When you embark on a social marketing campaign for your business, you naturally want it to succeed. For this to be possible, you need to be innovative, clever and provide something a little different from what your competition is doing.
It’s important to not copy what others are doing in their social marketing, but you can certainly look to others for inspiration when it comes to devising your own social marketing campaign ideas.
Here are some of the most effective and innovative social marketing content ideas that have translated to clever and successful marketing campaigns in the past year or two.
1.TOMS Without Shoes
The TOMS shoe company took a unique approach to marketing their product, launching a “ONE DAY WITHOUT SHOES” campaign. Fans were asked to post photos to social media of their bare feet alongside the hashtag #WithoutShoes. For every person who uploaded a tagged photo, TOMS pledged to donate a new pair of shoes to a needy person. Thanks to the success of this social marketing content idea, TOMS donated almost 300,000 pairs of shoes to needy recipients.
2. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Awareness of the debilitating disease ALS (or Motor Neurone disease) was raised like never before with the worldwide participation of social media users in the Ice Bucket Challenge. Devised in the USA (during their summer), people worldwide raised awareness and money for ALS by posting videos of themselves having buckets of iced water dumped over their heads, as well as challenging others by name to do the same. Each participant also pledged a donation to ALS. The campaign resulted in 17 million videos worldwide (including in some countries deep in their winter), 70 billion views, and more than 400 million viewers. This social marketing campaign cost nothing to promote, yet it raised US $220million.
Cookie Company Oreo conceived of a fun Halloween hashtag, #OreoHorrorStories. Using Vine, brief parodies of famous horror film scenes were created to feature Oreo cookies. These included parodies of The Shining and The Exorcist, as well as user engagement with memes relating to Harry Potter and much more.
4. Love Has No Labels
This became the second most viral public service announcement in world history when it launched last year, achieving 40 million views in just 48 hours. It featured a large X-ray image installation, which was set for public viewing; X-ray images of couples hugging, kissing, holding hands, and dancing were then revealed to show the participants. The purpose was to confront bias; couples were young and old, gay and straight, adult and child, black and white; the differences between people were invisible on X-ray and prove that our differences are no more than skin deep.
5. Red Bull #PutACanOnIt
Red Bull created the hashtag #PutACanOnIt after seeing a photo on Twitter, in which a can of Red Bull is held above a Mini Cooper car. Social media users all over the world jumped on the trend, creating their own photos with Red Bull cans held or placed in eclectic positions and hashtagged.
6. Epic Estonia
Estonia is a gorgeous Baltic country that is not on the usual tourism radar. The nation’s travel ministry devised a clever social marketing campaign, which let social media users promote travel to their shores. The campaign involved almost 100 catchy little 30-second videos that were tagged #EpicEstonia; they depicted everything from gorgeous countryside to chimney sweep rooftop tours and SCUBA in an underwater prison. Via social media users tweeting, Snapchatting, Facebooking and Instagramming, Estonia was brought to the attention of the world.
7. Colonel Sanders LinkedIn Profile for KFC
KFC’s social marketing campaign took an unexpected route in 2015 when Colonel Sanders was reintroduced via the professional social network, LinkedIn. Using this opportunity to tap into a wider market, KFC creatively uploaded a professional profile for Colonel Sanders (who is long dead), highlighting his age, experience, and seeking LinkedIn user endorsement of his skills.
8. Charmin Toilet Paper #TweetFromTheSeat
Selling toilet paper took a unique turn thanks to the creation of the hashtag #TweetFromTheSeat by toilet paper maker Charmin. Twitter users were encouraged to use the above hashtag whenever they tweeted while sitting on the toilet (and let’s face it, many people use social media while we are in the bathroom). The campaign has been remarkably successful.
9. GoPro Skateboarder Cat
Cat videos, images, memes and the internet go hand in hand. GoPro’s clever social marketing campaign idea saw a GoPro following a cat on his adventures with a skateboard. This particular campaign generated more social media engagement than any other from GoPro in 2015, particularly on Instagram.
10. Tiffany Blue
Famous jeweller Tiffany has positioned its brand and its brand awareness around the signature duck-egg blue of their boxes and gift wrapping. They have enlisted thousands of Instagram users to share photos of any duck-egg blue item (regardless of its connection to Tiffany) with the hashtag #tiffanyblue. It’s a clever way to maintain and cement their brand identity, and for many people, just seeing this shade of blue is enough to bring the brand to mind.
11. Squatty Potty
This is the most left-of-centre way a toileting-related item has ever been marketed – and it has become a viral juggernaut. Selling a constipation-busting product was never going to be easy or tasteful – but this campaign targeted buyers in a humorous, unexpected, but very informative way. Strange as it is, this marketing video is pure genius: Prince Charming in a colourful kingdom far, far away likens the act of human elimination to a rainbow unicorn producing soft serve ice-cream. A smooth and healthy result is all about positioning – which the Squatty Potty takes care of. The only question that remains is how Prince Charming kept a straight face…
12. Samsung Celebrity Selfie
Something of an accidental, one-off campaign moment, we all remember the epic selfie moment from the 2014 Academy Awards taken on Ellen DeGeneres’ Samsung smartphone. With stars including Ellen, Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey, and Brad Pitt squeezed into the frame, this “spontaneous” moment was uploaded to Twitter and received more than 1 million retweets within the first hour. Samsung was the big winner that night!
13. The Race for the US Presidency
Never before has a US presidential campaign been so reliant and driven by social media. From Twitter to Instagram, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and other hopefuls have commandeered social media to engage with and capture the attention of potential voters. Never before have candidates been so accessible. This truly could be a presidency won or lost thanks to the social media content ideas and conversation adopted by candidates.
With some creative thinking and an adherence to your brand’s identity, it’s just a matter of coming up with clever and unique social marketing campaign ideas to set you apart from the pack and boost your online presence. The right mix of innovation and delivery, with a well-placed hashtag on the right platform, can launch your campaign to the stratosphere for global impact.
Want more? Here are our top 3 must-read blogs:
1. Social media for business: The biggest mistakes to avoid
Social media mistakes can impact negatively on your business and your brand identity in a number of ways. When used well, social media channels are primed for delivering marketing success, yet errors in social media judgement can damage your brand image, integrity, and reach; you may lose followers and customers, and consumer goodwill towards your business may be affected. Are you making these mistakes?
2. Using Twitter for business – have you got it right?
When using Twitter for business, you need to have a clear and well-thought-out plan of attack, with a long-term commitment to building your follower base and delivering what they want to see, share and, most importantly, act on. Here’s Twitter in a nutshell
3. Content writing tips for social media success
The art of storytelling is a powerful way to engage consumers with your brand, and its use extends to social media. There is also a science to social media writing, and doing it effectively can make the difference between a social media marketing campaign that is adequate and one that launches your business to the stratosphere. Are you ready to take your biz forward?
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Meanwhile, if you’d like to know more about LinkedIn and how to use it properly, why not check out our free 4 Week LinkedIn Optimisation Course?