Paul Trueman, Head of Social at Bray Leino explains how to create an effective, impactful social content campaign.

In the Good Old DaysTM you knew you where you were as a brand, didn't you? You and your agency would work like dogs to get your TV campaign out for that year, complete with print and radio. It would launch to a small/medium/large/ [delete as appropriate] fanfare and then hang around the airwaves, bus shelters and local radio for months. Job done for that year, amirite?

Nowadays, while those channels are still hugely important, you’ll likely be looking at a complementary approach to digital campaigns which is much closer to ‘always on’ content marketing.

Lower budgets, a smorgasbord of channels and much higher frequency all bring their own set of pitfalls (as well as potential campaign smash hits). How do you cut through the vast, swirling noise of most people’s Facebook newsfeeds? Will you ever get engagement on Twitter? As budgets fragment, how do you do more video with less? Is more video even a good idea? And what the hell really even is an ‘influencer’? Questions, questions, questions…

At Bray Leino we deliver high-impact ‘sticky’ digital campaigns through the year for clients, often planning the next campaign even as we deliver the current one. Creative bandwidth is required, as are video production capabilities, along with a host of other specialisms.

Happily, as you’d expect from a full-service agency headquartered in North Devon, we’re self-sufficient enough to get it all done in house.

Our ‘Art of Breakfast’ campaign for Tefal scooped gold in the IPM awards this year and Slimmer’s Secret, also for Tefal, is nominated in the DADI awards this Autumn. Here’s some of what we’ve learned/cried over/triumphed at/ with a forward-thinking client like Tefal during the last 18 months.

1) Where does the idea come from? Some things haven’t changed. No matter how new and shiny the stuff you’re making is - an insta story, a snapchat sticker or a twitter gif - the best ideas are still those rooted in actual, proper insight from your customers. For example, our Slimmer’s Secret campaign for Tefal is based on genuine social insight. Daily social monitoring around the #ActiFry hashtag showed us that slimmers are a thriving, engaged community. We saw that existing ActiFry users love the product and enjoy showing off what they can do with it on key platforms like Instagram. Using this insight as the bedrock for the campaign, we took a bold approach and put the ActiFry on trial, giving the product to bloggers to road-test in a series of challenges.

2) You’re not competing with other brands. Ok, so you are. But also you’re not. Not really. When you’re on social channels your real competition is time. What’s Joe Bloggs going to do with that two minutes on his phone before the bus comes? Spend it watching your film? Or keep scrolling and watch a Russian teenager jump off a chimney stack onto a snow drift without a parachute? Grab attention and hold it.

3) You’re not making a film. You’re making a campaign. The film(s) is just part of the whole. And all of it has to work together. The hero/hub/hygiene model is a useful filter to help you understand the role played by each of the assets you’re creating. (Full disclosure: I hate the use of the word ‘hygiene’ and everything it implies about what should be strong creative work.) Interestingly YouTube (who coined the term to begin with) have recently swapped ‘hygiene’ for ‘help’ as a descriptor, which is much more, err…helpful.

For example, we kicked off the Slimmer’s Secret with a celebrity-hosted event that set up the ActiFry as a weight loss ‘secret’ worth sharing. That was our ‘hero’ film. Our bloggers then provided genuinely user-generated content as they showed off what they loved to cook in their ActiFrys. That was our hub work. Then our ‘hygiene’ ‘help’ content were posts bringing to life measurable product benefits in the form of lower fat recipes.

4) Make sure people can see the work. Please do not, do not, DO NOT even consider spending money on a campaign if you’ve only a teeny-tiny media budget to accompany it. Organic reach is between 1-2% on platforms like Facebook, so you’ll need a smart, targeted media plan that doesn’t hinge on your posts magically ‘going viral’. Costs will vary depending on your level of targeting, but for any significant reach you’re looking at spending £thousands rather than £hundreds.

5) It’s still all about the action. The action you wish them to take, that is. Have a clear idea of what you want people to do once they’ve interacted with your content. Are you sending them to a landing page? Then what happens? How are you going to measure it? What does success look like from a digital campaign?

Like I said, there are lots of questions and I’ve only scratched the surface. If you don’t know the answers to this stuff, make damn sure your agency does. If they don’t, give us a call.

Paul Trueman is Head of Social at Bray Leino. He’s on twitter (a bit too much tbh) at @paulwtrueman if you want to talk social.

October 2017