Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Planning, Measuring a Facebook Campaign and Executing

Marketing campaigns are not exactly a brand new concept. Companies have been implementing successful contests, sweepstakes, challenges and other promotional campaigns decades before Facebook even existed. However, I believe that Facebook campaigns have the unique potential to generate thousands of leads and tons of conversions for your business.
The key is in three distinct factors:
  1. Planning
  2. Execution
  3. Measurement
I work for USB Memory Direct, an international brand which sells custom usb drives to businesses and other organizations. We started with virtually no presence on Facebook or any type of game plan for increasing our followers. But we knew that the majority of our target market was an active part of the Facebook community, so we had to try something new and exciting.
We tried and retried various Facebook campaigns with moderate success. Through our constant efforts, did eventually develop a promotional campaign strategy that increased our fan page likes from around 800 to 1500 in a little over a week. What’s more, most of the new fans were small business owners in a niche that we hardly even targeted. We were able to gain fans, valuable market research, and quite a few sales as well.
The key to our success was all in the planning, executing, and measuring of our Facebook campaign. Here we will discuss more about these three categories through my own experiences and how you can apply them to your next campaign to achieve the success and value Facebook can really offer you.

1. Planning

The planning phase will probably require the biggest time commitment. You want to make sure that you know every aspect of your Facebook campaign before you actually do anything. There’s no room for loose ends. There’s no time for unanswered questions. Everything has to be up and ready to go. Although there are a million tiny details to any marketing project, the planning phase of a Facebook campaign can be generalized into three basic components:
  • Following the Facebook Guidelines
  • Selecting your Campaign Type and the Time Frame
  • Choosing the Right Prize
Following the Facebook Guidelines
Like everything else in the world, there are always rules and regulations that you need to follow. Facebook provides a fantastic platform where you can easily and quickly communicate with your target audience in a personal way. But it is also governed by strict rules to keep it a clean and fun social network, and that definitely includes how you run business promotions on their platform.
According to Facebook, running a campaign means you’re responsible for all the official rules, terms and conditions that include eligibility requirements, compliance with regulations governing your promotion, and with the prizes involved as well.
Apart from that, you must include the following:
  • A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
  • Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  • Disclosure that the participant is providing information to you and not to Facebook.
This is necessary to keep your Facebook campaign running smooth without any interference from the platform itself. For a full list of the various rules for Facebook promotions, please visit the Facebook Page Guidelines.
Prevent your promotion from being pulled – read the Guidelines

Selecting your Campaign Type and the Time Frame
Next you’ll want to decide exactly what type of campaign you’re going to run. Basically, you need to figure out the rules and how you win. You could issue a challenge for example. In order to participant, contestants must complete a challenge that abides by your rules. The winner is selected usually by a panel of judges on your team or by the contest holder themselves.
In some scenarios, you could have the Facebook users themselves decide who will win. Let’s say you’re running a photo contest and the entrants are uploading the pictures onto their Facebook pages. These posts are given options for Facebook “Likes” from users. Any user who likes the content posted by another user could hit the “Like” button beneath it to share their enthusiasm and appeal for it. So you can decide a winner based on whoever has the most Facebook Likes on their respective pages.
You could also run a simple sweepstakes that has users enter either an email or some other information to win. These campaigns are like random drawings, were the winner is determined simply by chance. This could be combined with a variety of other campaign types. For example, an entrant could increase their chance of winning by submitting a video or a photo alongside their email, or by sharing the contest on their own Facebook page or website. The video and photo could be worth 10 entries while the share could be worth something like 15 entries.
Make sure that you take your time and think of all the rules and possible loop holes as well. Generic contests can be easily manipulated to work in an entrant’s favor and even Facebook Likes could be faked nowadays.
This also coincides very closely with the time frame you’re going to choose. When will you be hosting your campaign and how long will it last? If you have a challenge assigned, how long do you think entrants would need to complete the task? How much time would it take for people to notice the campaign in the first place? You’d also need to figure out when would be the best time to launch your campaign. If your product is more leisure oriented, then it might be best to release in the late spring or early summer. If it’s more service related, then it might be best to release toward the start of next working quarter. You know your product better than anyone, so line it up during a peak time when people are most interested in your industry.
Choosing the Right Prize
It’s true. Some people are just in it for the prize. The more lucrative you make your reward, the more potential for buzz and excitement you’ll get from your audience. iPads and other tablet computers are pretty popular nowadays, but I think offering something like this is a wasted opportunity. The whole point of a Facebook Campaign is to grow interest in your business that could potentially lead to sales.
This is the perfect chance to showcase your products and skills to your audience. Wow them with what you have to offer, and inspire them to purchase from you in the future. You don’t need to give away a lifetime of anything, or even more than $100 worth of product in some cases, but just know that the value of your prize will directly influence the interest your audience will have in it. Go with something that’s within your budget and properly reflects the company’s goals.

2. Execution

When we started our Facebook campaign, we had little over 800 fans and increased that to more than 1500 in 8 days. We knew that our social presence was weak and we wanted to explore new industries that could complement our products. During our research we came across a photography supplier called Studio 412 Imagery that networks a lot with their customers.
We offered a promotional order of our flash drives as one of many prizes in their contest, and it turned out that our product was one of the most popular prizes from one of their most successful campaigns. We didn’t even run it with the intention of getting Facebook likes. People just perceived the connection and liked our images and fan page on Facebook. So why did they?
It was because of our execution. We explained various ways that the flash drives could be useful to photographers as a marketing tool and made sure to reply to each and every comment and question about the prize. We also shared the campaign on our website and other social networks with separate interactions going on through those channels. From this we also got around 5,000 additional visitors to our main site within the 8 days of the promotion.
The ideal strategy for execution is being on top of every aspect of your Facebook campaign while it is going on. Interact with customers and create your own buzz by getting the conversation started. Try promoting your campaign on social content curators like Reddit and additional social networks like Pinterest. Release updates to your campaign addressing any new developments or answering common questions you’ve been getting. Execution is the active, living part of your campaign that will require strong dedication and focus from your team. This will not only provide additional sources of data for your metrics, but it will also give a more personal and meaningful touch to your brand identity.

3. Measurement

The results of the campaign definitely exceeded our expectations. In the end, we had gained more than 700 new Facebook fans. This was more than 5 times what we have initially expected! In addition, we gained a ton of traffic to our site and quite a few conversions as well.
  • 700+ fans
  • 250+ conversions
Measuring your ROI is the final phase. What did you get out of it? How does this compare with your goals? What the campaign a success or a failure? All of these questions and more are important to analysis during the aftermath of your campaign. You need to track the total amount of likes, shares, comments, user profiles, emails, and visits to your site.
An example spike in Facebook activity following a promotion
Ultimately you also need to find how many conversions and sales you’ve made as a direct result of the campaign as well. Google Analytics is a fantastic program that provides conversion information for you, and it is also completely free to use.
Figure out if you’ve reached any new demographics. Are there any correlations between the Facebook fans you’ve gained? Maybe there’s an entirely new niche waiting for you to explore.
Measurement is all about quantifying your efforts and determining the success of your campaign by comparing it to your original goals. Although you might have failed, the real advantage of a Facebook campaign is the data you collect and use to compare with future marketing projects.

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