UPDATED: This post about digital marketing was updated for 2018 to reflect new information and add 20 more examples. Enjoy!
The very nature of digital marketing requires that you continually re-evaluate your strategy to stay fresh and current. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel – you just have to upgrade to high-performance tires, customize them with some chrome rims, and lower the suspension for better handling.
It can be hard to execute a digital marketing strategy that connects with your customer, increases your brand awareness, and skyrockets your revenue, but a great way to get inspired is to look at brands that are making some noise in the digital marketing world and analyze what they’re doing.
The 20 companies below are acing digital marketing because they’re creating experiences and content that captivate their audience.
Social media campaigns are part of digital marketing, of course, so we’ve added a bonus section at the bottom of this post of 10 brands that are absolutely killing it on social media.
Best Examples of Online Marketing Campaigns
1 – Zappos
Not only does Zappos provide a 365-day money back guarantee, but they also have free shipping both ways, should consumers decide to return or exchange products purchased on the site.
As a result, Zappos doesn’t have to work hard to market its online presence – its policies are so appealing to consumers that shoppers are eager to sing the company’s praises to one another in a completely organic (and viral) fashion.
Of course, Zappos does still invest heavily in online marketing, and its social media campaigns shouldn’t be missed! Notice how they focus on what the customer wants and needs, not on what they wish the customer wanted or needed. This is a key part to any effective digital strategy. Listen to your audience and plan accordingly.
Content marketing must be managed appropriately to be effective. Online content marketing campaigns should strive to produce measurable results in proportion to the resources committed to them.
2 – American Express (AMEX)
Plenty of companies talk a big game about “the communities” they’re creating online and the inherent value of the “online conversation.” However, very few actually create any community of value.
Far from being all talk and no game, American Express puts its money where its mouth is by leveraging the value provided by industry experts on its Open Forum website.
Open Forum is a collaborative website, on which American Express invites guest authors from a variety of sectors to share their business knowledge and wisdom. The result is a content-rich mega-site that’s popular with the search engines – all created without American Express needing to shell out cash to content contributors.
The creator of your content does not need to be you. Find industry leaders that create great content and ask them to contribute an expert article on your blog. It will build their audience and your traffic, as long as the content provides value. Good content marketing strategies draw on a range of user-generated sources to both grow online communities and minimize financial investment.
3 – Mint
Entering a popular niche like personal finance is a daunting task for any new startup, but the approach that financial tracking tool Mint took early on proved that it’s possible to stand out in a crowd through well-executed online marketing strategies.
Although the company was a relative unknown amongst its more popular predecessors, Mint committed to a digital strategy in which they published hundreds of high-quality content pieces – from informative blog posts to viral attention-grabbing infographics (like Data Privacy Day: Keep Your Financial Data Safe) – which gave value to their customers and grew their business.
As a result of Mint’s digital marketing efforts, the tool gained a massive online following before being sold to Intuit for a whopping $170 million.
Investing in content marketing often requires significant amounts of time and money, but committing to content production and high-quality standards can build substantial market attention in a short period of time.
4 – Lyft
This rideshare company is built upon a luxury that most of us dream of, but few can afford: a private driver. Tap a few buttons on the app and in a matter of minutes, a shiny new car arrives at your exact location to take you anywhere you want to go. The service is so great that the need for expensive marketing is practically non-existent.
Lyft started as the campus-based Zimride, branded itself as a “socially conscious alternative in a crowded, cutthroat field” (donating $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union during a recent New York taxi strike to protest President Trump’s travel ban), and grew almost entirely through word-of-mouth marketing, which is a very high-converting channel. In fact, 81% of customers make purchase decisions based on recommendations from their friends.
They offer incentives for riders to act as advocates for the business by providing referral codes to their friends in exchange for free rides. Between a service that saves people time by making transportation easier and cost-effective and their powerful referral system, Lyft is spreading like wildfire.
Word-of-mouth advertising is worth more than any exposure you could ever buy, and in the digital age, it’s faster and more effective. Lyft actively targeted the tech community in San Francisco in the early days, knowing that they would share their experiences both off and online. By providing consistently exceptional service since then, they’ve made it easy for users to spread the word for them.
5 – Dollar Shave Club
Shaving is the epitome of a boring routine, right? If you answered “of course” then you obviously haven’t seen Dollar Shave Club’s now legendary launch video “Our Blades Are F***ing Great”, which threw the notion of this being a drab, button-up industry out the window.
Today this company has over 3 million subscribers, boasts $200 million in sales within five years, and has snagged almost 7% of the U.S. shaving market. Their promotional video has been viewed over 25 million times, and the company was acquired for $1 billion by Unilever.
During their hyper growth, Dollar Shave Club continued to share cheeky content such as “Is It Bad to Pluck Nose Hairs with My Fingers?” and “Do I Really Need to Wash My Hands After I Pee?” These guys know how to grab the attention of their target audience!
Don’t be afraid to have some fun! DSC doesn’t take itself too seriously (or at all seriously, for that matter). Everything from its marketing to its onboarding, from its packaging to its social engagement is lighthearted, silly, and tongue-in-cheek. And its customers love them for it. They’ve made something as tedious as buying razors and shaving hilarious and entertaining. And that’s what stands out in people’s minds.
6 – The Wirecutter
Affiliate marketing can be a bit sleazy, but it can generate big results when done properly and genuinely. The Wirecutter has set the standard by labeling itself a simple “list of the best gadgets — like cameras and TVs — for people who don’t want to take a lot of time figuring out what to get.” The site was generating $150 million in e-commerce transactions per year before being acquired by the New York Times for $30 million.
They write reviews for products they love, embed a link to a retail site so you can easily buy it, and take a cut of each sale. Their reviews take anywhere from 20 to 200 hours to complete by experts and other interested parties, which make site visitors trust what they have to say.
Modern consumers are wary of ads, banners, and paid search results, and want real recommendations from real people. And that’s what The Wirecutter delivers to such sparkling success. They’ve made the review (a.k.a. the “ad”) the product. People share them, like them, and rely on them to decide what to buy. The only marketing they have to do is creating top-notch reviews. Their fans take care of the rest.
7 – Slack
Slack is a collaboration tool that allows teams to communicate more efficiently and share files, all on one easy platform. They’ve had a pretty spectacular rise, from 15,000 users at launch in 2014 to 2 million active daily users today. Rather than launch any big marketing campaign, Slack’s success was built on epic customer relations.
Their “secret sauce” is delivering a high-quality customer experience. The company responds to (not just receives) 8,000 help desk tickets and up to 10,000 Tweets each month, and their Twitter feed contains a “Slack Wall of Love” on which you can find the latest Tweets and re-Tweets from people who love this messaging tool.
From day one, Slack has been about selling a solution, not a product. They’ve focused on customer experience, believing that one positive experience does more than a big marketing budget could ever hope to accomplish. As their tagline says, they’re “on a mission to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.” So make it all about solving your customers’ pain points.
8 – Airbnb
Airbnb has changed the way we travel and look for accommodations. Launched when its founders couldn’t afford their rent, the site now boasts 150 million users, 4 million listings, and a total valuation of $31 billion in 2017.
Their digital marketing strategy relies primarily on user-generated images and videos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (highlighting the cities and properties in its stable), how-to videos and posts geared towards owners, and popular city guides. Their Instagram campaign matches humor with compelling images of different travel locations around the world, making it more than just a service – it’s a travel forum as well.
When it comes to social media superstars, Airbnb shines the brightest. During a 2015 Instagram campaign, the company received 13.3 million interactions and increased followers by 341%.
Create demand around your product or service by finding a topic related to your business that’s interesting. For example, Airbnb is ultimately a crowdsourced hotel business, so interesting content for them is related to travel sites around the world. Generate interest with content, and the dollars will follow.
9 – JetBlue
One of the biggest mistakes we see companies making when it comes to online marketing strategies is the tendency to post self-promotional material only. And really, nobody wants to follow a company that can’t stop talking about itself long enough to post something of real value!
JetBlue, the popular discount airline, is one company that gets it. Instead of using Twitter just to post fare discounts and special offers, the company uses its handle to provide fast and easy customer service. In fact, the effect is so profound that nearly all the messages in the company’s feed include @ replies, which is highly unusual in the world of social media marketing for businesses.
Make it a priority to balance self-promotional materials with information that followers can actually use, and respond to users whenever they interact with your web profiles in order to boost rapport and consumer confidence.
10 – Yelp
It may seem obvious now, but the idea of combining social networking and online reviews was a “Eureka!” moment for Yelp founders back in 2004.
It wasn’t that review sites were unheard of at the time, but this company approached it a little differently with the social angle. Today, Yelp has 170 million unique monthly visitors and 148 million cumulative reviews.
The social element cashed in on the social proof component that made The Wirecutter and other similar brands a success years later. Reviewers are real people, with real names and photos, and are encouraged to develop a reputation and a following. Users can even review the reviews of other reviewers!
Keep the focus on building a trustworthy brand and a trustworthy community. To provide the best recommendations for every kind of business, Yelp needed fantastic reviewers, the businesses themselves to buy into the program, and the users to believe what they’re reading. Everyone needs to trust everyone else, and that’s what they focused on in their early marketing efforts. Today, a one-star increase on a Yelp rating can lead to a 5-9% increase in business revenue according to Michael Luca of the Harvard Business Review.
11 – Mastercard
Mastercard is the king of ‘priceless surprises’. The financial services giant has a knack for creating engaging experiences that excite and retain their customers. This example is from 2016, but it’s so iconic that we had to include it here.
As a major sponsor of the MLB (Major League Baseball), the company wanted to execute their priceless strategy and take advantage of the Chicago Cubs making the World Series for the first time in 71 years. Why? So they could be a part of history if the Cubs won — which they did. For the first time since 1908, the Cubs were World Series champions (2016).
Mastercard’s main objectives of implementing the campaign were to (1) connect with suffering Cubs fans and (2) insert themselves into the World Series conversation.
They went out looking for the perfect way to implement their campaign and came across a great piece of content: a player on a rival team had accused Cubs fans of lacking passion for their team. This was a perfect sound bite to build an entire campaign on, so Mastercard ran with it, titling their campaign the ‘Sound of Priceless.’
They built a sound meter and placed it around Wrigley Field to determine just how loud the fans were. After measuring the sound, and noticing how loud the fans truly were, they created a piece of video content around the story.
In order to create the ultimate impact, Mastercard released the film online and on social media just as the Cubs won the final game of the World Series. The results were, well, priceless.
When you are trying to create viral digital marketing campaigns, look for content that is already out there and try to create a spin on it that will benefit someone else as well as your brand. Also, notice how Mastercard was patient enough to wait until the very last game to release their content in order to maximize the reach. This is key to any great digital campaign. Timing does matter.
12 – Uniqlo
Uniqlo is an innovative Japanese apparel company that urges the world to dress casually, but the company wanted to help customers see Uniqlo as more than just a fashion brand. They wanted to build on Uniqlo President and CEO Tadashi Yanai’s statement that “We [Uniqlo] are not a fashion company. We are a technology company.”
The best way to do this? An effective digital marketing campaign.
Uniqlo created a global image campaign and activated it in 100 physical locations as well as online. The campaign used fast-moving images on billboards containing unique product codes that could only be captured by taking a photo of the display. Shoppers were then asked to upload the five-digit code to the campaign website to redeem a sample from the HEATTECH clothing line.
Once on the site, viewers were directed through a series of informational screens that described in detail the technology behind Uniqlo products before displaying a winning page. Participants were encouraged to share their photos on social media to get their friends to join the campaign.
The results were terrific. Online videos were viewed 1.3 million times and over 25,000 people signed up to receive the UNIQLO newsletters. In total, the campaign reached over four million people, resulting in 35,000 new customers.
Digital marketing can be a great way to creatively engage with your customers and teach them about who you are and what your product does. By taking control of the conversation with your customer you can create your own brand story that you want to resonate with the target customer. You don’t need to go to the lengths that Uniqlo did to interact with your customers, but you do need to take control of the conversation.
13 – Domino’s
Domino’s has been widely regarded for its marketing brilliance ever since their 2009-2010 turnaround. And recently they’ve been showing no signs of slowing down.
Their recent “Domino’s Anyware” has earned them headline after headline in major publications like Forbes, Wired, and Cnet. And publications like Fast Company are going as far as saying that Domino’s now looks more like a tech company than just a pizza chain.
The goal of the campaign is to make their pizza as easy to order as possible from any of your favorite tech hardware.
The brilliance of this campaign is two-fold. On one hand, it’s a sales play. It made buying pizza extremely convenient by going as far as creating a custom app that would order your favorite pizza automatically without having to do anything — ”Zero Click.” This is important because the way people interact with the world is changing.
But it had a secondary benefit: by piggybacking on the popularity of these emerging technologies and getting tons of free PR for their company, they positioned themselves as cool, forward-thinking and trendy.
Digital marketing is more than just content marketing, email, and paid advertising. And your brand image is more than just the message you broadcast. You need to consider what the communication channels you use say about your brand as well. Changing how your product is ordered or received is another aspect of creative digital marketing.
14 – Heineken
Last year Heineken seized the current political conflict that has been growing around the world and found a positive spin: rather than polarizing and dividing, Heineken brought people together. With beer, of course.
They paired a handful of individuals who had aggressively opposite viewpoints. For example, they paired someone who thought that men should be men and women should be women with a transgender person. They went through a series of bonding challenges before their disagreements were revealed and they were given a choice to leave or sit down for a beer and discuss their differences.
They promoted the video on Facebook and it went viral with over 138,000 shares and 324,000 engagements. The video received over 17.7 million views, with 3 million happening in just the first eight days. They captured their message in a hashtag, #OpenYourWorld, which quickly earned 22,000 tweets that were overwhelmingly positive (87%).
Heineken got an extra boost in publicity for executing the theme of “coming together despite the tension” so well after Pepsi failed earlier that same year and were forced to issue an apology. This likely contributed to the incredible PR they received (over 625 magazine articles published).
If you want to create a viral campaign that builds a positive brand image at the same time, create content that stirs inspirational emotions in customers.
This type of content not only triggers thousands and thousands of shares, but it gets people thinking. It makes them pause and reflect about things that feel important. It will spark conversations: “Have you seen the new Heineken commercial? It’s really powerful.”
And while your brand isn’t the main focus of the thoughts or discussion, it will be there.
15 – Tesla
Tesla’s success on social media is nothing short of impressive. Despite being significantly younger in the market than competitors like BMW, Audi, and Chevrolet, they rank among the top 3 most mentioned brands on Twitter:
And their Twitter engagement numbers (which represent every like, retweet, impression, mention, and reply) completely crush the competition:
And they do all this despite only Tweeting as little as 4 times a month. Obviously, this level of success is a holistic process, but we can identify two key elements.
The first is the popularity and activity of Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, who is extremely active on Twitter and has over 20.7 million followers. He doesn’t just reserve posts for product announcements and promotion. He has a personality and uses it as a way to become more human and transparent in the eyes of the world:
The second element to their success is their livestream events. These events draw tons of hype and attention, with people sharing the link on social media and live-Tweeting. And it doesn’t hurt that they can partner with their sister company SpaceX for extra free live stream hype:
There are two lessons here. First, if you’re a CEO or founder, don’t be afraid of social media. Having an active online presence makes your brand and mission more personal and relatable. Second, livestream events are a great way to get your customer base focused and engaged. It generates conversation between friends and strangers around the world.
16 – Mr. Clean
Mr. Clean probably isn’t the first brand that comes to mind when you think “hip and trendy”. But last year’s super bowl spot aimed to change that by turning Mr. Clean into a seductive (and magic) cleaning dancer with a cute twist at the end.
In addition to the massive super bowl audience, Mr. Clean received over 11,700 mentions on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In just one minute.
The YouTube video has received over 17 million views, not counting the dozens of “Top Super Bowl Ad” roundups with millions of more views. Mr. Clean also ran a series of teaser trailers for their super bowl ad the week leading up to the big game, focusing on their Facebook and Twitter audiences to promote build some hype. If you grew up seeing Mr. Clean commercials and products, tell me that this doesn’t peak your curiosity (or at least make you a little nervous)!
If you are going to invest in a marketing campaign (even if it’s not a Super Bowl commercial slot), go the extra mile and use social media to hype and promote your larger campaign. Build anticipation, excitement and curiosity. Make it feel less like an advertisement and more like entertainment the audience can’t wait to see.
Also, if you’re an old, established brand, don’t be afraid to re-invent the classics to keep it fresh, fun and relevant.
17 – Twitter’s #BrandBowl
Speaking of the Super Bowl and online engagement, this year Twitter decided to capitalize on the commercial hype and try to control the dialogue by hosting the #BrandBowl. This competition pits major brand’s marketing teams against one another as they compete in a handful of categories relating to online engagement.
Here are the winners:
Winners received credits for Twitter ads and consumer reach in addition to a nice custom trophy and industry bragging rights.
The campaign drew the attention of both of Twitter’s main audiences:
- Users, who were encouraged to support their favorite commercials on Twitter.
- Brands, who were encouraged to promote their commercial and hashtags even more than usual.
Perhaps more importantly, getting the brands’ attention allowed them to promote their recent study which showed that Tweeting during the Super Bowl improved engagement to both Twitter ads (42% increased engagement) and TV ads (14% increased engagement).
When you have an exciting new benefit to sell your customer base, try finding a creative way to show it in action. Instead of telling them customers are more engaged in ads when Twitter is paired with TV coverage, challenge them to test it in action. Twitter also suggested that their ad credits were a prize worthy of the best brands competing for and connected famous brands (the winners) to their platform.
18 – KFC’s 11 Herbs and Spices
Last September the team behind KFC’s Twitter account made a bold decision. They would only follow 11 people. They didn’t make a big deal about it. There was no announcement. Not even a Tweet or comment acknowledging it.
The 11 people they chose were significant, too: the five Spice Girls and six seemingly random guys named Herb. (Bonus: they’ve kept this updated as people changed their account name).
A few weeks later people started to notice:
That Tweet alone has over 318,172 retweets, over 700,000 likes, and nearly 5,000 comments. And it was just one of the tons of user-generated Tweets, memes, Reddit posts, and personal messages sent by consumers. That’s the kind of exposure most marketers only dream of. And the campaign cost? Next to nothing.
I still remember the first time I saw this Tweet on Reddit. After I had my laugh, I sent it to at least ten people. This isn’t some massive fancy digital campaign that took months of planning or production, but that’s the point. It’s so simple but brought such huge results.
19 – Ultra Music Festival
The team at Ultra Music Festival are digital marketing masters.
With the rise in popularity of electronic dance music in the early 2010s until now, they’ve used various digital campaigns to grow from just 93,000 attendees in 2009 to 165,000 for 5 years in a row. They’ve managed to expand from a single 3-day festival in Miami to 24 worldwide events around the year.
Since a large portion of their target audience is geographically dispersed around the country and world, they’ve relied heavily on digital media to sell their tickets. But potentially the most impactful was one powerful concept: the product IS the marketing.
Sure, they were helped by the boom in popularity of the music genre and outdoor music festivals in general, but they showcased themselves in a way that was better than the competition, some of whom went bankrupt despite riding the same popular trend.
One of the key campaigns in their marketing has been live streams. Starting in 2012, Ultra LIVE has broadcasted parts of the festival to viewers around the world. This was a crucial point because as many as 30% of attendees who watch a livestream will attend the event in person the following year. In 2016, over 15 million people tuned in around the world.
They work hard to ensure that they provide unique experiences at their flagship Miami event, which raises the brand value and thus the perceived value of all their other events.
For example, this year they announced a surprise reunion of the Swedish House Mafia — one of the most famous groups in the industry, whose last show had been five years prior. This performance was not to sell tickets (the announcement came after the event started). It was to attract more livestream views and sell their brand as one of epic surprises.
It helps bring customers further into the decision-making funnel by confirming the value offer and pushes their fear of missing out on the event next year.
Livesteams can be a great way to engage customers who want to attend your event, but can’t for whatever reason. If you are delivering an exceptional experience for attendees, then broadcast it. Show participants having fun and getting value out of it.
You don’t have to stream the whole event, either. Ultra only streams certain stages and artists. Consider streaming your keynote speaker or special segments of your event that provide the most value and pitch it as “just a sample” of the full event.
20 – Sephora
Sephora has been making headlines for its growth by investing in technology and data analytics. While many brick-and-mortar businesses have been struggling, they’ve managed to maintain strong growth by marrying the digital experience with offline retail.
One of their latest campaigns is an app that uses augmented reality and artificial intelligence to let users try different makeup products they find online or in the store. It gives them tips and recommendations along the way. And it’s connected to their e-commerce store so that customers can add items directly to their cart for purchase.
Their strategy has been extremely successful: customers have tried on 200 million shades during more than 8.5 million visits to the Sephora Virtual Artist feature.
Some brands are struggling today as the economy shifts more and more to “on-demand.” It’s especially challenging for brands that sell products that consumers want to test and experiment with before purchasing.
But technology is advancing to keep pace with consumer tastes and even if you don’t have the tech budget of Sephora, there are ways you can use technology to make it easier for your customers to sample and view your different products both online and in-store.
As a bonus, don’t forget to track which products they’re interested in so that you can follow up with retargeting ads.
Other Social Media Superstars
1 – Doctor Who
This long-running BBC show attracts millions of viewers every week that follow the adventures of the Doctor and his companions. When it comes to social media, the Time Lord eclipses all other television brands through the integration of a Tumblr blog, Twitter feed, Instagram, and a strong online presence in which they interact with their fans.
It’s a match made in heaven – or perhaps near Gallifrey – and a winner in our book when it comes to promoting a brand via integrated social media.
2 – The Shelter Pet Project
The Shelter Pet Project uses Facebook to help place millions of homeless animals who are in danger of being destroyed simply for lack of a home. The project is a collaboration between the Humane Society of the United States and the Ad Council. Their goal? Bring the number of pets euthanized in animal shelters to zero. Nothing less than zero will do.
And they’re succeeding, one furry little face at a time, through a campaign called “Local Legends” that highlights animals at local shelters waiting for adoption. They partnered with Facebook’s Creative Shop to build a memorable campaign that generated strong awareness of the plight of shelter pets. The campaign incorporated two videos and sponsored Facebook ads based on Facebook suggestions for maximum impact.
3 – Porsche: The 911 Campaign
The Porsche 911 has had a strong hold on the hearts of many car enthusiasts for multiple generations, which is why Porsche’s mobile strategy was so genius. The company aimed to introduce the 911 to a new generation without ignoring the previous generations of loyal fans. They incorporated both traditional advertising and digital advertising by creating a the world’s first interactive hologram print ad.
“Porsche ran a special spread in about 50,000 copies of Fast Company’s April issue, which came with a prism you could assemble. The copies were sent to a select group of affluent subscribers, who would place the prisms on top of their tablet and watch a special video, creating the hologram effect. Whilst this was a highly targeted campaign, they also caused a huge marketing buzz around the brand.”
We love seeing mature companies dive into the digital marketing world with a fresh, new approach. And Porsche did not disappoint.
4 – Truth #Catmageddon
When was the last time you thought about smoking or its consequences? It’s probably been a while. That’s the challenge that Truth, the non-profit focused on raising awareness of the negative consequences of smoking, is constantly dealing with.
In an effort to attract attention to the issue, the company launched a campaign titled #Catmegeddon. According to a spokesperson at the company, the purpose was to connect smoking to something that their audience cares about: their pets.
According to American Pet Products Association (APPA), 68% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 85 million homes. Their objective was to make a cultural impact and change teens’ attitudes about smoking by using the fact that cats whose owners smoke are 2x as likely to get cancer.
Although their strategy included paid TV ads, it mainly focused on “cat-sourcing” original, digital content of famous cats to share awareness of their #catmageddon campaign. Throughout the course of the campaign there were 18 digital integrations on channels ranging from Vevo and Bustle to IGN and Pandora.
The campaign was the most successful campaign in Truth’s history in terms of cultural impact and changing teens’ attitudes towards smoking. It’s safe to say that a well-executed digital strategy that includes cat videos is bound to turn heads!
5 – Sharknado
Okay, so we admit it: we’re fans of the SyFy channel’s cheesy, laugh-at-the-bad-special-effects Sharknado series. We’re also fans of great Twitter use, and Sharknado deserves the best-in-show award for Twitter interaction with their audience.
The campaign’s goal was to make sure people were talking about the current installment in the series, and they achieved that goal big time. They created custom content that “sharkified” the event, sharing it throughout the Twitterverse. Influencers on Twitter and Vine were also part of the campaign to spread the excitement. A “Twitter War Room” deployed during the premier of the movie also hyped the excitement. Hashtags #Aprillives and #Aprildies let fans weigh in on the fate of the main character.
6 – Taco Bell
Taco Bell’s iconic brand already dominates social media, but now their mobile ordering program boosts brand recognition and helps hungry taco junkies nationwide get their fix, fast. They found that almost 70% of their customers wanted to create custom orders, but less than 50% did so because they didn’t want to hold up the line.
The new app enables fast, customized ordering right from your mobile device, and the company’s launch resulted in 300,000 app downloads in the first two days (and 2.5 to date) and a 4.5 star rating in the Apple App Store. That plus a 25% increase in sale is a sure sign of taco fever and a winning mobile campaign!
7 – Deadmau5
A list of social media rockstars wouldn’t be complete without at least one actual rockstar. There are tons of musicians that deserve to be included here but I don’t want to get repetitive. At the end of the day, it comes down to having an authentic, personal tone. Just like Elon Musk, who I discussed above.
An individual’s Twitter account shouldn’t look like a brand’s. It shouldn’t be directly promotional or informational. It should express the thoughts and feelings of the individual, and maybe weave some promotional material in the process.
Not to say you can’t promote yourself, just do it in a way that meshes with your personality organically, which in Deadmau5’s case is mostly about not taking anything too seriously and thinking he’s better than everyone else at the same time.
There are two things that make his profile stand out and build a strong relationship with fans. First is that he doesn’t shy from controversy. The Internet is full of headlines like this:
He often battles with fellow musicians like Skrillex and Kanye West as well as major brands like Ferrari. Not only do these get tons of attention on Twitter itself, but usually result in headlines across major music and lifestyle publications like Complex and DJMag.
The other thing that makes his profile stand out is his transparency into his creative process and life with fans. He often livestreams recording sessions and chats with fans as he’s making his music, which have received over 10 million views to date. In addition, he shares full projects on Soundcloud and studio shots on his Instagram.
8 – Worldwide Breast Cancer
Their goal was to show the different potential signs of breast cancer (not just lumps). In less than a month it reached 7.3 million people with just three Facebook posts!
And this year the charity updated it to state that thanks to shares and donations made through the post, over 200 million people were educated.
The campaign successfully combined an important, serious message with an appealing, light-hearted, easy-to-digest visual explanation.
9 – ALS Association (Ice Bucket Challenge)
This one is a bit old, but it deserves a mention here both for the impact it brought to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder) and the marketing brilliance behind it. How many marketing campaigns get their own Wikipedia page?
In the summer of 2014 the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge asked people to do one of two things:
- Dump a bucket of freezing water on their head.
- Donate to the ALS Association to help fight the crippling disease.
If you accepted the ice water challenge, you were then supposed to challenge multiple friends (and tag them on social media) to do the same. The idea was simple — get a referral or a donation.
Many people were inspired to do both, including celebrities and large institutions who donated generously and, in turn, nominated other celebrities — like Bill Gates, who
The campaign raised $115 million and brought ALS awareness into the national spotlight. Since then, they’ve attempted to re-introduce it as an annual challenge. It hasn’t been as successful as that first summer, but even so, every year people participate and donate.
This is an example of viral marketing at its best. Getting friends to apply social pressure on one another to create user-generated content and send in their money at the same time.
10 – Visit Faroe Islands (Google Sheep View)
In 2016 the Faroe Islands, a self-governing archipelago that is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, was starting to feel left out of an increasingly connected and digital world. As Google Street View was mapping out the entire world, the Faroe Islands were completely blank despite being home to nearly 50,000 people.
They saw this as a problem not only for their pride but also for international tourism. Their islands are beautiful, but few people could see that. Why take a chance going to some distant island that may not be that breathtaking when you can go with much safer options that are shared digitally?
So they launched Google Sheep View, a tongue-and-cheek offer to help Google map their island by strapping cameras to the back of sheep and collecting images to fill in the gaps.
Eventually, Google took notice and came to the islands with official equipment to do the job properly. Since the campaign is so new, the results aren’t in on how tourism has been affected yet. But this definitely earned a spot for a small team using social video to get international attention.
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