Edinburgh PR agency show social media campaigns are not as easy as you think, so it is important you take time to get them right
What is there to running a social media campaign?
All you need to do, surely, is to fire out a few Tweets, a few Facebook posts, maybe an Instagram and LinkedIn post every so often and you’re sorted.
But Edinburgh PR experts, Holyrood PR, know there is much more to it than that.
We always ask our clients two key questions: Why do you want a social media campaign? and What do you want it to achieve?
We always believe that there is no point speeding ahead – what you need to do is make sure your campaign is ready, set it up and then you can go.
This is especially true when the campaign is scheduled to last for three months and it is for one of Scotland’s biggest businesses and a world leader in the water and waste water industry.
Holyrood PR has enjoyed a 12-year association with Scottish Water, so we were delighted to be asked to provide our social media expertise to plan their latest major social media campaign.
The #ReservoirSafety campaign aimed to encourage people to take care in or near reservoirs, rivers and lochs this summer. And, tragically, with a number of young people falling victim to getting into difficulties when swimming in watercourses, the campaign had to be specifically aimed at this key audience.
So I thought it would be a good idea to share my experience to show just how much time, thought and effort actually goes into running a social media campaign that has both a clearly defined audience and timescale.
The aim of the Scottish Water Reservoir Safety campaign is to highlight the dangers which come from swimming in open water.
Many people many think reservoirs, rivers and lochs are safe and especially on a hot day they can look particularly inviting. But what the majority of people aren’t aware of is that there are a number of hidden dangers including strong currents, under water pipes, reed beds and ice cold water which can cause serious injuries and more worryingly death.
Over the last decade, around 400 people have died in accidental drowning incidents, 10% of these fatalities were children who were swimming or playing in open water.
There was even one fatality as the campaign was being planned, which highlighted the importance of ensuring we began spreading the message as quickly and widely as possible.
Scottish Water unfortunately cannot legally tell people not to swim in open water, but they want to do whatever they can discourage people from doing so.
So in the months running up to the school summer holidays Scottish Water began putting together a communications plan to promote their message across various channels and partners, and in particular how to communicate this message to children ages 12 to 18 years old.
They decided they would predominately reach their target audience through Facebook, Twitter and Vine and they would encourage as many influential organisations as possible to help push the message of #ReservoirSafety across these social media platforms.
Once this was decided it was time to set up the campaign ready for the launch.
I joined the Scottish Water press team for a week around a month before the official launch of the campaign to help them prepare.
To their credit, the Scottish Water team had realised that a social media campaign to run for 11 weeks can’t just be conceived on the spot – and that to do it properly, it needs expert staff and time.
At this time, all the planning was complete, a video had been shot, #ReservoirSafety had been decided as the hashtag and the core message was confirmed.
So the campaign was ready, it just needed to be set up.
The first task given to me was to create a full scripted and comprehensive social media content calendar with every Facebook post and tweet which would be put out across the 11 week campaign.
Now when I mentioned earlier that planning a social media campaign was a lot more than a few tweets here and a few Facebook posts there, this is exactly what I meant.
This process took two days in total and it involved coming up with 10 different themes for the posts – ranging from water safety, weather, testimonials and messages aimed at dog owners- as well as the actual content of the posts themselves.
I also came up with ideas for vines and pictures to share to make the content more engaging to capture the attention of the target audience.
Once the content calendar was complete I was then given the task of ensuring key influencers were ready and waiting to share and retweet the content as soon as it went live.
This meant contacting bodies such as YoungScot, Fire and Rescue Scotland, Police Scotland, RoSPA, Water Safety Scotland, British Red Cross and Royal Life Saving Society UK to get confirmation that they would back the campaign.
Once all this was prepared, it was time to launch the campaign.
Already #ReservoirSafety has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people and influential accounts, including RoSPA, Water Safety Scotland, Fife Council, North East Fife police, have been posting on social media about the campaign regularly.
It was a lengthy process and months of planning was put in, but as they say slow and steady wins the race, and it has been a very successful campaign so far.
We are looking forward to hearing back from Scottish Water on the evaluation of the campaign once it comes to an end in mid August.
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If you are looking for help with planning and launching a social media campaign then we can help you out. To find out more information call us on 0131 561 2244 we would love to have a chat with you.
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