Media Matters

The worst kind of “social media integration” is a hashtag at the end of a commercial. A highway billboard. Amongst several other hashtags in a tweet. While it may not be your job as a social or digital strategist to buy and plan media, you should still be very familiar with where any campaigns you touch will be encountered in the wild. And as that strategist, it’s even more important that you advocate on behalf of a successful campaign, not a compromised one. Ask yourself (and your team) these questions to figure out if you’re moving forward with a sound integrated campaign.

What are you asking people to do?

In other words, how heavy a lift is your ask? Are you simply placing a hashtag somewhere in your creative with the hopes that people will use it? You might want to be careful, since a hashtag with no direction will only be clear to some people. On the other hand, if you’re asking for something like user-generated content, your ask might be too dense. Digital should be simple (social especially), and the trickier it becomes, the harder it can be to justify the payoff. Doritos wanted to give away $1 million for a Super Bowl commercial created by fans, and even then, they only received a handful of entries. For a million dollars. Be reasonable.

Where are you asking them to do it?

Is this a station takeover in a crowded space? When will they see this 15-second spot? Hear this radio ad? Where you invite people to engage with you is just as important as what you’re asking them to engage with. Don’t place your call to action on an ad that will live in a crowded subway. People commuting in those conditions will be thinking about one thing: getting off the train at their stops, not your ad or your CTA. Want vacation pictures? Take out ad space near beaches and other attractions where people on holiday could actually be in high volume. Be strategic.

Why are you asking them to do it?

If you’re following similar models from the last two sections, you’re probably looking for content. But what is the goal of that content, more specifically? Are you trying to populate an ad campaign with refreshed creative? Generate online conversation? Rack up earned media? Strengthen brand awareness? Clearly define your KPIs, and let that help inform how you ask people to do what you’d like them to (and where). It’s not a bad idea to have a contingency plan in case your ask doesn’t completely align with your audience. Experimentation helps you tighten your approach, but can leave you dry if you don’t have other ideas. Be prepared.

The bottom line: Placement & purpose are essential to the success of any social media campaign… no matter how great your hashtag is. First impressions matter, so consider how work looks in the wild to your audience before signing off on your strategy.