5 of the best from 2018, plus an extra bonus…
There have been some excellent social media campaigns over the past year. Our favourites range from ones that use the social media platforms to the best advantage, to ones that harness cultural trends to drive engagement, to still others that react quickly and stay calm under pressure.
Not many brands can claim that their annual marketing campaign has become an eagerly anticipated event in people’s calendars, but that’s exactly what now happens with Spotify Wrapped. On 6th December subscribers get sent their data stats of the year, including time spent listening to music on Spotify, most played songs, favourite artist, genre insights and a ‘tastebreaker’ songlist, all beautifully presented.
Spotify also use the data to create witty and lighthearted advertising offline on hoardings, taxis and buses. These have become socially sharable in themselves, whether it’s people taking it and sharing them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, or celebrities having their picture taken in front of one of ‘their’ hoardings with fans.
These then get shared again across social media, which amplifies Spotify as a brand and so give them an even greater boast in visibility. It is, in fact, the perfect social media circle of goodness, and one all brands can learn from.
- Data gives great insights, and you can share these with your clients and audience, whether that is insights into the campaign you are running, people’s shopping habits, or trends in your niche.
- Create a circle of social media goodness to amplify the message.
Instagram is evolving in to a sophisticated – and very beautiful – social sales platform. Interiors business Wayfair is one of the best brands at taking advantage of what it can do, with tags in the photographs for customers to purchase direct from Instagram.
They also use a lot of UGC (user generated content) which has been hashtagged #MyWayfair. These are then retagged for maximum influencer marketing.
Their beautifully styled and photographed shots are also featured widely on Pinterest, the social platform with the very best ROI for social sales, where their main profile has 428k followers. The team combine beautiful social marketing and advertising posts to great effect, and in addition there are thousands of user generated boards, such as ‘Wayfair Finds’ and ‘Wayfair Items’. It creates an irresistible mix and keeps Wayfair at the forefront of social media interior brands.
- Combining social marketing and social sales is the best way to increase engagement in the wake of GDPR.
- Whatever you are selling, make your content beautiful – people buy with their eyes.
Masters of the UGC, ASOS are also brilliant at influencer marketing and the two were bought together beautifully in 2018 with their #AsSeenOnMe campaign. As they say “we know peer-to-peer styling advice and street style are a huge source of fashion inspiration for our customer” and so it has proved. It has also proved extremely good for the brand itself, with their Instagram posts featuring #AsSeenOnMe pictures regularly getting over 10,000 likes. The beauty of this is that people see what their peers are wearing and want to buy it too, they then take pictures of themselves wearing it and boom, more people are inspired to purchase and create their own looks
In addition, ASOS is savvy at connecting to the latest trends, such as voice search. Using Google android, shoppers can easily use voice search to browse the ASOS store, select and order the item(s) they are looking for.
• If content is King, user generated content that also looks beautiful has to be the Emperor, so make it easy for people to share your products as part of their daily lives, whether that is clothes, food, interiors or whatever. Their peers will love it – and so will your brand.
• Make sure you are optimised and set up for Voice search. People have been banging on about it for years, but it is starting to get proper traction now and all charities and B2C brands ignore it at their peril.
4. Lidl Ireland
Last month we talked about how NOT to handle a social media crisis, and if the team at Clearcast had only paid attention to Lidl Ireland’s crisis earlier in the year they would certainly have been better prepared.
The crisis happened offline but flared up on social media, with Lidl becoming the brunt of social media’s amusement because, you know, they had been raided by a stolen digger. What was a serious hassle in real terms, with a shop wrecked and looted, could have easily escalated in to a PR disaster to boot.
As their social media manager, Tom Mughal tells it, the corporate crisis unfolded live across social media (as most do), with over 40, 000 brand mentions and 3,000 % rise in visits to their Twitter profile. People were also laughing at them, which is never a good position to be in. But by putting their social media crisis training in to practice, reacting to their clients and followers tone of voice (as Tom puts it ‘reading the room’) and being authentic, much as O2 did some years ago during their infamous 3-day outage, meant Lidl Ireland won the day.
• Be prepared. If you are a brand using social media (and what brand can afford NOT to use social media?) then you need a social media crisis plan. Not only that but you need a social media plan that you practice and know inside out, not one that is sat on the cloud unloved and unopened.
• Be authentic. If social media has done one thing to change how businesses operate it is by forcing them become authentic and transparent, because people have no patience with spin and front. The brand that speaks to its clients and followers with a real voice and with real emotion is the one that will win the love and loyalty.
Another brand staying true to its core values this year was supermarket chain, Iceland. Having long established their ethical credentials with their avoidance of GM ingredients, Iceland went one step further in May 2018 and stopped selling goods using unethical palm oil in store. This then led to them rebranding the Greenpeace video ‘Rang-tan’ as their Christmas video, as already discussed in our Christmas article.
At the core of the whole campaign is how closely Iceland have stuck to what was actually a controversial decision that caused a lot of push back from the industry. However, by doing so they won a huge brand and moral victory because they fundamentally understand a trend that few other big brands have picked up, let alone made part of their core values. That is, that the majority of people really care about ecological issues, such as the destruction of the rainforests i.e. orangutan habitat.
The key point for brands, however, is that people want to know that what they do and buy (as well as the work that they do, but that’s another post) are doing good – or at least not doing harm. And as part of that they want brands to make it easy for them to be proactive about avoiding goods that are doing harm.
This is a trend that retail brands in particular ignore at their peril.
• Stay abreast of fundamental cultural shifts. Use social media to judge trends in your niche, and make sure you are well positioned and nimble enough to make the most of them.
• Be visible and transparent about your core values and key deferential. Make it easy for people to choose you instead of another brand.
Our bonus to make six of the best is Greggs, whose Vegan sausage roll campaign launched just after New Year on 2nd January. We loved it so much we are letting it sneak in here (and might cover it again at the end of the year just because it makes us laugh so much).
January 2nd 2019 saw the announcement on social media that Greggs were launching a vegan sausage roll. Nothing controversial about that you would think – but you’d be very wrong! Piers Morgan took almost immediate offence, which it seems they were expecting. It also touched a lot nerves in many other areas of the nation, especially with meat eaters. Strange when it is a vegan product, but there in lies the genius of the campaign. They plugged in to not just a consumer demand – Greggs had received a petition signed by over 20,000 people, organised by Peta – but they also cleverly anticipated and then rode the cultural response… hats off to their PR company Taylor Herring.
Gregg’s reply to Piers Morgan’s tweet actually deserves a special mention. It’s a genius deadpan put down (hats off to the team) and is, in fact, a masterclass in how to deal with social media trolling and turn it in to something positive.
Just look at the numbers here, just a week later! It’s also been all over the media, generating masses of coverage not just for Greggs, but for veganism in general. And as with all the best campaigns, other brands weren’t slow to join in. Win-win all round.
The overall result was fabulous for Greggs, who saw a stratospheric rise in brand engagement and – more importantly – had a highly successful product launch and increased their sales.
Which is why we all do this, right?
• Don’t be afraid of controversy. While obviously you need to behave with grace under any pressure, if there’s a controversy it means people are talking about your brand. Just make sure you and your team have prepared for all the responses, individuals and outcomes you can think of. And then be prepared to be surprised!
• Be creative and playful with your social media – the best marketing touches a chord, for good or bad. Few people remembers stats; everyone remembers how something made them feel.