The Strategy Behind the Campaign

Recently I wrapped up a week long internet event that was created in order to build value in my client’s social media efforts.

So, let’s call this part one in a new series where I demystify the steps that go into my social media campaigns. We’ll see if it actually becomes a series! I recommend serializing content all the time, I should practice what I preach.

Mapping Out the Business Goals
This should always be the first step in any campaign! This was ours:

  • Establish Student Loan Consolidation Awareness Week as a legit national event in which the finance industry recognizes and participates

There are obviously deeper business reasons for that, and so we make note of that too:

  • Educate graduating debtors about their debt management options with a focus on loan consolidation
  • Sell the Loan Consolidation product!
    This is the obvious and most self-serving goal…. but note that it is 3rd in priority for a reason. We needed to keep our focus on the pure mission of building awareness FIRST… putting value into the educational materials first… and branding, lead generation and sales tactics are all meant to be a BONUS. It was my role to push this and keep it top of mind.

Building the Assets
Rather than concentrating our social media campaign on one platform over another, we opted to concentrate on a micro-site. We wanted the campaign to feel like it was about more than what cuSL had to say about the topic – we built an aggregate page or content hub to accommodate contributions from various sources. It’s focus was on content and conversation that was being drummed across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – all surrounding the hashtag, #StudentLoanAwareness.

We chose a brand neutral URL in student-loan-awareness.com, though the page was branded with the CUSL header. We aimed to appear as hosts of the event, welcoming everyone to participate, and add their voice.

We designed a full screen, one page long scroll design. I’m not sure what you call this, but I like to think of it as a “single task” design. The user isn’t distracted by a billion options and the intent is clear despite the fact that it holds a ton of information.

Naming the Event
Your title IS important and it can make or break your campaign.¬†“Student Loan Consolidation Awareness Week” is a mouthful and it wasn’t working for us as much as it was against us. We took to the round table, and decided that while we are stuck with all of those words, we could use a simpler hashtag to get our point across. We discussed several options, and ended up with on the spoke to our mission, and one that we can multi-purpose throughout the the year.

Again, we didn’t choose to brand the hashtag, as to encourage other brands to participate and meet their own business goals.

Encouraging Engagement from the Consumer
So, naturally we concocted a giveaway. We thought about several different options, but one goal that we kept in center focus was to stay on mission. We didn’t want to simply toss out iPads to folks that don’t care about our topic in exchange for likes or comments – we wanted to EDUCATE. So we came up with a cash reward and messaged it as debt relief via “$500 sweepstakes to be used toward your student debt.” The mode of entry was simply to ask a QUESTION on our ¬†Facebook page. It looked like this

In retrospect, I’d have redesigned the floating questions b/c as much as they were meant to be designerly, Facebook recognized the graphic as 80% text and it made boosting the visibility impossible.

Encouraging Influencer and Competitive Participation
We sent out a press release, created a fun email for targeted industry bloggers, and we sent a message to the hundreds of participating credit unions in our program, inviting all to join us in the fun. This part was really our most crucial aspect of the campaign, and next time I think we should have all the moving parts completed sooner, so that we can really put more into the outreach that is needed to drum up partner participation. We would have been happy to do some really cool cross pollination with other organizations if we could have.
We built an assets page to make materials to share on social readily accessible, so that our participating organizations would have easy share options. See that here: http://www.custudentloans.org/student-loan-awareness-assets/
Then, we set ourselves to task creating that content. We had educational rap videos, Instagram pics for word of the day, we gathered up some informational debt survival guide tips and we put together a massive FAQ.

 

Conclusion
At the end of Student Loan Consolidation Awareness Week we called it a wrap and gathered the following info to see how our efforts paid off.

12 well thought entries into the Sweepstakes.

Great engagement on Twitter with the hashtag, including a debtor that not only shared his Fannie Mae debt printout with us, but was also picked up by BuzzFeed that week. He consolidated with CUSL and we’ll do a follow up on his success story once it finalizes.

50% of the traffic to the landing page came from a front page trending link on Reddit /personalfinance

Facebook Fans at the beginning of campaign = 3306
Facebook Fans at the end of the campaign = 3458

 

 

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