3 social media campaigns that won’t bust your budget

These creative approaches don’t require much monetary outlay, making them attractive options for brands in today’s online landscape.


Brand managers are often looking for ways to launch fun-filled, noteworthy social media campaigns, but they face limited budgets or resources.

With so many posts published on social media every day, brand managers must use these campaigns to help cut through the noise. Still, how does a brand on a budget successfully do that?

Here are three engaging campaigns that almost any brand can execute:

1. Real-time marketing

You don’t have to represent a famous brand or celebrity to make a splash with real-time marketing. You just have to be in tune with what your audience is talking about on social media and be ready to hop into the conversation as it’s occurring.

To do this well, you should already have an established brand voice and have determined all ground rules with your legal, PR and marketing departments.

Next, make a list of relevant events and holidays coming up in the next month and prepare some basic ideas for how you might approach those topics in real time, should they become popular on social media.

Then, discuss your strategy with your creative team to let them know you might call on them for timely assistance.

Finally, as those events unfold, keep an eye on the social chatter, and join in. Don’t forget to look out for other unexpected pop-culture events that might occur on the fly.

According to Chris Kerns at Spredfast, about nine in 10 brand managers who engaged in a pop-culture conversation saw lifts in their brands’ per-post engagement. Your post might just strike a chord and be the next talked-about campaign. Just see how these brands benefitted from #IfThe80sNeverStopped.

2. Unlock campaigns

An unlock campaign requires social followers to take an action (such as retweet, share or follow) in order to “unlock” an offer. The offer can be exclusive content, such as access to a song or video or a deal such as a discount or freebie. Just determine what your offer is and what action you want your social media audience to take, and then start drumming up anticipation by letting people know when the campaign will take place.

Once it launches, provide clear instruction on what must be done to earn the offer and make sure it gets exposure by sharing it across your other social channels, website and/or email marketing and reaching out to influencers.

As the campaign progresses, provide updates on how close the goal is to being achieved to keep people buzzing. Once it’s unlocked, give your audience access to the offer, and remain available to answer questions and keep the buzz going.

As you can see, this is a relatively inexpensive and simple way to please the executive team with a measureable increase social engagements, and/or website traffic and conversions! If budget isn’t as much of a concern, you can also use a tool such as OfferPop to automate this campaign.

3. Social media scavenger hunts

Ready to have some fun with your social media audience? Scavenger hunts help brand managers create a cool, memorable experience for followers without requiring much budget, though it might take some ingenuity.

A digital social media scavenger hunt provides clues on a social media channel and leads people through your online properties such as a website or other social media channels to find the answer(s) and claim the prize.

For an IRL scavenger hunt, hide an item at a physical location and provide hints via social media posts with picture or riddle clues to the location. Both drum up social media mentions, buzz, and consumption of your online properties to increase brand awareness, and are a win/win for your brand and your audience.

Devon DeMars helps brands understand their online audience and reach their social media goals as the director of social media at Internet Marketing Inc. You can connect with her at @ThereDGoes.

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