What are the strategies that really worked on social media this year and how can you replicate or adapt them for your needs in 2017?
We scoured the web, looked at the metrics and here’s what we’ve put together - a list of six of the best social media marketing campaigns across multiple platforms and industries to get you inspired for 2017.
1. Airbnb - #LiveThere
Airbnb have shaken up the hospitality sector, both in terms of the service they provide and their excellent marketing. As our hospitality social media report shows, there’s plenty that all brands can learn from Airbnb's success.
Their “Live there” campaign, which focused on encouraging people to live like a local, was the result of smart consumer research from Airbnb which suggested 86% of its users select the platform because they want to experience the cities they visit like locals. The campaign video received 11 million views on Facebook, 56,000 likes and 5,200 comments.
Airbnb also made good use of Instagram by partnering with both professional photographers and users to create mages with messages like the one below.
With smart design and a message that spoke to their audience, Airbnb really hit the sweetspot on social media and beyond.
2016 was the year that video content really exploded on social media, and nothing exemplified this better than BuzzFeed’s new social media channel, Tasty, which was focused specifically on Facebook
The concept of Tasty is simple, but the results are deliciously addictive. I think we’ve all found ourselves transfixed by Tasty's videos at some point or another this year
The engagement data for Tasty has been remarkable - almost all Tasty's videos on Facebook get several million views, and the top post? A jaw dropping 161 million views, 4.4 million shares and 1.2 million likes. Here it is:
It’s widely known that Facebook’s algorithm now promotes video ahead of other types of content, and BuzzFeed have found a very smart way of using that to advantage.
Sometimes it’s the simple ideas executed well that are the most effective.
Esurance’s #esurancesweepstakes campaign during the 2016 Super Bowl was nothing particularly original but it was devastatingly effective.
#Esurancesweepstakes racked up more mentions than the rest of the top brand hashtags combined and kept the momentum going from pre-game to post-game.
Who would have guessed that an insurance company would be the one to dominate the world’s biggest advertising opportunity - and would do so mostly through Twitter?
The key was execution. For one, while others focused on TV, YouTube or other social channels, Esurance focused on Twitter - a smart play as this is often where the buzz is during live sporting events.
From an analytics perspective, the results were very impressive:
Some commentators felt that a campaign offering a monetary prize was too financially motivated to attract actual customers, but others felt it was worth it for the brand awareness. Either way, as social media campaigns go, it certainly managed to catch everybody's attention.
Donald Trump's US Presidential Election victory was certainly the biggest story of 2016 - but was it also the biggest social media campaign?
He may not have taken a traditional social media marketing approach, but few can deny that the President-elect was a force to be reckoned with.
No one could match his incredible ability to generate engagement on social. His campaign also mastered the hashtag as a way to build a movement (although not always in a positive way).
Throughout the entire campaign, Trump dominated on social receiving around 3X the engagement of Hillary Clinton. His main campaign hashtag, #MAGA, was used over 8 million times in the last month of the campaign, more than double that of Clinton's top tag, #ImWithHer.
As Talkwalker CEO Todd Grossman explained to the American Marketing Association, "Trump's been a master of tailoring his messages and approach and created a brand that resonated with his followers and beyond."
In a world where public figures, even Presidents, are brands unto themselves, Trump used the power of social media to get himself to the very top.
5. Excedrin - #DebateHeadache
For a few years now, headache drug Excedrin has been quietly effective when it comes to marketing through social. This year, they built on their already stellar portfolio of work by taking advantage of the US Presidential Debates.
On the day of the final debate, Excedrin posted and then promoted several tweets and their hashtag with a very simple message that resonated with everyone, not just headache sufferers.
The results were spectacular - #DebateHeadache was used over 100,000 times taking on a life of it's own. The campaign was so successful it became a news story and was featured in the New York Times and Adweek among others.
It was newsjacking at it's best - a simple, relevant message, a touch of humor and perfect timing.
GE are one of the underrated stars of social media marketing - partly because their subject matter is so targeted to their audience.
This means that although they may not get the incredible numbers of, say, Tasty, their ideas are targeted and effective as Kissmetrics explains here.
GE have had many great social media campaigns over the last few years but in 2016 one of their most successful was #CC9900 a coding challenge timed to coincide with the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
GE used social to gamify the event and provide challengers with regular clues, inspiring many coders to discuss the challenge on GE's own Twitter channel. In one fell swoop, GE tied their brand to a major event, made it relevant to their company, made it fun and ensured the conversation was happening on their social channel. Top marks for effective social media marketing.
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