Every year, new social media trends rise to disrupt platforms and the usual and traditional way of advertising and marketing. Brands continuously adapt based on the fast-paced changes in human behavior and purchasing patterns. As a result, they produce content that makes you chuckle, cry, or even roll your eyes because of their hilarity and sheer creativity.
But what makes a social media campaign explode?
Yes, the concept of virality is still a factor. But if you want your brand to have a massive impact on your target audience, you must first understand that it is achieved through amalgamating factors. Holistic messaging, inclusive tonality, and advocacy, among others, play a big part in making your campaign successful.
10 examples of brands using social media to explode on the scene
We narrowed down the best and latest examples of social media campaigns that offer more than just virality and can give you a kick of inspiration to ramp up your social media calendar!
Campaign #1: Spotify | #yearwrapped
Where: Instagram Stories or Facebook Myday
When: 2019 – 2021
What: We all have different music preferences. But Spotify validated different tastes by making them shareable through its “Wrapped” campaign. And, if we are talking about what the team of the music streaming app did right—it’s probably focusing on personalization.
By providing customized content for every user—from the songs you constantly listen to and artists you adore to the newest tunes you were able to discover or even play before you sleep—Spotify can make a list of that for you!
What’s even more incredible is its organic reach. It banked on the social media habits of netizens. Spotify knew that people love talking about themselves and their interests. And what better way to do that than to share their favorite music, right?
Campaign #2: Airbnb | Lodging for a Cause
When: April 2020
What: The effects of the pandemic can be felt across industries. But its hardest hits were received by those in the hotel and hospitality sector. Most would have chosen to stop operations, but Airbnb faced this challenge head-on.
They were able to help both stakeholders and front liners by offering a free or subsidized place to stay. Through this initiative, Airbnb was able to lend a hand to give its hosts an alternative source of income while easing the burden of transportation and lodging for healthcare workers.
What Airbnb did was a perfect example of using holistic advocacy to ramp up brand presence during the most challenging times.
Campaign #3: Dove | #PasstheCrown (As Early As Five)
Where: Multiplatform (Website, Youtube, etc.)
What: Dove proved that women could rock their natural hair no matter how they look. Their campaign probed on several points in their As Early As Five video, where they tackle race-based hair discrimination and bias against Black women as early as 5 years old.
Supported by studies, Dove is campaigning for the CROWN Act, which translates to Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. More than an online initiative, Dove produces on-point studies and social media content with themes aligned to women’s empowerment.
As more women pass the crown and break free from the societal standards of beauty, the higher the reach and engagement that this kind of campaign gets.
Campaign #4: Twitter | Manifestation Billboards
Where: Omnichannel (Online and offline format)
What: Billboards may seem old school. But when you combine old but gold strategies with digital ones, they create a one-of-a-kind social media and on-ground experience. This strategy is the anchor of Twitter’s manifestation billboards campaign.
Twitter used year-old tweets from celebrities when they were just starting their respective careers and turned them into shareable content on billboards and social media. They banked on the manifestation trend where instead of tarot cards, dreams are manifested through tweets.
Consumers were quick to tweet their dreams, garnering 59 million sentiments on Twitter. But the campaign did not stop there. Twitter is also making dreams come true with the objective of donating $1 million to NGOs of the featured celebrities and famous people featured in the campaign.
Campaign #5: Mcdonald’s | #McdonaldHacks
Where: Omnichannel (Online and offline format)
What: Mcdonald’s has launched thousands of ads and campaigns. But this one made it on our list for its fresh take on the items that are in their menu for the longest time.
In their latest menu hacks, they let customers mix and match burgers based on habitat classification. You can choose between the following (not-so) secret menu options:
- land, air, and sea
- crunchy double
- hashbrown McMuffin, and
- surf + turf
Through eye-catching visuals of their campaign promotions, Mcdonald’s fans and supporters were intrigued by the latest combinations of their old-time favorites. These gained organic traction online from consumers—increasing sales and followings with not many additional costs.
Campaign #6: Zoom | Virtual Background Competition
What: Ever since the pandemic started, personal and professional meetings have transferred to Zoom. It has become a part of our routine, to the point that we attend a team huddle in the app at least weekly. This digital transformation, along with the wide use of AI in the workplace, has made remote work setup more seamless. However, the fatigue is still there.
To aid the digital fatigue and promote their free trial even further, Zoom created a virtual background contest to let its users showcase their creativity. The campaign chooses three entries every month who have the best design and are awarded different (some branded) items for the prizes.
Most of all, you don’t need to be a Zoom pro user to send an entry—everyone can join!
Campaign #7: IKEA | Shoppable Catalog
What: We’ve all had the bulky IKEA catalog as a coffee table book. But, they won’t gather dust under the table anymore since it has transformed into a fully-digital Pinterest catalog.
IKEA maximized the flexibility of Pinterest by making a shoppable version of its online catalog. By looking at certain items of interest at their site, Pinterest can customize your board with related products and home design ideas.
And that, folks, is how you use Pinterest to gain traction! Feel free to explore this strategy if you want to try something new with your product menu and/or catalogs!
Campaign #8: Domino’s Pizza | Points for Pies
Where: Omnichannel (Digital, AR)
When: 2019 (Superbowl)
What: Incentivizing your customers is a great way to amplify your social media campaign (and get customer behavior insights!). Domino’s was able to execute both in its Points for Pies campaign in 2019, during Super Bowl week.
How did it work? Customers just needed to post pictures of pizzas (any brand of pizza) through the Domino digital app and gain points from it!
Once they had collected 60 points, they got a free pizza! Not only that, but the pizza delivery chain was also able to prompt customers to use their app more frequently and instill brand awareness by exuding the need to take snaps of every pizza you might find.
Campaign #9: Pedigree | Brings It Back
What: Pets make a whole lot of difference in our lives. They make every home brighter and more fun. They become an extension of the family. It explains why it never feels the same again once they cross over the rainbow bridge to dog heaven.
Pedigree used this sentiment among pet owners to make a heart-tugging digital ad. The animated short film narrates the grief and depression of losing a beloved companion through a classic game of fetch.
In this ad, Pedigree was able to target its audience with a holistic message of love, hope, and healing. It also emphasized the importance of adopting dogs from shelters in a heartwarming way. Eliciting a big “aww!” from the audience can impact consumers to consider your brand in their purchasing options because you empathize with them.
Campaign #10: Kiehl’s | Instant Skin Reader
Where: Omnichannel (Website, social media, on-ground)
What: Before the pandemic hit, it was easy for consumers to drop by physical beauty stores to get a sample kit. However, this became a struggle with travel and physical restrictions. So, Kiehl developed a campaign maximizing AI in the beauty industry.
How did they do it? Developed by dermatologists, Kiehl launched its skin reader to personalize products and treatments that consumers can use or avail.
Recommendations from professionals also became digitally accessible through this virtual experience. And it’s just the cherry at the top of the brand’s successful virtual festival showcasing its future campaigns in and out of social media!
Transformative and out-of-the-box campaigns like what Kiehl did can be a reference if you want to capture the interest of your audience—especially in a time where restrictions are unprecedented due to the changing times.
We consume viral videos, photos, and campaigns every time we log in to social media. It’s almost hard to distinguish which is which from the oversaturation of content, but some brands can separate their identity from the rest. Brands that are worth emulating based on their best practices.
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