Social Media Campaigns 101: When, Why & How

Daisy Rogozinsky
By Daisy Rogozinsky
March 2, 2023 · 11 min read

As a business owner, you probably already know just how important social media is for promoting your business. Over 4.74 billion people across the world use social media, and nine out of 10 people say they buy from companies they follow on social networks. 

But social media can be a bit intimidating. You know it’s a powerful tool, but how do you harness that power to actually make sales and grow your business?

A great idea is to take your cue from the biggest, most successful brands, and what they’re doing on social media. And consistently, what you’ll see is that all of the companies we admire most do one specific thing: social media campaigns. And you can do it, too.

In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know to run a successful social media campaign. We’ll cover what it is, why it’s so useful, and how you can create one from beginning to end. Let’s dive in.

What Is a Social Media Campaign?

A social media campaign is a strategic marketing strategy using one or more social media platforms as the channel for delivering a specific message. Each social media campaign will look different from the next, but they generally center around a specific theme, topic, or occasion. For example, a business may run a social media campaign surrounding the release of a new product, related to an occasion such as Black Friday, or about a topic relevant to their brand, like a back-to-school campaign. 

The Benefits of Social Media Campaigns

Most modern businesses post on social media, but this isn’t quite the same as running a social media campaign. When you post on social media, you can be pretty free-wheeling. You might post whatever comes to mind in the moment, on whichever platform you feel like at the time. You may give access to your business’s social media accounts to multiple employees, such that everybody posts when they want to, using their own voice and discussing topics of their choice.

Generally speaking, any social media marketing is better than none. But a social media campaign is a much more effective approach that has a number of benefits including:

  • Building a consistent brand aligned with a clear voice and message
  • Planning ahead to save time and resources
  • Taking your audience through a pre-determined content sequence related to a specific theme, subject, or goal
  • Applying strategic thinking
  • Making use of insights about the latest social media best practices and trends 

Let’s take a look at an example. Let’s say your hair accessories e-commerce business has a large female audience and you want to post some content related to International Women’s Day. 

One approach would be to check your calendar, realize that it’s International Women’s Day, and draft up an Instagram post or a TikTok wishing your audience a “Happy International Women’s Day from Happy Hair Accessories!” And, sure, that’s fine.

But what would be even better? That’s right, a social media campaign. 

To create one, you’d plan in advance. A few weeks before the holiday, you’d sit down and decide what message you want to send regarding International Women’s Day, and what content you want to create. Maybe you’ll decide to run a promotion – 25% off for 24 hours on March 8th. You can create some content promoting the sale and a video or two announcing it on the day of.

You’d make your content in advance and pre-schedule it so that it’s published at certain, pre-determined times. By planning ahead, you’ll be able to make all of your decisions strategically, choosing the social media platforms, posting times, and content types that will have the best results and help you meet your goals. 

You’ll make sure that your audience is aware of and excited about the sale so that by the day it comes, visitors are flocking to your website to make use of the deal. 

You can probably see why a social media campaign would be much more effective than not using one.

How to Create a Social Media Campaign

If you want to dip your toes into creating social media campaigns for the first time, here’s a guide for all the steps you’ll need to take.

1. Audit and Research

A great pre-planning step to start is doing some research. Take a look at your social media accounts and see what’s working and what isn’t. Which posts get the most engagement? Which seem to perform more poorly? Can you identify any trends in why that is?

Try to look at your accounts from the perspective of a customer. Is it clear what your brand is? Do you have consistent branding and messaging? Where is there room for improvement?

It’s also a good idea to look at the social media accounts of your competitors or brands that you admire. What are they doing right, and what are they doing wrong? What elements can you borrow, and which could you improve upon?

2. Set Your Goals

One of the most important steps in creating a social media campaign is to set goals. This is key to any strategy. In order to make smart decisions about your campaign, you’ll need to know what you’re trying to achieve with it.

Aim to create SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. This is a great framework for goal-setting that is actually actionable.

Some examples of good social media campaign goals include:

  • Grow our Instagram following by 15%
  • Get 100 likes on each post 
  • Make $10,000 in revenue from social commerce posts

3. Set Your Timeline

Next, you’ll need to decide how long your social media campaign will last. A good range is typically between one week and one month. Anything shorter than that won’t feel like much of a campaign, and anything longer might lose your audience’s interest.

The exact timeline you decide on will depend on a few factors including:

  • The specific topic or occasion – A campaign for a longer occasion such as Black History Month will probably last longer than one for a single-day holiday like Valentine’s Day
  • How much content you can come up with – If your topic is more complex and you can think of 10 different videos you want to post about it, you’ll probably choose to create a pretty long campaign. If it’s more simple, consisting of 2 – 3 posts, a week-long campaign might be better.
  • The platforms you’re posting on – Trends on TikTok come and go in a flash, so it may be best to stick with shorter campaigns. On Facebook or Instagram, you’ll have more room to go longer.

4. Choose Your Audience and Platforms

Your next step will be to decide what audience you are trying to reach with your campaign, and which platforms you’ll post on. These two factors go hand-in-hand, as you’ll generally try to choose the social media platforms that your target audience is using most. For example, TikTok is the place to be for a Gen Z audience, while LinkedIn is a much better choice if you’re targeting professionals.

Sometimes, the audience for your social media campaign will be the same as your general target customer. But sometimes, you might want to target a specific demographic for a given social media campaign. For instance, maybe you’ll choose an audience of parents for your back-to-school campaign or single women for your anti-Valentine’s Day campaign.

5. Choose Content Format and Types

With all of these decisions made, you’re ready to start thinking about content. Decide what content format and types you want to create. Some format options include:

  • Text
  • Videos
  • Images
  • Infographics
  • Quizzes
  • Stories
  • Live video

In terms of content type, you can choose from:

  • Contests
  • Memes
  • Educational content
  • Jokes
  • Behind-the-scenes at your business
  • Inspirational content

6. Plan Content

Now it’s time to actually plan your content. This step involves deciding how many pieces of content you’ll create, what they will be, and exactly when you will post them. 

Let’s say you’ve decided your campaign will last two weeks and include six pieces of content: three videos and three image posts. In this step, you’ll plan exactly what will be in the videos and what the images will look like. You might write scripts, create sketches, etc. You can also plan your captions here.

In this step, a content calendar is an essential tool to help you keep track of everything. It will allow you to visualize each piece of content you’re creating, when it will be posted, to what platform, etc. 

7. Create, and Schedule Content

Now you’re ready to create and schedule your content! You might do this on your own using DIY tools like Promo’s online video maker and online photo editor. Alternatively, you can also work with other people like graphic designers and copywriters to help you create your content. By the end of this step, all of your content will be made and ready to post.


It is also highly recommended that you schedule your social media posts in advance so they will automatically be published at the date and time you choose. This way, you can sit back and relax, knowing your posts will be published at the right time on the right platform. Promo Planner is the best tool for this, letting you connect your social accounts and schedule your posts to be published directly from Promo.

8. Monitor Results

Last, but certainly not least, it’s important for you to monitor the results of your campaign. Use your social media platforms’ insights tools to see which posts are succeeding and which aren’t. Reference the goals you set earlier on. Which of them did you meet? Which did you fall short of, and by how much?

This step will give you highly valuable information that you can apply the next time you plan a social media campaign. 

Social Media Campaign Best Practices

For the best results, here are some best practices to keep in mind when planning your social media campaigns.

  • Be relevant – A great way to capture attention and grow your audience is to choose campaign topics that are relevant and trendy. 
  • Offer value – The golden rule of content is that it should always provide value. Don’t post just for the sake of posting. The best way to get people to engage with and follow you is to offer them something in your posts, whether that’s information, education, humor – you get the idea.
  • Get visual – The type of content that people find most engaging on social media is visual content, so try to always include images and videos in your campaigns as much as possible.
  • Engage – Don’t just post and leave it at that. The best way to connect with people and build brand loyalty is to get into your comments and DMs and actually engage with your audience. 
  • Use a hashtag – It’s a great idea to create a hashtag for your social media campaigns that you will use in every post that is part of the campaign. This will help your audience find more of your content, and make it easier to track everything in one place. For example, you can choose something like #HappyHairAccessoriesInternationalWomensDay2023.

Social Media Campaigns Are the Way to Go

Social media campaigns can be as simple or complicated as you’d like. Massive corporations may employ entire teams for theirs, but you can create one all on your own and still see wonderful results. 

The bottom line is that it’s important to adopt a strategic mindset when it comes to social media marketing, and plan ahead in order to make the most of your time and resources. If you haven’t yet seen progress and results on your social media accounts, this is the way to start growing your following and meeting your goals. 

To make social media campaign planning easier, our new Promo Planner is designed to simplify the process. Stay tuned for a detailed guide on how to use Promo Planner to run a social media campaign. 

About the author

Daisy Rogozinsky

Daisy Rogozinsky loves to use the written word to educate, entertain, and tell stories. If she's not writing content, she's writing poetry, music, and screenplays.

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