Once considered innovative, social media marketing is now an essential aspect of every brand’s advertising strategy and accounts for a growing percentage of ad revenue globally. According to recent data, social media network ad revenues are expected to reach $33B worldwide in 2016 (eMarketer), with spending on social media advertising predicted to be $15B in the U.S. alone (Statista). To encourage brands and marketers to take advantage of this now-established marketing channel and push the creative envelope of their social media marketing efforts, we present the ten most successful social media campaigns from this year.
The ability to generate authentic engagement, participation, user-generated content, and social sharing is what made the following social media campaigns so effective. To learn more about social media marketing campaigns, see our related post below:
Related Post: Tips From The Most Successful Social Media Campaigns
To encourage social media audiences to participate in their social media campaign, Disney asked Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram users to share photos of themselves wearing Mickey Mouse ears with the hashtag #ShareYourEar. In return, Disney made a $5 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for every piece of content generated. The campaign resulted in over 220K photos on Instagram alone, and the massive participation led Disney to donate a total of $2M, double their original cap of $1M.
To engage Super Bowl audiences on Twitter, Esurance invited social media audiences to retweet one of the company’s many contest tweets for a chance to win $250K. The winners were called via FaceTime and their reactions were posted on Twitter for all to see. According to Forbes, the brand was the most talked-about on social media during the game—the campaign generated an astonishing 2.5 million hashtag mentions and 1.5 billion impressions.
Launched during the Golden Globes, L’Oréal’s #WorthSaying campaign tied in with the brand’s “Because You’re Worth It” slogan and encouraged women to post inspirational quotes from icons and other motivational figures.
To increase engagement and followers on their Snapchat channel, spirit-maker Jägermeister dropped clues about the date, location, and dress code of the brand’s “secret party” on their Snapchat account. By leveraging social media to convey details about their exclusive event via virtual scavenger hunt, Jägermesiter was able to engage thousands through their Snapchat account and establish a positive brand identity by developing a unique social media experience for Snapchat’s young users.
An example of how great content can expand brand awareness through social shares, GoPro’s “Spherical Video” campaign let audiences ride one of the biggest tubes in the world and interact with the 360-degree video. One of the most successful social media campaigns in recent memory, GoPro’s initiative—which included spherical videos of motocross, skiing, and a world-class chef—reinforced GoPro’s identity as a brand that always pushes the boundaries and generated 25M social views and social engagements (Shorty Awards).
For National Geographic’s successful social media campaign, aspiring travel and nature photographers were asked to submit their own photos to Instagram with the hashtag #Wanderlustcontest for a chance to win a photo expedition to Yosemite National Park (Hootsuite). Not only did the contest help to generate a massive amount of user-generated content—55K photos and videos to date—it also served to cement National Geographic’s reputation as the leading source for beautiful travel photography and keep the brand top-of-mind for those exploring exciting new places.
Creating highly shareable or “viral” content is one of the best ways for brands to gain exposure to a large audience and leverage the social nature of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other popular platforms. To encourage YouTube’s 1 billion social media users to share their branded content, Extra developed a short YouTube film designed to inspire an emotional response (AdAge). Though Extra’s YouTube channel has less than 50K subscribers, the social media content has been viewed nearly 20M times on their YouTube channel (and over 1.4M times on Facebook).
Each year, we spend one day #withoutshoes to raise awareness for children’s health and education. Our dream is that some day, all kids will have shoes. With your support today, we’ll be one step closer to improving the lives of 100,000 KIDS IN 10 COUNTRIES. – @toms Join the tradition??????! #toms #withoutshoes
To encourage social media users to create and tag their Instagram photos with Tom’s branded hashtag, the one-for-one shoe company pledged one pair of shoes for every photo tagged #withoutshoes (Los Angeles Times). By providing a strong incentive for users to create and share their own brand-related content—in this case, giving social audiences the opportunity to contribute to a positive social cause by simply posting an Instagram photo—Tom’s was able to increase brands awareness through 320K pieces of content.
The first Snapchat lens to utilize both front- and rear-facing smartphone cameras, Sony Pictures’ Snapchat campaign helped generate excitement for the new Ghostbusters film by encouraging Snapchat users to create and publish unique branded content with their friends and followers (Adweek).
Filmmaker and social media influencer Casey Neistat was asked by Nike to make a movie about what it means to “Make It Count” (one of the brand’s slogans). As Neistat explains in the beginning of the YouTube video, the digital star spent the film’s entire budget traveling the world, a stunt which garnered respect from his social media followers and, because of the video’s viral nature, earned Nike nearly 20M video views to date (Fast Company).
Nike’s partnership with Casey Neistat is one of the most notable examples of how brands can boost the success of the social media marketing efforts by collaborating with top YouTubers, Instagrammers, Viners, Snapchatters, and other social media influencers. Commonly, the most successful social media campaigns integrate a top social media influencer (or several) into social media marketing campaigns to help increase campaign exposure and inspire audiences to participate.