Every day, 3.5 billion people use social media.
Whether it’s to connect with loved ones, find entertainment, or develop a business, social networks are busy places.
And marketers are well aware of the potential.
Especially when a whopping 73 percent of consumers claim that they have been influenced by a brand’s social media presence when making a purchasing decision.
It’s no wonder worldwide investments in social media advertising are expected to soar to $48 billion by 2021.
So, if you’re wondering how to create killer social media campaigns, we’ve got you covered.
This article will take you through five social media campaign examples and the lessons you can learn from them.
But before we dive in, let’s set the scene.
What is a Social Media Campaign?
A social media campaign definition:
A social media campaign is an organized marketing effort to increase consumer awareness, interest, and loyalty to an organization, brand, product, or service, through social media channels.
Social media marketing campaigns are planned strategically, targeted towards a particular audience, and have measurable outcomes.
Brands use many platforms to run social media campaigns, such as:
Plus, most brands use multiple channels for their social media campaigns.
Now that we’ve set the scene, let’s jump into five social media campaign examples and their key takeaways.
1. Apple: Shot on iPhone
Tech giant Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” is an ongoing social media marketing campaign to promote its line of smartphones.
The campaign entails several different tactics, such as online and offline advertisements, and creating original content shot on its range of smartphones.
Arguably, the most impressive part of the campaign is the way Apple has harnessed user-generated content on Instagram.
What is user-generated content?
User-generated content, or UGC, is content that is created and published by unpaid contributors.
These contributors are customers, followers, or fans who promote the brand with their original content, such as images, videos, blog posts, and social media posts.
At this point, brands can reach out to gain permission to share the content across their channels.
In this example, Apple created the hashtag #shotoniphone to promote the social media campaign on Instagram.
So far, the hashtag has 12.9 million posts – remember, this is brand exposure that Apple hasn’t had to pay for directly.
This successful social media campaign has even spawned other hashtags from people wanting to associate with the brand, such as #iphoneography, #iphotography, #iphonephoto, and #shotoniphone11pro.
Key Takeaway: Encourage User-Generated Content
Today, all kinds of businesses employ user-generated content as part of their marketing strategy – from titans like Apple and Airbnb to solopreneurs.
And it’s easy to understand why.
User-generated is a powerful way to engage your target audience, harness the power of social proof, and source great content – all while using minimal resources.
Also, your brand will be exposed to a much larger audience when users promote you to their followers.
The best part?
When brands share user-generated content, the posts get 28 percent more engagement compared to standard company posts.
And that’s not all.
Ads based on user-generated content receive four times higher click-through rates and a 50 percent drop in cost-per-click compared to average ads.
So, how can you get started?
If you run an ecommerce store, you could promote a hashtag asking your followers to tag you in images they share featuring your products.
You could also incentivize your audience with a reward, such as being entered into a giveaway draw.
If you don’t sell physical products, consider creating a hashtag around one of your fundamental brand values or an interest that your target audience enjoys.
All in all, UGC builds trust and demonstrates that you value your customers by engaging them in a direct, personal way.
2. Dove: Project #ShowUs
For two decades, personal care brand Dove has been creating great social media campaigns built around its values of inclusivity, natural beauty, and positive body image.
Dove kicked off its #RealBeauty marketing campaign 16 years ago in 2004.
Since then, it’s created a storm of interest and has taken on many different forms, eventually evolving into a corporate mission.
Dove’s latest social media campaign is called Project #ShowUS.
After discovering that 70 percent of women don’t feel represented in media and advertising, Dove partnered with Girlgaze, Getty Images, and women everywhere to create a photo library to shatter beauty stereotypes.
Like Apple, Dove also harnessed the power of UGC.
With 5,000 images in the photo library and almost 700,000 uses of the hashtag on Instagram, the campaign has become an internet sensation.
Dove’s values gave the campaign so much clout that it’s managed to achieve longevity in a frantic world of novelty and trends.
Key Takeaway: Voice Your Values
Social media is all about personal connection.
Like Dove, you can create a genuine rapport with your target market by bonding over shared values.
This is a powerful tactic – 77 percent of consumers buy from brands who share the same values as they do.
So don’t be afraid to create a social media campaign around a topic that’s in line with your company mission or vision.
That said, tread carefully.
Political statements and controversial views aren’t appreciated in every niche. Specifically, 71 percent of consumers find brands engaging in politics on social media annoying.
Still, shared values provide an effective way to spark connection – and succeed in marketing.
Just make sure you genuinely care about the values you promote. Inauthenticity will always backfire in the end.
So, whether it’s inclusivity, hard-work, patriotism, fun, or individuality, use your values to bond with your target market.
3. MoonPie: Super Bowl Commercial
Snack brand MoonPie created an ad for 2020’s Super Bowl. The catch? It was published through gas station TVs alone.
However, that didn’t stop the brand from promoting the marketing campaign through its social media channels using its distinctive brand voice.
This social media campaign is one of many examples of MoonPie’s non-stop, hilarious social antics featuring its signature tone.
Here’s another example featuring its snarky, fun, and sarcastic personality.
Moonpie maintains this brand voice throughout all its social media efforts, including its responses to social media users.
And it pays off.
More than a handful of the brand’s pithy tweets go viral, such as this gem from the 2017 eclipse:
Key Takeaway: Develop a Unique Brand Voice
A unique brand voice is an essential component of all viral social media campaigns.
In other words, your brand needs a personality. Why?
Because as obvious as it sounds, social media is, well, social – and people don’t want to be social with corporations.
So what do consumers want from a brand?
According to research by Sprout Social, consumers prefer brands that present an honest, friendly, and helpful brand personality on social media.
Seems obvious enough, right?
And if you can inject some humor into your social media campaigns – as long as it aligns with your brand and target market – you’re onto a winner.
So how can you get started?
If you’re not sure what your brand voice sounds like yet, begin at the intersection between your company values and target audience.
As an exercise, imagine that your brand is an invisible friend. How would they act? How would they talk? What would they find interesting and amusing?
Also, make sure your brand voice is consistent across all of your marketing channels.
Bottom line, make sure to inject some personality and continue to develop your brand voice in every social media campaign you run.
4. Friskies and BuzzFeed: Dear Kitten
Friskies teamed up with BuzzFeed and video creator Ze Frank to create a viral social media campaign, titled, “Dear Kitten.”
The premise was simple: An old cat imparting advice to a new kitten.
Now, cute kittens have long been a staple in viral sensations, and this video is no different. However, the hilarious script-writing is in a league of its own.
Dear Kitten has more than 31.8 million views and was shared countless times on social media. Plus, BuzzFeed and Friskies have ridden the wave and created a viral video franchise:
Unlike traditional video advertisements, Dear Kitten focused purely on entertaining its audience – Friskies’ cat food was only featured at the very end of the video.
Why do people share content online?
Well, one study interviewed 2,500 people and found that the main reasons were to:
- Share valuable and entertaining content with their network
- Define themselves to others by showcasing their interests and preferences
- Grow and nurture relationships
- Generate a feeling of self-fulfillment and feel more involved in the world
- Promote causes they care about
Amusing and entertaining content fulfills the first three of these reasons.
It brings value to consumers’ network, demonstrates their great taste, and provides a bridge to connect with others through conversations about the content.
Dear Kitten hit the nail on the head.
What’s more, videos are a consumers’ favorite type of content to see from brands on social media.
According to Hubspot, 54 percent of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support.
So, brainstorm ways to create engaging, amusing, or even downright hilarious content to promote through your next social media campaign.
5. Casper: Sleep Channel
Mattress store Casper has created a social media campaign to engage its target market through an audio playlist designed to help them sleep better.
The brand promoted the playlist on its Facebook page as a “magical, internet slumberland of sounds, meditations, and bedtime stories to help you wind down and drift off.”
Of course, the brand uses standard social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote its playlist.
What makes this campaign unique is that the brand didn’t just post the playlist to YouTube and IGTV – they also shared the playlist to music streaming service Spotify.
Key Takeaway: Do Things Differently
Just like Friskies’ “Dear Kitten” videos, Casper has found a unique way to stand out among the competition.
Think about it – Facebook and Instagram are drowning in brands scrambling to get their messages through to consumers. Also, plenty of brands create Spotify playlists or podcasts.
However, very few brands create original, niche audio content for channels like Spotify.
So try to find ways to do things a little differently. Evaluate your competitor’s strategies and look to see what’s missing.
Is there an under-utilized online platform in your niche? Is there a type of content that your competitors aren’t creating? Can you think of a way to connect with your target audience in a refreshing way?
Truly successful social media campaigns are creative and unique.
Summary: Social Media Campaign Examples
Social media marketing campaigns are a great way to promote your brand, engage your target audience, and, ultimately, boost sales.
Remember, social media campaigns are all about connection.
In summary, here are five key takeaways to help you create great social media campaigns:
- Encourage user-generated content to engage your target audience and create an online movement.
- Nurture loyalty and bond with your target audience over shared values.
- Resonate with your target audience in every social media campaign you run by developing a unique brand voice.
- Go viral by creating entertaining videos that are awe-inspiring or funny.
- Stand out from your competitors by seeking out opportunities to connect with your audience in a unique way.
Have we missed any great viral social media campaigns? Tell us about your favorite campaigns in the comments below!