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10 Outstanding Social Media Campaigns You Need to See

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10 Outstanding Social Media Campaigns You Need to See

You can use social media marketing to inspire, enrage, amuse, or sell your stuff to people. Even in what has basically become a pay-to-play channel, marketers continue to find creative ways to increase their visibility and reach while simultaneously conveying their brand’s message.

So which brands are successfully tapping into the desires and needs of their target audience on social media? This post compiles 10 outstanding examples of social media campaigns you need to see.

Some of these examples are fun, some are inventive, some promote worthy causes, and some just do an awesome job of helping the company’s bottom line.


1. WWF #EndangeredEmoji

Platform: Twitter

When: 2016

Campaign Outline

Seventeen of the animals included in the emoji index were identified as representative of endangered species. WWF used this insight to launch a campaign to raise donations for species protection. The idea was simple but effective: for each retweet of an animal emoji shared by the @WWF Twitter account, users were encouraged to make a donation of 10 cents.

Every retweet of an animal emoji was tracked and at the end of each month, users were given a summary of their activity, along with what their donation equivalent totaled.

This timely campaign launched for Endangered Species day (May 19), which helped to add element of urgency.

WWF Endangered Emoji

The Numbers

  • Launch tweet was retweeted more than 36,000 times with 11,000 likes and 38,000 responses.
  • More than 1 million tweets using the campaign hashtag.
  • WWF gained more than 200,000 new followers.
  • More than 59,000 donations in the first two months of the campaign alone.

Why Did it Work?

WWF made it easy to get involved with the campaign and effectively tapped into the emoji craze. It was fun, the suggested donation was minimal, and the use of emoji tied directly to the campaign’s purpose, rather than feeling like a forced attempt to hijack a trend.

It also didn’t hurt that celebrities including Richard Branson and Jared Leto got involved. Plus, the WWF campaign earned media coverage from outlets including the Huffington Post and The Guardian.


2. ‘Ex Machina’

Platforms: Tinder, Instagram

When: 2015

Campaign Outline

A fake Tinder profile was created for SXSW 2015 to attract some publicity for the sci-fi thriller “Ex Machina”.

The profile featured pictures of Alicia Vikander, the Swedish actress who plays a bot called Ava in the movie. This impressively deceptive stunt lured people into a conversation with ‘Ava’, before sending them to an Instagram profile that contained only trailers for the movie.

Here’s one of those conversations, via AdWeek:

Tinder Ex Machina

We can only imagine their disappointment.

The Numbers

It’s difficult to pin down exactly how many people fell for this ruse, or just how much a fake Tinder profile contributed to the movie’s ultimate success.

In this instance, we can only really appreciate the inventiveness of a great publicity stunt.

Why Did it Work?

Once more, we see the importance of a close tie between the campaign’s content and its purpose. This campaign seems a logical extension of Ava’s character in the movie, which is perhaps why people were willing to forgive what could otherwise have been seen as a cruel prank. It was also in the ideal location – SXSW is attended by a large audience of 20-something, tech-loving men.


3. BuzzFeed Tasty

Platform: Facebook

When: 2016

Campaign Outline

You’ve probably seen these quick and easy recipe videos popping up all over your Facebook news feed.

BuzzFeed’s Tasty videos are essentially cooking shows for the social media generation. These videos, typically lasting less than 2 minutes, deliver on-trend recipes to a highly engaged audience.

Tasty

The Numbers

  • In just over 15 months, Tasty have published 2,000 recipe videos, giving the brand a steady stream of new content.
  • Videos reach around 500 million users monthly.
  • 100 million Facebook fans.
  • In September 2016, Tasty generated more than 1.8 billion views of their videos.
  • BuzzFeed now has a team of 75 people dedicated to producing content for Tasty.

Why Did it Work?

For starters, there’s the content. “It taps into a simple truth: People love tasty foods and the kind of foods that remind them of their childhood, comfort food, or food that reminds them of an experience,” according to Frank Cooper, BuzzFeed’s chief marketing officer.

But more importantly, Tasty and Proper Tasty have exploded on Facebook because the content is tailor-made for that platform.

The videos are optimized for Facebook’s autoplay feature, which starts playing videos without the sound on. You don’t need sound to see, for example, a 45-second guide to making a cheese-stuffed pizza pretzel. Within 24 hours, that video had 37 million views, 650,000 likes, and 750,000 shares. (It’s now up to 50 million views.)


4. Worldwide Breast Cancer #KnowYourLemons

Platform: Facebook

When: 2017

Campaign Outline

The charity Worldwide Breast Cancer launched an innovative and highly shareable campaign earlier this year. Labeled #KnowYourLemons, the campaign was designed to promote awareness of the various signs of breast cancer and remind women that lumps are not the only symptom.

Using lemons to depict 12 different signs, the image cleverly gets around nipple-based censoring rules, and aims to help women overcome fears about checking their breasts.

Know Your Lemons

The Numbers

  • The images from the campaign have reached 7.3 million people through just three Facebook posts.
  • It’s impossible to know how many women visited their doctor on the basis of this campaign, but it’s safe to assume it had a positive impact.

Why Did it Work?

It managed to strike a delicate balance between playful and serious, while also tackling an important issue. It can be difficult for people to talk openly about these things, but the willingness is there. A campaign like this one serves as an important facilitator of that discussion.


5. General Electric #6SecondScienceFair

Platform: Vine, Tumblr

When: 2013

Campaign Outline

General Electric launched a campaign hosting a #6SecondScienceFair on Vine and Tumblr back in 2013.

Within this campaign, they revined posts of at-home science experiments, with the aims of encouraging engagement, generating interest in science, and building GE’s position as a force for innovation.

You can view a sample Vine here.

GE Science

The Numbers

  • The Vine linked to above was revined more than 105,000 times.
  • The campaign on Vine attracted more than 100 million Loops.

Why Did it Work?

Although this campaign is a few years old, it is an excellent example of just how effective user-generated content can be. The rules were clear: posts had to contain a science experiment and they had to be six seconds or shorter. Other than that, people were free to let their imaginations roam. This sense of guided creativity was a driving factor behind the campaign’s success.


6. Ted Baker #MeetTheBakers

Platform: Instagram

When: 2017

Campaign Outline

Ted Baker, the British fashion brand, has long been associated with great social media storytelling. Their content ambitions have continued evolving following last year’s cinematic “Mission Impeccable”.

Their newest campaign is centered around a fake soap opera called “Keeping up with the Bakers”, partnering with Nexus to create digital window displays that link real world to their social activity.

Instagram Stories has been utilized in an episodic format to share updates from the “sitcom” with new content released daily over eight days. This is far more engaging than simply snapping behind the scenes content and products like other brands have done.

Perhaps more interestingly, a shoppable 360 film has also been created to allow shoppers the freedom to explore before making a real world purchase.

Keeping up with the bakers

The Numbers

This campaign has just launched, so it’s too early to attach final figures. Nonetheless, Ted Baker has already received some positive press.

Why Did it Work?

Ted Baker took the universal, eternal appeal of storytelling and applied it to a relatively new medium.

The campaign doesn’t feel too overt with its commercial message either, which counterintuitively will most likely lead to much higher sales in the spring period.


7. L’Oréal Beauty Squad

Platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram

When: 2016

Campaign Outline

L’Oréal teamed up with five of the UK’s most influential and inspiring beauty YouTubers to promote their products and events. Instead of simply commissioning sponsored content, the move saw a more genuine relationship between brand and blogger. The result: more authentic and regular content across the influencer’s social channels.

It’s all #Sponsored. But because there is a bigger, lasting relationship behind this, fans are more receptive to the content.

L'Oreal Beauty Squad

The Numbers

  • The L’Oréal content produced for YouTube by the influencers has been viewed more than 5 million times.
  • More than 100,000 likes on YouTube and Facebook.

Why Did it Work?

Influencers have evolved from media support to media personalities in their own right. Many brands have identified influencers as an ‘opportunity’, but viewing them as merely a vehicle to reach their social followings creates an unnatural and ineffective partnership.

L’Oréal went a few steps further in establishing their own team of top influencers to promote their messaging, and they believe this will herald a new era of relationships between brand, talent, and audience.


8. The Brit Awards 2016

Platforms: Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Vine

When: 2016

Campaign Outline

In the months leading up to the Brit Music Awards, this campaign by UK TV channel ITV used multiple social media platforms to create an interactive journey, building excitement with a steady trickle of information.

On the night, a newsroom of 60 people worked behind the scenes with designers, photographers, interviewers, and social media experts to ensure all platforms were working to full capacity.

YouTube streamed the show globally; Facebook hosted a Red Carpet Live show; Instagram held a red carpet experience; Snapchat created a Brits Live Story; and the official Brits Vine channel pushed out exclusive content.

The Numbers

  • 10 million views on Vine in one day.
  • Facebook likes grew by 81 percent.
  • 12 million people live streamed the red carpet experience.

Why Did it Work?

Unique content was created for each platform over a period of months, building up slowly to the main event. That’s not easy to do, but the effort clearly reaped rewards. People use the various social platforms differently and expect different things from each, so brands with the means to meet this demand should aim to do so.


9. Visit Norway #SheepWithAView

Platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

When: 2016

Campaign Outline

Visit Norway took a slightly alternative approach to promoting tourism to the country.

For their #SheepWithAView campaign, four sheep in four different regions of Norway starred in videos that promoted their local area.

Video content was supported with further imagery promoting local outdoor adventures, food, and culture. The photographer spent 20 days documenting Norway through the eyes of the sheep to share their unique life.

The sheep used in the campaign belonged to local farmers, bringing an additional authenticity to the campaign.

Visit Norway

The Numbers

  • The campaign reach exceeded 64 million people.
  • Brand sentiment was tracked at 98.8 percent positive during the campaign.

Why Did it Work?

It was knowingly self-mocking, and people like when companies don’t take themselves too seriously. It was also downright bizarre at times. Even those who didn’t enjoy the content would have to appreciate the unique, brave approach Visit Norway opted to take.


10. Burberry Cat Lashes

Platform: Pinterest

When: 2016

Campaign Outline

Burberry was the first luxury brand to offer customers a personalized experience on Pinterest. To promote their Cat Lashes Mascara, Burberry asked users three questions about their beauty style. Their answers were used to create personalized boards with complete looks.

The partnership allowed Burberry to tap into Pinterest’s 38.5 million unique monthly viewers in the hair and beauty category. Burberry varied its content formats, too, interspersing product posts  with beauty tips and demonstrations.

Burberry Beauty

The Numbers

  • Pinners created more than 30,000 personalized boards.
  • 1 million Burberry makeup Pins were used.
  • All 5,000 available samples were redeemed in just five days.

Why Did it Work?

Burberry has become a go-to brand for innovation within social spaces – from live streaming their shows to collections that can be purchased directly from the catwalk on a mobile device.

Although this campaign didn’t garner the headlines that its other innovations have, this was still a novel use of Pinterest. It showed Burberry has a deep understanding of how its audience uses the platform.

Image Credits

Featured image: Depositphotos

Screenshots taken by Clark Boyd, March 31, 2017

Clark Boyd

Clark Boyd

VP Strategy at Croud

Clark Boyd is VP Strategy at Croud, a digital performance agency. Over the last 7 years, he has devised and ... [Read full bio]