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Five great ways to boost your social media presence in the New Year

6 minute read

Monique Holtman

As nice as it would be if we could simply ask our social media followers to like and share our posts, unfortunately, this very rarely happens.

Unless you’re a celebrity with millions of adoring fans who hang on to your every word, cracking social media is hard work and it will take time. The good news however is that when you get it right, social media can be hugely powerful.

Take the ALS ice bucket challenge for example.  What started with just one person tipping a bucket of ice cold water over themselves grew into one of the most successful social media campaigns to date. Hundreds of thousands of people across the world followed suit and posted their own videos and the awareness this raised for motor neurone disease resulted in more than £86 million being raised for the ALS Association.

While asking for a follow or share is likely to fall upon deaf ears, prompting people to actively participate in a well-thought-out social media campaign will help you generate quality interactions and ultimately, better results.

Here are five New Year social media campaign ideas along with examples of those who managed to get their message spot on.

1. Help people with their New Year’s resolutions

We all start the New Year with good intentions, so use your product or service to tap into people’s mentality at this time. Think about how what you offer can help people to better themselves in 2018.

If you’re an accountant for example, you can help people to save money, be more organised or grow their business. Perhaps you’re a digital marketing agency. You can prompt people to be more proactive with their online marketing activities.

As you will see below, last January, social media fitness guru, Joe Wicks took the opportunity to exploit the fact that one of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight and be healthier. He set up a Facebook Live Bootcamp where people simply logged into their account and joined in on his virtual workout classes.

Why it works:

  • This is an incredibly clever campaign because it couldn’t be easier for people to get involved. It’s free, they don’t need any special equipment, and they don’t even have to leave the comfort of their own home.
  • Joe is giving his followers something of value – free workout sessions from someone who is highly credible in the fitness industry.
  • It’s an ongoing campaign for the whole of January which gives his followers multiple opportunities to get involved.
  • Running a month-long campaign helps to generate more of a buzz and over the weeks, it will grow traction.
  • More than 4,000 people liked this post alone, so you can guarantee that many people will have signed up to Joe’s 90 Day SSS Journey programme as a direct result of this campaign.

2. Exchange posts for free samples

Back in 2014, Marc Jacobs came up with a genius idea to get people talking about their brand on social media.

They opened a pop-up shop in Manhattan but unlike their other stores, customers didn’t pay for their purchases with cash. Anyone who visited the Daisy Marc Jacobs Tweet Shop used ‘social currency’ instead. The concept involved receiving free products in exchange for sending out a tweet, Facebook post or a photo on Instagram using the hashtag #MJDaisyChain.

Visitors to the store could pick up anything from perfume to jewellery and to encourage people to get really creative, the best photo of the day won a Marc Jacobs handbag. It was so successful that they have since run the campaign in other locations across the world.

Encouraging customers to post content in exchange for a free product or service is a fantastic way to get people talking about your brand. Everyone loves a freebie and if all your followers have to do is spend 30 seconds writing a post about it, chances are they’re going to be more than happy to do so.


Why it works:

  • People get to try your product for free. If they like it, they may convert into paying customers.
  • You’re getting other people to create your social media content for you.
  • You get people talking about your brand.
  • Someone posting about your product or brand on social media is as good as a testimonial.
  • Naturally, you’re only ever going to say good things about your brand. When other people do it, it seems more genuine.

If giving away free samples isn’t something your business can do, there are other possibilities you could consider:

  • Give away your time instead – can you offer people expert advice about something?
  • Everyone who participates can be entered into a grand prize draw so you only have to give away one thing as opposed to many.
  • Find another local business to work with so you can support each other. For example, they may be in a better position to give away free samples but don’t have the time to run a social media campaign.

3. Give something away for free 

Because we now see this done by companies so often on social media, simply telling people to like or comment on your post for a chance to win something is unlikely to generate much of a response.

If you run a campaign which is a bit more fun and encourages people to get involved in a more unique way however, you’re far more likely to see higher engagement rates.

This campaign by Juice Works for example, is a creative way of enticing people to comment on their photo.

Why this works:

  • Five people are in with a chance of winning – we’re more likely to enter something if we think there’s a greater chance of getting the prize.
  • They have put a deadline on the competition – TODAY – this forces people to take action immediately rather than think ‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’ If you give people the opportunity to delay, it’s unlikely they’ll come back.
  • People have to visit the website to find the answers, thus increasing the number of visitors to their site and boosting their SEO.
  • They’ve used an attractive visual to capture people’s attention. This is very important on social media because people tend to scroll through their news feeds very quickly. We only stop for the things which instantly grab our attention and the vast majority of the time, it’s a photo or video.

4. Run a teaser campaign 

The New Year is a great time to encourage customers to try something new. Whether your business has a new product or service coming out in 2018 or you have an existing offering you want to try and drive sales for, use the start of the new year to promote it.

To encourage people to try your new or promoted product or service, you can of course go down the familiar route of offering money off or a free trial. These are both effective techniques but to get more bang for your buck, run a social media campaign which will really help to build anticipation for the launch.

Coldplay announced the release date of their sixth studio album, Ghost Stories on Twitter. To get fans really excited about the news, they ran a fantastic teaser campaign on the social networking site.

Three weeks before the release date, Chris Martin wrote the lyrics of nine different songs from the new album and hid them in ghost books in nine different libraries across the globe. Location hints and cryptic photos were posted and fans were also directed to the band’s website for more clues. The prize wasn’t just the handwritten note from Chris Martin however. The golden prize was a trip to London to see the band perform live.

The campaign became an international #lyricshunt which encouraged fans to get involved and send in their photos from the hunt. 14,000 tweets with the hashtag #lyricshunt were generated in the first day alone, proving the excellence of this campaign.

Why this works

  • Rather than simply announcing a new product or service launch, you’re building up anticipation which ensures that people get more excited about it.
  • It provides you with social media content for days or even weeks.
  • Depending on the nature of your campaign, it encourages user generated content.
  • By getting your followers involved, you can guarantee they will remember you and the campaign even once it has come to an end.
  • Creating a specific hashtag for your campaign increases brand awareness.
  • People will regularly check in with your page for updates.
  • You’re also encouraging people to visit your website.

5. Run a campaign which relies on user generated content 

When it comes to making a buying decision, who are you more likely to trust – a brand or an actual consumer who uses the product? Judging by the popularity of TripAdvisor, it’s safe to say that reviews, recommendations and testimonials go a long way in the online world and companies are taking advantage of this on their social media pages.

Every December, Starbucks launches their annual #RedCupContest to promote its holiday-themed beverages on Instagram. They encourage customers to submit photos of their coffees in exchange for a chance to win a generous gift card for their stores.

With more than 40,000 #RedCupContest posts on Instagram, it’s safe to say that people love getting involved with campaigns like these.

Why it works:

  • User generated content (UGC) isn’t paid for and it’s not coming from you which makes it more authentic.
  • It builds trust. In fact, 76% of people say they trust content shared by ‘average’ people more than brands.
  • You can easily repost UGC from users’ accounts and share the content on your social page.
  • You’re encouraging fans to participate and engage online by offering a prize.
  • Offering a prize will get people excited about commenting, posting and sharing.

Taking the time to come up with a creative and engaging social media campaign will absolutely boost your brand visibility and user engagement and what better time to get started than in the New Year? This is a time when people are looking for a fresh start and to try new things, so putting in the work now can really help you get 2018 off to a successful start.

After completing her degree in Journalism, Monique began her career at a digital marketing agency. It was here she discovered a passion for online marketing with a particular focus on content creation for the web. Six years ago Monique set up her own copywriting business, Copyworks Group, which specialises in creating content for websites, blogs, newsletters and social media pages.

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