Dissecting a Successful Social Media Campaign

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In order to create effective digital marketing campaigns, you need to have a strategy. Just posting willy-nilly on every platform without targeting – and retargeting – your audience will not lead to success and get them traveling through your sales funnel.

Making sure all aspects of your digital marketing team are working together as a cohesive unit and building on each different part of the overall strategy will give you a clearer view of who you’re trying to attract, where to find them, and what content of yours attracts them. Remember, it’s all about the eyeballs; how many people saw it, how many people like it, and how many people are watching you. So if you’re not tracking that, you’re already behind in the game.







Rich: So today we’ve got a different type of Agents of Change podcast. First of all this may be – if not the first – one of the first times that I’ve actually looked face-to-face with my guest, Amanda O’Brien. Amanda, please feel free to say, “Hello”.

Amanda: Hello.

Rich: So Amanda works with me and she had just had a Social Media Masterclass that we put on here at flyte the other day, and I said why don’t we kind of talk a little about what you went over, I think that would be an interesting topic for the Agents of Change podcast. So that’s kind of where this all came about. And then we were just sitting here and I turned to her in a moment of confusion – an experience I have often – and I said, “You’ve been on this show before, right?” ANd she said she thought so but I couldn’t find any show notes. So, welcome…back…to the Agents of Change?

Amanda: *squeal* 

Rich: That was Amanda making some noise. Normally we do some sort of introduction and I just thought since you had already been on the show – maybe – we’d do a different one where I would just say Amanda works here as Director of Business Development here at flyte new media working with clients. And she also puts on the Social Media Breakfast here in town and, how many have you done now, 85?

Amanda: Yeah, 85.

Rich: That’s a huge number. These go on almost every single month and that’s several years of experience right there. And then you also have a winery called eighteen-twenty wines, and you make your wines not out of grapes but out of…

Amanda: Rhubarb.

Rich: You’ve got a lot of stuff going on.

Amanda: Really?

Rich: It sounds like it to me, even I can’t keep up. So anyways, Amanda also is just fantastic with digital marketing and social media, and so I asked her to come in and sit with me today. In part because I didn’t have another guest, but also because I thought this was an interesting topic.

Amanda, you just had this social media class and there were a wide variety of different people who came in to take this class. And it was kind of pitched as, “come in and we’ll try to create a social media campaign, and then we’ll take a look at each one of you individually and we’ll really kind of nuance that. So how did it go, by the way, how did the class go?

Amanda: It was wonderful, it was great. So we had 4 people come in, the point of the class is that it’s intimate and we can do general best practices and trends that we’re seeing around, and look at each person’s stuff. So we did and they had very different backgrounds and then very different goals. So it was just really fun to go through.

Rich: And we’ve done a bunch of these. We’ve done them on LinkedIn, SEO, Google Analytics, and I just find it a great way to learn. We’ve always limited it to no more than 6 people, so it is intimate like you said. 

Now social media is so broad and yet, like you said, we’ve got 4 very different people in there. We had someone who was involved with HR for an organization, we had a news outfit, we had a food producer, and we had somebody who puts on events. If you’re trying to come up with one main theme of creating social media campaigns or social media marketing, you spent about an hour or so kind of just talking in a more general sense, what did you kind of share with them in terms of how to think about social media to grow or promoting your business. 

Amanda: So in a general sense I often feel like I’m talking about the same thing, so I usually talk about what we’re trying to do, and who we’re trying to reach, where that person is, and then what types of content can you get in front of them and what kind of different ways. So we kind of went through that exercise when we first went through introductions of who they’re trying to get in front of and what was their offer and how can they help that person they’re trying to reach. And then we just went through the top social media profiles and the top social media sites, what they’re good for, who is generally there, different types of things, and we kind of went from there.

Rich: So we identify who we’re going to talk to, we know what we want, we decide what kind of content we’re going to create, we post it to these different sites, was that the end of it or was the point in a lot of these conversations about how to get people to take that next step?

Amanda: It was all about understanding the person, understanding where they are, and then getting them to your website or to your email list, so that you can keep moving them through the funnel. And making it really clear to the person who you have now captured their attention to do the thing you want them to do.

So if it’s for an event and we’re talking about registration, maybe it’s not the hard sell like, “Buy a ticket”, but maybe it’s some type of downloadable kit that’s going to make their jobs easier. And once we get them, how can we get them to take an action and maybe re-market to them. That’s what we do here at flyte asd we are seeing a lot of success in lower costs for the advertising when it’s a remarketing campaign. You’ve seen this person before and now you take something a little bit further down the funnel in front of them in another way. 

Rich: Ok, that makes sense. Now this is kind of in the general, we did have 4 audience people here – and obviously we’ll protect the names of the innocents – but let’s kind of anchor this with a few examples. So let’s say that I am in charge of HR and I guess the specific goal is to bring people into the organization, it’s about attracting the right kind of people. Was that more or less what this person was looking for?

Amanda: Yeah, they were a recruiter.

Rich: So if I’m a recruiter, how might I use social media?

Amanda: So since this was about social media we started by not looking at social media – well we did the general overview – but then we looked at their website and what is that path that I was just talking about. So we looked at this person’s area of their site where their careers are and just kind of found some issues that if you got there it was a little confusing to get around, and you really had to poke around, and to actually contact someone to apply was difficult. So making sure that the stage is set, if you’re going to spend time, effort, and money getting people there, they they’re going to know exactly what they’re supposed to do.

So getting that set up and then getting set up in Google Analytics so you can measure what happened. So I want anyone who’s putting in the campaign to go to their boss and say, “I got 50 people to apply for these jobs that we have” every month, and then go and report on that. And then what happens form there might be someone else’s jobs. So then that becomes part of the conversation that I got 50 people, how many people then closed.

So talking about the jobs and the types of jobs in this one was stories. Telling stories about people who have careers, really interesting careers, and interviewing them about how they got there. And all of them kind of had to start somewhere and that’s where a lot of these job openings are. So talking about “kids these days” are in a tough spot, they have a lot of expenses and they have a lot of bills.

Rich: And a lot of student debt.

Amanda: And any job they want is going to want 10 years of experience, so what do they do? Getting that messaging correct of telling people this is a step towards the career that they want, and they’re going to get trained internally and they’re going to have benefits, they’re going to get the salary they can live on, and it’s kind of telling those stories to get in front of those people and kind of pique their interest.

Rich: So my takeaways from this are first of all even if you’re thinking about how do I create a social media marketing campaign, the end goal for a lot of these campaigns is getting people to the website. If the website is not clear and obvious and easy to use, and your Google Analytics aren’t available or optimized, that’s problematic and you’re not going to get the best results possible. 

Amanda: Or you’re not going to be able to show that what you did made a difference, that there is return in your effort.

Rich: Yeah, that’s definitely true. And the other thing is that in this particular case we’ve addressed and identified who we want to get in front of, we’ve identified the problems that they may have, and we’ve done a good job of storytelling, hopefully, so that these people see themselves and the opportunities as a clear pathway of where they want to go.

Amanda: Yeah. And we talked about different ways to gauge how engaged people were. But they have a couple videos that they haven’t done a lot with, so you can do a video ad campaign on Facebook and you can see how many people watch the entire video. If someone watched an entire 1:30 video then that’s a pretty warm lead, so you want to get in front of that person again. So I can probably deliver a more targeted ad towards people that watch the entire video.

Rich: I was going to get to this question later but it’s come up a couple times already now. So much of social media years ago was organic, in fact it was all organic. And now we’re talking about retargeting and remarketing and we’re talking about spending money on video ads and getting in front of people. How important or essential is paid social compared to organic social?

Amanda: That came up, too. So it used to be organic was easier and you would see more return on what you did. Some people will kick and scream that the man is trying to keep you down. I more see it as there’s just more people, there’s more businesses.

Rich: And the free ride is over.

Amanda: Yeah.

Rich: We got used to the free ride. And it was never free because of course there was an investment in time and resources. But the drug dealer came by, he gave us the free one, and now it’s time to pay up if we want to keep playing.

Amanda: Yeah, one of the ladies in the room said she heard not to post that often. If you post 4 times a day they’re going to show your things more often. And again, it’s not “the man”, they have an algorithm and they’re trying to figure out what the user wants when they log into Facebook. So they’re using a ton of different indicators to tell them whether or not they should show this in Amanda’s Facebook feed when she wakes up in the morning and checks Facebook.

So one of those is going to be a recent post that happened. And a better one is how relevant is it to Amanda. So if you’re posting 4 times a day and the people who like those posts are you and your mom, Facebook is going to say this isn’t resonating with people so I’m not going to show it to as many people. But if you have a really engaged audience who love all of your post because you’re making really good content, they’re going to see that people like this and they’re going to keep showing it. So it really always comes back to what are you saying. Don’t post just to post, but is it something that people really need and want to see.

Rich: And I would think that this HR in particular would have an even more difficult time with organic because it’s not like a brand that I’m always buying from and always thinking about and always loving. It’s kind of like buying a car, I only need one every 5-10 years. So once I’ve engaged with this I’m basically going to stop paying attention to this anyways, so it almost feels like you have to fuel – in this particular case – your social media with some dollars to stay in front of the type of person that would be interested  in a job opening, in this case. 

Amanda: So another wrench in the gears for this particular case is the organic social media posts are not his job. They have a marketer/PR person who’s doing their posts on behalf of the company, so those posts can’t be “job opening today”. In particular the organic part isn’t there, but for advertising we talk a lot about Facebook – because we tell Facebook everything – they know when we’re online, they know our relationship status, they know where we are, what links we click on, they often know what things we bought recently or if we’re in the market for a car.

Rich: And which sites we’ve used Facebook to log into. Because I’m just tired of putting in my email address so I’m almost always clicking on “login with Facebook”, which is just giving Facebook even more insane amounts of data.

Amanda: Yes. So on one hand it’s like, let’s put on our tinfoil hats, this is super creepy. But as marketers it’s pretty amazing because you can target people based on their interests and their behavior. So this particular case in the HR scenario, you can create ads to men who are 30-38 who earn around this much amount of money.

Rich: And like certain TV shows, perhaps, or magazines.

Amanda: Yeah, or who are interested in whatever type of ob this is. So you can target people based on their interest because Facebook knows that.

Rich: I’m going to get really nervous if I see a retargeting ad for tinfoil hats later on today, by the way. I’m going to be on the lookout for that.

Alright, so let’s shift gears and let’s talk about the food producer for a second. So I’m a food producer and I’m creating some product and maybe I’m trying to get into stores like Whole Foods and I’m also trying to maybe sell some of my product direct or to some specialty shops. How might social media work for me?

Amanda: So this woman was super cute because she likes photography so she had some really good product shots and we talked about Instagram, because again that seems to be on that she’s drawn to. She had all these great product shots but she said, “The thing I don’t understand is whenever I post a picture of me or my partner, we get hundreds of ‘likes’. But if it’s a really beautiful shot of the food, we get some.” Yes, because people want to follow along on your journey. So I think we all love those startups, especially in Maine we want to cheer on other Mainers. So yeah, people want to see you , they want to feel like this is their chance to get behind the scenes. So especially if you’re going to try and convince someone that they should buy your thing over the thing they’ve been buying for the past 30 years, they really want to feel like they are a part of your stories.

So we talked about more pictures of behind the scenes and using Instagram Stories. So Instagram I feel your posts are these beautiful and the lighting is great and the filter is perfect, but you have more room on Instagram Stories to do the behind the scenes stuff and this day stuff. So I think when she was just getting started and trying to build relationships with people, that’s a good place for her to play right now.

Rich: In the Instagram Stories area?

Amanda: Yeah.

Rich: And is there any way to kind of measure that in terms of driving traffic to the website? Like, Instagram for me is always beautiful, but unless you’re doing ads, it’s a little bit of a dead end. That’s for me, but I’m wondering with food it might be something completely different.

Amanda: So she’s in certain stores, so we talked about also going to the stores and doing a post about the shop that they’re in or a sandwich that they serve at the shop, and then often that shop will share that post as well. Tagging people and using hashtags to try to get in front of people who are looking for these types of things.

The measurement piece is hard. So I’m super obnoxiously tactical. I want to see this dot connect to that dot. That is harder for most of us, but in a food thing or a branding thing, it really is eyeballs. So how many people did see it, how many people like it, how many people are watching your stories.

There are of course ways to add links and you always see people say, “link in our profile”.  Or we’re seeing something new with the Linken – it looks like LinkedIn – and you can put that as a link in your Instagram profile and people click on it and it opens up to 8 or 9 different links. So you can have more than just one link at a time in your Instagram profile. So those are kind of fun, too.

Rich: I didn’t realize you were just limited to one link in your bio, I never tried to do more than one, but that’s good information. And of course if you’re doing paid on Instagram you can certainly drive traffic to that as well.

Amanda: Yeah, and Instagram was bought by Facebook so you can manage your ads through Facebook Ad Manager.

Rich: Alright, let’s do one more of these. Let’s do the news organization, and the reason why I’m thinking about the news organization is because on some level most businesses these days are media companies. And the fact that we’re always trying to create content and stuff like that, this is just like the extreme version of it. This news organization is trying to figure out how to get more eyeballs at the end of the day, because eyeballs equal advertising dollars, correct?

Amanda: Yes.

Rich: Alright, so what were some of the things that news organizations can do that maybe all of us could take a lesson from in terms of trying to get more eyeballs?

Amanda: I think with her it was talking about the marketing department. So there’s one person who is managing Twitter and one person who is managing Facebook, and they were not working together.

Rich: That’s sad, are they not good friends?

Amanda: They all were kind of doing their own thing, and that happens a lot, we see that a lot when we work with new clients, the website person doesn’t work with the social media person and they have no idea what the PR department is doing. So that was one thing is starting to get everyone on the same page, whether that’s a weekly or monthly meeting of talking about some things that you’re doing and how they can all feed into each other.

Rich: So if you could control these people like little marionette puppets, would you create an editorial calendar for all of them? Would there be a theme of the week, or how might you approach that problem if you could get everybody on board?

Amanda: I am a passive leader so what I would do is really have people in once a week and be like, “What are some things that you’re excited to do in the next couple of weeks?” And then once you have your Facebook guy saying, “I’m going to do this”, and your Instagram girl is like, “Cool”, and once they’re in the same room and saying what they’re doing, how can they collaborate. They did a photo contest recently – which was great – but if they all started together on how that was going to go, and using the same hashtag. Then at the end since all of this has been set up beforehand with Google Analytics or maybe they’re going to use UTM codes to measure their campaign, seeing how they did. How many used the hashtag on Twitter, and how many used it on Facebook, and how many actually entered through which medium, and then figuring out how many people actually subscribed in this process of this campaign to become a subscriber. 

Rich: For the people who might not be familiar with the UTM term, can you just explain that for us?

Amanda: So if you ever click on a link in an unsuspecting site and it opens, and all of a sudden the URL is a thousand characters long, that’s someone using a campaign builder. The one that we use is Google’s, it’s free, you can just Google, “campaign builder”.

So we talked yesterday, too, about the art of the campaign is gone and these are strategic plans that we had. So this way you can have a strategic plan to maybe sell tickets or grow subscribers, but you can put your different marketing methods or mediums in the campaign. So you can look back and see how did that photo contest go, and you have it all in Google Analytics under one campaign. This was our photo contest, 100 people came from Facebook, 50 people came from Twitter, 10 people clicked on the email that went out from the Chamber, because you can send that link to other people that are also promoting the event.

Rich: And one pro tip that we discovered from putting on the Agents of Change Conference is it’s great if you’ve got multiple people doing this, to create some sort of spreadsheet where you put in all of your codes. So if somebody is not sure, one of the biggest problems I’ve seen is one person will put in “banner”, another person will put in “banner ad”, another person will put in “banner ads”, somebody else will put in “skyscraper”, and suddenly it’s like your data doesn’t mean anything.  So setting up a Google doc that everybody can access so that they can quickly put together their codes, or even creating the codes beforehand and handing them out, certainly is going to improve your data and thus reporting.

Amanda: And I think you’ll be surprised how much better any type of marketing effort does when you sit back at the beginning and think about what you’re trying to do, how you’re going to do it, and how you’re going to measure it. And then at the end it’s easier to wrap it up really quickly and see what worked and what didn’t.

Rich: So one of the questions I was planning on asking you is what are the challenges that small businesses and entrepreneurs have when it comes to social media? And I think you’ve kind of already addressed a number of them. We talked about the fact that sometimes you might have a poor place you’re sending them, like the website is not optimized to do what you want people to do, or you don’t have access or control over your Google Analytics because you’re part of a bigger organization or whatever the case may be, or you’ve got a bunch of people and they’re all doing their own things and not communicating.  What are some of the other problems – either from this class or just from you working with so many different clients –  what are some of the problems and challenges that small businesses face when it comes to creating an effective social media marketing campaign? 

Amanda: The thing that literally keeps me up at night is how many people when they come to us either in a class or a phone call or an email or as a new client, and they’re just doing so many things because they’ve been told along the way they need to do this and that, and they don’t know why they’re doing it, they don’t have a plan for doing it, and none of the things all work together.

Rich: Creating a map then, of all the different steps and all the different pieces can definitely help things.

Amanda: I see a lot of times people are just wasting time and effort on Twitter because they were told they need to be on Twitter. But what are you trying to do and are your people even there? Are the people you’re trying to reach actually there, and when they are there, is what you have something that they’re going to click on and that they care about?

Rich: Right. That makes a lot of sense. This has been great. If people are listening and they want to learn more about you Amanda, where can we send them?

Amanda: takeflyte.com.

Rich: That is the corporate answer and I love you for saying that. But you’ve also got a couple side hustles, so where can we go if we want to find out about the next Social Media Breakfast?

Amanda: Socialmediabreakfastmaine.com

Rich: Excellent. And if we are interested in trying rhubarb wine, where can we go for that?

Amanda: Eighteentwentywines.com.

Rich: But we can’t buy it online, correct? We have to come and visit you in your shop.

Amanda: You have to come see my smiling face and our tasting room.

Rich: Alright, looking forward to that in your brand new tasting room.

Amanda: My brand new tasting room.

Rich: Here in Portland, Maine.

Amanda: Here in Portland, Maine.

Rich: Amanda, always a pleasure to see you, come down to my office anytime. And thanks for coming on the show and bailing out my behind this week.

Amanda: Thanks for covering my travel expenses.

Rich: You’re welcome.

Show Notes:

Amanda O’Brien loves to teach small businesses how to create effective and successful social media and digital marketing plans. As the creator and mastermind behind the monthly Social Media Breakfast series, she is an avid supporter of helping local people in her community grow their businesses. She’s also an entrepreneur in her own right, having recently started her own rhubarb wine business, eighteen-twenty wines.  

Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine. He knows a thing or two about helping businesses grow by reaching their ideal customers, and to prove that, he puts on a yearly conference to inspire small businesses to achieve big success. You can also head on over to Twitter to check him out, and he just added “author” to his resume with his brand new book!

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