How To Plan A Successful Social Media Collaboration
If you’re looking for an exciting way to reach out to a specific target audience, there might be no better strategy to use than a social media campaign collaboration. Most of the time, social media marketing causes us to narrow our focus on the pattern of creating content, and then posting the content on social media platforms of our choosing, using all the latest and greatest technology and strategies.
While the return on your investment using this approach can be considerable, and it truly can build and grow an audience of followers, there are other ways to consider the value to be derived from social media campaigns. By evaluating the full catalog of assets which are developed by social media marketing, some different ways of leveraging those assets can be devised. Looking at these assets in different ways will help you to realize that they are more versatile and useful marketing assets than you had previously thought.
Your target audience is really something more than just a pool of users that you’re trying to reach, and the content that you produce can be much more than a simple means of engaging with your followers. In this article, we will begin thinking of the content you produce as an access road to all the users and followers you contact on the various social media platforms.
When that total audience pool and the content you create are of high quality, they will have appeal to other brands and companies as well. This will provide you with an opportunity to form partnerships, and these partnerships will allow you to deepen the impact of your marketing efforts, both with your existing audience and with whatever new followers you acquire.
Types of collaborative campaigns
If you’re considering a collaborative campaign with other brands, you will need to be open to the concept of bartering. Your content and your audience are assets which have value to other companies, and you can capitalize on that value with other brands, so as to promote your strategic goals, and advance toward achieving them. When you do engage in this kind of bartering however, you have to conduct trades in a manner which does not compromise the integrity of your own brand, or the loyalty you’ve built up between your brand and your current followers.
If you manage such trades effectively, not only will no damage be done in this area, but your target audience should actually benefit by the partnership you’ve arranged. In effect, a collaborative campaign involves a partnership in which you form an agreement with another brand, so that you can both pursue an objective over a long period of time, and while you’re working toward that objective, you both share in rewards such as increased leads or revenue.
There are other types of collaborations which are entered into for short-term projects or campaigns, in which brands also share in the rewards. There is a practice which is already popular called co-branding, which is included in this category, although there is often more involved than a simple sharing of rewards.
Cross-promotions are marketing activities wherein you agree with another brand to promote each other’s services and/or products to the audiences that you have access to.
In content placement, your company would agree with another company to periodically share whatever type of content you’ve developed with the respective audiences you both interact with. The last kind of collaborative social media campaign which is worth discussing is the value-add, which is a scenario wherein you arrange a deal with another company, and during the process you use access to your audience as a tool for negotiating an agreement.
It is well to keep in mind that any of these kinds of collaborative campaigns should only be entered into if you can maintain the integrity of your relationship with your target audience, and no harm comes to them. If any one of these activities fails to be of value to your audience, or destroys their trust in you, then you will have done far more harm than good using the collaborative process.
Developing a brand-to-brand relationship
You might think that marketing campaigns involving brand-to-brand relationships are only carried out between mega corporations which have the means to implement such campaigns. However, even small businesses can apply the principles of brand-to-brand relationships in a number of ways which benefit both partners. For example, there is a husband-and-wife team which invented a Brazilian Ju-Jitsu brand called Inverted Gear, and they have collaborated with content creators, martial arts experts, and business owners, to open up new markets for themselves.
One of their strategies was to have instructors wear apparel products which were co-branded, for example kimonos which celebrated the expanding martial arts segment of their business. They helped to co-develop videos and marketing content with those instructors and event organizers to expand their audience.
On the other side of the fence, martial artists professionals gained access through Inverted Gear to new audiences, at the same time that the company was deepening their community ties. At this point, Inverted Gear now has a strong theme of product co-branding and content sharing, which all began with basic sponsorships, and which will likely develop to include even more collaborative efforts.
Planning a collaborative social media campaign
Obviously, when you’re planning a social media campaign you have to be very careful about the audience bartering process, because not all ideas are good ones, and not every strategy will work the way you want it to. First of all, make sure to fully understand the value of your engaged audience, and you’re much better off to over-estimate that value than to under-estimate it.
Then you should seek out potential collaborators who are not really competitors, but can provide value to your target audience. Any potential partner which might have a reputation for unsavory business practices should be excluded from your list. You should try to make sure that both partners in this collaborative effort gain equal value from the association, because when one or the other partner benefits more, interest will quickly fade in the other partner.
When you find the right partner, you should commit your collaboration plans to a formal written document, which includes clear expectations from both parties. Lastly, try to find partners which would generate buzz on the social media, and be worthy of conversation among your target audience. The best collaborative campaigns are those which seem exciting to you, and which you believe will be just as exciting for your constituent audience.