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December 24, 2018

10 Outstanding Social Media Marketing Campaigns from 2018

Before you know it, it’s going to be 2019, and while enjoying the holidays and looking forward to the next year, people in business should be taking some time to reflect on and learn from the year just passed. This is especially important when it comes to social media, where trends change at a rapid speed. Here are a few choice statistics to ponder.

  • The annual social media income companies are bringing in has grown to $5 billion just from ad revenue.
  • 42% of people worldwide report using some sort of social media.
  • 90% of companies have incorporated social media into their brand awareness programs.
  • 80% of Instagram accounts follow at least one business.
  • 70% of YouTube watch time is based on mobile devices.

Social media has evolved from an interesting platform for marketers to experiment with, to an essential part of the strategies of many businesses. With 2018 coming to a close, we’ve compiled some of our favourite social media marketing campaigns from this year, as well as lessons you can apply for your own work in the future.

The Voice’s Use of User-Generated Content

Using content created by users in social media advertising marks a great way to create authentic material for your audience and drive interaction. The Voice implemented this to great use by creating a means for Instagram followers to comment on their favourite performances and moments in real-time as well as on the set during the live broadcast. This was done by implementing the dedicated campaign hashtag: #KindComments.


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Spotify’s Clever Way of Utilising Data

Part of an effective social media campaign is not just putting out what people want to see, but also using data you collect in order to refine their experience. Over the summer, Spotify used this cleverly, but not invasively, through its 2018 Goals campaign. By looking at search and playlist data of its user base, Spotify was able to create a set of ad experiences on 18 billboards located across the world. It then spun this into more social media gold by encouraging fans and users to take pictures in front of the billboards. This makes for a digital-real life-digital loop.

M&Ms and the Value of Seasonal Marketing

Seasonal marketing, for some industries, is a chance to make some of their largest profits of the year, if they seize the moment effectively. For a candy brand like M&Ms, it makes perfect sense not to hold back when it comes to Halloween, a time where 9 out of 10 consumers buy some sort of candy. This year, the brand punctuated its social media efforts with a short film called “Ghosted” along with a series of recipes and limited-edition candy.

Wendy’s and the Value of Humour

The notion of the “sassy Twitter account” has been something that more and more brands are trying to capture, but fast food chain Wendy’s has probably used this to the best effect this year as well as the years prior. The key to being successful in this regard is being smart enough to know when one is pushing the envelope while not being overtly offensive, and finding a way to tie humour back into brand values.

Wish Shopping and Choosing a Spokespeople Wisely

A recent study showed that professional soccer players tend to have almost twice the social media power and influence than the actual teams that they play for, and one of the most popular in this regard is Manchester United star Paul Pogba. Over the summer, Wish Shopping put together an ad across social media that was a perfect match for Pogba and their brand, playing off of his own social media persona.

IHOP and How to Stir a Buzz

Earlier this year, IHOP announced that it would be rebranding itself as IHOB, supposedly changing itself to a burger-themed restaurant. In the weeklong buildup to the faux reveal, IHOP saw a massive 297 million impressions and a marked growth in social media mentions. The revelation that this was a stunt ended up getting a more mixed impression, but the initial handling of the reveal is a masterclass in building up hype and interest.

We’re giving away 60¢ short stacks on July 17 from 7a-7p for IHOP’s 60th birthday. That’s right, IHOP! We’d never turn our back on pancakes (except for that time we faked it to promote our new burgers)

— IHOP (@IHOP) July 9, 2018

Tena and Working in Delicate Areas

As you can imagine for a brand that specialises in products helping adults with incontinence, Tena needs to be extra careful when putting together social materials for their target audience. However, one example of their efforts this year shows how good effective copy and branding can be. Their approach is to show how normal the condition is and provide practical advice on how to deal with it. For example, to promote their My Pelvic Floor Fitness, they used a social media contest, normalising the issues their product solves.

LinkedIn and Integrated Marketing

In an attempt to look more accessible and shed its white-collar image, LinkedIn created the In It Together Campaign, a combination of social media, television advertising, podcasts, and many more mediums to portray a diverse user base making use of the platform. This shows the power of combining social media with other platforms.

LinkedIn and Integrated Marketing

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Wholesome Culture and Marketing One’s Brand Values

Clothing brand Wholesome Culture tries to be at the forefront of the growing customer base, seeking ethical sourcing and production in the fashion industry, and they use their social media campaigns to try and broadcast not only their own products but the greater movement as well. This is done through traditional Instagram advertising as well as carefully curated hashtags.

Blender Eyewear’s Entire Strategy

Blender Eyewear is a fitting close to this article, being that it basically built its entire e-commerce program via social media. One thing they do on social media that has led to massive ROI on their Facebook ad spending is bucking the trend of ads on the platform and creating ads that focus on customer reviews and comments, rather than talking about the products directly. This and a focus on user-created content has led to immense social proof.

While these may be higher-scale examples of social media campaigns working out to great success, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take some of the lessons here and apply them to your own efforts. Knowing what your audience values, and creativity, are key tenets in all these campaigns that you can work to your advantage. What may be a little more difficult is managing the resources and expertise to turn that knowledge into a successful campaign. Working with Blue Beetle is a great way to navigate this issue. We specifically focus on the restaurant and hospitality industries and can help you find the best digital marketing strategy for your business and put it into action.

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