The best marketers let us in on their secrets...
Anyone who’s ever tried to generate leads through social media campaigns knows how tough it can be. There are so many factors to take into consideration.
The launch, the platform, content, SEO, social media marketing tools, your budget. The list goes on…
Even if you get all this right, your social media campaign could still fall flat on its face.
Ultimately, you must know exactly what your goals are and create the most effective strategy to accomplish them.
20 social media campaigns that you can learn from
In this guide, we take a look at 20 social media campaigns whose creators knew exactly what they were doing. They had a clear target and they put the right framework in place to hit that target.
The masterminds behind these social media campaigns have shared with us what made them so successful and the lessons they learned from them.
So let’s get down to it! Here is our list of 20 incredibly successful social media campaigns.
Growth Ledge’s campaign for the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California
Growth Ledge launched a very successful social media campaign for their client, the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California. EFNC is dedicated to providing information, resources, and support to the over 180,000 Northern Californians living with epilepsy.
A Facebook campaign was created to raise awareness around Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy. Sadly, it was developed as a response to the news that a popular Disney star had passed away from SUDEP, which left many parents and children needing answers.
Running such a serious campaign on social is always a risk. It can look like you’re trying to use a tragic news story just to gain likes. And you have to be careful not to be part of the misinformation bandwagon that usually accompanies an event like this.
Growth Ledge’s Joanne Hernon says, “What we learned was that it’s important to address your audience’s concerns, even if it’s not pleasant. Facebook is such a friendly place with families sharing happy images. We didn’t want to upset anyone by inserting posts about death into their feed.
But it was an important topic and giving people a place to speak out turned out to be the right thing to do. It opened up a dialogue and made it clear to the community that the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California was available for guidance and support. It was a social media channel they could trust and that’s vitally important for all businesses, not just non-profits.”
Social Media: instagram.com/growthledge_marketing
Brandesso’s ‘Coffee Babble’ campaign
San Diego brand marketing agency Brandesso’s most successful social media campaign was a result of utilising video as a way to gain media influence and awareness. The distribution opportunities for video these days are endless and are a great way to build brand authority almost immediately.
“We launched a video series last year called ‘Coffee Babble’ that is both a content distribution channel for our brand, promotes our business, as well as other influential brands in the industry,” says Brandesso’s Ashley Graham. “In this series, we highlight and talk enthusiastically (and maybe a little excessively) about local brands and entrepreneurs who have a special message to share with our audience.”
Utilising video across outlets such as your website and social media channels has become a vital piece of the marketing mix. If brands or businesses are not incorporating video into their marketing strategies, they are missing out on a large opportunity to connect and engage with their target audiences.
The most valuable take-away Brandesso got from moving into video PR was finding a creative way to portray the messages that both they and their guests focus on in each video. Each video is curated with the intention to bring value, authenticity, and authority to the screen.
With the many forms of ‘noise’ that are published on social media each day, the valuable lesson in launching these campaigns is muting the noise to remain engaged and focused on the value-driver of the content.
Social Media: instagram.com/yourbrandista
Adventure Digital’s campaign for a high-street cosmetics brand
“One of our clients is a high street cosmetic brand, selling their products both online and in retail,” says Adventure Digital’s Jon Wright. “They wanted to boost their D2C online sales, where margins are better and they make more profit. So we’ve been helping them with their social media advertising.”
The campaign has quickly increased the brand’s sales tenfold, while simultaneously reducing their CPA. Adventure Digital were delighted with the effectiveness of the targeting strategy and the creative process, but found the biggest impact came from the ‘ad after-care’. “We put a lot of effort into engaging in all conversation, adding humour where appropriate and acting like real people,” says Jon.
As a result, there were hundreds of people a day tagging their friends in the ad and encouraging them to read through the comments. Boosting the reach beyond their expectations.
The key take-away from this campaign is that engagement is the king of conversion. Join in the conversation, be fun and personable. And you can boost reach much further by giving your brand a voice and brand that customers feel like they know. Don’t be afraid to show there’s real people behind the brand…and a well chosen GIF can be worth 1000 words.
Social Media: instagram.com/adventure.digital
Improve and Grow’s campaign for an outdoor activity tour company
Internet marketing agency Improve and Grow are currently running an ad campaign on Facebook Ads for a local outdoor activity tour company.
It is a three-step campaign that starts with an awareness video ad targeting a lookalike audience, followed by a retargeting ad that is promoting specific experiences and driving them to the landing page.
Finally, a dynamic product ad retargets users that visited the website with ads promoting offers on specific tours or activities that they viewed on the website.
The campaign highlights the importance of warming up an audience and using retargeting to re-engage and improve conversions. Improve and Grow’s Carl Lefever says, “Our conversion rate on the third step of the campaign is over 10% and the combined cost per lead of the whole campaign is under $10, whereas past campaigns had a conversion rate of 1% and a cost per lead of over $20.”
Digimark Australia’s ebook campaign
The most successful social media campaign Digimark Australia ever constructed and implemented was based around an eBook they wrote.
Digimark’s Steven Jaenke says, “I think the eBook idea has been over-utilised and people are becoming fatigued with that type of marketing, but with this specific eBook, it filled a gap in the market where people were not being provided with enough information to make informed decisions.”
The campaign led to an increase in signups by 200% and a 50% increase in sales for that quarter. They will see a steady increase in sales by 15% per quarter from this eBook alone.
The most important lesson Digimark Australia learned from this campaign was to always analyse the market and look for gaps. It is easy to get caught up with what is trending, but marketing is about presenting a solution to a problem.
By providing people with the opportunity to solve their own problems, trust is built. With trust, you can then solve bigger problems for them and bigger problems are usually more valuable.
Simple Strat’s campaign for an aviation products company
Simple Strat‘s most successful social media campaign was a top of funnel content campaign for a client who had an aviation products company. They were new to social media and needed a quick way to build credibility, engagement, and reach (starting from zero).
A content calendar was created around airshows and human interest stories about pilots. As a result, the company had thousands of shares, likes, and comments on their content and a steady stream of email subscribers.
Simple Strat’s Ali Schwanke says, “The most valuable lesson we learned was to focus on creating content that is shareable – which you should be able to determine if you study the content being shared by competitors, similar audiences, groups, and influencers.
By creating high engagement content, we could then build retargeting audiences for middle and bottom of the funnel offers.”
Social Media: instagram.com/simplestrat
Social Ink’s Raise the Bar campaign for City to Sea
Social Ink launched their Raise the Bar campaign to promote the use of plastic-free alternatives to travel miniatures like shampoo and shower gel bottles, plastic water bottles and sunscreen (full of micro plastics).
It was an effective awareness campaign that highlighted the impact of plastic pollution generated by tourists. Social Ink created a series of posters and animated GIFs as part of the extended campaign.
Engagement was key to this social media marketing strategy. Social Ink showed that if you want to engage people on social media, you should challenge them with thought-provoking content. If you can get people to stop browsing and think deeply about the subject you’ve presented them, that’s half the battle.
The hashtag #PlasticFreeTravel was used to help kick start the conversation around plastic-free alternatives and to spread awareness about the issue.
Social Media: twitter.com/socialink_co
Social Hospitality’s Mother’s Day campaign for a hotel client
Social Hospitality worked with a hotel client that wanted to draw attention to a British-themed Mother’s Day brunch they were hosting. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, email blasts, press releases, and local bloggers were all used to help drive traffic to the hotel’s Facebook page, where users would like the page and explain why their Mom deserved to be ‘Queen for a Day’.
The winner received a weekend getaway for Mother’s Day with a spa treatment and brunch for their immediate family. As a result of the campaign, guests spent 21% more time on the hotel website’s dining pages and the restaurant doubled its revenue that month.
The website also saw a 242% increase in traffic, a 265% increase in unique page views, and a 170% increase in Facebook referrals compared to the previous year.
Reflecting on what made this marketing plan so successful, Social Hospitality’s Debbie Miller said, “The most important lesson from this campaign was the value of bridging the gap between online and offline.
We learned ways social media could help drive both online ROI, as well as drive business to the venue itself. We were able to garner a ton of exposure for a specific event through intertwined digital efforts focused on social media.”
Social Media: linkedin.com/in/debbiemiller53
Civic Web Media’s campaign for a travel client
Civic Web Media ran a superb campaign for a travel client, which saw traffic increases of over 200% in some areas of their site.
They put a lot of that success down to content that’s produced in-house. “Having your own content is invaluable,” says Civic Web Media’s Oliver Gaywood. “I see plenty of accounts that share memes or infographics or news stories, but nothing of their own.
Sharing that stuff is fine, but by writing your own blogs or making your own videos, you get a much higher engagement rate, you get more people coming to your site and it’s much easier to create a posting schedule.”
Brands that use their own content also look more credible. It’s much easier to appear authoritative in your field if you have created an informative article or a helpful blog post that you have written yourself.
Content that you have produced is usually hosted on your website or can be easily tied back to it, giving you a greater chance of driving traffic from social media. If you are merely sharing somebody else’s content, the traffic will go to them instead.
Social Media: facebook.com/civicwebmedia
Window to Recovery’s campaign to promote an addiction treatment center
According to Window to Recovery, the best social media strategies drive brand awareness and demand generation at the top of the funnel.The most successful campaign they have run was for an addiction treatment center specifically targeting mothers. They were able to leverage lookalike audiences that were extremely well targeted for mothers of drug addicts.
The budget was under $3,000, and generated over $60,000 in revenue for the client. It also increased branded searches on Google by over 50% while the campaign was running.
Conversions could be attributed to the campaign 90 days down the road, because this was regularly their first touch point. Once they landed on the landing page and didn’t convert, they followed up with highly-targeted remarketing campaigns.
Preston Powell of Window to Recovery said, “We learned a lot about the importance of laser targeted audiences and highly targeted messaging specific to small audiences.”
Window to Recovery is a digital marketing agency that specifically covers the niche of treatment centres and rehabs. And their expertise in this niche proved to be instrumental in the success of their campaign.
Social Media: linkedin.com/company/window-to-recovery
Evinex’s Facebook campaign for an international cycling brand
Evinex implemented a Facebook campaign for an international cycling brand that used a small comic strip which was targeted to appeal to cyclists’ emotions.
With eight frames, the audience moved from fear and sadness to love and happiness in a story that most cyclists could relate to. The results of the campaign were excellent.
With well-defined targeting, the campaign achieved a $0.04 cost per engagement. For every $1,000 of ad budget, the brand could reach 200,000 impressions, 25,000 engagements and an excellent ROI.
Sharing his insight on this marketing plan, Evinex’s CEO Carlos Trillo says, “The most valuable lesson we learned from this campaign is that your results are proportional to how well you can connect with your audience’s emotions.
Being able to turn on something inside your targets and have them relate to your campaign is the difference between achieving a great ROI or not having one. To create a successful social media campaign, the most important thing is to put your audience first.”
Social Media: twitter.com/carlosts84
Mike Watson’s SEO tips campaign
Whether businesses initially want to go it alone or are looking for a partner to hire, providing an opportunity for increased understanding in a topic area that can be highly technical (and for many, totally alien) goes a long way to building a level of trust.
Marketer Mike Watson was acutely aware of this when he wrote his blog post on ‘Pen-To-Paper’ SEO tips. He knew that sharing posts which provided valuable knowledge and were free of jargon was a recipe for success on social media.
The campaign was successful as it focused on the foundational elements of good content writing, whether that be for a blog post or webpage content.
Mike says, “I took the intimidation factor out of just getting started and giving it a go by making it accessible without technical knowledge. The user did not need to learn new skills to be successful, they simply needed to focus on their writing style and hit each checkmark.”
By making the post an infographic, Mike was forced to be efficient with the tips and information included, and so each bite-sized pointer was easy to digest and put into practice. It also made for an attractive printout to keep handy at a home-office for DIYers and total beginners that it was targeted to.
The infographic was then used for social media campaign posts, as the feature of a blog article, as well as a handout to small business clients who wanted to start a conversation on driving traffic to their own site.
Social Media: instagram.com/mikewatsonweb
MXT Media’s blog traffic increase
MXT Media drove thousands of new users to a blog, and subsequently retargeted that audience, through a very inventive social media campaign.
They blogged about 10+ Facebook groups, and then partnering with their admins, they promoted the content within the groups, which numbered around 5k-75k members each.
Social media campaigns like this are proof of the benefits of thinking outside the box, if proof was needed. Tried and tested marketing strategies are popular for a reason, but it’s often the most creative methods that yield the best results.
MXT Media CEO TJ Kelly believes that this campaign proves that “promotion is just as important – maybe MORE important – than the research/publishing phase.”
They know that if you get the right content in front of the right audience, a spike in blog traffic is inevitable.
Social Media: linkedin.com/in/tjkelly
Red C – “Are charities doing enough to increase supporter engagement?”
Mobile app developers Red C launched a social media campaign that asked – “Are charities doing enough to increase supporter engagement?” The campaign was centred around videos which showed how charities could use an app to boost their engagement with supporters.
Red C highlighted some of the charities it had already helped, including the UN refugee agency, Barnardos and Save the Children, to add authority to their campaign.
A landing page, ‘5 tips on How to Increase Supporter Engagement’, was attached to the video that allowed viewers to jump directly to Red C’s website. Relevant hashtags were also used to promote the campaign.
Short video content performs far better than social media posts that just consist of text. Studies have shown that you are far more likely to engage with your audience through video.
The success of the campaign highlights the importance of video in social media campaigns. And it’s going to continue to be vital to their success for a very long time. Creating short videos with animated text helps you to speak to your audience quickly and effectively.
Social Media: twitter.com/RedCLondon
Loud Digital’s campaign for a baby clothes brand
Marketing agency Loud Digital had a successful social media campaign that involved running prospecting ads for a baby clothes brand on Facebook. The brand had only just launched and the campaign turned into their main source of revenue within a week. It allowed them to scale and hired 10 internal staff.
Loud Digital’s founder Dan Young said the key to the campaign’s success was his determination to stick to the mantra, “Test, test, test! Don’t assume.” Ideally you should be testing 4 different versions of every ad you put out, using different images and text.
Dan also says that businesses should regularly be checking the relevancy and frequency scores of their Facebook Ads, “Most people ignore these completely, but a highly relevant ad (using defined audiences) will result in much cheaper clicks! You can ‘cheese’ the Frequency scores by just changing ad images too, this will counter ad fatigue.”
Social Media: twitter.com/louddigitalUK
Media Services Hawaii’s campaign for a destination wedding client
Media Services Hawaii were working with a destination wedding client in Hawaii in an attempt to increase their leads and bookings in that particular month. The client agreed to do a destination wedding giveaway, and since they had a reserved booth at an upcoming wedding expo, they did a giveaway entry for each lead that checked-in at their booth.
The campaign generated over 60 leads, who were sent a follow-up text and email, and from these leads, a wedding couple were chosen to win the Hawaiian wedding giveaway.
Great graphics that matched the clients elegant brand were an essential part of the campaign. Most importantly, Media Services Hawaii set up a proper marketing funnel from start to finish that worked effectively.
The funnel consisted of a landing page that included an easy-to-use, mobile friendly form with questions to qualify the lead and the automated follow-up email + SMS text which was sent to the lead after they submitted the form.
Social Media: instagram.com/mediaserviceshawaii
Main Street Graphics’ marketing for a race kart business
Race karting is meant to be a fun experience, so Main Street Graphics didn’t want to take an overly sales-oriented approach to the campaign. Phillis of Main Street Graphics says that when you launch a social media campaign, you have to “be authentic, engaging, and forget the sales pitch.”
The race kart company praised Main Street Graphics’ ability to continually think outside the box when coming up with content for their social media page. They helped to further the development of the brand’s identity and make it more appealing to new customers.
Building a consistent brand identity builds trust and makes your brand infinitely more recognisable.
Social Media: instagram.com/mainstreetgraphics
Allison’s Alligator – article writing for clients
The best social media campaigns involve well-researched articles that are specifically written for the needs of clients, according to marketing agency Allison’s Alligator.
When promoting articles, they boost them for about $1 a day for 30 days, and this has proved to be a successful method. For example, a blog post they promoted ‘The Most Common Psychological or Emotional Problems People Suffer From Nowadays’ is now a 1st page Google ranking piece alongside WebMD.
Nathan Johnson of Allison’s Alligator says, “It’s important to take time to research the market before simply blasting content.”
If you share lots of content that’s too promotional or that doesn’t interest your social media target audience, they’ll be quick to unfollow your page. Figure out what your audience is interested in and create content that fits that profile.
Also, it’s crucial to know exactly where in the funnel your content will fit into. You should always be creating brand awareness with top of the funnel content, but different material can be used to nurture leads through the customer journey at various stages of the funnel.
Social Media: facebook.com/allisonsalligator
SoCal Digital Marketing’s campaign for a worker’s compensation law firm
SoCal Digital Marketing ran a highly successful social media ad campaign for a worker’s compensation law firm.
Asked why he felt his agency’s campaign worked so well, Andrew Guida said that, “the message contained within the ad will drive more engagement if there is an offer. This particular campaign was extremely successful because the message demonstrated how the target audience could be owed monetary compensation.”
If you can clearly show an attractive value proposition like this one, then you will be far more likely to convert leads in your social media campaigns. Offers that provide real value will typically interest a lot of people, and if you present them in the right way, they can be made to look even more appealing.
If you have a good idea of who your audience is, you can tailor your offer to suit their specific needs.
Social Media: facebook.com/SoCalDigitalMarketing
Mad Cat Marketing’s promotion of a charity bike ride
A Facebook advertising campaign Mad Cat Marketing ran for a charity bike ride event saw a phenomenal 700% ROI.
Such a strong ROI was put down to the precise structuring of their ad flow. Mad Cat Marketing knew exactly when to promote the charity bike ride and who to market it to.
Since the bike ride was for charity, the marketing around it would have had to be conducted in an appropriate manner. Highlighting the good cause that the bike ride is benefiting and emphasising the help any contributions will make is paramount in these scenarios.
If your tone feels promotional or impersonal in charity marketing, you will instantly turn off your target audience. Fortunately, Mad Cat Marketing’s extensive experience in social media marketing meant that they aware of exactly how they should approach this campaign.
Social Media: facebook.com/MadCatMarketing
Now it’s your turn...
Hats off to these 20 marketers, the success of their social media campaigns was the result of a lot of hard work, ingenuity and tact.
They were extremely well-refined strategies that paid dividends for the brands that employed them, and you can use them successfully in your own marketing too.
Look for the social media campaigns that are most relevant to your niche and start putting some of the methods you’ve learned into practice.
Michael Cole is a professional content writer. He has completed a BA in English and History and an MA in Journalism. Michael has extensive experience writing for both print and web and can turn his hand to any subject. His favourite one is free graphic design software. Especially he likes Background Remover by Design Wizard.