While keeping to a regular social media schedule is great, businesses also need to engage in targeted social media campaigns every so often.
Social media campaigns aren’t the same as an overall social media marketing strategy. They usually have a defined start and end period. They have specific goals, with results that are meant to be tracked, measured and re-evaluated for improvements. Often, they cover a particular topic or aspect of your business, such as the promotion of a new product or sale.
In this article we’ll show you some examples of successful social media campaigns and what you can learn from them when planning your own.
7 social media campaign ideas from top brands
1. Wealthsimple’s #InvestingForHumans
Ever heard the term “fintech”? What about “robo-advisors”? Know what they mean? You don’t need to.
Wealthsimple is a Toronto-based fintech and robo-advisor, but they don’t go around calling themselves that to impress you. Instead, they use a down-to-earth approach when pitching their money products. They know their average-age demographic, 29-year-old millennials, will appreciate that.
They also know that they can reach that demographic on social media, with a simple communication style that communicates trustworthiness.
Wealthsimple is becoming renowned for its unusual style of ad campaigns for a financial firm. But the one we’ll focus on here is the #InvestingForHumans campaign.
What Wealthsimple did
The company interviewed hundreds of ‘real’ people about money problems. And they didn’t do it cheaply, either. They hired the best, non-agency talent they could find.
They used an award-winning filmmaker to get people to give their most honest, on-the-spot money stories. They used a backdrop of branded, plain-colour walls that, together, make a social media feed look like it was purposefully designed. Then, they disseminated those interviews across the web, and on TV.
Here’s a collection of interview snippets:
These were not celebrity endorsements of Wealthsimple products. They were ordinary people talking about money. That’s it. Some of the interviewees were caught off guard, and that was perfect.
The filmmaker captured emotions people had about their money, not technical explanations about investing. But you still get the message Wealthsimple is trying to send, without actually saying it:
‘Don’t be foolish about your money. Start investing now. There’s no time to waste. Let’s not have this money problem again.’
And also, Wealthsimple can help you with that. (Thanks for that logo at the end of each video, Wealthsimple).
- 1,851,028 YouTube views in five months (on only one video)
- Thousands of additional views on Instagram (this interview alone got 4,863 views in five months, but there were more)
- Use language your target market can understand
- You don’t have to sell a product. You can sell an idea tied to your product
- Be creative by trying a social media campaign that defies the norms of your industry
- Use online video, and do it well. Find the talent that can represent your ideology best, not the biggest ad agency you can afford
- YouTube is not the only place you can post viral videos. Try Twitter, Instagram and Facebook too
- Pay for ads to spread the video you just invested in
2. iHeartDogs: 0% Off
iHeartDogs is a company built on social good. Every time you buy one of their products, they donate meals to dog shelters.
Aside from dog treats and collars, the company also sells dog paraphernalia like t-shirts and bracelets. But their site isn’t just an e-commerce platform; it’s a dog lifestyle website. You can read about different breeds, and digest the latest warm and fuzzy dog stories too.
There’s even a DIY blog category where you can learn how to make the best dog bed, or bake your own dog treats.
So, where does this company get their social media campaign ideas? By starting with dog love, of course.
What iHeartDogs did
Normally, companies want to encourage sales with discounts, especially on Black Friday. But on Black Friday 2017, iHeartDogs launched a social media campaign no one was expecting: 0% off.
Yes, you saw that right.
iHeartDogs ran ads telling Facebook followers they were giving them nothing for buying their products. But that didn’t stop the company from quadrupling sales.
Instead of a discount for their customers, their campaign promised to double donations from purchases made over that weekend (Black Friday to Giving Tuesday).
Their campaign goal was to give 100,000 meals to dogs in need—and they doubled it!
Links from the ads led to this page on their website, to explain the reason for their promotion.
- Quadrupled sales between Black Friday and Giving Tuesday
- Doubled goal expectations to donate 100,000 meals (they donated 200,000)
- 500,000 people reached on Facebook alone
But, according to CEO and Co-Founder Justin Palmer, “The most important impact is customer loyalty. We received hundreds of emails and comments on social media thanking us for helping animals, instead of discounting our products.”
Also, check out a sample of the engagement on just one of these posts (people loved this idea, and the company too):
Palmer had a few social media campaign tips to give other business owners.
“My recommendation is to go against the grain. The 0% off ‘deal’ really stood out in the newsfeed,” he explains. “Know what your brand stands for, and make it undeniably clear. We definitely upset some people by not offering discounts, but we inspired loyalty with the customers we care about the most—those that support animal rescue and adoption.”
- Do something no one is expecting, but with good motive. And don’t forget to explain it!
- Build social good into your social media campaigns to attract attention (and also to do good)
- Plan, and be prepared to take advantage of holidays
- Create well-designed ad creatives to stand out and show your professionalism
- Set goals, and measure your results. You’ll learn now how well you did after the campaign is over. Be specific!
- Remember to value the qualitative, and not just the quantitative, when it comes to customer engagement with your brand
- Make it easy for customers to buy from your social media posts
3. Lowe’s #LowesFixInSix
Lowe’s (via their hired ad agency, BBDO New York) has a history of using creative, DIY video formats in their social media campaigns.
Back when Vine was a thing, Lowe’s got on the 6-second video train and started their #LowesFixInSix social media idea. As you can guess, it was all about DIY, “fix it” hacks for the home. But these award-winning videos were extra cool because they used stop motion animation.
The neat thing about Lowe’s doing this sort of thing is that they are not primarily a DIY blog or TV Show. Lowe’s sells products to do the DIYs. A traditional route for advertising in their industry would be to say, “hey we have this tool on sale today, and it’s great for X-Y-Z reasons.”
But, like in the social media ideas described above, Lowe’s thinks a level above. Instead of selling products, they market the end result. That is: your home fixed up by you, and looking good for an affordable price. That’s what their customer really wants.
What BBDO and Lowe’s did
Lowe’s seems to be pressing forward with their creative use of video apps and millenial-attracting skillfulness. To make things extra impressive, the ad agency used low-budgets ($5,000 for one series), and simple tools like an iPhone to produce videos, with no post-editing fixes.
To make it easy for their audience to find these inspiring and useful videos, the company also used hashtags to define their DIY series. This included #Hypermade, a spinoff name based on Instagram’s Hyperlapse app. See video examples in this series here.
The #Hypermade video has 40,647 views to date (not to mention the tens of thousands on others in the series).
They also had #LowesFlipSide, which was a series of video tips on Facebook and Instagram that required viewers to turn their phones upside down to see the ‘right’ way to do a task.
Lowe’s did more with social video on other channels as well. Their “Made in a Minute” video series used 360 degree video on Facebook to show step-by-step instructions on projects. Their “In-a-Snap” series was extra fun for Snapchat users who got to complete a DIY project in virtual style by tapping their way through it, like a game.
Aside from tens of thousands of views, which came with engagement, Lowe’s social media campaigns won multiple industry awards (crediting BBDO, of course). These included:
And now these days Lowe’s has ad agencies bidding to do their media campaigns.
- Always use a hashtag to make it easy for your fans to get your content
- You don’t have to spend a lot, or use expensive equipment to put together quality social media campaigns
- Show your customers how to envision the use of your product
- Use the tools that social media apps give you and be a pioneer when it comes to these feature roll outs (such as BBDO’s jump to use 360 degree video on Facebook, and tap-to-pause video, etc.)
- Spread your content across as many social networks as possible, even if it originates with one platform
- Make sure the press knows what you’re up to
- It’s ok to keep doing what works; the #LowesFixInSix videos were on Vine, but they’re still going strong today, and still being shared on other social networks
While not all social media campaigns show obvious hit-points and data, we can still glean a lot from their efforts.
4. Bombass’s viral Facebook video
Bombass, a sock company that donates a pair for every purchase, got its start from an Indiegogo campaign. They surpassed their fundraising goal by 950 percent. The following year, they were on Shark Tank. Today, they’re posting viral videos on Facebook.
This video, detailing their company’s success and featuring Zac Efron, went viral on Facebook.
5. Burger King’s take on net neutrality
Burger King could have advertised a delicious Whopper by telling you how juicy it is. But instead, they sent a political message.
Net neutrality was repealed in the USA in late 2017. Then, in early 2018, Burger King took it upon themselves to demonstrate what their brand is about: equality for all. To show how that relates to net neutrality, they disseminated a viral video on social media to explain the connection. Check this out:
This is also an example of capitalizing on a specific, historical event to catch customers’ attention.
6. McDonald’s “Bling Mac” social media contest giveaway
You know the McDonald’s Big Mac? Of course you do. But have you heard of the “Bling Mac”?
Well, if you love Big Macs, you could have won an 18-karat ‘real’ piece of jewelry made in the visage of a hamburger. All you had to do was tweet a Valentine’s love “vow” to McDonald’s with the hashtag #BlingMacContest.
Who knows what will become of the creation’s value over time. But you have to admit, its outrageousness was certainly attention-grabbing. And turning the contest into a social media campaign was definitely a unique way to sell more burgers.
Love is in the air! Literally. With the aroma of the 3 Big Mac burgers.???? And we’re celebrating with the Bling Mac—a gratuitously diamond-encrusted prize for the fan who tweets the best, most creative vows of Big Mac burger love to @McDonalds in the #BlingMacContest! ???????????? pic.twitter.com/EADWJzVOvU
— McDonald’s (@McDonalds) February 7, 2018
7. Girl Scouts (and their parents) sell cookies on Facebook
Notice that Girl Scout cookies have been in high demand for years? And yet, you can’t buy them online. But why? Wouldn’t the organization raise a lot more funds that way? Well, maybe not. Scarcity in marketing is an age-old technique to increase sales conversions. And Girl Scouts do it well.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t track down Girl Scout cookies using the Internet. Oh no. Girl Scouts are not that old fashioned. Firstly, they launched an app to help people find cookies, which was nominated for a Shorty Award under the ‘mobile campaign’ category. They advertised it on their Twitter account, dedicated to just cookies.
Secondly, don’t forget that since the scouts are an army of little entrepreneurs themselves, they can sell through their parents’ social media accounts. And look at the type of responses one mom got when she put her daughter’s cookies up for order on Facebook.
It goes on, by the way. So there you have it, you can technically get Girl Scout cookies through the simplest of social media campaigns: posting on Facebook through brand ambassadors.
The takeaway here is that social media campaigns, when done well, can have a real impact on your bottom line.