A few years ago, it was innovative for a company or small business to even have a Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. But now, with every mom-and-pop to giant conglomerate having a face on social networking sites, it’s not enough to just have the account. If there is no reason for your customers to interact with you, or if your account offers the same exact type of content as your competitors, your pages and your presence will go stale.
Social media campaigns take advantage of all social networking sites have to offer: customer engagement, interaction, word-of-mouth advertising, community-building, virality; the list goes on and on. The following is a list of 5 social media campaigns that were creative enough to catch my attention yet simple enough to actually work. Learning from other companies’ successes with these types of campaigns can help you create the best campaign for your brand.
Starbucks is lucky in the online social world because they have so much customer engagement in the “real world,” too. Their social networking pages have a lot of “Likes” and followers by proxy, and even I will admit I’ve Instagram’d a photo or 6 of a Starbucks beverage. But Starbucks doesn’t sit back and relax while all of their loyal fans run their social media presence for them. Instead, they’ve created many social media campaigns that not only drove business, but made people rethink the “big business” stereotype Starbucks has been receiving as of late.
In 2008, Starbucks created MyStarbucksIdea.com, an online community where customers could make suggestions, ask questions, even voice negativity. When Twitter first introduced promoted tweets, Starbucks was one of the first companies to hop on board to promote free goodies for Tax Day. They’ve offered mayorship deals on Foursquare and promoted a Free Pastry Day through Twitter and Facebook. These social media campaigns increased ROI, but more importantly, helped Starbucks recreate their brand image to become a little more “friendly.”
2. Red Square Agency
Red Square Agency is an advertising agency based out of Mobile, Alabama. The innovative thinkers at this agency decided to do a hashtag hi-jack by utilizing an already promoted hashtag to engage customers. In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day 2013, Mashable and USA Today used their own social sites to suggest users upload videos to the mobile app/social networking community Vine with the hashtag “Valenvine.” So the folks at Red Square Agency decided to create Valenvine.com, where users could request Valenvine videos from the “in-house Cupid,” using the already-promoted hashtag #Valenvine. Once a request came through, creatives at Red Square Agency crafted a personalized message and posted it to Vine as well as Valenvine.com.
So did it work? By mid-day on Valentine’s Day, a social traffic reporting site reported that Valenvine.com was third behind Mashable and USA Today for Valentine-related content. MediaBistro wrote an article entitled “How One Company Used #ValenVines to Win Twitter Today,” and the agency reported that they reached over 600,000 Twitter users and scored over one million impressions.
To celebrate Oreo‘s 100th birthday, the company designed a series of 100 images for their Daily Twist campaign. Each image alluded to a certain event in pop culture, some creating a sense of nostalgia, others creating a little bit of controversy. For example, June 25’s image, an Oreo with rainbow-colored filling, recognized LGBT rights. As imagined, this image earned over 20,000 comments and was featured on many news stories. Other not-so-controversial images included an Oreo shaped like the Liberty Bell (crack included), an Oreo with vent marks cooling down a glass of water to celebrate 110 years of air conditioning, and more.
What worked about this campaign is that although it was incredibly simple, it still garnered a lot of attention and engagement, even without asking for it. Because the images represented certain events, dates and pop culture icons, consumers were bound to find at least one that they related to or that was memorable for them.
One key element of a good social media campaign is that it offers the customer something that they cannot get anywhere else. It’s the pull of reciprocity—users will give up their “Like” if they will get something in return. In order to drive traffic to their newly redesigned website, beauty giant Sephora used Facebook to offer exclusive deals for use on their website. In order for customers to receive the deals, Sephora created a fan-gated application, meaning users had to “Like” the Facebook page before they could see the content. From this app, fans were able to learn about new “thrills” the night before they launched. Facebook fans were also given “minithrills” in the form of an image posted with a coupon code. Sephora also used Facebook ads to target its demographic (women ages 18-35) to drive traffic to the app.
By using Facebook to create engagement and drive traffic to their website, Sephora took advantage of the viral effect Facebook has, and gave users content good enough to share with their friends.
Probably the most expensive campaign on the list, Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” campaign used the power of crowdsourcing (and celebrity) to celebrate the famous potato chip’s 75th anniversary. Lay’s asked fans to submit their best flavor idea on the Lay’s Facebook page for selection by celebrity judges Michael Symon and Eva Longoria. The winner would receive $1 million or 1% of the chip’s 2013 net sales (whichever is more). But Lay’s didn’t only use social networking to advertise this contest. A series of TV advertisements featuring the celebrity judges hit millions of homes, while the Lay’s potato chip bags themselves invited users to enter the competition. Lay’s even went so far as to activate a pop-up store in the middle of Times Square.
What worked for Lay’s was the fact that they didn’t depend solely on Facebook to get fans on Facebook. While the viral effect of News Feed stories is great for customer engagement, Lay’s reached out to those who hadn’t seen the stories or who might have a Facebook account but aren’t very active on it. And who was the lucky winner of the Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” campaign? That would be Karen Weber-Mendham and her mouth-watering flavor, cheesy garlic bread.