17 Awesome Examples Of Social Media Marketing – New update 2024
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Technology has made the world seem a lot smaller.
Keeping up with friends and family on the other side of the country or across the globe no longer requires an expensive telephone call or slow, one-way snail mail.
Instead, thanks to the power of social media, in just seconds, you can share updates about your life or check in with anyone who has internet access.
But there’s so much more to the world of social media than just making and maintaining connections – especially for savvy marketers.
Why Is Social Media Marketing Important For Brands?
For business purposes, sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram present an opportunity to engage with a massive audience.
Last year, there were more than 4.7 billion people worldwide using social media platforms, which means a whole lot of potential customers.
Social media allows you to tell your story and humanize your brand.
Without a large budget allocation, it lets you build an audience and stay top of mind with your targets.
You can connect and interact with customers, deal with feedback (both positive and negative), and build authenticity just by being active on the right sites.
Not convinced? Here are some key stats about social media marketing:
From paid display ads targeting a highly specific demographic to organic posts that go viral, social media presents an incredible opportunity to evangelize your brand, increase your visibility, and find new customers.
But what separates the companies who are really killing it on social media from the thousands of also-rans who never quite seem to get any traction from their accounts?
In this piece, we’ll take a look at some outstanding ways popular brands are leveraging common platforms to inspire your campaigns.
How To Measure Social Media Marketing Effectiveness
Before we dive into the fun stuff, let’s take a moment to discuss how you can track the results of your social efforts.
Judge the effectiveness of your social media marketing by measuring your KPIs or key performance indicators.
Some KPIs you may consider include:
- Reach (the number of people who saw your post).
- Impressions (the number of times your post was seen).
- Engagement (how many likes, shares, comments, etc., you received).
- Conversions (button clicks, follow, forms filled out, etc.).
The ones you use to measure success will depend on your goals.
For example, if your goal is increasing awareness, you’ll want to examine your reach and impressions statistics.
If you’re trying to generate leads, you probably want to focus primarily on conversions.
Each brand is different, which means they will not only measure success differently but will also vary in which platforms are most effective for their social media marketing efforts.
With this in mind, we’ve broken down our examples and inspiration by platform. So, with no further ado, let’s jump in.
1. Dove: Project #ShowUs
Recognizing beauty comes in many forms, Dove launched Project #ShowUS, a social media campaign intended to challenge stereotypes of what is and isn’t considered beautiful.
Employing women and non-binary people, this campaign is a collaboration with Getty Images and Girlgaze Photographers.
- The project has reached over 1.6 billion people with over 660 media pieces in 39 markets worldwide.
- More than 2,000 women pledged to create a more inclusive vision of beauty.
- In just the first year, the hashtag #ShowUs was used more than 7 million times on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.
Why Did It Work?
For generations, media and advertising have presented an image of what beauty is. However, this has left 70% of women feeling like they are not represented by media and advertising.
Dove spoke directly to the feelings of its target audience, engaging with them about the brand’s value and encouraging them to take pride in being themselves.
Strategic delivery helped reach women worldwide.
2. Gillette: “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be”
In January 2019, Gillette launched a social media campaign aiming at a modern interpretation of manhood.
The short film posted exclusively on YouTube depicted several cases of men struggling with traditional masculinity that Gillette itself used to glorify: the fear of showing their emotions, sexual harassment, and bullying others.
Then the film shows several examples of positive masculinity, such as standing up for others, caring for your loved ones, and so on.
The campaign was clearly inspired by the #MeToo movement.
On their Instagram, the company also posted positive male role models with short stories about their journey in the world:
- Community leaders.
- Non-profits’ CEOs.
In addition to that, the company promised to donate “$1 million per year for the next three years to non-profit organizations executing the most interesting and impactful programs designed to help men of all ages achieve their personal best.”
- The short film that launched the campaign has over 30 million views.
- The #GilletteAd hashtag reached more than 150 million people in one month, according to Awario (disclosure: I work for Awario), a social listening tool.
- The Instagram posts related to the campaign gathered around 800 likes and 50 comments, which is higher than usual for Gillette.
Why Did It Work?
This campaign managed to tap into an extremely relevant and widely discussed issue.
It juxtaposed the previous branding of Gillette with a new one and showed the willingness to change.
At the same time, it was also quite controversial – some people didn’t agree with how the short film portrayed men and thought that it was offensive.
They even started a #boycottgillette hashtag. However, it only took up around 3.5% of all the conversations around the campaign on social media.
THIS is how you use your brand. THIS is how you engage with your audience. Gillette being aware of mostly having a male audience and using their influence as a global brand to make a change for the better. other companies take notes pic.twitter.com/KCdxKDLji0
— 💭 (@spidervesre) January 15, 2019
3. BuzzFeed x Friskies: Dear Kitten
If there’s one thing the internet loves, it’s cat videos.
Buzzfeed and Friskies tapped into this sentiment with their “Dear Kitten” videos, in which an older house cat teaches a kitten how to be a cat.
- The launch video has been viewed on YouTube more than 32 million times.
- 12 follow-up videos have been viewed upwards of 3 million times each.
- The campaign led to viral TikTok parodies, with the hashtag #DearKitten receiving more than 3.6 million views.
Why Did It Work?
You don’t have to have genius-level insight into the human psyche to understand why this campaign was so successful. It has cute cats and a funny script.
4. Apple: The Shot on iPhone Challenge
The world’s most popular smartphone manufacturer, Apple, takes great pride in the quality of images that can be captured on its devices.
To highlight the great photos that it can take, it launched a competition that asked iPhone users to “capture the little things in a big way.”
Photographers were then invited to share their images on Instagram and other social media sites using the hashtag #ShotOniPhone.
A panel of judges then selected 10 winners from tens of thousands of entries, which were then featured on Apple’s website, the company’s Instagram, and on 10,000+ billboards in 25 countries.
It has since become an annual campaign for the brand.
- The first round of the campaign had more than 6.5 billion impressions.
- It was mentioned by 24,000 influencers, with a 95% positive comment rating.
Why Did It Work?
User-generated content (UGC) is a low-investment way for companies to promote their brand on social media, but this isn’t the reason for this campaign’s success.
Instead, Shot on iPhone encouraged people to discuss the campaign, which closely aligned with Apple’s reputation for creativity, lifestyle, and innovation.
It encouraged existing users to participate in product launches and built a sense of excitement about being part of the iPhone community.
Additionally, it gave iPhone users a sense of being part of something cool, which everyone likes.
5. Starbucks U.K.: #WhatsYourName
Starbucks U.K. partnered with Mermaids, an organization to support transgender and gender-diverse youth, for a #WhatsYourName campaign focused on trans rights.
The campaign builds on a well-known aspect of the Starbucks experience – having your name written on the side of your cup – by committing to respect the names that customers want to be called by.
In addition to that, Starbucks started selling a mermaid tail cookie to raise funds for Mermaids.
Social media users were encouraged to use the hashtag on Instagram to tell about their experience with gender.
- The YouTube ad gathered 605,000+ views (with less than a thousand YouTube subscribers).
- The Instagram post gathered 1,000+ comments, with an average comment rate for the Starbucks U.K. Instagram profile being around 40 comments.
Why Did It Work?
The team behind the campaign created a simple, clear campaign hashtag.
And they led with their values, which helped this campaign make a real, emotional impact.
Many brands avoid politicized topics, but ultimately, your employees and customers want you to take a stand.
Specifically, they want companies to lead on issues of diversity and community.
6. Spotify: #YearWrapped
Three years ago, Spotify launched a campaign where its users could see the most important musical highlights on their website.
The special webpage Spotify Wrapped showed you your most listened artists, genres, songs, and other fun data discoveries.
You could even see how the music you listened to coincided with your life events that year.
Once you went through all the data analysis, Spotify suggested you share these highlights on social media, specifically Twitter and Insta Stories, and tag your favorite artist of the year.
- According to Twitter, the campaign has been mentioned in at least 1.2 million posts in the launch month.
- More than 60 million users engaged with the in-app story experience.
- There were nearly 3 billion streams from Wrapped playlists.
Why Did It Work?
Spotify combined two big psychological triggers in this campaign: personalization and FOMO.
Firstly, the app provided a personalized story for each user – you could see how your music taste developed through the year and what songs accompanied you in your life.
Secondly, by enabling and encouraging sharing on social media, Spotify amplified the campaign’s reach.
People naturally wanted to show off their highlights to their friends, thus making more people eager to try this experience.
7. Netflix: Wanna Talk About It?
Recognizing the importance of mental health and overcoming traumatic experiences, Netflix launched Wanna Talk About It?, a weekly Instagram LIVE series and accompanying website that addresses topics ranging from sexual violence and abuse to gender identity and suicidal thoughts.
It features stars from several Netflix movies and series, it was initially launched at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Wanna Talk About it? Works with 150 organizations in 45 countries, offering information, videos, downloadable guides, and nonprofit helplines in 26 languages.
Why Did It Work?
The global lockdown was a difficult time for many people. Unable to leave their homes, streaming services were a major source of entertainment.
With this campaign, Netflix addressed the mental health issues many were suffering through, giving them celebrities to whom they could relate.
8. Daniel Wellington: #WheresWellington
Swedish watch manufacturer Daniel Wellington was one of the first brands to recognize the power of social media influencers.
The company sent free watches to some of the most-followed individuals on Instagram, with the only requirement being that they post one photo on their feed using the hashtag #WheresWellington. Followers were then asked to guess the location where the photo was taken.
This, in turn, generated a significant buzz around the brand, which increased in popularity with teenagers and young adults.
- The Where’s Wellington content saw significantly higher engagement than the watch company’s normal social media posts.
Why Did It Work?
By gamifying visual content on social media, Daniel Wellington gave followers a reason to engage with its posts, whether in the form of a like, a comment, or a share.
Guessing formats is a simple yet powerful way to encourage interaction on platforms like Instagram, while a branded campaign hashtag makes it easy to track success.
9. BuzzFeed: Tasty
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 two minutes, deliver on-trend recipes to a highly engaged audience.
- Nearly 15 months after launching, Tasty 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 its 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 117 million views.)
10. Houseparty: Fortnite Trivia Challenge
How much do you think you know about Fortnite? 🤔
Maybe it’s time to quiz you!
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) April 10, 2020
Epic Games combined two of its most popular offerings in the online game – Fortnite and the now-discontinued social networking app Houseparty – to create a trivia challenge.
Members of the Fortnite community collectively answered more than 20 million trivia questions about the game to unlock a special in-game skin for all players.
Running from April 10-16, it received thousands of engagements on Twitter.
Why Did It Work?
Gamers are nothing if not loyal to their favorite video game.
By adding both a community element and gamification, Epic was able to generate significant engagement with its tweets about the campaign under both Fortnite and Houseparty accounts.
And by offering a tangible, exclusive, and limited-edition reward, it encouraged sharing and participation.
11. Getty: The Getty Museum Challenge
We challenge you to recreate a work of art with objects (and people) in your home.
🥇 Choose your favorite artwork
🥈 Find three things lying around your house⠀
🥉 Recreate the artwork with those items
And share with us. pic.twitter.com/9BNq35HY2V
— Getty (@GettyMuseum) March 25, 2020
The Getty Museum is home to thousands of works by some of history’s greatest artists, including Rubens, Monet, Rembrandt, and Cezanne.
In 2020, the Los Angeles-based Museum took to Twitter and other social media platforms, challenging people to recreate famous artworks with just objects from their homes.
- The initial tweet saw more than 10,000 retweets, close to 3,500 quote tweets, and over 25,000 likes.
- Thousands of recreations were submitted, including some recreating renaissance art with lasagna noodles and a vacuum serving in place of a harp.
Why Did It Work?
It was the pandemic’s beginning, and people were bored and looking for a creative outlet.
Getty’s Challenge allowed them to demonstrate their sense of humor while creating a positive diversion.
12. Greggs: #VeganSausageRoll
Greggs is a British bakery chain loved by the Brits.
In January, they introduced their new vegan sausage roll, with a clever video ad parodying Apple ads.
However, it’s not the ad itself but the events that made the campaign memorable.
Piers Morgan, a controversial public figure, retweeted Greggs’ announcement and expressed irritation at the existence of a vegan sausage roll.
That made both pro-vegan roll and anti-vegan roll British people join the social media battle of the year!
Greggs responded to Piers Morgan along with 9,000+ other Twitter users.
And they didn’t shy away from responding both to sausage roll lovers and haters with witty remarks.
Nobody was waiting for a vegan bloody sausage, you PC-ravaged clowns.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 2, 2019
As a result, the vegan sausage roll became one of the most popular Greggs products that year.
- On Twitter alone, the Greggs vegan sausage roll conversation saw over 516 million impressions, according to Brandwatch.
- The announcement tweet was retweeted more than 15 thousand times.
- Greggs jumped 9.6% in sales in the first seven weeks of the launch.
Why Did It Work?
Even though the success of the campaign partly happened because of an organic retweet and not an action planned by Greggs, it once again shows us the power of influencer marketing.
Even a negative opinion expressed by an influencer draws an incredible amount of attention to your brand.
Plus, if it’s an influencer that most people hate, you only win due to this retweet.
Another lesson to take away from this campaign is the advantages of being witty on social media.
Greggs’ funny responses to haters are what won over a new audience, and it’s a good practice not to take yourself too seriously on social media.
13. Planters: The Death of Mr. Peanut – #RIPPeanut
Perhaps one of the most bizarre social media campaigns: The beloved mascot of Planters snack food company died at the beginning of January.
His death was announced with a tweet and later explained in a video ad posted to YouTube.
Apparently, Mr. Peanut sacrificed his life to save his commercial co-stars, Matt Walsh and Wesley Snipes.
You could win some snacks by replying to a tweet with a #RIPPeanut hashtag.
The brands and regular social media users alike played along with the campaign, and it even got a mention on SNL.
Goodbye, Mr. Peanut. Very few people understand how delicious our relationship has been: #RIPeanut pic.twitter.com/q6QxXJfArX
— Dr Pepper (@drpepper) January 24, 2020
The campaign was inspired by the reaction to celebrity deaths on social media.
It aimed to repeat the same level of engagement that Tony Stark’s death caused in “Avengers: Endgame.”
Later Mr. Peanut was reborn as a Baby Nut and now happily tweets from the Peanut Jr. account.
- The tweet announcing the death of Mr. Peanut gathered almost 50,000 retweets.
- The hashtag was used more than a million times on Twitter.
Why Did It Work?
still can’t comprehend that this really happened at an ad agency in the last few weeks pic.twitter.com/hX5UNbjVb0
— rob trench (@robtrench) January 27, 2020
The campaign’s premise was so crazy that it immediately became a meme.
Many comedians and funny Twitter personalities “were making jokes about Mr. Peanut’s departure.”
This specific brand of internet humor makes certain things go viral – and it worked.
14. Airbnb: #GoNear
Another pandemic-birthed campaign, Airbnb introduced its Go Near campaign as an initiative to promote local travel and help the economy recover from the lockdown.
The travel industry was particularly hard hit by the pandemic, and the short-term rental company launched the campaign on social media using the #GoNear hashtag to remind people that there are lots of fun destinations near where they live.
Why Did It Work?
Recognizing not just its own livelihood but the income of the people who depend on it as a revenue stream, Airbnb reacted to the pandemic quickly.
The company deeply understood its audience’s needs and created data-driven content to address them.
Airbnb also focused on creating personal connections that humanized the brand at a time when many were feeling isolated.
15. P&G: #DistanceDance
Stay home & do the distancedance. Tag me & the hashtag in your video. P&G will donate to Feeding America & Matthew 25 for first 3M videos #PGPartner
♬ Big Up’s (feat. Yung Nnelg) – Jordyn, Nic Da Kid
Created during the pandemic (seeing a trend here?), Proctor and Gamble took to TikTok with a campaign designed to encourage social distancing.
Under the hashtag #DistanceDance, the company teamed up with social media and former competitive dancer Charli D’Amelio to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
For the first 3 million videos posted to the short-form video apps, P&G donated to Feeding America and Matthew 25 Ministries.
- The hashtag has generated more than 18 billion views to date.
- Charli D’Amelio’s video received almost 7 million likes and had more than 143,000 comments.
Why Did It Work?
Recognizing that to reach a younger audience, they needed to reach them on their platform of choice, P&G jumped fully into this TikTok campaign.
Partnering with an established influencer helped the company reach an audience it would otherwise have struggled to connect with.
The give-back component also created a feel-good reason to participate in the hashtag challenge.
16. UN Australia: #EmpowerMoves
@unwomenaust #EmpowerMoves is the dance that’s also self-defence. Join the movement today #UNWomenAust ♬ Good Things (R3HAB Remix) – Wafia
United Nations Australia embraced the full potential of the short-form video site by creating a basic self-defense “dance” for women.
Consisting of four basic self-defense movements, #EmpowerMoves is intended to give women and girls the confidence and support to protect themselves and shape a strong and equal future.
This campaign follows on the heels of another UN Women Australia campaign, “When Will She Be Right?,” which seeks to accelerate progress toward gender equality.
Why Did It Work?
TikTok has been home to popular dancing videos since its inception.
UN Australia capitalized on this by working with choreographers and celebrities to create movements that not only look good in time with the music but can also keep women safe.
It also serves as a rallying point for women who will no longer take a back seat to men or accept being a victim.
17. Harvard Business Review: Special Coverage: Coronavirus
Because it’s so commonly used as a professional networking site, it’s easy to forget that LinkedIn is a social media platform just like Facebook or YouTube.
Harvard Business Review recognized it could fill a valuable role during the height of the pandemic by offering resources about the coronavirus.
Gathering many resources in one convenient place, they provided a credible source of information at a time when misinformation was running rampant.
The special coverage included information about developing work-from-home policies, responding to new variants, and helping find a new normal.
- The HBR has almost 14 million followers, many of whom benefited from this information.
Why Did It Work?
From fears of microchipping to governmental conspiracies, the sheer amount of outright false information about COVID-19 was staggering.
On top of this, this was uncharted territory for businesses of all types.
Leveraging the credibility of its parent institution, HBR provided quality, factual advice for dealing with a wide variety of pandemic-related issues.
While many of the campaigns featured here had COVID-ties, that’s about the only thing they had in common. Otherwise, they ran the gamut of platforms and audiences.
But something else tied these brands together: They all found innovative ways to appeal to their targets. And they gave something in return.
From the video game skin in the Houseparty Fortnite Trivia Challenge to the entertainment of the Dear Kitten videos to the mental support of Netflix’s IG live series, they all provided value for their audience.
Keep this in mind as you strive to create your own social media campaigns. And who knows? Maybe next year, you’ll be featured here.
Featured Image: metamorworks/Shutterstock
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