21 Gems from 7 Great Social Media Marketing Stories
Are you looking for some inspirational social media success stories to learn from? You should be, because businesses are finally taking social media marketing seriously and if you don’t – your competitors still will.
Businesses are effectively using social media to engage with their customers, build their communities, establish their brands, expand their reach, and grow their revenue. The starting point is to ensure you have a decent amount of followers or likes to get your campaign off the ground. Here’s a quick guide.
Social media advertising spend by US businesses is expected to exceed $11 billion in 2017, nearly 100% growth over 2013. Globally, social media display advertising is predicted to surpass search advertising by 2015, as reported by Tech Crunch.
However, your campaigns aren’t likely to go viral without thorough planning and researching the best social media marketing factors for success. To help understand these, I’ve compiled a list of successful social media campaigns to provide inspiration. Each of the below shows how a social media presence can be used differently to reap rewards.
#1. Cheese & Burger Society
Unlike the name suggests, the Cheese & Burger Society is actually sponsored by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc. Their strategy is to piggy-back on the widely popular topic of burgers and grilling to promote Wisconsin cheese. The Society’s use of Facebook has been extremely successful in gaining word-of-mouth publicity. They started by gating for fans by requiring users to Like the Society’s page. With this strategy, they quickly recruited more than 135,000 fans. Their contests are creatively designed and ingeniously executed.
In the regularly running contests, C&B offers free giveaways worth hundreds of dollars. In order to enter the draw, the fans need to go to the C&B website and browse through different types of cheese burgers then tweet the picture of their favourite burger to their Facebook friends or Twitter followers. This promotes viral visibility at very little cost. The only prerequisite is needing a decent sized audience in the first place.
Fans are also encouraged to share their pictures and videos on the page, which improves the page’s EdgeRank. EdgeRank works just like PageRank or Quality Score. Facebook uses it to determine how useful your content is and displays your updates in your followers’ newsfeeds based on your EdgeRank.
- Think creatively.
- Talk about subjects other than your product to attract a wider audience.
- Plan exciting contests.
- Use or develop apps to increase engagement.
#2. Red Bull
Red Bull leverages extreme sports to promote its popular energy drink brand. It arranges out-of-the-box action events around the world, uploads the pictures and videos to its website and web-TV channel, and shares them with its more than 44 million Facebook fans.
The brand’s Facebook page uses some very engaging apps, including an events app that announces upcoming Red Bull events in different countries. There’s a games app that takes you to the Red Bull Arcade, where you can play plenty of action games. Then the Red Bull Facebook page hosts plenty of pictures and videos to keep their users engaged, providing them an immersive experience of the Red Bull brand. The experience replicates the image and attributes that the brand’s overall communication conveys.
By providing engaging activities and visual content, Red Bull tries to retain the visitors coming to its Facebook page. If your fans come to your page often and engage with your content, it can improve your EdgeRank and give a wider reach to your updates.
- Keep your social media presence in line with your brand strategy.
- Use interactive apps on your Facebook page to encourage interaction.
- Adopt an exciting theme that depicts your brand.
Kellogg’s, the global cereal brand, wanted to introduce their Krave brand of breakfast cereal in the UK. Its marketing team decided on Twitter as the channel for its campaign. The “Tweet When U Eat” campaign gave daily challenges to Kellogg’s Twitter followers, asking them to try the product and tweet pictures in order to win passes to a new theme park ride, The Smiler. The campaign was run in partnership with Alton Towers, where the new ride was being inaugurated. Users were required to retweet @KraveUnleashed and include the hashtag #CraveTheSmiler in their tweets.
@HG_Girl1 Looks like you got your Krave on whilst you were there too! NOM NOM, hope you had an epic day!
— Kellogg’s Krave (@KraveUnleashed) September 2, 2013
The campaign proved successful in initiating trial of the new cereal and generating word-of-mouth publicity. The customer who won the challenge tweeted their pictures taken at the theme park and thanked Kellogg’s for the experience.
- Social media can be excellent for product sampling and trials.
- Partner with another company for more coverage and a win-win situation for all.
- A catchy hashtag (#) & easy entry mechanic can make the difference.
#4. AJ Bombers
For a small Milwaukee burger joint, having 32000+ Facebook fans and 24000+ Twitter followers can be considered big achievements. AJ Bombers started taking interest in social media marketing in 2009, a time when economic conditions in the US were tough. Using creativity and branding knowledge as tools, the AJ Bombers’ marketing team established a brand personality across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Foursquare. From there on, it has been a journey of sustained growth for the restaurant.
AJ Bombers has used their social media presence intelligently. They have provided a location map, number of visits, and user reviews on their Facebook page. Customers can also order online from the page, without having to click through to the Bombers’ website. Their content marketing strategy is centred on scrumptious images of their products.
Another thing that you notice on their Facebook page is their SEO focused tagline that says “Burger Restaurant-Family Restaurant-American Restaurant.” If you search for any of these keywords using Facebook graph search, the restaurant’s name will pop up. The page has no less than a dozen different tabs including Gift Cards, Reviews, Videos, and more.
Greatly aided by the response from social media, AJ Bombers has now expanded to other cities in the US including San Francisco and Chicago. The success comes as a result of leveraging social media to create a brand while making it extremely convenient for customers to trust and transact with them.
- Use multiple social sites to establish your brand but don’t spread your time too thinly.
- Use pictures creatively to attract followers.
- Know what your customers want from each channel. Convenience is key for them.
#5. Offbeat Bride
Facebook and Twitter appear to occupy the majority of current social media marketing efforts, but other platforms can be just as effective. Offbeat Bride has been featured among the 30 best social media campaigns of 2014, and unlike the other stories in this post, its success comes from Pinterest.
Pinterest has been growing faster than any other social media website in the past year. It provides a great platform for keeping and arranging all of your favourite pictures that you produce yourself or find anywhere on the Internet. You can pin these pictures to various Pinterest boards that you create – each board representing a different category or topic. People can re-pin your pins, follow your boards, comment on your pins, and send you messages.
Offbeat Bride, a website selling wedding gifts, has created 46 different Pinterest boards on topics ranging from advice & guidance for brides to ceremony Ideas, décor, flowers, jewellery, and much more. The company uses its own pictures as well as helpful visual content from elsewhere on the Internet. They have pinned more than 11000 images so far and have more than 44600 followers. The reason for their popularity is quite obvious—any bride-to-be would find it irresistible to see and follow some of their very helpful boards.
- Think about which channel will be more suitable for your business. Don’t blindly follow the trend of using only Facebook/Twitter.
- Help your social media followers in solving their problems, problems that relate to the topics of your business interest.
- Sharing more and more valuable content expands your reach.
#6. Four Seasons
Many think LinkedIn is the only place for posting dry B2B sales pitches, but there are more than a few companies that are proving this wrong. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is one of them. Their use of LinkedIn is based on an intuitive social media targeting strategy. Professionals do need a break, so why not reach out to them on their favourite channel? Four Season’s content marketing strategy is equally impressive. Their LinkedIn page promotes healthy living while you are at work and a relaxing experience for your vacation.
They share pictures and videos with helpful tips for a healthy lifestyle, blended with the information about their hotels. Their LinkedIn company page has close to 170,000 followers, most of which are likely to be professionals. You can easily imagine the kind of business they must be generating from this single channel.
- Work on your social media marketing strategy—targeting, channel selection, content strategy, and more.
- Mix elements of general interest with your marketing pitch.
- Use pictures and videos with short text (yes, even on LinkedIn).
#7. Oreo Snack Hacks
Oreo has been in the news for its imaginative use of social media, particularly Twitter, for some time. When the lights suddenly went out for 34 minutes during the Super Bowl 2013, Oreo’s tweet “You can still dunk in the dark” was liked, retweeted and favourited thousands of times on Facebook. This generated massive publicity value for the brand. Here’s the image that was attached to the tweet.
This year, Oreo used Vine, the Twitter app that helps you shoot six-second videos, to launch #OreoSnackHacks. The campaign encourages users to experiment with the product (Oreo cookies) and post photos and videos of their Snack Hacks.
— Nicole Hill (@nthink) November 26, 2013
Oreo has an aging product and needs this kind engagement to show its users new ways of consuming it—for instance, Oreo popcorn!
- Great catch-phrases can work for you too, just be creative.
- Use image and video apps like Vine and Instagram.
- Posting just-in-time updates during highly followed events can get your business into headlines – if the correct and appropriate hashtags are used.
The best of the rest…
There are loads of great social media marketing campaigns that missed the list but an honourable mention should go to The Workplace Depot for their #nomorepage3 campaign in which they teamed up with the No More Page 3 charity who is trying to eradicate boobs in newspapers. The campaign had a fantastic reaction across Facebook and Twitter.
Short of hiring a professional marketing agency, this post should help you get on the right track and build your social media presence on firm foundations.
Social media is a massive topic, so naturally, a post like this one barely scratches the surface so here are some bonus tips outlining a couple of my most-used social media marketing tools! There are plenty of tools and apps that help you manage multiple channels (my favourite is Oktopost but there are plenty of other great tools), create great content, and monitor the results of your social media marketing efforts (Cyfe is great for this). LoginRadius has some hugely impressive tools too. User Profile Data provides a massive amount of critical data to ensure your marketing strategy is heading in the right direction and Social Analytics gives you incredible customer insights.
If you are in need of more suggestions, you can always check out a few more ideas here (generally they are blog post ideas but they can be easily adapted for social media).