Social Media Campaign Do’s and Don’ts

Creating a social media campaign is no easy undertaking. It is more complicated than simply putting a hashtag at the end of each tweet or post. It takes careful planning and consideration to make sure your social media campaign doesn’t end up in the “How Not to Run a Social Media Campaign” articles.


There are seven steps you must do to ensure your campaign is a success, not a fail.

1) Set Clear Goals

What outcome do you want from the campaign? Are you trying to increase brand awareness, promote a new product, or create a test for future campaigns? Write an explanation of your campaign to give to your boss. If you cannot answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how of it, give it some more thought before suggesting the campaign.

2) Choose Your Elements

Unless your clients use each social media platform equally, only choose one or two to promote your campaign. Using any other platform would be a waste of time and money. Will you need custom graphics, infographics, a hashtag, or custom blog articles, a microsite? How is your message going to reach your audience?

3) Create a Timeline

Create a realistic timeline for the start and end dates of your campaign. Your audience will want to know when they should expect your content to be posted. This will help you plan the amount of content you will have to create to keep the campaign going as many days as you want it to.

4) Pick a Partner

Are there any companies that you have an “alliance” with? For example, liking each other’s tweets, commenting on each other’s Facebook posts or blog articles. That alliance can be a great tool for helping your campaign reach as many audience members as possible. Ask the company or person to help spread the word about your campaign and promote it on their social media sites.

5) Is it the right time?

Make sure you allow enough duration time for your campaign so it reaches the maximum amount of viewers. If you are basing your campaign around an event, is it smarter to start during or after the outcome of the event? If your campaign is based around a topic, make sure the topic is still relevant and popular among your audience.

6) Spell It Out

When promoting your campaign, make it as clear as possible how you want your audience to interact and what they will gain by interacting with your content. Also, be clear when titling your campaign and each piece of content that is part of the campaign. If all of the content has the same title as the campaign, your audience won’t be able to differentiate what is what. You want to make everything as clear as possible so you get the most interaction.

7) Check the Numbers

Make sure you are collecting analytic data throughout the course of your campaign. The number you collect will tell you which content was a hit, and what was a miss. Use those measurements when you set up your next campaign so you create new content that will resonate best with your audience. (1)


Don’t forget to think of all possible responses to your campaign. Is there a way your audience to could turn the message against you? The New York Police Department forgot to ask that vital question when they started the #MyNPD. The idea of the campaign was to show citizens with their “friendly neighborhood cops”, but instead they were taken over by the Occupy Wall Street and other users that were not happy with the Police Department. They were flooded with images of force shown by the NYPD towards citizens. It definitely did not show the NYPD in the “friendly” manner the campaign was hoping for.

A more recent fail comes from the caffeine giant, Starbucks, with its #RaceTogether campaign. The hashtag was promoted on the company’s social media pages, and initially the reception was positive. However, Starbucks went a step too far when it brought the conversation to the counter and started writing #RaceTogether on the cups. Many criticized this move saying it downplayed the seriousness of the issue by turning it into a two minutes or less conversation. The reactions on social media quickly turned the optimistic campaign into an “epic fail.”

So what did these two companies not do?

The NYPD and Starbucks did not anticipate any negativity that could come from the campaigns. When first brainstorming a new campaign, all possibilities for misunderstandings should be explored and avoided if possible. You should position your campaign in a way that does not allows for negativity, even if it means changing the message of the campaign. Once a social media campaign has gone bad, it is hard to win back the respect of your social media audience. (2)

Article 1: 7 Tips for Planning Your Social Media Campaign

Article 2: How Not to Run a Social Media Campaign