Successful social media campaigns have to capture the imagination and prompt immediate action -- sharing the campaign online, a keystroke to show support, submitting an idea online or, in the case of one successful campaign from 2013, making people actually leave their homes.
The best campaigns utilize some combination of creativity, surprise, humor and emotion to tap into the public conscience.
Smart USA, maker of those tiny smart cars, used humor by playing off the public perception of their fuel-efficient but size-challenged autos. The company spun a tweet about pigeon droppings wrecking one of its cars into a campaign, using social media to estimate the actual number of pigeon droppings it would take to damage a smart car. Apparently it is 4.5 million.
In just three days the company earned 22 million social media impressions, topped Redditt twice and increased its Twitter followers by 1,755%.
Three other highly successful social media campaigns in 2013 found success by tugging heart strings, encouraging people to explore new locales and tasking their taste buds to come up with something unique.
WestJet Airlines – Christmas Miracle
In December, passengers boarding Canada’s WestJet Airlines in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, for a four-hour flight to Calgary were asked to record their Christmas wishes via a live-chat with Santa at a video booth set up near the boarding counter. WestJet Airlines staff in Calgary recorded the wishes then rushed to buy the items passengers mentioned – tablets, cameras, even big-screen TVs. The airline then presented the wrapped presents to individual passengers at the airport in Calgary as they waited at baggage claim.
Savvy and sentimental, the campaign reminded consumers of the childlike wonder they felt about the holiday and gave a very human heart to an industry often criticized for not caring.In the first 16 hours, the video generated 100,000 views on YouTube and two days later produced 3 million views, according to an official’s post on the airline site.
By April, the video reached more than 35 million views.
Kern & Sohn – Gnome Kit
Kern & Sohn, a precision scales company in Germany, targeted the scientific and educational communities by designing a clever campaign to show that its scales were more sensitive than their competition.
The idea was Kern scales could measure miniscule changes in an object’s weight caused by variations in gravity at different locations around the world. Their competition’s scales could not.
The company sent gnome statues and scales to scientists across the globe. They involved social media by asking consumers to request the so-called “Gnome Kits” for their particular locations. People documented themselves taking their gnome to sites far and wide, exotic and unconventional, then shared their experience on social media and Kern’s website.
More than 352 million people in 152 countries heard about the Gnome campaign. More than 16,000 unique websites linked to the experiment and the company saw a 21% increase in sales.
The campaign did more than involve consumers. It actually made them detach from the virtual world and venture into the real world.
Frito Lay – Do Us A Flavor
Frito Lay took consumer involvement one step further in 2013, upping the ante on a campaign that started the year before. More than the $1 million grand prize, Frito Lay gave customers a chance to connect with their favorite snack by giving them the power to dream up a new potato chip flavor and the chance for the creation to become reality.
The campaign received 3.8 million submissions from 14 countries through a Facebook app Frito Lay created.
The three top flavors? Chicken and waffles. Cheesy garlic bread. Sriracha.
Sales went up 12%, but more than that, the social media metrics showed 955 million organic Facebook impressions and 1.26 billion PR impressions worldwide.
Simple but challenging, the Frito Lay campaign encouraged limitless possibilities and then rewarded that creativity with something consumers could actually eat.
Learn the techniques and strategies behind every successful social media campaign with a view of the University's advanced social media certificate program.