A few years ago, Target ran a very successful advertising campaign on Facebook. Their success, targeting their most wanted customers, college students.
When looking at the Facebook campaign AKQA ran for Target, AKQA did exactly what you are supposed to do when running an social media marketing campaign.
Basically, if you build it, they will come.
The message was adjusted for their audience.
Rather than just talking to their audience, they made their campaign more about party planning.
“Our attitude had to be that we were taking advantage of an environment that already exists; we aren’t there so much to tell a story, but to put on a party, giving the students a platform for social interaction,” says Mauro Cavalletti, AKQA’s creative director.
This approach worked because they let the student’s “play in their own environment”. I would have to say the students probably didn’t even realize they were being marketed to. They were just doing what came natural to them, socializing.
They then paid attention to what was being said.
It doesn’t make sense to create a socializing network for people to use if you aren’t paying attention to what they are saying. AKQA staff visited Facebook and other social networking sites to see what people were saying.
This is key because if you don’t know what the people are talking about, how can you respond to them. One way communication doesn’t get anything solved. Let your audience talk to you, don’t just talk at them.
Talk your audience’s language.
You can’t go into a junior high classroom and give them a lecture on the electronic components that make up a BlackBerry using technical terms. 99.9% of your audience would tune you out or look at you with a blank stare. You have to learn their lingo (which goes hand in hand with paying attention to what they are saying). In Target’s campaign, they omitted their famous slogan “Hello, Goodbuy” and used words like “awesome”.
Drizzle, don’t over saturate.
I know that sounds like I’m getting ready to give you a recipe, but those words are true. Target’s pitch to their audience was very subtle. Target did have banner ads and the sponsored page, but all of the links led customers back to the Facebook page instead of Target’s ecommerce site. Even Target’s discounts and promotions did not appear on the Facebook page. They let the social network be just that. If their audience picked up that it was just another sales pitch, they may have been turned off.
Of course, every marketing campaign’s main objective is to have a great ROI. By September 31, the sponsored page had 7,176 members, 409 photos, 483 posts and hosted 37 discussion groups. Many of the posts provided positive feedback on Target stores, members informed other members where good deals were, which Target store had short coffee lines, and bargain shoppers praised the “dollar bins”.
If this campaign was handled differently, it could have ended like Walmart’s did.
Whoever said social media marketing doesn’t work is just not doing it right.