Social media marketing is not as easy as just posting content regularly. It takes a lot more than that. And, that is precisely the reason why some brands do much better than others on social media.
The brands that have nailed their social media marketing know that the secret to success on social media is knowing your audience and targeting them effectively. So, you don’t just need to post regularly, but also ensure that your content is relevant to your audience.
And, if you look at the most successful social media marketing examples, you will see that the common theme is content that resonates with the target audience. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the best social media marketing examples to fuel your 2021 social media strategy.
Social Media Marketing Examples 2021:
- Houseparty - Fortnite Trivia Challenge
- BuzzFeed Tasty - Saturday Night Seder
- Netflix - Wanna Talk About It?
- Zoom - Virtual Background Competition
- Harvard Business Review
- Starbucks #ExtraShotOfPride Campaign
- Dove #ShowUs Campaign
- Daniel Wellington #WheresWellington Campaign
- British Army’s #YourArmyNeedsYou Recruitment Campaign
- Moonpie and Greggs
- Gilette - The Best Men Can Be
What They Did Right - Supported a cause to win consumer trust and boost their brand image.
The first example on this list had to be Airbnb, for the simple reason that it is one of the businesses most affected by the coronavirus pandemic and still making strides on social media.
At a time when most countries have stopped travel and transportation, the hotel and hospitality industry has borne the brunt of it. No one’s making any new bookings and hotels are as deserted as the streets of affected countries.
And yet, Airbnb found a way to not only stay active on social media but actually help with the current situation. By offering free or subsidised lodging to COVID19 responders it found a way to keep its business running, while also improving its brand image.
The key lesson here is not that all hotels should start doing the exact same thing. The lesson here is to stay active on social media and find ways to stay relevant, even if your business operations have halted.
Just because your operations have stopped does not mean that you can’t post on social media. In fact, this is the best time to connect with your audience on social media and forge strong customer relationships. This will reap benefits once your operations are up and running again.
What They Did Right - Responded to their customers’ posts about their brand in a funny and witty manner.
This is a brilliant example of a brand leveraging user-generated content (UGC) in an innovative manner. What Amazon did was simply to respond to users’ posts or tweets about their brand and share it on different social media platforms.
In the above example, for instance, they replied to a tweet on Instagram by posting the reply in the caption.
This combines two social media marketing tactics—the use of humour and cross-channel promotion. Moreover, it makes people feel special as a brand replies to their comments and posts in such a public manner.
This is a strategy that can be used by any brand in any industry. All you have to do is use social media listening to track your brand mentions and find conversations about your brand. Then, find witty comments to reply to some of those and post them on your social media.
This will benefit you in several ways. First, you don’t need to create social media content from scratch, as you can leverage UGC. Second, it encourages more customers to post about your brand to get a chance to be featured on your page. Third, it keeps your audience engaged and connected to your brand.
What They Did Right - Turned a bad situation around by creating an offer that helps people and wins them new customers at the same time.
A lot of social media marketing examples for 2020 revolve around the coronavirus crisis, as that has plagued the world since the start of the year.
This is yet another example of how companies are dealing with the crisis and leveraging social media marketing tactics to their advantage.
In this particular example, HBO used a popular show to get more people to register for their free trial. And, as people are staying indoors to avoid the spread of the virus, they have more time to indulge in a little binge-watching.
The timing of this promotion is perfect as people have the time and desisre to try out new streaming services. And, the added benefit of getting to see a popular, star-packed show just makes it one lucrative offer.
And, as we all know, free trials often lead to conversions as people get accustomed to using a particular service.
If you have a product or service that you can allow free trials of, then do so to attract your social media followers to try out what you have to offer. If you want to reach people beyond your followers, then use paid promotions and hashtags to encourage free trials.
Houseparty - Fortnite Trivia Challenge
What They Did Right - Collaborated with another brand to run a mutually-beneficial challenge.
Houseparty is one of the many platforms that have gained popularity during the coronavirus crisis as people are looking for ways to spend time and connect with others. It is a platform where people can play games and connect with their friends over a video call.
Recently, they launched a Fortnite trivia game (in collaboration with Fortnite) for their users. They used social media to post a challenge wherein Houseparty users need to get 20 million right answers in the trivia to unlock a reward on Fortnite.
This challenge will attract Fortnite users to the Houseparty app to play the trivia game. And, it also promotes Fortnite as it gets access to Houseparty’s audience. Gamers, of course, get to play an engaging trivia game and get rewards on Fortnite.
It’s a win-win situation for everyone!
How can you use this tactic? By finding a complementary or related brand that you can collaborate with. Then, create a promotion that is mutually beneficial and gives you access to each other’s social media audience.
It does not necessarily have to be a brand. You can also collaborate with influencers in your niche and run joint contests, giveaways, and promotions.
BuzzFeed Tasty - Saturday Night Seder
What They Did Right - Ran a cross-channel promotion for an engaging live video.
Live videos are all the rage these days as these help people connect online when they are practising social distancing in real life. A lot of brands are using live videos to connect with their audiences.
However, BuzzFeed Tasty took this tactic a notch higher by making a whole charity event out of it. They invited several musicians, comedians, and other celebrities for a live event with the aim to raise funds to help the people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Not only this, but they also promoted the event on different platforms and streamed it on both YouTube and Facebook simultaneously.
This combined live videos, cause-based marketing, and cross-channel promotion all in one.
This is a good time to start using live videos if you haven’t done so already. Choose a platform where you have a large follower base and engage them with live videos where you invite influencers and experts from your industry.
Netflix - Wanna Talk About It?
What They Did Right - Found a new way to engage their audience and help out during a global pandemic.
As discussed earlier, a lot of social media marketing in 2020 revolves around the coronavirus pandemic that brought the world to a standstill.
In a tough situation like this, Netflix used social media to help people and connect with their audience in a more meaningful way.
They launched an Instagram Live series where people can connect with mental health experts to ask questions and share their problems. Connecting with people in such a personal way is good for any brand in the long run, as they will be loyal customers long after the situation has passed.
This is a brilliant strategy for fostering customer loyalty and improving brand image, while actually being helpful.
This is a tough time for everyone, including your customers. So, start meaningful conversations with your audience and foster long-term loyalty by forging stronger customer relationships.
It could be a talk show, a live Q&A, or simply a conversation on a social media post. The key is to connect with your audience and have two-way conversations.
Zoom - Virtual Background Competition
What They Did Right - Used a competition to get people to try their product.
Zoom is a platform that allows users to have virtual meetings and conference calls from any location. It was already used by numerous companies for business calls but became more relevant during the coronavirus crisis as more people started working from home.
Their goal, at this point, was to spread brand awareness get as many people to try their free trial as possible. Both of these goals are achieved by their Virtual Background competition.
How it works is that Zoom users need to share a picture or video using its virtual background feature. This is a recurring competition and every month, three winning entries will be awarded branded items as prizes.
This is an interesting way of getting people to try out their platform and use their features, as you don’t need a paid plan to participate. This encourages people to sign up for a free trial to simply enter the competition if nothing else.
You can try a similar strategy by running a competition or giveaway that encourages free trials.
Harvard Business Review
What They Did Right - Provided free access to resources as a means to attract new prospects.
HBR followed a similar strategy as many of the other brands are doing during this crisis. They offered free access to resources that can help people deal with the difficult coronavirus situation.
They used social media to promote this offer and drive traffic from their social media accounts to their website.
This is a great way to attract new customers and get them accustomed to their platform. Once they join, the brand can encourage them to get access to other resources by subscribing to their plans.
This is similar to the “free-trial” strategy but works for media and publishing brands that offer paid content.
You can, however, replicate this for product-based businesses as well by giving freebies to attract customers and then promoting other products to them.
Starbucks #ExtraShotOfPride Campaign
What They Did Right - Piggybacked on the Popularity of an Existing Trend
Starbucks is known for their engaging and out-of-the-box social media campaigns that grab attention. In June 2019, they’ve been running a campaign to celebrate Pride month and support the LGBTQ community.
As part of their campaign, they post colourful pictures of people from the community and introduce us to them. Then, they ask people to check out their Stories/Highlights to learn these people’s stories.
They used both Instagram posts and Stories for this campaign and used attention-grabbing visual imagery to get people to click on them.
The best part about this campaign was that it took advantage of the current social sentiment of people celebrating Pride month. People are already talking about this and posting related content, so this easily connects with the audience.
As for their hashtag strategy, they used a branded hashtag #ExtraShotOfPride and a popular industry hashtag #Pride for their posts. Creating a branded hashtag encouraged their customers and employees to share their pictures with the hashtag. Using the popular and currently trending industry hashtag got them the desired visibility and reach that they couldn’t have gotten themselves.
Dove #ShowUs Campaign
What They Did Right - Focused on a Cause That Resonates With Their Audience
Dove is a brand that has always focused on social causes in their social media campaigns. And these are especially centred around women’s empowerment, inclusion, diversity, and breaking beauty stereotypes. Women are their key target customers and that is why Dove’s marketing campaigns mostly target women.
In their latest campaign, Dove posted pictures of women from all walks of life and highlighted their unique qualities and characteristics. The idea is to accept and love everyone, no matter who they are and how different they are from us.
This campaign aimed to promote more acceptance of diversity and get people to be more inclusive when they see people who are different from them.
The beauty of this campaign was that it touched a nerve and asked women around the world to share their pictures, showing how they are different. The brand built a library of over 5,000 pictures and still counting.
Apart from the use of powerful social messaging, the campaign also garnered a lot of user-generated content for the brand.
Daniel Wellington #WheresWellington Campaign
What They Did Right - Use Gamification to Drive Engagement
Daniel Wellington is a brand that has learned the secret of leveraging UGC for their social media content. They often repost pictures of their customers wearing Daniel Wellington watches and encourage them to post more such pictures to get featured.
Recently, they gave their social media content strategy a twist by posting pictures taken at beautiful locations and asking people to guess where the picture was taken.
They are still doing the same thing that they were doing before, i.e. reposting pictures taken by their customers. However, they have added an element of gamification by making it a fun guessing game.
This strategy got them higher engagement on their posts than they normally did, as people comment on these pictures with their answers.
British Army’s #YourArmyNeedsYou Recruitment Campaign
What They Did Right - Specific Audience Targeting with Emotional Messaging
British Army’s 2019 recruitment campaign is a brilliant example of targeting the right audience with the right messaging. They wanted to target millennials via their Twitter campaign and encourage them to enrol in the army.
To do that, they decided to break all societal stereotypes associated with millennials and give it a positive twist. They would take a negative habit associated with millennials and show a positive characteristic that can be associated with it.
For example, millennials are known to take a lot of selfies and might even be called self-obsessed, But, the British Army called them confident because they take so many pictures of themselves.
And, not just that, they called upon the patriotic spirit of these British citizens and said, “Your Army Needs You” and your “positive characteristics associated with millennials.” This campaign was brilliant because it resonated with the target audience by evoking positive emotions.
They also used two brand-specific hashtags for this campaign #YourArmyNeedsYou and #FindWhereYouBelong. And, with each post, they added a link to their website where people can go enrol for the program that suits them best.
What They Did Right - Use of UGC
Nail enamel brand, Essie, is one of the brands that has mastered the art of leveraging UGC for their social media account. On Instagram, they ask their followers to share pictures of themselves wearing Essie colours and use the hashtag #essielove for a chance to get featured.
This is a classic example of how a brand can get their customers to generate content for them. The chance to get featured on the brand’s official Instagram account is the motivation for them to share their pictures.
And, this obviously benefits the brand because they get tons of mentions and free content to post on their social media.
One additional thing that Essie does is give a colour of the month as a cue to share more pictures of that colour.
Some brands also ask people to mention them to get featured, but hashtags are better because using hashtags you can keep track of all the UGC generated through that campaign.
Moonpie and Greggs
What They Did Right - Use of Humour to Get Engagement
Moonpie is a cookies brand that uses humour as a way to connect with their audience. The product itself is a consumable with a limited number of variants. And, the brand does not have a lot of content to talk about as new variants aren’t launched frequently.
It is a classic product that everyone knows about and the key marketing goal for the brand is to keep their audience engaged.
So, the brand found another way to stay active on social media and keep in touch with their audience—humour.
Greggs is another brand that excels at using humour to drive consumer engagement on their social media content. It is a large bakery chain in the UK that is widely popular and needs no introduction.
So, as an established brand, their social media marketing goal is not brand awareness, but only to maintain their brand image and engage their audience. For that, they use humour in their tweets and get good engagement rates.
Therefore, it is safe to say that for well-established brands that don’t have a lot of content that they can share regularly, this is a good strategy. You might not have new products to promote every week or a copywriting team to keep your profile active, but you can surely post a new joke daily.
Gilette - The Best Men Can Be
What They Did Right - Video Marketing and Social Messaging
This is another great example of a marketing campaign that uses social issues and powerful messaging to attract attention and get engagement. With their “The Best Men Can Be” campaign, Gilette tried to break stereotypes about how men are “supposed” to be.
Society has certain expectations from men and how they are supposed to act or think. Gilette created a video for their YouTube channel that broke these stereotypes to show what men can be. They also shared this video on Twitter and it got thousands of likes and retweets because this was something people could relate to.
The best social media campaigns are those that manage to hit a nerve with their intended audience and this video did just that. The target audience, in this case, were men and they received the video very well because it helped break stereotypes.
These are some of the most effective social media marketing examples of 2019 that you can take inspiration from. These brands have learned the secret to social media marketing success and you can learn from their strategies.
Check out the social media pages of these brands to see what they are doing and how they are winning the social media race. Use these insights to formulate your own social media marketing strategy and achieve your marketing goals.