Social media has arguably been the single largest trend in marketing over the course of the past few years. As more and more businesses shift their strategies and increase marketing spend on these social platforms, it is becoming harder to make a brand message stand out. Social is unique in that marketing to these networks is not about who can be the loudest. Instead, success is dependent on how well a brand creatively draws attention to how it fulfills a group’s wants and needs.
There are plenty of examples of failed attempts at capitalizing on the unique opportunities social media offers. These cases share a common problem of failing to understand how a message will be consumed, or acting with disregard for how disastrous a misstep can be.
On the other side of the coin, there are a several unique social media campaigns that exemplify the ability of social media networks to deliver a clear message organically across a large captive audience. Here are a few examples:
- Healthy Choice understood that its female customer base was becoming increasingly social, and responded well to coupons when making purchase decisions. The company took this information and introduced a “growing” campaign that offered a printable coupon that increased in value as its Facebook page garnered more likes. In a few weeks’ time, the fan page went from 7,000 to over 60,000 likes, and customers responded well, with more than 30,000 of the new fans subscribing to the company’s newsletter.
- When Old Spice introduced its new humor-injected advertising campaign in 2010, the ‘Old Spice Guy’ quickly became a viral sensation, and the main advertisement was so well made, it actually won an Emmy. The company took notice, and signed up their popular actor to create more than 180 YouTube videos responding to tweets and blog posts that mentioned the ads. The entire campaign created a lasting image that the brand’s target demographic still shares online over social networks today.
- With Pinterest’s rise to popularity in 2012, Honda is hammering home it’s multi-platform ‘Leap List’ campaign by crossing over into the social visual network and encouraging users to take a ‘Pintermission’ (a 24 hour break from Pinterest) and attempt to visit, buy, and experience places and things they have pinned. They are even paying fans of the brand to help accomplish their goals. Most of Honda’s pins link across different networks back to the campaign, and drive home the message of adventure that has been wildly popular since its launch during the Super Bowl.
Social media is ultimately not about the product or service being marketed, but the relationship between marketer and consumer. Communication on social networks is a two-way street; brands have a chance to be relatable to their audience, and customers unwittingly increase awareness and loyalties. Creating strong relationships turns customers into brand ambassadors more powerful than advertisements.