Editor's note: By the time this article was published, Facebook had implemented its mandatory Timeline update for Brand Pages; accordingly, some of the material in this article is no longer relevant (such as the Welcome Page "Like" campaigns and "Like-gating").

Many small businesses and organizations already know that social media is one of the best ways to connect with customers and prospects. Unfortunately, many forget the "marketing" in social media marketing and think social media success is just about posting content and getting as many people as possible to "Like" their Facebook fan page or follow them on Twitter.

The truth is... to get real business results from your social media efforts, you need to set your goals higher than just getting more fans and followers. To maximize your investment in social media, you need to build a community, engage your audience, and (ideally) create word-of-mouth by compelling your audience to share your message with their networks of friends.

One of the best ways to accomplish those goals is to run a social campaign on Facebook.

What is a social campaign?

A social campaign is a way to apply proven inbound marketing strategies to social media, and it's a great way to take your social media marketing beyond just posting status updates and tweets.

Running a social campaign is easy, but it requires that you use a third-party application to install a tab on your Facebook page. Once you install a tab on your Facebook page, you can publish an offer or a piece of engaging content that is designed to get your fans to take a specific action (e.g., buy something, make a donation, download a whitepaper, print a coupon, watch a video, or register for an event).

If you want, you can "Like-gate" your offer, requiring users to "Like" your Facebook page in exchange for a free download. But getting more "Likes" is only one benefit of running a social campaign. An effective campaign should get users to participate and share your offer or content with their friends.

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Mark Schmulen is general manager of social media at Constant Contact, an email marketing software provider, and the co-founder of NutshellMail. He can be reached via Twitter.