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7 Social Media Marketing Wins & Why They Worked

Social media isn’t inherently good for marketing—simply posting once in a while won’t achieve much—but it certainly isn’t just a buzzword or a fad you can afford to ignore. In fact, when done correctly, it’s a driver for brand engagement that can reach unrivalled levels of ROI.

To plan a winning social campaign, marketers need to take advantage of the two main benefits of social media marketing: the ability to carefully target niche audience segments, and the consistent appearance of opportunities to capture the zeitgeist with fresh relevant content.

In this piece, we’re going to look at 7 examples of impressive social media marketing wins and consider what made them work so you can take some lessons from them.

1. Be The Guy – Be The Match

Does bone marrow seem like a bit of a tough topic for social media? Few do such a great job as Be The Match in making bone marrow donation feel like an empowering and altruistic act. In their campaign, #BeTheGuy, the advertising team sought to attract more male donors aged 18-35 (a much-needed donor group).

They used a video campaign on Reddit and Twitch depicting a group of winning guys showing off their weird and wonderful talents. A cleverly named ‘Marrowthon’ Facebook Live Stream broadcast then followed up this ad campaign.

Typically, nonprofits depict the people that benefit from donations on social media. In this campaign, by flipping the story to the donors instead, this particular segment made the male audience feel more empowered.

Keeping the campaign to Reddit, Twitch, and Facebook audiences was also a wise move. The social media marketers embraced the etiquette of these mediums — they played into the trend of sharing surprising and amusing content to have the biggest possible impact.

2. My Calvins – Calvin Klein

User-generated campaigns are fantastic for drawing in the crowds. Calvin Klein, a long-established brand, widened its appeal by getting all nostalgic on social media.

In a famous Calvin Klein ad from the 1980s, Brooke Shields established the catch line, ‘No one gets in between me and my Calvins.’

Marketers took this famous phrase and revived it under the user-generated #MyCalvins campaign.

This throwback to the 80s inspired over 179,000 people to post their pictures under #MyCalvins, most notably including Justin Bieber.

calvin klein social media marketing campaignof justin bieber in calvins

The one image of him wearing Calvin Klein underwear brought 3.6 million new fans to Calvin Klein’s Instagram account and even won him a modelling contract with the brand.

Never underestimate the high levels of engagement that can come from user-generated marketing campaigns. A simple hashtag idea can be enough to go viral and capture the imaginations of thousands of Instagram users.

3. Nintendo Switch – Nintendo

With no major waves coming from Nintendo since the Wii console in 2006, marketers needed to go big for the release of the Nintendo Switch in March 2017.

For their pre-launch campaign, the team released a three-minute video introduction to their latest console:

Next, they turned to celebrity endorsements including a promotional slot on Jimmy Fallon’s show. Gradually, as advertisers recorded more demos with famous personalities like John Cena, people became familiar with the Switch’s features and unique selling points.

Brands can take note of Nintendo’s approach to launching a new product with social media marketing. By clearly introducing the new concept and demonstrating its core features across multiple channels, Nintendo disrupted people’s perceptions of gaming.

4. Don’t Scroll And Drive – Mazda

Mazda used Facebook’s Canvas platform to create an immersive mobile screen takeover to promote their Don’t Scroll and Drive campaign.

The interactive ad featured animated car graphics and screen cracks appearing over Facebook users’ normal feeds.

Launched in 2016, Canvas is a powerful ad-testing platform. Since its introduction, brands like L’Occitane and Burberry have created exciting Canvas concepts.

5. Black Friday Lightning Sales – Chubbies

Accessories brand Chubbies sought to make the best of their Black Friday 2017 by setting one-hour timed flash giveaways through Facebook. The aim was to get people converting quickly by playing up the ideas of scarcity and urgency.

social media marketing facebook video of 2 men at a table in chubbies shorts

The element of humour ended up increasing the average order value per customer. On Cyber Monday, the marketing team launched two video ads and vanity domains including to raise chuckles and brand awareness.

Not sure how to set up a vanity domain? SquareSpace and WordPress are both fine options for setting up a quick website as they are easy and intuitive to use. If you are not sure what to choose — read website reviews to get a feel for how others have found the experience of using different web builders. Pro-tip — go to the comments section: that’s where the real gold is.

As for lightning sales, they’re generally easy to set up for a store that runs on a standard platform— it’s just a matter of finding a plugin, widget or add-on that can handle it. The WooCommerce one for WordPress is free to begin with, and pretty easy to use too!

6. Know Your Lemons – Worldwide Breast Cancer

Raising awareness of illnesses is a tricky task for charity campaigners for a very simple reason, which is that images of medical symptoms tend to cause fear and revulsion.

Worldwide Breast Cancer managed to create an eye-catching yet aesthetically pleasing Facebook ad:

know your lemons social media marketing campaign showing deformed lemons

The simple image of lemons with text overlaid spread to 7.3 million users within days of the #KnowYourLemons launch. Marketers can learn from the charity’s example and use simple, brightly coloured photography to turn dull subjects into stunningly successful awareness campaigns.

7. Breaking2 – Nike

Nike’s #Breaking2 campaign aimed to break a world record in showcasing runners completing a marathon in under two hours. The publicity stunt was created to promote the brand’s VaporFly Elite sneakers.

Campaigners spent years planning and gaining the support of fans of the runners featured. The team filmed the progress in the lead-up to the attempt and set up a branded hashtag.

Unfortunately, the runners missed their target by just 25 seconds. However, the brave attempt from Nike wins them a place on this list because they took the chance, and didn’t see the campaign as just a run-of-the-mill marketing stunt.

Instead, Nike achieved two trillion impressions across social media – the biggest number of impressions for a single hashtag of all time.

To contend with these engagement figures, reach for the stars in your marketing goals. Even if you fail, you could gain the respect of millions for giving it a try.

These totally on-point social media campaigns demonstrate the many different ways in which brands can break out of the box. Since so much of our time is spent on various social platforms, try to come up with a campaign that has the potential to spark emotion across multiple sales channels.

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