Social media allows businesses both small and large to reach their audiences.
You don’t have to have a giant budget to win at social media marketing, though!
Here are 18 of the best social media campaigns from your favorite brands this year, along with the lessons you can use in your strategy.
1. Airbnb takes a stand with #WeAccept
Without directly mentioning recent events, Airbnb launched a campaign this year that took a clear stance on tolerance and acceptance. The Instagram campaign featured a video with a diverse range of individuals, along with the hashtag #WeAccept.
Though the campaign originally premiered during the 2017 Super Bowl, it saw great success on social media as well. On Facebook, the video was viewed 19 million times and shared over 1 million times. Social media content supporting the campaign also increased site visits by 13% in the week following its launch.
Though campaigns making political statements can be risky, Airbnb’s #WeAccept campaign showcased their company values and was relevant. Even if your brand shies away from politics, showcasing a core tenet of your company can be a great way to make a statement.
2. Red Letter Days Mum’s Day Off campaign
E-Commerce platform Red Letter Days created a Twitter campaign for Mother’s Day that gave users the opportunity to show appreciation for their moms while entering a contest. Tweeting the hashtag #MumsDayOff along with an explanation of why their mother deserves a day off earned users an entry for a “View from the Shard” event for them and their mother.
The campaign received more than 100 entries that each received an average of two retweets.
Building campaigns around widely celebrated holidays encourages users to get involved with targeted hashtags. Paired along with a chance to win a prize made this campaign a success.
3. John Mayer uses live videos to promote latest album
John Mayer used Instagram to promote his latest EP, The Search for Everything. One particularly ingenious use of the platform was hosting Live videos to share songs, answer questions, and explain his writing process.
The album ultimately debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 with 132,000 units sold.
Using live video as a platform to connect to followers gives a behind-the-scenes look and grants exclusive access to viewers.
4. Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe and #SaltBae
Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe proved to the world that social media could launch small businesses into worldwide fame. The restaurant owner used creative visuals on Instagram to take the world by storm, and the original video was viewed more than 2.4 million times in two days, and he’s currently working on a new restaurant location in London.
Far-reaching social media campaigns don’t have to be elaborate or “big budget.” Creativity and an original perspective can be enough to create an impactful campaign.
5. Orange Theory encourages fitness motivation
Although fitness can be a very personal journey for many, individuals and brands alike have found that a supportive community makes the process easier. Orange Theory Fitness capitalized on the power of their community and inspiration of their results by sharing user stories on their Instagram account.
Campaigns that highlight testimonials and share user-generated content fosters a community connection between the brand and its followers.
6. Lokai showcases user generated content
Bracelet company Lokai’s social media account is another case study in user-generated content. The company encourages customers to share photos of themselves wearing Lokai bracelets on their adventures across the world.
Not only does user-generated content create a community outside of the brand, but it can also supply your company with captivating content to add to your account.
7. ASOS creates company branded influencer accounts
The UK-based clothing retailer ASOS has taken influencer marketing to a new level. Instead of merely sharing influencer-created content or takeovers on their company Instagram account, the brand has granted a handful of influencers their own ASOS-branded accounts. The influencers maintain their own Instagram accounts, but each also carefully curates an account that’s true to their personal style while always featuring items available through ASOS.
The lesson here is to give your brand advocates a prominent platform. Whether it’s on a company account or a co-branded page, influencers bring their style (and their audience) to your brand. ASOS has assembled a team of 20 men and women who reach a combined 624,000+ followers on Instagram across a range of personal styles.
8. IKEA launches “Oddly IKEA” ASMR
If you’ve never heard of ASMR before, welcome to a whole new corner of YouTube. This category of softly-spoken and relaxing videos has grown in popularity on the video platform, and IKEA noticed. The campaign walks viewers through a dorm room, all while talking through oddly specific product details (think dimensions, sourcing, thread count, and pricing). To date, the video has been viewed more than 1.1 million times on YouTube.
IKEA ASMR proves that you shouldn’t be afraid to show your products in a new light based on current trends.
9. CNN’s The Update on Snapchat
Traditional media company CNN branched out on Snapchat this year with their Snapchat Discover program “The Update.” The series features five fast stories each day in a “just-the-facts” format.
NBC released a similar Snapchat series before CNN called “Stay Tuned” which reached 29 million unique views in its first month with 40% of viewers watching more than three times a week and 60% of the audience made up of people under the age of 25.
CNN’s The Update is an excellent case study in reimaging content for emerging platforms. Marketers can use the series as inspiration for ways to alter content and perspectives for different mediums.
10. Always refreshes #LikeaGirl campaign with the “Keep Going” theme
The Always #LikeAGirl campaign isn’t an entirely new campaign for 2017, but a new version of the famous social media campaign has arrived. This year’s YouTube and Twitter campaign focuses on the idea “Keep Going.” Always found that more than half of girls lose confidence during puberty, and 50% said they feel paralyzed by fear of failure.
The Always campaign demonstrates that campaigns that strive to connect with customers on an authentic, emotional level are the ones that work. The ad has also been viewed more than 3.3 million times on YouTube.
11. Heineken brings worlds together with Worlds Apart campaign
Heineken, like Airbnb, used current affairs and dialogues to inspire their “Worlds Apart” campaign. The YouTube video places two individuals together to complete team building tasks, then reveals to each person that they have vastly different opinions on specific subjects.
Heineken gives participants an option: walk away, or sit down and discuss your differences over a beer. The campaign received positive feedback and 14.5+ million views.
Unity and working past differences in opinions was a common theme across various campaigns this year, and this campaign worked because it was authentic and didn’t tiptoe around anything. They left their product in the background, rather focusing on how seemingly very different people could enjoy the same things together, like a beer.
12. Cisco showcases Day in the Life of an Account Manager
Cisco took a unique approach to B2B marketing this year. Instead of focusing on the products they sell, they used Snapchat to give a behind the scenes look at their company. The series focused on Cisco workers during a typical workday.
Sometimes, the product or service you’re selling isn’t flashy or exciting. Cisco took a new approach to B2B marketing by focusing on their employees rather than the product.
Cisco has had success with the campaign, and noted that their follower count increased 600% week over week after the launch while also receiving 70%-80% story completion by viewers.
13. RetailMeNot’s Facebook live contest
Clothing e-commerce company RetailMeNot used Facebook live to connect with their audience while promoting their brand.
RetailMeNot not only got their audience intrigued with a giveaway within a Facebook live video, but they also got customers involved by requiring a comment to enter the promotion. A single live stream garnered 157,000 views, 243 comments, and 18 shares.
14. Mazda’s Don’t scroll and drive
Mazda focused on driver safety over selling vehicles in their 2017 campaign “Don’t scroll and drive.” The Facebook ad is meant to replicate what it looks like to scroll through your Facebook timeline on a phone. However, an animated car comes screeching onto the scene and loses control.
Using the element of surprise grabs attention and leaves a lasting impression.
15. Marshalls connects customers with influencers with PinPals
Since Marshalls doesn’t have consistent stock across stores as traditional clothing retailers do, they got creative about how they promoted their company in 2017. Marshalls brought influencer marketing to Pinterest with the PinPals campaign, working with interior design expert Kate Albrecht.
The PinPals campaign paired influencers with customers, and design experts used customer Pinterest boards as inspiration for using Marshalls to decorate the customer’s home. This campaign brought to life a new way to use influencers, and also led to 475 million impressions and more than 420,000 engagements.
16. Amex uses customer data to create Everyday Congrats videos
Amex used data to identify important accomplishments in the lives of their customers, and then made an entertaining campaign for every scenario. The Everyday Congrats campaign included a series of videos on Facebook that featured Tina Fey congratulating you for accomplishments such as getting a promotion.
Find new ways your company can fit into the everyday moments of customers’ lives while showing them you care about the things that are important to them.
17. DoSomething.org offers Midweek Personalized Motivation to followers
This year DoSomething.org taught marketers that campaigns don’t have to be perfectly planned out from beginning to end. Spontaneity seems scary, but it can yield more candid responses and connections.
Non-profit DoSomething.org sent a tweet to their followers asking them simply to reply if they wanted a personalized Mid-Week motivation tweet. Forty-eight users did, and the company responded to them with candid videos from company staff.
18. Worldwide Breast Cancer spreads knowledge with #KnowYourLemons
Breast cancer awareness and prevention is a serious topic. However, Worldwide Breast Cancer managed to balance tones between playful and serious to drive important issues home without scaring people away. Within three weeks of launching the campaign it had reached 166 million people.
The #KnowYourLemons campaign on Facebook playfully used lemons to help identify what’s normal and what’s not in regards to breast health. The campaign uses everyday objects to make complex issues relatable and shareable.
19. Netflix promotes Gilmore Girls on Snapchat
Netflix used Snapchat to promote the Gilmore Girls reboot in 2017. Lucky Snapchat users who found one of the 10,000 paper coffee cups distributed in the U.S. with a unique Gilmore Girls Snapchat code got access to an exclusive filter.
The single day campaign reached more than half a million people with the filter being viewed more than 880,000 times.
The campaign connected print and digital marketing and provided exclusivity for those that had the filter. The campaign was interactive, gave away free value in the form of a special Snapchat filter, and turned fans into brand advocates.
What social media campaign or moment inspired you this year?