17 Examples of Successful Social Media Campaigns
Successful social media campaigns have one thing in common: They deliver value to their audience.
Technology has made the world much smaller. Communicating with friends and family across the country or around the world no longer requires expensive phone calls or slow one-way mail. Instead, thanks to the power of social media, you can share updates about your life or connect with anyone with internet access in seconds.
But there’s a lot more to social media than building and maintaining connections—especially for savvy marketers.
Why is Social Media Marketing Important for Brands?
For business purposes, sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram offer the opportunity to connect with a large audience. Last year, more than 4.7 billion people worldwide used social media platforms, which means a lot of potential customers.
Social media allows you to tell your story and humanize your brand. This allows you to build your audience and keep your goals in mind without requiring huge budget allocations.
You can connect and engage with customers, handle feedback (both positive and negative), and build authenticity by being active on the right sites.
Don’t believe it?
Here are some Key Statistics about Social Media Marketing:
1~ 55% of people learn about brands through social media.
2~ The average internet user spends 397 minutes online every day, with most of that time spent on social media.
3~ 79.7% of people make a purchase based on an online or social media ad.
From paid display ads that target very specific demographics to organic news that goes viral, social media offers incredible opportunities to promote your brand, increase awareness, and find new customers.
But what separates the businesses that are killing it on social media from the thousands of losers who never seem to get any impressions on their accounts? In this post, we’ll take a look at some amazing ways popular brands are using distributed platforms to inspire your marketing campaigns.
How to Measure the Effectiveness of Social Media Marketing?
Before we get to the fun stuff, let’s take a moment to discuss how to track the results of your social campaigns.
Measure the effectiveness of your social media marketing by measuring your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
Some KPIs to consider include:
1 Reach (the number of people who saw your post).
2 Impressions (how many times your post was viewed).
3 Engagement (how many likes, shares, comments, etc. you’ve received).
4 Conversions (button clicks, following, form filling, etc.).
The metric you use to measure success depends on your goals. For example, if your goal is to increase visibility, it’s a good idea to check reach and impression statistics.
If you’re trying to generate leads, you’ll likely focus primarily on conversions.
Every brand is different, which means that not only will they measure success differently, but they will also differ on which platforms are most effective for their social media marketing efforts. With that in mind, we’ve broken down examples and inspiration by platform.
So, without further ado, let’s begin.
Here are 17 examples to inspire you:
1. Dove Project: #ShowUs
Campaign Overview: Because beauty comes in many forms, Dove created the #ShowUS project, a social media campaign designed to challenge stereotypes about what’s beautiful and what isn’t.
This campaign employs women and non-binary people and is a collaboration with Getty Images and Girlgaze Photographers.
The Number: The project reached over 1.6 billion people with over 660 outlets in 39 markets around the world.
More than 2,000 women are committed to creating a broader vision of beauty. In its 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 represented what beauty is. However, because of this, 70% of women feel they are not represented by the media and advertising.
Dove spoke directly to the feelings of his target audience, talking to them about brand equity and encouraging them to be proud of themselves.
Strategic delivery has helped reach women all over the world.
2. Gillette: “We believe: the best men can be”
Campaign Summary: In January 2019, Gillette launched a social media campaign focused on a modern interpretation of masculinity.
The short film, released exclusively on YouTube, shows several cases of men grappling with traditional masculinity that Gillette herself used to glorify: the fear of showing their emotions, sexual harassment and bullying of others.
The film then shows several examples of positive masculinity, such as standing up for others, taking care of loved ones, and so on. The campaign was inspired by the #MeToo movement.
On its Instagram, the company also posted positive male role models with short stories about their journey around the world:
CEOs of non-profit organizations.
Additionally, the company has pledged to “donate $1 million annually for the next three years to nonprofit organizations that run the most interesting and impactful programs to help men of all ages achieve their personal best”.
The Number: 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.
Instagram posts related to the campaign garnered approximately 800 likes and 50 comments, which is more than usual for Gillette.
Why did it work?
This campaign has tapped into a highly relevant and much-discussed issue.
It juxtaposed Gillette’s previous branding with a new one and showed a willingness to change.
At the same time, it was also quite controversial: some people disagreed with the way the short portrayed men and found it offensive. They even launched a hashtag #boycottgillette. However, it only made up about 3.5% of all social media conversations related to the campaign.
3. BuzzFeed x Friskies: Dear Kitty
Campaign Overview: If there’s one thing the internet loves, it’s cat videos.
Buzzfeed and Friskies capitalized on that sentiment with their “Dear Kitten” videos, in which an elderly house cat teaches a kitten how to be a cat.
The Number: The intro video has been viewed over 32 million times on YouTube. 12 follow-up videos have each been viewed over 3 million times. The campaign spawned viral TikTok parodies, with the #DearKitten hashtag garnering over 3.6 million views.
Why did it work?
You don’t have to have genius insight into the human psyche to understand why this campaign has been so successful. It has cute cats and a funny script.
4. Apple: The Shot on iPhone Challenge
Campaign overview: The world’s most popular smartphone maker, Apple, takes great pride in the quality of the images that can be captured on its devices.
To highlight the great photos it can take, it launched a contest asking iPhone users to “capture the little things in a big way.”
Photographers were then invited to share their photos 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 more than 10,000 billboards in 25 countries. It has since become an annual campaign for the brand.
The Number: The first round of the campaign saw over 6.5 billion impressions. It was mentioned by 24,000 influencers, with a positive feedback rate of 95%.
Why did it work?
User-generated content (UGC) is a cost-effective way for businesses to promote their brand on social media, but that’s not 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 created a sense of enthusiasm for belonging to the iPhone community.
Moreover, it gave iPhone users the feeling that they are part of something interesting, which everyone likes.
5. Starbucks UK: #WhatYouCall
Campaign overview: Starbucks UK has partnered with Mermaids, an organization that supports transgender and gender-diverse youth, for a #WhatsYourName campaign focusing on trans rights.
The campaign builds on a familiar aspect of the Starbucks experience — having your name written on the side of your cup — while committing to respecting the names customers want to be addressed by. Additionally, Starbucks has started selling a mermaid tail cookie to raise funds for mermaids.
Social media users were encouraged to use the hashtag on Instagram to share their experiences with the genre.
The Number: The YouTube ad has been viewed over 605,000 times (with less than a thousand YouTube subscribers).
The Instagram post garnered over 1,000 comments, with the average comment rate for Starbucks U.K. being around 40 comments.
Why did it work?
The team behind the campaign created a clear and simple hashtag for the campaign. And they led the way with their values, making this campaign a real emotional impact.
Many brands shy away from politicized topics, but ultimately, your employees and customers want you to take a stand. In particular, they want companies to be at the forefront of diversity and community.
6. Spotify: #YearWrapped
Campaign Overview: Three years ago, Spotify launched a campaign allowing its users to see the main musical highlights on their website.
The dedicated Spotify Wrapped webpage showed you your most-listened-to artists, genres, songs and other funny data finds. You might even see how the music you listened to coincided with events in your life that year.
After going through all the data analysis, Spotify suggested sharing these highlights on social media, especially Twitter and Insta Stories, and tagging your favourite artist of the year.
The Number: According to Twitter, the campaign was mentioned in at least 1.2 million posts during its launch month. More than 60 million users are engaged in the in-app story experience. There were nearly 3 billion Wrapped playlist streams.
Why did it work?
Spotify has combined two major psychological triggers in this campaign: Personalization and FOMO.
First, the app offers a personal story for each user: you can see how your taste in music has developed over the year and which songs have accompanied you in your life. Second, Spotify increased the campaign’s reach by enabling and encouraging social media sharing.
People naturally wanted to show their strengths to their friends and thus encourage more people to try this experience.
7. Netflix: Want to talk about it?
Campaign overview: Recognizing the importance of mental health and overcoming traumatic experiences, Netflix has launched Wanna Talk About It?, a weekly Instagram LIVE series and companion website covering topics ranging from assault and sexual abuse to gender identity and suicidal ideation.
It features stars from various Netflix movies and series and was initially launched at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Numbers: Do you want to talk about this? Works with 150 organizations in 45 countries and offers information, videos, downloadable guides, and nonprofit helplines in 26 languages.
Why did it work?
The global lockdown has been a difficult time for many people. Since they couldn’t leave their homes, streaming services were a major source of entertainment.
With this campaign, Netflix addressed the mental health issues that many suffered from and gave them celebrities to identify with.
8. Daniel Wellington:#WheresWellington
Campaign Overview: Swedish watchmaker Daniel Wellington was one of the first brands to recognize the power of social media influencers.
The company has sent free watches to some of the most followed people on Instagram, with the only requirement that they post a photo in their feed with the hashtag #WheresWellington. Followers were then asked to guess where the photo was taken.
This, in turn, created a huge buzz around the brand, which was gaining popularity among teenagers and young adults.
The Number: The Where’s Wellington content saw significantly higher engagement than the watch company’s regular social media posts.
Why did it work?
By gamifying visual content on social media, Daniel Wellington has given followers a reason to engage with his posts, whether in the form of a like, comment or share.
Format guessing is a simple yet powerful way to encourage engagement on platforms like Instagram, while a branded campaign hashtag makes it easy to track success.
9. BuzzFeed: Delicious
Campaign Overview: You’ve probably seen those quick and easy recipe videos that pop up all over your Facebook News Feed.
17 great examples of social media marketing screenshots from Facebook, December 2022
BuzzFeed’s Tasty Videos are cooking shows for the social media generation.
These videos, which are typically less than two minutes long, deliver trending recipes to a highly engaged audience.
The Number: Nearly 15 months after its launch, Tasty has released 2,000 recipe videos, giving the brand a steady stream of new content.
The videos reach around 500 million users per month. 100 million fans on Facebook.
As of September 2016, Tasty has generated over 1.8 billion views of his videos. BuzzFeed now has a team of 75 dedicated to producing content for Tasty.
Why did it work?
For starters, there’s the content. “It speaks to a simple truth: people love good food and the type of food that reminds them of their childhood, comfort food or food that reminds them of an experience,” said Frank Cooper, chief marketing officer of BuzzFeed.
But more importantly, Tasty and Proper Tasty have exploded on Facebook because the content is suitable for this platform.
The videos are optimized for Facebook’s autoplay feature, which starts playing videos without sound. You don’t need sound to watch, say, a 45-second tutorial on how to make a cheese-filled pizza pretzel.
In 24 hours, this video had 37 million views, 650,000 likes and 750,000 shares. (That’s up to 117 million views now.)
10. House Party: Fortnite Trivia Challenge
Campaign Overview: Epic Games combined two of its most popular offerings in online gaming — Fortnite and the now-defunct social networking app Houseparty to create a quiz challenge.
Together, members of the Fortnite community answered over 20 million questions about the game to unlock a special in-game skin for all players.
It ran from April 10-16 and received thousands of engagements on Twitter.
The Number: Fortnite’s first teaser tweet had over 21,000 likes.
Why did it work?
Players are nothing if they are not loyal to their favourite video game.
By adding a community element and gamification, Epic was able to generate meaningful engagement with its tweets about the campaign on Fortnite and Houseparty accounts.
And by offering a tangible, exclusive and limited reward, it encouraged sharing and participation.
11. Getty: The Getty Museum Challenge
Campaign Overview: The Getty Museum is home to thousands of works by some of history’s greatest artists, including Rubens, Monet, Rembrandt and Cézanne.
In 2020, the Los Angeles-based museum took to Twitter and other social media platforms, urging people to recreate famous works of art using only items from their homes.
The Number: The first tweet received over 10,000 retweets, nearly 3,500 quote tweets, and over 25,000 likes.
Thousands of replicas were submitted, including some Renaissance art replicas featuring lasagne and a vacuum cleaner instead of a harp. Why did it work?
It was the start of the pandemic and people were bored and looking for a creative outlet.
Getty’s challenge allowed them to showcase their sense of humour while creating a positive distraction.
12. Greggs: #VeganSausageRoll
Campaign overview: Greggs is a British chain of bakeries loved by the Brits. In January, they introduced their new vegan sausage roll, with a clever video ad that parodied Apple’s ads.
However, it’s not the ads themselves, but the events that make the campaign memorable.
Piers Morgan, a controversial public figure, retweeted Greggs’ announcement, expressing irritation at the existence of a vegan sausage roll.
This has brought both pro-vegan roll and anti-vegan roll Britons into the social media battle of the year!
Greggs responded to Piers Morgan along with more than 9,000 other Twitter users.
And they didn’t hesitate to hit back at sausage roll aficionados and haters alike with witty comments. As a result, the vegan sausage roll became one of Greggs’s most popular products that year.
The Number: On Twitter alone, the conversation with Greggs about vegan sausage rolls has been viewed more than 516 million times, according to Brandwatch.
The announcement tweet has been retweeted over 15,000 times.
Greggs increased sales by 9.6% in the first seven weeks after launch.
Why did it work?
While part of the campaign’s success was due to an organic retweet rather than planned action by Greggs, this once again shows us the power of influencer marketing.
Even a negative review from an influencer draws incredible attention to your brand. And if it’s an influencer most people hate, win with that retweet. Another takeaway from this campaign is the benefits of being funny on social media.
Greggs’ funny reactions to haters have won over new audiences, and it’s good not to take yourself too seriously on social media.
13. Plant: The Death of Mr Peanut – #RIPPeanut
Campaign Overview: Perhaps one of the more bizarre social media campaigns: the popular mascot of snack company Planters died in early January. His death was announced by tweet and later explained in a video announcement posted on YouTube. Mr Peanut gave his life to save his commercial co-stars, Matt Walsh and Wesley Snipes.
You could earn snacks by replying to a tweet with the hashtag #RIPPeanut. Brands and regular social media users played their part in the campaign, and it was even featured on SNL.
The campaign was inspired by the reaction to celebrity deaths on social media. It aimed to replicate the same level of commitment that caused Tony Stark’s death in Avengers: Endgame. Later, Mr Peanut reincarnated as Baby Nut and now happily tweets from the Peanut Jr. account.
The Number: The tweet announcing Mr Peanut’s death garnered almost 50,000 retweets.
The hashtag has been used over a million times on Twitter.
Why did it work?
The premise of the campaign was so insane that it became an instant meme. Many comedians and entertaining Twitter personalities “joked about Mr Peanut’s departure.” This particular type of Internet humour makes certain things go viral, and it worked.
14. Airbnb: #GoNear
Campaign overview: Another campaign born out of the pandemic, Airbnb introduced the Go Near campaign as an initiative to promote local travel and help the economy recover from the lockdown. The travel industry has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and the short-term rental company launched a social media campaign using the hashtag #GoNear to remind people that there are plenty of fun destinations near them.
The Number: This campaign helped the travel industry recover from a 90% drop in bookings with a 22% year-over-year increase in spending.
Why did it work?
Airbnb has recognized not only its livelihood but also the income of people who depend on it as a source of income and has responded quickly to the pandemic.
The company clearly understood the needs of its target audience and created data-driven content to appeal to them. Airbnb also focused on building personal relationships that humanized the brand at a time when many felt isolated.
15. Procter & Gamble: #DistanceDance
Activity overview: @charlidamelio
Stay home and dance the distance. Tag me and hashtags in your videos. P&G will donate the first 3M videos to Feeding America and Matthew 25 #PGPartner
♬ Big Up (feat. Yung Nnelg) – Jordyn, Nick Da Kidd
Proctor and Gamble were created during the pandemic (see a trend here?) and landed on TikTok with a campaign designed to promote social distancing.
With the hashtag #DistanceDance, the company is teaming up with social media and former competitive dancer Charlie D’Amelio to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. For the first 3 million videos submitted to the short video app, P&G will donate to Feeding America and Matthew 25 Ministries.
The Number: To date, the hashtag has generated more than 18 billion impressions. Charli d’Amelio’s video received nearly 7 million and had more than 143,000 comments.
Why did it work?
Recognizing that reaching a younger audience requires reaching them on their platform of choice, P&G stepped in with this TikTok campaign.
Partnering with well-known influencers helps businesses reach audiences that would otherwise be difficult to reach. The reward component also creates a good reason to participate in the hashtag challenge.
16. United Nations Australia: #EmpowerMoves
Campaign Overview: @unwomenaust #EmpowerMoves is a self-defence dance. Join the movement today #UNWomenAust♬ Good Things (R3HAB Remix) – Wafia
The United Nations of Australia is unlocking the full potential of a short video site by creating a basic self-defence “dance” for women. #EmpowerMoves is made up of four essential self-defence movements designed to give women and girls the confidence and support to protect themselves and shape a strong and equal future.
The campaign comes on the heels of another UN Women Australia campaign, ‘When is she right?’, which aims to accelerate progress towards gender equality.
The Number: The hashtag has been viewed nearly 140 million times on TikTok.
Why does it work?
Since its inception, TikTok has been home to popular dance videos.
The United Nations Office in Australia capitalized on this, working with choreographers and celebrities to create moves that not only matched the music but also kept women safe. It also serves as a rallying point for women who no longer want to submit to men or accept being victimized.
17. Harvard Business Review: Special Coverage: Coronavirus
Campaign Outline: 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. They have gathered many resources in one convenient place, providing a reliable source of information in a time of misinformation.
Special reports include information on developing work-from-home policies, dealing with new options and helping to find a new normal. number
HBR has nearly 14 million followers, and many of them use this information.
Why does it work?
From microchip scares to government conspiracies, the sheer volume of outright misinformation about COVID-19 was staggering.
Furthermore, this was uncharted territory for all types of businesses. Building on the credibility of its parent institution, HBR provides high-quality fact-based advice on a range of pandemic-related issues.
Key Learnings: Although many of the campaigns highlighted here had connections to COVID, that was essentially all that connected them. Otherwise, they performed for a variety of audiences and platforms.
However, there was another factor that connected these brands: each one discovered fresh approaches to attract their target audiences. They also gave something back in exchange.
Every single one of them, from the video game skin in the Houseparty Fortnite Trivia Challenge to the amusement of the Dear Kitten videos to the psychological support of Netflix’s IG live series, offered something of value to their audience.
Think about this as you work to develop your own social media campaigns. Perhaps you’ll be highlighted here next year, too.
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