Ideas for your next social media campaign

Category: Brand Identity|Brand Strategies|Case Study|Digital Marketing

In 2020, the number of people active on social media globally was 3.96 billion. In 5 years there has been a whopping recorded increase of 92.76%. It is now 2021 and this number is only going up.

With so many people on social media platforms it is not only understandable but in fact a need for brands to engage with potential customers on these platforms.

While there are a lot of social media users, there is a growing competition between brands to get their attention too because it is now only a matter of who stands out and who grabs their attention the most. For this reason, marketers are always thinking of ideas to engage with users in creative ways through their social media campaigns.

If you are a marketer who is struggling to come up with an idea that would take your brand’s image to the next level, this blog is for you. In it I am going over some of the most successful social media campaigns that have come out recently to inspire you to think outside the box and help your brand stand out. So let’s get right into it.

Social Media Strategies

Before getting into the individual case studies, let’s categorize social media campaigns so you know what your options are and then can go with the type that is best suited for your own brand.

⦁ Giveaways
⦁ Topical Marketing or News-jacking
⦁ Brand utility
⦁ Incentivizing hashtags
⦁ Influencer marketing
⦁ Crowd-sourced content

Given below is a brief description of each of these types of social media campaigns and examples of successful use of the format by brands

1. Giveaways

Giveaways are arranged for promotional purposes and the incentive for user participation is a prize. It could be a big prize or a collection of smaller ones given away to a large number of people.

It is the oldest trick in the book and has been carried out in different forms in traditional marketing as well. In the age of social media the possibilities are endless and you can use this basic concept in any number of creative ways that are best suited to your brand image.

Given below are some examples of creative giveaways carried out by brands.

Successful Giveaway Examples

i. Coors Light

Molson Coors is a multinational drink and brewing company that is at the top of its game when it comes to social media.

With the hashtag #CouldUseABeer on Twitter, they incentivized people to talk about their brand and in return, for a limited amount of time, everyone who used the hashtag would get a six-pack. Their goal was to give away 500,000 beers and they kept this going until they had.

You might be thinking that it’s a big price to pay for getting a hashtag going, but multinational companies such as Coors don’t take uninformed steps. The benefit they got out of this campaign in the form of brand awareness must have heavily outweighed the cost of giving away 500,000 beers. It is a matter of giving something in the short term to get long term benefits.

Now when every brand is starting a hashtag and trying to get it off the ground, being able to execute something like this is a big achievement.

ii. Fatherly’s Fitness Giveaway

This giveaway promised fitness gear and all the participant had to do was share their email. You don’t need a big digital marketing agency to arrange this for you, it is a simple enough idea.

As a result of this apparently basic idea, however, this giveaway was viewed over 57,000 times with an 85.94% conversion rate. This meant that the business got 49,000 emails of potential future customers for a prize worth $1200.

iii. Lay’s #DoUsAFlavor

Lay’s has been using this campaign since 2017 where they ask users to pitch them a new flavor for their crisps and the winner would get $1 million.

This type of an incentive is surely going to get a lot of attention and so it did. It doesn’t mean that every businesses needs to give away $1 million to get their prospects’ attention, but you get the point.

2.Topical Marketing or News-jacking

‘Relevance’ is everything. With so much content being shared everyday on social media, a great way to get engagement is to use topics that are already being talked about because it increases the chances of your content getting shared. That is topical marketing.

News-jacking means incorporating topics in your campaign that are in the news.

This kind of campaign or marketing strategy achieves the following:

⦁ Makes the product relevant
⦁ Increases chances of engagement
⦁ Helps build a relationship with potential customers because they see what the brand’s values are

It is no longer cool to be apathetic to social issues. In fact, it is frowned upon. Brands that make a statement about a prevalent and relevant social issue stand are appreciated. The following examples with elucidate this further.

Example of Topical Marketing

i. Nike

You might remember that in 2018 Colin Kaepernick protested against police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem before a game. This was huge news back then and a topic that was discussed widely.

Nike dealt with this topic very efficiently by launching a video with Kaepernick featuring other players as well. The message in the video was to ‘believe in something’ and it can be viewed here.

Colin Kaepernick was in the news for the right reasons when Nike decided to work with him and that video won an Emmy and was considered to be a big reason behind Nike’s stock rising 5%.

3.Brand Utility

Every successful marketing team these days is allotting time and energy to creating the right content for its online followers and prospects. Why?

Besides building brand authority in a niche, it has almost become an expectation on the part of the consumer to see a brand show personality and engaging with them outside of just promoting their products.

Content marketing is one way of achieving this but another way is brand utility. Brand utility is when a business offers value to its prospects and customers outside of their products usually through a useful tool or resource.

Given below are two examples that explain this concept better.

Examples of Brand Utilities

i. Coors

Coors Light has already been discussed above but they deserve an honorary mention again in the brand utilities category.

Around the same time when they launched that beer giveaway described above, they also made a Clone Machine. It is a tool on their website that allows users to upload a thirty second video of themselves pretending to be paying attention in a Zoom meeting. It is appealing to people’s sense of humor basically. The purpose is to create a loop of yourself nodding your head and paying attention to play as background on a Zoom meeting so that you can go get a beer.

It is in line with their “could use a beer” slogan that they turned into a hashtag as well. It became a reason for prospects to engage with the brand for something other than just buying their beer.

ii. Spotify

Spotify’s marketing team has also been killing it with their Wrapped feature. It is a feature within the app that shows users what they listened to the most and gives a roundup of their annual stats.

It is not just that the feature is useful or intriguing for the users themselves but the data is presented in the form of sharable images. It is a quick share which becomes a trend now at the end of the year on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with everyone sharing their summaries with their friends. Users get value and Spotify gets publicity. That trend alone might encourage new users to join the platform.

4.Incentivizing Hashtags

This has been briefly discussed in the giveaway section as well, but adding an incentive to use a hashtag can do wonders for brand outreach.

When I say incentivizing hashtag I simply mean that you encourage prospects to use your hashtag in return for some value. It doesn’t always have to be a giveaway. It could just be the promise of exposure. Check out the examples below to see the possibilities.

Examples of Incentivizing Hashtags

i. Audi’s #WantAnR8

In 2017, when R8 was released a car enthusiast tweeted at Audi saying they wanted to drive an R8 and used this hashtag. Audi surprised them by letting them drive one for a day.

This encouraged others to tweet with the same hashtag and Audi used it to promote their launch. Some other people who used the hashtag were also surprised with R8 for a day and altogether it led to over 75 thousand tweets.

ii. Coca Cola’s #ShareACoke

You have most likely seen this hashtag being used on social media. The aim of the campaign was clearly to make Coca Cola relevant again and to bring it into the limelight. #ShareACoke was a great way to do this as it wasn’t just a bland hashtag but had a sentimental and communal ring to it.

Furthermore, this campaign came with its own limited edition products in the form of personalized bottles. People could gift a coke to someone with the receiver’s name on the bottle. The fact that it was a marketing strategy wasn’t lost on anyone, nevertheless a lot of people participated and the incentive was to gift a loved one something special.

This hashtag turned into more than a marketing campaign with the brand launching a special website just for this. It allowed Coca Cola to add to their decades of image, showing everyone how it’s done.

5.Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a fairly new but highly effective method of increasing outreach through social media influencers.

Brands hire social media influencers or collaborate with them and the value the influencer brings to the table is their audience and their relationship with them.

Influencers have a relationship with their followers that is more personal than a brand does. They will also usually have a certain demographic that they appeal to. This makes it easier for brands who also want to target that same demographic to reach them through someone they already trust.

Influencer marketing campaigns can either be more personalized for each influencer that a brand works with to cater to their specific audience, or it could be a more general campaign designed by the brand which multiple influencers are a part of.

Examples of Influencer Marketing

Since there is an ever-growing list of successful influencer marketing campaigns and it is hard to pick only a few, I am listing some common campaign patterns that have been seen to work instead of focusing on any particular influencers.

i. Product Reviews

This is most common method of influencer marketing used on all social media. Brands send their products (usually newly launched) to influencers. They can either pay the influencer to review them or just send PR which the receiver is not obliged to review but which they might.

ii. Experience

A review doesn’t have to be for a product, it could be an experience as well. For example, Audi could get an influencer who creates car reviews to come drive a new one and share their experience with their viewers.

An experience also includes events. A lot of brands arrange events exclusively for influencers which are heavily shared on social media and which gives the brand a chance to show their personality.

iii. Giveaways

Arranging a giveaway in collaboration with influencers is another way to engage with their audience in an effective way.

Usually collaborative giveaways like this require participants to engage with both the brand and the influencer so it creates a win-win situation and is beneficial for both.


Crowd-sourcing is when brands engage with their audience directly to not only interact with them but to get useful input from them.

It helps create a healthy relationship between a prospect and brand when the prospect sees that the business is open to their input and contribution.

Examples of Crowd Sourcing

i. Lay’s

One example of this was the Lay’s #DoUsAFlavor campaign mentioned above. It was not only a giveaway but also a very efficient crowd-sourcing strategy by them that led to useful ideas as well as user engagement.

Another smaller example is given below.

ii. Enterprise.nxt

Enterprise.nxt offers digital insights to the IT industry. A great way they can improve their work for themselves while also keeping their audience engaged is to create polls like the one given below:

They were not only getting something from the audience but also marketing their own content by sharing relevant resource.

Crowd-sourcing is an effective and mutually beneficial strategy that can do wonders not only for your social media engagement but also for building long term relationships with prospects.

In conclusion

There are numerous ways to use social media to your advantage if you just employ a bit of creativity and think outside the box. The possibilities are endless!

If you would like to read more about the marketing potential of social media, you can take a look at the linked blog.

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