Art of: Developing Facebook Campaigns
A friend of mine recently asked me how to handle social media marketing and I thought I would be obliged to share some insights i’ve gained while designing facebook campaigns for companies big and small.
Charlotte Russe (emails)
Ok I’m starting with Charlotte Russe even though what I did there wasn’t technically design for social media. I designed emails and home pages reflecting weekly promotions, but the lessons I learned there were good foundations for any form of digital marketing.
When you’re promoting a product whether it’s in email or via social media, there are some important things that come into play.
1) One clear main message is key. There are a ton of emails out there that try to cram everything but the kitchen sink and it just overwhelms people. You have 2-3 seconds to capture your readers attention before they click delete. You can add one or two secondary offers underneath, but anything more and you will start to lose them.
2) Show, don’t tell. The fewer words they have to read the better. It is proven that people don’t read, but skim on the internet, so be sure to highlight only the most important keywords that carry your message. The imagery should be the selling poting. What if you can’t afford to photograph your product for every email campaign. That’s ok, Charlotte Russe didn’t have that kind of budget either. In times of big sales or promotions, we played up the type so that it was big and bold.
You don’t even have to get that fancy. If you’ve ever taken a look at a Jcrew email, you’ll see that it doesn’t matter what fonts you use, so long as it’s legible and you play up the right words.
3) Give them a solid call to action. With anything you design for web, you want to provide your user with an action. If your goal is to get people to click through your email to buy a product, you better have a button (call to action) that sends them to that product or category page with the mentioned items. If your goal is to get them to subscribe, provide a subscribe form clearly and visibly on the page.
SearsStyle’s goal was to increase consideration to a younger audience. Basically they wanted to convince younger, trendier shoppers that Sears apparel is “on trend” and a destination for good fashion. To do that, they created searsStyle*, a fashion blog to showcase what they had coming in stores and online.
At searsStyle I had a chance to really design a campaign from start to finish based around a fashion trend for each week. The strategy came from our business side, but really it was defined by what our buyers had purchased for the store, what season we were in, and what was forecasted to be the trend.
*sadly the blog has since lost its budget, so it is just a shell of what it was when I was part of the team.
The campaigns started with creating our content for the blog. This started as a static website with style tips and pieces that were going to be on trend looking something like this:
We would then create facebook images that promote the stories and clothing and would direct readers to the site.
The design changed and our campaign grew larger. Soon we were creating facebook covers, shop your way covers, and more facebook tiles. It started looking like a system.
Learnings from searsStyle
1) Make all of them “similar” but not 100% the same.
Depending on the size of the campaign, you want to have 1-3 different images/layouts so that you can push the campaign for longer without people seeing it and getting annoyed that you keep posting about it . I started with the hero graphic for our homepage, but some of the skinnier sizes didn’t translate well, so we added other imagery.
2) Use your out takes for facebook
For the facebook tiles we leveraged some of the “out takes” from our shoot and used them to promote a “mix and match” concept.
3) Adapt for differing spaces:
If you are promoting a campaign out to many different sizes, you might want to consider writing a shorter version of your promo copy for those itty bitty sizes.
Jeremy needed funding to produce his thesis film, the jog. Most of his class mates just created their kickstarter video and promoted it via link to their friends and family. I wanted to take this one step further, so I worked with him to create mini campaigns for his facebook page. The goal was to continually remind people to like the page, share the content and support the film by donating at the kickstarter campaign page.
First we created hero images for his website. He blogged about his progress during the campaign weekly, so we wanted to showcase his thesis on his homepage. Unfortunately the theme he currently has doesnt allow for clickable images, so we had to direct people to click on the blog manually with an arrow.
Next we created a facebook page where he could invite people to “like” the page for updates.
During that time I started creating templates for mini campaigns.
In total, I designed 7 different templates like “10 days left” or “meet the crew member: ____” and then updated them. This made it simple to generate a ton of content really quickly. We ended up putting out 32 facebook posts that related to these campaigns and other “behind the scenes” images on top of that.
When promoting his kickstarter video, we wanted to always provide the bitly link so that if the image was pinned, people could atleast type in the URL manually.
Learnings from The Jog
1) Knowing when to push things live makes a difference. Pushing early in the morning while people are starting their day at work, once again around lunch, and again at 6pm for the “getting off work” crowd is a good rule of thumb. You can push the image on facebook during one of those times, then share it out from your personal account at lunch, and pin/tweet the image at dinner.
2) Always always brand your facebook tiles with a logo and/or URL. You have to consider if someone saw this image floating around the internet, how would they know it’s you? How would they find you?. They aren’t going to go digging. They will just keep clicking on to the next thing. Make it easy for them and include your branding.
Light Up Your Brand
Light up your brand is a passion project of mine with my colleague Travis Brady. Travis came to me sharing her desire to create a branding course for small business owners on how to brand themselves properly. She had many friends who had expressed their frustrations about not being able to find a good designer, not getting what they wanted after spending thousands of dollars. Out came her class called “Light Up Your Brand”.
I helped Travis shape her course around a real design brief, so that clients not only learn what information is needed for designers, but they know it themselves before approaching a designer.
I created the usual homepage graphics for both her site, my portfolio site, and Jeremy’s site. We all blogged about it, and promoted it shamelessly on facebook.
Because this was a special kind of course, we realized that we had to “prime” our market first. We had to get them to realize that they NEEDED our services before hand. So we gamified it.
Learnings from Light Up Your Brand
1) Not everything has to be a direct sell. People don’t want to be “sold to” all the time. Sometimes the best method of winning over someone is to give them something that will cause them delight or that they find useful first. This “primes” them to pay more attention to your content because they know that it’s not just advertising. Once you give them a few of of these “treats”, you push your big sell. This process is brilliantly illustrated by Gary Vaynerchuk in his book “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook”. It’s a book worth reading for the best social media practices.
2) You want to plant the idea, not beat them over the head with it. Instead of saying “buy my course about branding”, we said “what does your font say about your brand?”. Create situations where your users NEED your service/product and then provide them with the solution.
Ads vs images: There is a WHOLE other beast out there in the world of facebook ads. This is the world of user aquisition and unfortunately im not an expert at it. It has a lot to do with how much money you spend, the algorithms facebook uses to suggest content to you, and other factors.
Here are a few resources:
There are so many more sizes now than there were even a year ago. You can reference the facebook ads sizes page for more details.
For the actual facebook campaign images, check out this facebook page.
I hope this is helpful! Please feel free to ask questions.