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Thursday
Mar032011

Fire Up Your Social @ Campaigns' End

Many people in my circles of advertising are concerned with the campaign at hand. What will be the ROI, how many people are following the campaign, what is the product lift in awareness, etc. All of these things are indeed the core of what we do as advertisers but for most part when campaigns end, so does the attention of not only the client, but the agency as a whole. At least until budgets get revised and we all start thinking about the next great idea. Well the time has come to take this thinking and and change the thinking entirely. What agencies are failing to see is that this post campaign 'off period' is as fragile as ever for your client and leaves your customer prime for the stealing. While the cat's away the mouse intend to steal your stuff!

Think of it in terms of sports that only run one year for instance. You had a great time watching the Professional Combative Polo Ice Chess League but without anything during the off season and no information about the next, your fans will drift to the next sport; to the next product; to the next brand; and shift their loyalties to what currently feeds and captures their imaginations. Well, advertising needs to use social media to fill that gap.

Here is your new post campaign model:

A Campaign Ends –
Little is ever said about a campaign ending unless you're like those of us who read AgAge and know that the AOR moved or a client is trying other initiatives. That being said, do a better job of creating more of grand finale. Budget for it. Make a spectacle of your creative thinking and revive the campaign in its waining months. And assure all the fans that there's so much in store for them that sticking around is not simply because of interest but they might play a part in what's coming.

Post Campaign Analysis –
I'm going to assume that you looked at your five reams of paper metrics and either hired someone smarter than you to tell you what worked or not, or at the very lease learned what NOT to do in the next campaign concept. Campaign measurement, not simply of sales, but of buzz, discussion and sentiment are critical keys to the success of your next campaign.

Surveying Getting  Feedback –
So don't treat your social fan-base like children, ask them to participate in your thinking. Don't worry, they're not going to take your job. Chances are, through conversationally based surveys or open calls for feedback, they'll make you look incredibly smart with valuable insight that won't show up on your metrics.

Ongoing Discussion –
NOTHING is more important that continually communicating with your fan-base regardless of what a campaign's position is. All the more reason when a campaign ends for Social Media to kick into high gear and find out all it can from those who matter most – your customers. All the metrics in the world will not tell you what's actually on a customer's mind, but ongoing engagement will get you there.

Loyalty Wish List –
During this engagement phase (what should just be seen as never-ending and not actually a phase) you have the perfect opportunity to ask your audience what they would like to see out of future campaigns. What's happening at this point is, you're actually telling people something is coming before a pre-tease campaign is actually released. This gives a sense of 'behind the scenes' and insiders' look if you will. The audience loves feeling a sense of ownership in campaign development and this is simply planting the seed.

Pre-Tease Campaign –
Naturally all great campaigns, product releases and "in the know" messaging come from a fragile pre-tease campaign. While you should be transparent during this time, peppering in some speculation and giving your fan base ALL the information is probably in your best interest. You will come to find out that the "rumor mill" is a far more powerful tool when only a finite of the material was actually from the brand. The rest of this word-of-mouth phenomena is simply human nature and loyalists and competitors communicating.

Authority Incentive With Loyalist –
A powerful thing a brand can do is to reach out to its most valuable players and bring them into the fold, so to speak. You can do this in a number of ways: through a blogger outreach campaign, free product, or incentivizing heavy users by making them social monitors and constructing a "brand ambassador" program where followers are paid to talk, write and advocate the brand and its offerings.

First In Line –
Once you have all your people standing hungrily at the red rope of your new campaign, you must let your previous audience in first. Much like buying tickets to that once-in-a-lifetime show before the general public can, this technique will serve you well throughout the extension of your new campaign. Given that you have time to make them, asking for last-minute tweaks before letting the world in is also a plus.

New Campaign Launch –
This technique above will serve you well campaign after campaign, and you'll watch as you not only grow your audience base, but maintain a lifetime of brand loyalty with them.

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