Lately, it seems like every brand is running a social media campaign. From Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants ( #PalomarLA) to Gaiam ( #Gaiam) to Kenneth Cole ( #KCStyle) -- the hashtag campaign is visible and prevalent across all industries.

Why? Contests and campaigns are the fastest way to increase engagement on social media. While brands may decide to launch social media marketing campaigns for a variety of reasons (i.e., build a robust online community, celebrate a company milestone, launch a new product, etc.) they are ultimately looking to increase brand awareness, customer engagement and brand affinity.

Related: 6 Tools to Develop an Outstanding Social Media Marketing Strategy

At Pixlee, it’s our job to help brands run incredible social media campaigns. Whether this is your first social media marketing campaign or you’re a seasoned expert -- we’ll walk you through the five things you need to do in order to run your best social media campaign to date.

1. Set your campaign goals.

Does your brand want to increase social media followers? Generate more buzz online? Accumulate brand mentions? The first step in the process is to outline what you want the campaign to accomplish. Find your focus and identify how your social campaign will help you achieve your business goals.

2. Choose your social networks.

Once you’ve determined the goals of your social media campaign, you’ll want to decide which marketing channels to collect customer content on. The marketing channels you choose must reflect your target audience. Don't know where to start? Here’s a breakdown of each social networking platform’s demographics. Decide accordingly.

Related: 7 Tips to Help Your Brand Win at Social Media

3. Engage with your campaign’s participants.

One of the most important things you can do to improve your campaign’s social ROI is to engage with its participants. As customers begin to post content with your hashtag, pay close attention and make an effort to “like” and “comment” on all positive submissions. When customers see your brand engaging with real people, it helps to validate your social presence and humanize your brand.

4. Display your collected content.

Once you’ve collected a pool of content, you’ll want to put it to use. Select the highest quality and most on-brand content to display on your marketing channels. It should be displayed both online (i.e., email marketing, product pages, etc.) and offline (i.e., live displays, packaging, etc.) Celebrating your customers -- with their permission of course -- on your brand’s owned media is one of the best ways to increase customer loyalty and retention.

5. Measure and analyze your campaign’s success.

As you begin to wrap up your campaign, assess the progress made on your original goals. Expect to measure both quantitative and qualitative results. By analyzing your campaign’s submissions, you may uncover surprising new information -- such as how your customers are actually using your products post-purchase, etc.

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If you follow the above five steps, your social media marketing campaign is guaranteed to see results. But what is the secret sauce of a fantastic social media campaign? Above all else, keep your campaign authentic and fun. If you’re engaging with and celebrating your customers, your campaign is bound to succeed.