Social Media Spin-Offs: Leveraging Campaign-Specific Social Media
By Karen Geier
The battle cry of the brand manager is: “keep everything consistent across the board.” This applies to websites and email campaigns closely tied to your brand, but in social media you can afford to take more chances due to the somewhat-transient nature of the medium.
Traditional brand wisdom is to establish consistent, singular presence for your product in any channel, but there are times when you might want to consider campaign-specific social media accounts.
For example, if you’re rebranding, starting a diffusion line or sub-brand, or running a campaign (especially stealth ones) you can leverage the power of separate, totally differently branded social media accounts.
Consider Buzzfeed: a monolith web property that covers dozens of topics. They have their main accounts (on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, they are just Buzzfeed) but also spin off their various topics (food, music, even regional editions) to better serve their fans of each vertical market. The result? Some readers follow multiple accounts, which keeps consumers coming back for more within Buzzfeed’s system.
Advantages of differentiated social media accounts
It’s important to acknowledge the fractured nature of social media and consumers’ needs to customize their news feeds. A clothing store is a good example: Maybe you only shop the women’s department of a store, so promotions about baby clothes or men’s accessories have no importance in your life. The same can be said for any content your social media accounts publish: perhaps there are parts of your overall brand that are more relevant to a certain group than others. Empowering consumers to choose is a great way to build smaller, more dedicated fans.
On the other hand, you may find that there are certain consumers you may be able to court with a differentiated account: ones you didn’t have access to before because of incorrect brand assumptions. In this way, you have another chance to talk to customers who wrote you off. You may even find that that shift is responsible for more fans, which can help inform the original brand values, in turn benefiting the brand without the expense of a costly (and potentially disastrous) brand overhaul.
Disadvantages of differentiated social media accounts
There are some caveats to every tactic, and this is no exception. You have to plan for sun-setting your accounts if they are tied to a time-sensitive or transient campaign. What do you do with the followers? You can’t take them with you, so do you ask for them to join your main account? You have to make decisions on these items.
There’s also the matter of time and manpower: do you have enough people, such as content creators and community managers, to handle extra accounts? This will cost you time and money.
You also can’t necessarily count on a high percentage of your existing fans to come to the new account, although spending money on account suggestions specifically targeting both accounts will help you keep shrink to a minimum.
Planning for success
As with any social media endeavor, planning is the key to success. You can’t just launch a separate social media account, hoping it will catch on.
It’s important to chart out a clear editorial mandate and content calendar for the first few months of your new account. This is the best way to find a new audience and engage your current one. Coke and Diet Coke already do this with their ads.
Put together a work-back schedule to make sure your new accounts launch a month before the campaign, so you don’t start out with zero followers and have no content at launch.
If your campaign uses other media, make sure you only reference the new account tied to that campaign. Tease out the new account on your existing social media accounts, so your fans can begin following your other accounts.
Consider involving strategic partners in the vertical market you’d like to highlight with your campaign. This will help build your fans while bolstering your narrative.
You will need to invest in paid promotion for these accounts for them to properly scale. Budget for these expenses.
If you’re going to sunset your campaign after a given amount of time, plan the entire campaign’s content. You will need to stick to your plan so as to capture the imagination of your followers.
There are strategic advantages to creating campaign-specific social media accounts, and executing these campaigns is easily done. You might be surprised who you end up winning over to your brand. All it takes to get started is a little bit of planning and a dedication to an editorial position, and you could be on your way to winning new fans.