How To Make a Successful Social Media Campaign: Real Life Examples From Brands That Matter

Mackenzie Maher
By Mackenzie Maher

At this point, most brands understand the importance of having their own social media accounts and incorporating them in their marketing strategy. But just having a presence isn’t always enough. These days, a consistently scheduled content calendar is just the bare minimum/price of entry for validating your social existence; sure those weekly automated posts mean that you’re active on social, but are you driving action on social? Oftentimes, not. What you need is a social media campaign.

You can have all the scheduling platforms in the world to support you, you can use an automated follow tool to grow your audience, you can include a ‘Share this post’ CTA in all of your captions; but none of those will serve you as well as a creative and strategically executed social media campaign that inspires people to create and participate. Done correctly, it will drive more quality interactions, and in turn quality results.

What Is A Social Media Campaign?

So, what are they exactly? Simply put, a social media marketing campaign is advertising initiatives that appear on social networks and/or platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, blogs, or other social media channels that exist in the digital space. They’re used to promote a product/service, build brand awareness, create a sense of community, or unite people around a common interest or experience to create a trend.

Related: Social Media Marketing Strategies for Lead Generation & E-Commerce

With these campaigns, the end game is driving customer engagement, improving brand affinity, and increasing brand awareness–all of which should already be goals within your company’s marketing strategy. There are a multitude of ways to execute your campaign–common tactics include engaging videos, influencer partnerships, giveaways and contests, cross-company promotions, branded hashtags, user-generated content, shareable posts, engaging videos, and more–and we see brands creatively implementing these tactics in new ways all the time.

Some successfully and some not-so-successfully. Ultimately, you want to convert your (perhaps otherwise passive) followers into active participants of your campaign, so choose a route that makes sense for your brand and will be most likely to incite this kind of involvement from your audience. If your campaign (and it’s content) is creative, authentic, and shareable, then you’re on the right path to social campaign success.

Stand-Out Social Media Campaign Examples

Whether you’re trying to introduce social campaigns into your strategy for the first time, or looking to ramp up existing efforts, there is no time like the present. And with the year winding down, this is the perfect opportunity to start thinking about campaign ideas for next year.

Related: Power Digital Pointers: Social Media Tips and Tricks

With a creative, open-minded marketing team on your side, the opportunities for brand social success are endless, and even if you’re just running a one-man show, all it takes is a little inspiration to get the creative juices flowing. Big brand or small business, social media campaigns are a key pillar of any smart marketing strategy, and these examples are some of the best we’ve seen in recent years.

WWF #EndangeredEmoji Campaign

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Platform: Twitter

Key to Success: Culturally Relevant + Cause Based + Easy to Get Involved

Strategy: Capitalizing on the rise of the emoji, the WWF International took to this pop culture phenomenon to raise brand awareness for a good cause. After identifying that 17 of the animals represented in the emoji keyboard were actually on the endangered species list, they launched a campaign that was highly shareable and relevant to the times.

Using the hashtag  #EndangeredEmoji, they encouraged Twitter users to retweet a message from WWF’s account and include endangered emoji in their own social messaging. For each retweet of an animal emoji shared by the @WWF Twitter account, users were invited to make a donation of 10 cents. The response was incredible, with over a million tweets using the campaign hashtag.

Amazon “Thank You” Campaign

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Platform: Instagram

Key to Success: Customer Appreciation + Discount

Why it Works: Before anything else, a campaign is almost always at an advantage when it offers something of value, in this case being a discount. Normally, Instagram isn’t the go-to social media platform when it comes to converting engagement to sales, but a tactic like the one Amazon used, offering a promo code and linking to a price page, can overcome this difficulty.

Even beyond the discount, the thought behind it adds additional value. Amazon has a die hard following, and Amazon wanted to recognize their fanbase with a message of appreciation. This small gesture can go far with customers, especially when establishing a relationship between brand and consumer is so important today.

GoPro User Generated Content Campaign

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Platform: Instagram

Key to Success: Brand Affinity + User-generated Content

Strategy: The nature of the product makes it easy for GoPro to employ an ongoing social media strategy incorporating UGC into their social marketing. Their cameras allow people to record amazing footage of them doing amazing things, and GoPro wanted to show their target audience how much they love and appreciate the different ways they use the camera. By encouraging sharing and submissions of user images, they impel high levels of user engagement while establishing meaningful connections with their customers.

Audiences see this, feel the love, and in turn, it reinforces brand affinity. The relationship doesn’t just end when a customer walks out the door or checks out online post-purchase. GoPro wins people over by showing that they’re still interested in them and what they are doing, even after the fact. By effectively sharing user content, GoPro positions itself as a community that appreciates and celebrates each member’s diverse lifestyle.

BuzzFeed Tasty Social Videos

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Platform: Instagram, Facebook

Key to Success: Engaging + Shareable Content

Key to Success: Highly visual content is king in the world of social media, and BuzzFeed’s short-form Tasty videos recognized this, ran with it, and then some. With their one to two minute how-to food videos, they created easily digestible, highly shareable content that appealed to a vast audience. Even if you don’t cook, who doesn’t love food, right? With these mesmerizing videos, you can’t help but watch for the whole 60 seconds, and you almost feel obligated to share with a friend–they’re that good. The fact that their videos can be promoted across multiple channels, including their YouTube channel, is another bonus that has helped the huge success of this drool worthy video.

Orange Theory Client Testimonials Campaign

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Platform: Instagram

Key to Success: Strong Branding + Authenticity + Testimonials

Strategy: Often times it’s hard to humanize a franchise, especially in the fitness world where it’s seemingly filled with almost unachievable perfection. So, instead of posting photos of intimidating hard bodies all over their social channels, Orangetheory tackles a more intimate approach by tapping into the stories of real customers and their very real stories. They share the before and the after, and celebrate client progress.

Related: Fundamental Social Media Goals You Should Set

Not only does this lend an authentic human element to the brand and strengthens relationships with existing clients, but the testimonial aspect of it lends major credibility to the businesses’ success. By highlighting real people who’ve used and loved Orangetheory, you’re creating proof of your legitimacy as a brand, which will likely encourage your users friends to try out the product as well.

AirBnB ‘Live There’ Campaign

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Platform: Instagram

Key to Success: Market Research + Beautiful Imagery + Influencers

Strategy: Social Success 101 is creating content that appeals to your audience, and this applies as equally for your regularly scheduled posts as it does for your bigger social media campaigns. If it doesn’t tap into the desires and values of your audience, you aren’t going to get very far. Knowing this, Airbnb invested in some market research to find out exactly what makes their audience tick: the brand’s data showed them that living like a local was a huge factor in their audience’s travel decisions.

Related: Engagement vs. Traffic-Driving Content on Social Media

Thus, the ‘Live There’ campaign was born. AirBnb used professional photographers on the ground in different locations to take and share their photos with the hashtag #livethere. AirBnb then shared those same photos on their own Instagram account captioning the location, crediting the photographer, and then sharing a link in bio, inviting audiences to book a home in that locale. The beautiful photos spoke for themselves and the campaign saw great engagement and conversions.

Ready To Launch Your Campaign?

As these brands have exemplified, there is no one-size-fits all formula for social campaigns, and the details will ultimately depend on your brand and your audience; however, understanding the foundation of what makes a successful campaign will make it much easier to determine the kind of campaign that will drive the desired results and increase your social media presence. No matter how big or small your brand is, the same fundamentals we introduced earlier still apply. As long as your campaign (and it’s content) is creative, authentic, and shareable, then you’re on the right path to becoming a social campaign champ.

 

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As a Social Media Account Manager, Mackenzie works to develop dynamic strategies and creative content that will help clients grow their organic social presence. With a strong background in writing and marketing, and an eye for design, her role at PDM allows her to flex her strongest muscles and indulge her outside-the-box thinking. Equally happy when creating a witty caption as she is mocking up a new visual concept, the San Diego local and UC Santa Barbara graduate treats every day as a new opportunity to achieve marketing greatness.