Utilizing social media to promote your products and services is a great investment, regardless of your business’ scale or resources – it simply pays off. According to statistics, we spend around 42% of our waking hours browsing the internet, with 98% of people using at least two social media platforms. Using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok to promote your brand simply makes sense in 2021.
What is the appeal of social media marketing for businesses around the world? Based on data, 61% of businesses use social media to increase conversions while 50% use it to gain customer insight. In translation, this means that most brands use a social media campaign strategy to convert users into customers or to deliver polls and surveys.
The application of social media content goes beyond that, and you can benefit greatly from investing resources into them. Not only can you manage your brand awareness seemingly for free, but you can direct relevant traffic to your website or eCommerce store easily. Beyond that, here’s what you can look forward to from social media campaigns:
Depending on your target audience, budget, and staff skillsets, you should make good use of multiple types of content in your social media campaigns. Limiting yourself to images only on Instagram, or written content only on Twitter will hinder your marketing efforts. Not only will your audience grow tired of seeing the same content over and over again, but your content marketers will also grow bored. This is especially true if you work with audiences that consist of millennials, college students, or high schoolers.
User-generated content is the type of content that you can retrofit into other content types very easily. Social proof is very important for successful social media campaigns. User-generated content is synonymous with trust and customer loyalty and can help you bring cold leads around and convert them more easily. This is true for all demographics and audience profiles since people inherently trust other people’s recommendations more than they trust corporate marketing content.
Many students tend to check the Instagram and Facebook pages of businesses before committing to a purchase. By managing your brand awareness on social media through different content types, your presence on those platforms will be more legitimate and trustworthy. For example, if they think of “I want someone to write my paper for me”, they should find relevant content on your social media channels. To accommodate for that, you will have to write the types of content that appeal to them, bringing us back to the original point of diversity. The content types commonly associated with social media include but are not limited to:
Articles, blog posts, and how-to guides – these can be shared in the form of hyperlinks or attachments which spark discussion in the comments section
Photographs, graphics, and visualized data – visual content is a great way to engage your audience through accessible, eye-catching content
Videos featuring tutorials, demos, and interviews – video content is a good way to make your content available to worldwide audiences via localization and transcription
Freebies such as PDFS, eBooks, and guides – helpful content which users can apply at home will resonate well and ensure that they share it with their social circles
Live streams via social media – live-streaming with Q&As, interviews, and direct user engagement can entice the audience to interact with your staff or guests
Contests, giveaways, and quizzes – making your audience brainstorm for rewards such as coupons, discounts, or gifts is great for retention and brand loyalty
Starbucks is a well-known coffee company that entered a collaborative social media campaign with Mermaids, a transgender and gender-diversity NGO. Their joint campaign, #WhatsYourName, was implemented on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube in 2020. The idea behind this campaign was to use Starbucks’ signature name-writing practice to give LGBTQ+ individuals a voice on the internet.
Starbucks stated that they want to include people of all genders and lifestyles by taking their personal chosen names into account. The result of this campaign was an amazing outpouring of public support for Starbucks on social media channels. Both Starbucks and Mermaids were met with positive responses worldwide which also encouraged many individuals to create user-generated content under their campaign's banner.
Why the campaign worked: #WhatsYourName worked for the simple reason that it appealed to people’s emotions and sense of belonging. It relied on video ads that dramatized the struggle transgender individuals go through due to their life choices. This led to the empathetic, heartwarming buzz surrounding Starbucks and Mermaids which improved their engagement and enticed people to follow their pages. It was especially helpful for Starbucks given a racist incident they went through in one of their US stores in 2018 which then sparked backlash.
Spotify is a popular music and podcast streaming service akin to Netflix which allows users to enjoy audio content around the world. Given how much user interaction the platform enjoys each month, the company decided to put that data into practice in a social media campaign.
The campaign #Spotify2019Wrapped introduced an extensive look at music trends from the past decade based on users’ preferences. Anonymous listening habits and preferences in terms of genres, musicians, and content were presented across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Individual singers and groups were also highlighted with their user interaction data which further expanded the campaign’s content lineup. This then led to many artists and musicians showing support for Spotify through the campaign’s hashtag - #Spotify2019Wrapped.
Why the campaign worked: #Spotify2019Wrapped put its audience at the center of the campaign. Spotify is already a popular platform for listening to music and the company recognized the value of the user-generated data they accumulated. The campaign treated musicians fairly and without favoritism, allowing each post the time to “breathe” and entice users to comment, like, and share each post. By placing the users’ listening preferences and Spotify usage data front and center, Spotify showcased how important its userbase is to its continued success.
Apple is a company that doesn’t need to be introduced when it comes to its product and service lineup. In 2019, they started a social media campaign under the banner “Shot on iPhone". This campaign aimed to collect user-generated content such as videos and images created exclusively through Apple devices.
By introducing a dedicated hashtag for the campaign, #ShotoniPhone, Apple was able to encourage its users to share photos and videos from around the globe. Apple used the generated content in both offline and online marketing to promote the capabilities of their phones and tablet devices. The result was a varied and engaging mix of different content types from different biomes and cities worldwide.
Why the campaign worked: Apple has spent years promoting its mission statement of bringing computing technology to consumers around the world. The campaign #ShotoniPhone is a natural extension of their company culture and aimed to include end-users in Apple’s ecosystem. The campaign worked because people love using their iPhones to take photos and videos while having coffee, traveling, or relaxing on a bench outside. The result was a very positive outcry from both users and other brands who’ve commended Apple on the initiative. Their brand was exposed to social media users worldwide thanks to the hashtag and invited new users to consider buying Apple products in the future.
Casper is a mattress manufacturer and seller who decided to think outside the box when it comes to social media campaigns. Instead of following in the footsteps of other social media campaign examples, Casper decided to invest resources into creating their sleep channel. Casper Sleep Channel is a Spotify and YouTube playlist that aims to make your sleep that much better.
You can listen to the Sleep Channel while you are in bed and the sounds it produced should help you calm down and rest. This type of content goes well together with Casper’s products, as people who buy their mattresses can use the Sleep Channel to improve their sleep. Most importantly, this content is unique, original, and creative, making sure that anyone who sees it will memorize it and its brand.
Why the campaign worked: Casper is a mattress manufacturer – most mattress manufacturers won’t create podcasts or YouTube sleep meditation playlists for marketing purposes. By being so different and appealing, Casper managed to garner critical acclaim not only from its buyers but also other marketing associations and brands. The campaign ensures that Casper stands out because it places its products and the marketing content hand-in-hand. While other marketing content requires attention, Casper asked its audience to relax and get some sleep.
Procter & Gamble is an international conglomerate with companies such as Gillette, Ariel, and Pantene under its roof. Given the events of 2020 and the global pandemic, Procter & Gamble decided to create a social media campaign to promote social distancing. #DistanceDance was a TikTok campaign that encouraged people to film themselves while dancing alone and at a safe distance from one another.
Procter & Gamble committed to donating to important causes which vowed to fight the social effects of COVID-19 based on the campaign’s performance. The hashtag quickly became viral, with over 17 billion content views on TikTok, marking this campaign as a success for Procter & Gamble. Most importantly, the company showcased how socially responsible it was in the wake of the pandemic.
Why the campaign worked: Procter & Gamble emphasized social responsibility and awareness at a time when COVID-19 struck the world the most. People around the world were in lockdown or self-isolation, and a TikTok campaign based on solo dancing proved to be what everyone needed. By addressing a crisis or a need of the many, your brand can succeed in promoting itself as an advocate for a solution to that issue. Procter & Gamble did just that with #DistanceDance and they continue to reap the rewards from doing so even today.
Dove is a women’s cosmetics and beauty product company with a long history of social media campaign examples. Their Real Beauty campaign started as a result of research conducted in 2004, where a mere 2% of women stated that they consider themselves beautiful. The reasons for this can be attributed to skewed social norms and unrealistic expectations set by the media.
Dove took this data and created Real Beauty, a campaign that aims to give a spotlight to women of different body shapes and backgrounds. The campaign has been ongoing ever since on various platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and even Shutterstock and Getty Images. Underappreciation of women is a serious issue we are still fighting today, and Dove has made it one of its mission statements over the years.
Why the campaign worked: The fact that Dove’s campaign targeted women of all nations, body types, and lifestyles is a stroke of genius for successful social media. This allowed them to create a barrage of new social media content over the years and showcase everyday women using their products. Not only does Dove enjoy a positive brand image thanks to Real Beauty, but its long-term campaign relies heavily on user-generated content and inclusivity.
Pringles is a potato chips company best-known for its unique chip packaging in the form of an aluminum tube. Their #PlayWithPringles campaign is a rare example of taking existing trends into account and building off of them.
Pringles spotted an increase in TikTok content sporting their signature chips and decided to formulate a new social media campaign based on that. The campaign started in Europe but quickly spread around the world thanks to Pringles’ marketing campaign. It resulted in over 270 million videos being created and tagged with #PlayWithPringles, where people interacted with their chips on camera in various scenarios.
Why the campaign worked: Pringles created a campaign based on the fact that they spotted an uptick in people using their product on camera. TikTok, as a short-form video content platform, was an obvious choice for the #PlayWithPringles campaign. Thanks to the TikTok content algorithm, the campaign spread like wildfire, and creators from around the world quickly joined in. With an average engagement of 13%, it’s one of the best social media campaign examples on TikTok so far.
Gillette is a very popular brand of men’s cosmetics products that recently decided to expand its reach to women and LGBTQ+ communities. To do that, they needed to overcome the stigma of toxic masculinity which many attributed to the brand, especially after its #TheBestMenCanBe campaign.
Gillette decided to create a social media campaign that would place a marginalized demographic front and center and have them use their products. The campaign #MyBestSelf involves a transgender person’s first experience of shaving, being helped by their father. This ad, followed by a campaign that received negative outcry, proved to be exactly what Gillette needed. It received high praise not only from the transgender community but the main male demographic as well.
Why the campaign worked: Following up on a bad campaign with something people will approve of is extremely important. Making mistakes in social media campaigns isn’t a one-way street – there is room for course correction. In Gillette’s case, they’ve decided to turn things around with a campaign centered on the transgender community and their struggles with integration into society. By encouraging people to live as “their best selves” regardless of gender or lifestyle choices, Gillette has sent a unanimous message to the world. A message of accepting diversity.
Now that we’ve taken a look at several brilliant social media campaign examples which worked out for their brands, let’s address the mistakes to avoid. You can do a lot worse than simply spend your precious resources on a social media campaign and walk away empty-handed.
Your brand reputation can suffer significantly if you mismanage your audience’s expectations or misrepresent your message on social media. Here are the most important pointers and takeaways you should consider from the social media campaign examples we’ve taken a look at:
good use of successful social media campaigns for your brand is all about research and testing. While you may not strike a chord with your audience on the first try, it will allow you to gather precious data to create astonishing campaigns. Learning from an existing social media strategy is also very viable, as you can cross-reference existing campaigns and messages with your business’s mission and goals.
Don’t go into social media campaigns without proper planning or content creation tools, outline clear goals for your campaigns, and interact with your audience. With some luck, your campaign will go viral and help you reach new audiences worldwide on whichever social media platform you chose to focus on.