19 Most Successful Social Media Campaigns: Everything That Works

Matt Robinson Matt Robinson August 06, 2019
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Five years ago, 67% of companies had put up together a team dedicated exclusively to social media campaigns. In 2019, up to 78% of companies now do so. This only demonstrates how businesses and even large corporations have acknowledged the power of social media for marketing.

But it is not all good news. Sadly, 83% of customers reported a bad experience, according to Webbiquity. It then becomes critical to not only harness the free power of social media but to do it the right way.

Table of Contents

  1. Top 19 Successful Social Media Campaigns
  2. How to Set Social Media Marketing Campaign Goals
  3. How to Create a SMM Campaign
  4. FAQ section
  5. The Final Word

Top 19 Successful Social Media Campaigns

As more and more people visit social sites by the millions, marketers are learning to take advantage of its benefits. It is not surprising then that a significant amount of budget is assigned to these campaigns.

By 2021, investments in social media advertising across the world are projected to be 48 billion dollars!

Why is this such a crucial aspect of marketing efforts? Advertising in social media effectively reaches millions of people at a very low cost. The following successful campaigns were able to tap into the right buttons to get the best results.

#1 Starbucks: Unicorn Frappuccino

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The Case

For one short week on April 2017, Starbucks releases the Unicorn Frappuccino. The new beverage was unveiled on Instagram. Given the characteristics of the campaign, this pink and purple abomination was addressed to millennials.

Reasons Why it Worked

There are several reasons why this campaign went viral, and all of them tap into what their target audience loves: the beauty of it made it so Instagramable, it was limited edition, and the FOMO (fear of missing out). To this, add the “bad press” from its detractors.

What Can Be Learned

When a product is on limited edition, everyone wants it. That is actually one of the oldest tricks on the book. But add that to a sensationalist social ambient, and all the right triggers go haywire.

#2 IHOP: IHOb

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The Case

A rather odd campaign where IHOP, the International House of Pancakes simply inverted their last letter to a “b” to become the International House of Burgers. This event lasted for one day on June 11, 2018, and was launched through a video on Twitter.

Reasons Why it Worked

IHOP previously turned the “P” into a “b” and had their audience guess what the “b” stood for. It all blew up from there, and the tweet received 30,000 responses with their guesses, and the tweet had over 15,000 RTs.

What Can Be Learned

Add a little fun to a world too seriously, and the rewards might come along.

#3 Billie: Fighting Sexism in Shaving

The Case

Billie, a direct-to-consumer startup launched Project Body Hair to fight against the so-called Pink tax. He also tackled all the sexism surrounding shaving in women. This referral program is also known as the Pink Tax Rebate.

Reasons Why it Worked

Like-minded people related to Billie’s campaign and they made its accounts 65,000 followers stronger. In this way, he grew brand awareness and loyalty by the female public that feels identified with his cause.

What Can Be Learned

Activism and political awareness are hot during these times of turmoil. As such, it is always a risky move that must be met with a strong understanding of marketing and target audience.

#4 Wix: Melt the Ice

The Case

Wix used Facebook live to have people enter their Super Bowl Contest where they could win $50,000. The catch: Wix would only draw a winner until a block of ice melted enough to drop a football in it.

Reasons Why it Worked

It was a game, and people loved it. This took place in 2017 when Facebook live was a relatively new feature. The only way the ice would melt is if people commented.

What Can Be Learned

Video campaigns do not need to have a complicated production. Wix simply froze a football in ice and melted it. It engaged people only because people wanted to see the ice melt and drop the ball.

#5 Airbnb: We Are Here

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The Case

Through a Facebook Live campaign, Airbnb offered visitors to a city a tour with a person. This gave viewers a real taste of what visiting cities around the world would be like and all the things that could be done.

Reasons Why it Worked

Live videos are huge because they offer in-depth and real experiences not marred with video editions. This campaign was launched in 2016, and since then video-sharing in FB has rocketed.

What Can Be Learned

Live video is a great way to engage with audiences. The best part: it is impactful yet easy to set up.

#6 Dove: Self-Esteem Campaign

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The Case

#RealBeauty, #NoLikesNeeded, and #SpeakBeautiful are some hashtags encouraged by Dove to give a voice to 70 percent of women who feel under-represented in advertising. They also target issues such as self-esteem, bullying, dangers of the online world, and others.

Reasons Why it Worked

It tapped into issues that are common to a large number of women in 2019.

What Can Be Learned

Commitment to world issues is always well met within social media.

#7 Deadpool: Digital DVD Release Campaign

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The Case

The irreverent superhero, Deadpool, announces the release of its DVD and BluRay release. This multi-channel campaign included a special filter on SnapChat.

Reasons Why it Worked

Deadpool is a witty, foul-mouthed, blunt, and sassy superhero. He is known for breaking the 4th wall, and he brings that to this DVD.

What Can Be Learned

Define the voice and tone of the business and address customers and lead on that tone. Define what type of content you want to send and work towards that. The importance of interacting with the audience cannot be stressed enough.

#8 Gillette: The Best Men Can Get

The Case

In light of the #MeToo movement, Gillette started a marketing campaign to make men accountable for their actions instead of going with “boys will be boys”. Detractors asked audiences to boycott the campaign.

Reasons Why it Worked

According to TalkWalker, Gillette had 1.5 million mentions between Jan 14-16. On the previous week, they had less than 10,000. The hashtag #TheBestMenCanBe was used 187,000 times on one day alone. For better or worse, this campaign blew up.

What Can Be Learned

Values are important, and so is living by them. Businesses are now finding their stand, and it is important to show it off to people. It might generate controversy, but, as mentioned before, there is no such thing as bad press.

#9 Red Bull: Summer Edition

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The Case

The 28-year old company created a Summer Edition of their famous beverage presenting it through Instagram. The main purpose of this was to bring awareness of the variety of flavors of the drink that “gives you wings”.

Reasons Why it Worked

Through simplicity and brand building, Red Bull gave viewers a teaser right before summer began. They created the #thissummer hashtag, which was associated with the brand.

What Can Be Learned

Understanding what the pathways in social media campaigns that lead to engaging consumers are vital to a successful campaign.

#10 Oreo: “Dunk in the Dark”

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The Case

During a blackout during the 2013 Super Bowl, the team in charge of Oreo’s campaigns took advantage of it. Within 20 minutes, they designed, got approval, and published this tweet.

Reasons Why it Worked

Within an hour of being published, the tweet was retweeted over 10,000 times. That year, Oreo was the “winner” and created a trend that has been attempted by others (and failed at it sometimes).

What Can Be Learned

In order to tap into events that happen in a moment, brilliance is much needed. You can easily get one of the best campaigns.

#11 Dacia: Sandero Stepway

The Case

Through promoted posts on Facebook, Dacia presented its models: Sandero, Logan, and Stepway to the larger audience.

Reasons Why it Worked

The company focused on both mobile and desktop users. Through the Facebook algorithm in placing ads, they were able to cater to audiences based on what they usually watch or like. This move earned Dacia about 45% of what they had spent otherwise to get the same results.

What Can Be Learned

When used properly, Facebook’s Ad Campaigns can generate awareness and increase favorability at a very low cost.

#12 Spotify: #2018Wrapped

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The Case

In 2018, Spotify gave its listeners the chance to see their year in numbers. The campaign was called “Wrapped 2018”. Users could see the total number of hours listened, most played songs and artists, the number of new artists discovered, and top genres. Of course, the company allowed viewers to publish their numbers in a beautiful post on Instagram, Twitter, etc.

Reasons Why it Worked

It showed consumer trust in a field where nobody is really concerned about their musical taste to be published.

What Can Be Learned

This is an example of an integrated campaign. Spotify managed to leverage data into something nice and shareable.

#13 Tvibes: Sign-up Easily Through Facebook

The Case

Tvibes, the app for making video channels using its own mobile videos, used Facebook to generate more sign-ups to their site. Across FB, they encouraged people to sign up through mobile app installs ads.

Reasons Why it Worked

This campaign took advantage of several Facebook campaigns features. Users could easily create accounts, log in, explore channels, etc., all from their FB Home page. This created a 50% sign up increase from Facebook alone.

What Can Be Learned

Campaigns ran through Facebook are very likely to generate leads and engage people. Video marketing is one of the most successful strategies that can have a positive impact on the number of new customers and the loyalty of the present ones.

#14 #WEACCEPT by Airbnb

The Case

In response to the attack on Airbnb of allegedly discriminating users based on their race, the company created the #weaccept. In this campaign, the company presented a message of inclusion and equality. It went a step further as it also encouraged people to support Airbnb’s wider refugee relief initiative.

Reasons Why it Worked

The initiative generated 87 million impressions! This includes retweets, #WeAccept being the #1 advertiser hashtag during the Super Bowl.

What Can Be Learned

Attend to the voices of customers who are complaining about the brand. Answer back with a nicely elaborated tone and a subtle retaliation.

#15 Krystons: Pinterest Yard Sale

The Case

Krystons decided to show how their products can be used to restore old things and sell them for charity. All of the proceeds were donated to charity.

Reasons Why it Worked

It showed people how they could give back through the restoration of old furniture. In other words, they educated people about how their products can help make a difference.

What Can Be Learned

Thinking outside the box about ways to promote brand awareness is game-changing.

#16 #Stopsucking by Lonely Whale Foundation

The Case

Lonely Whale launched a campaign to go straw-less by 2017. This company claims that in one day alone, humans use 500 million plastic straws. The site offered the chance to take a stand and sign a pledge against plastics.

Reasons Why it Worked

This campaign reportedly reached 74.3 million people on Twitter alone and #StopSucking earned over 50,000 pledges from people committing themselves to stop using plastics. This initiative tapped into people’s desire for betterment.

What Can Be Learned

Adding celebrities to movements that try to help protect the environment will get their participation, mostly for free. Might not have access to celebrities but influencers can get on board.

#17 Wayfair: Integrated Shopping

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The Case

In 2016, Instagram was testing its integrated shopping feature. This one basically allowed users to shop stuff by simply tapping on an image instead of having to download free apps to do so. Wayfair was one of the first adopters of this feature in 2018 when it was rolled to all commerce.

Reasons Why it Worked

This campaign was the most beautiful thing. They used highly professional photos to showcase all the goods. It was impeccable and proved that how content is presented is just as important as the content itself.

What Can Be Learned

Professional photography and sleek images go a long way, especially when combined with a solid strategy.

#18 Cotopaxi: Gear for Good

The Case

Cotopaxi is an outdoor apparel store. This company encourages viewers to use the hashtag #gearforgood to share pictures of them wearing apparel in different outdoor settings.

Reasons Why it Worked

There definitely was the visual works of the participants, which made the photo clickable. Cotopaxi is also always there when it comes to protecting the environment or having their customers place pictures of them with the apparel on to promote in their social media campaign. Tapping into charity is perhaps one of the best campaigns.

What Can Be Learned

A loyal group of customers can get the ball rolling if you encourage them enough.

#19 National Geographic: Your Shot

The Case

NatGeo, who prides itself with its stunning photos, has created a subdomain known as “Your Shot”. In this space, the best user’s photo is published. It is basically a place where amateur photographers can get recognition for their hard work.

Reasons Why it Worked

Photography is what NatGeo does best. By inviting people to upload their own content, it allows others to view the world through the world of others.

What Can Be Learned

Involving followers to create content and publish it will always stimulate and engage.

How to Establish Social Media Marketing Campaign Goals

In order for a campaign to be successful, a goal must be set. This ensures the proper drive and that the work is done effectively. The following are some goals to consider.

1. Improve the Brand’s Awareness

Spending only a few hours per week on social media, working on that brand awareness is actually not much time. To improve this aspect, a campaign must be posted across as many social sites as possible.

Another additional method that works is to create their own hashtag and encourage followers to share it. This process also involves knowing what the best times for posting are.

2. Establish Connections With The Audience

This is a crucial point and necessary for all marketing strategies. It is great to know that social media has made these connections much easier.

When working on successful marketing campaigns, it is important that followers know that there is a human behind the brand. People need to know they are engaging with a real person. Connecting with the audience involves some interaction at the surface level, like a like, a follow, or a comment. The best type of connection is the one that goes deeper and helps viewers relate you with cherished moments.

3. Boost Web Traffic

Place the link to your website in as many places as possible without breaking the line of tolerance. This will drive users to the website where all the good stuff is waiting. Very importantly, users get to learn more about the specifics of a business.

Also, clients can get responses from organic people (for example, for blog) on the chat and share the link to the website. This also drives clients and increases traffic.

4. Generate Sales Increase

The formula here is simple. To have clients make a purchase, first, they need to get excited about the service or product. The best campaigns effectively make people excited. Have the audiences retweet, comment, share, and engage with the content being shared.

One great way of doing this is by creating exciting “new flavors” or new features. Create anticipation by sharing a launch date and publish the most beautiful photo in a social media campaign.

Creating a Social Media Campaign That Works

Successful campaigns have certain characteristics that are common to all of them. However, the planning might vary depending on the type of campaign, the type of industry, and the social media platform being used. Create a campaign that works using the following tips:

1. Research the Competition

Consider the competition before getting started on the strategy.

Some Important Things To Ask Are:

  • What similar companies already have successful accounts?
  • What activities do these companies engage in? Giveaways? Contests? Etc.
  • Which companies have campaigns that went well in the past and in 2019?
  • How does engagement in the competition look like?

Not only will the answers to these questions help understand the industry very well, but it also paves the way to a unique campaign.

2. Craft the Strategy

The campaign goal requires careful planning of a strategy. Here are some short steps to follow:

  1. Identify the target audience. Determine the profile of the people being reached.
  2. Incorporate current trends to the campaign. Instagram stories and Snapchat filters are very popular. How can they be incorporated?
  3. People should want to stop and engage with the content being shared. Create an incentive for them to start and finish with the content being shared.
  4. Create visual content that looks both refreshing and pristine.
  5. Respond to comments or questions at least within 24 hours.

Choose The Type of Content And its Format

The content type and format will usually depend on two main aspects:

Aspect Description
Why is The Campaign Being Created A campaign usually obeys to and is more effective during certain events. These may include holidays, special sports or social events, contests or giveaways, partnership with other company, or the promotion or user-generated content.
The Platform Where it Will be Shared Think about which is the best platform for what. This will depend on the type of content. If the campaign involves lots of photography, Instagram is the best option. For a live video, Facebook is perhaps your best option. If this is a rather large (1 min or so) promotion video, YouTube is perhaps the way to go.

4. Manage Results

Right after a campaign is launched, the first thing to learn is how successful this campaign was. In order to know this, metrics and monitoring throughout the campaign are needed. This help makes conclusions and help make changes for the future.

All social media sites now include their own metrics for any content shared through their platforms. In all cases, this information is richer for business accounts. There is also the metric tracker Google Analytics and other tracking tools.

These type of analytics will provide all the information about the activity of a post, including the number of comments, how many followers were attracted, level of engagement, and changes in web traffic.

5. Promote the Content

The post or posts are up. Now it’s time to promote the content and share the campaign. Consider the following tips:

Tips Description
Promote One Same Message Through Different Platforms Deliver the same message throughout several channels, but making changes in accordance with the type of social site. When followers read the same message across all of your platforms, it will more easily be retained.
Keep a Balance Between Promotional and Non-promotional Content Followers will know when you are forcing promotional content on them. Balance non-promotional content so that followers perceive that the business is trying to be helpful.
Create a Unique Look When a visitors lands to the campaign, this should be easily connected to the business. This is done by creating a unique and authentic profile that stands out.
Engage Reply to comments, questions, or inquiries from fans. This creates unforgettable moments for the audience.
Harness The Power of Hashtags Hashtags help the marketing team keep track of people’s activity on the campaign. Make it unique to make sure all the uses of it refer to the campaign only.
Schedule Posts Scheduling posts is especially useful if the audience includes people overseas.
Broadcast Live Live video is increasingly getting popular and is a trend in 2019. It creates a unique experience to viewers, and the no-editing factor is appealing to them.

FAQ Section

What Is a Social Media Campaign?

A social media campaign is a marketing effort with the purpose of promoting a business’s service or product. It is done through one or more channels, and it is a coordinated endeavor.

This is not the same as the everyday posts a business shares with their followers. A campaign has a definite purpose and increased focus. It usually targets specific demographics in a given amount of time. A successful event tends to increase awareness and drive sales by engaging users in connecting with the brand being promoted.

How to Evaluate a Social Media Campaign?

After a campaign and all its elements are rolled out, a very important part of the effort is to measure its effectiveness and evaluate its impact. This helps make conclusions and tweak certain aspects of the future.

This is done through metrics and tools that collect the activity over a post. The most common tool of this type is Google Analytics. Each platform also offers its own insights about a post.

When these metrics are thoroughly analyzed, a business reconsiders the type of content, the format, the time of publishing, and other aspects that influence its success.

How Can Social Media Improve Marketing?

Social media has proved itself effective in many marketing aspects, especially when it comes to brand awareness.

Marketing Can Definitively Benefit from Its Power for Several Reasons:

  • It is an easy and cost-effective way to get the word out.
  • It is cost-effective; by a far cry.
  • It is really popular; people go there all the time.
  • Businesses and consumers get to interact at a personal level.
  • A broader audience with a varied demographic and ages.
  • Businesses can share a lot about themselves and in a consistent manner.
  • It does wonders to email marketing by allowing a space to share the email newsletter across social platforms.

What are Good Social Media Metrics?

Knowing the importance of their services to businesses, social media platforms have honed the amount and type of metrics they provide to their users. But when viewed, all these tables and graphs might get a bit daunting.

So, Some Good Metrics To Look At Are:

  • The size or volume of the campaign. In other words, what is the size of the conversation people are having about the topic or content shared?
  • One of the most important metrics is engagement. How are people participating? How effective was the call-to-action? Most social sites allow viewers to share or retweet content.
  • The reach or the number of a potential audience.
  • How does the campaign measure against that of the competitors?

Putting It All Together

Social media is here to stay. It came and took the world by storm. They represent a great option for businesses to stay relevant and promote their content effectively and at a low cost.

Social media marketing campaigns appeal to both businesses and consumers. The level of reach, the ease of use, the opportunity to engage with consumers at a personal level, and its budget-friendly nature makes it a very powerful resource. Any business interested in having a voice and increasing sales must set an effective campaign in motion.

Published: July 05, 2019 | Updated: August 06, 2019
rating: 5 vote[s]: 2
Matt Robinson

Matt Robinson

Matt is an experienced technical writer and translator skilled in writing targeted texts for a variety of audiences. He has a diversified background, including social media management of various products. He is a data-driven strategist and a passionate story-teller. He posts about all social innovations and delivers high-quality research and content to our readers.

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