandemic won’t cut the mustard.

For starters, you would have to be super noisy with oodles of content to cut through all your consumers activity. Facebook daily active users increased by 11%, TikTok has surged, Twitter has grown 25%. It’s mad busy out there.

Secondly the mood and many behaviours have shifted a bit since lockdown. You don’t want to be tone deaf or insensitive. You also don’t want to miss new opportunities.

And thirdly, most brands don’t have the time, resource or budget to deliver a social programme with multiple messages and creatives.

Marketers we’ve spoken to want to activate a punchy and impactful campaign that will set them on the road to recovery. Activity that will fit in a tightly squeezed budget that proves the case and releases the next level of funding to maintain a social and wider brand profile.

But short campaigns don’t work, do they?

I wouldn’t normally recommend a short campaign on social. Consistency is essential if you are to keep building on gains month-on-month. However, there is a way to cut through the chatter and with a snappy 6-10 week campaign.

It requires a disciplined bit of planning and a mindset that says less is more.

One is your magic number, this time

First off, get to know your audience. What are they talking about, what are they interested in. How have their behaviours changed? Look for the opportunity in the social conversation that signal motivations to buy, implied needs or simply new themes that fit your brand well.

Focus on one audience. One message. One interest / theme/ or behaviour.

You want one campaign. Don’t try to be all things to all people. And certainly don’t just DO social for the sake of it. Do social with purpose.

You want to do one thing on social and do it well.

Last week, before car showrooms opened, we analysed social data to look at how people in the UK were and are talking about cars. We honed in on a specific behaviour – car buying – a behaviour we knew would help drive footfall onto forecourts.

We examined motivations and triggers. Looked at what stayed the same and what had changed. Finance remained the biggest associated theme. However a new motivation appeared. 38% of the car buying consumers on social were also talking about a car as an alternative to public transport. 

This might just be the opportunity for a short campaign. Maybe one to focus on used cars or small cars. You get the gist.

The point is you create one focus, with one clear message. And from that you develop one campaign idea. And that one idea delivers one goal. It could be site drives, conversions, engagement actions but it needs to be an objective that that matters to your business.

With the one idea you then need to break it out into several narratives. Tell the story in different ways to really attract interest. One element might focus on second cars for a commuting family, one may centre on first time cars for those wanting to get to work. Make it fun, entertaining, helpful, supportive or informative. Shatter your one idea so it can run for 6-10 weeks.

Only now do you consider format and frequency

For starters, making more noise won’t help. You need to focus on quality content. Thumb-stopping content. Work hard on the imagery, motion, animation to create posts that will jump out of a feed on a mobile.

Create for each channel. Pushing into new formats and styles from instant experiences to clear still imagery. Experiment.

Craft copy. Don’t just say things. Create copy that reflects the message that calls to action and engages readers from visual to copy to click or whatever action you want them to take.

With one idea you can go beyond your own content too

Now you have a focus for partnerships with other companies, your own employees and subject matter experts, for relationships that will endure with advocates and ambassadors.

You can look to your customer and community and tag people, connect and work your message into the corners of your buying audience.

Then get smart and use this short term campaign to learn

To evidence more investment. Track and measure as you go. Optimise throughout the campaign period – learn what works, how this idea is received and by whom and how you affect behaviours.

By moving first and thinking one single idea, one message, one focus you can get in front of your customers faster, with clear goals, simple messaging and far better results. A perfect short term campaign for recovery that will have an impact.

Let’s get your social marketing moving and join our customers where they are playing most right now – and show the business that social can make a difference.

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