by Natalie Morgan, Marketing Specialist – ASPE, Inc.
Brief case studies of successful social media marketing and what they did right.
Social media marketing may be the most common source of skepticism when it comes to marketing strategy. Many professionals believe social media is an ineffective marketing tool for businesses. Before making your own conclusion, let’s look at some facts.
According the “2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report” 83% of marketers found social media to be important for their business. Furthermore, a lot of time seems to be spent working with social media with 60% of marketers spending 6 or more hours a week on it. With this amount of time put in, it’s reasonable to expect it to yield significant results – or at least want it to. In this particular report, Marketers whose company had 3 or more years of social media experience claimed that it does. A large majority of these companies attributed an increase in exposure, business partnerships (mostly B2B companies), lead generation, traffic, search ranking, marketplace insight, loyal customers, and a decrease in expenses when using strong social media marketing.
So what’s the skepticism about? My personal standpoint is that there is no question that social media marketing has the ability to be an incredibly effective marketing tool for business. The real question that a company needs to consider is whether they can afford or have the time to do what it takes to implement successful social media.
Below are some individual case studies of companies who took the time to take their social media marketing to the next level and had extremely successful results:
- “Dumb Ways to Die”– In 2012, a public transport authority company in Melbourne, Australia created a Youtube video to spread awareness about railway safety. The company provided viewers with a catchy and humorous song featuring lovable animated graphics to subtly convey a much more serious matter that would otherwise be considered boring and even completely overlooked. The majority of the video has very little to do with their actual cause until the end. However with close to 48,000,000 views to date, they have been wildly successful in creating awareness of the issue.
- Heinz – Heinz used a more creative approach to build awareness of their new product launch of Heinz FIVE Beanz. The company used Facebook to create a quiz app that told people what kind of bean they had grown up to become based on their answers to a series of personality questions. Heinz provided further incentive by providing a goodie bag to every user who invited 10 people to take the quiz and selecting five winners every hour to receive a personalized bean. The campaign reached 10.8 million people on Facebook and grew the Heinz Facebook community by 30,000 people. You can read more about this particular campaign at this “we are social” blog post.
- Ben & Jerry’s – Ben & Jerry’s used Twitter to create awareness and advocate Fair Trade, a concept and certification mark that the company desires its brand to be recognized for. Ben & Jerry’s created a simple microsite that allowed unused characters in a tweet to be put to good use by filling them in with promotional messages for World Fair Trade Day. The idea was unique and provided Twitter users with the satisfaction that their tweets supported a good cause.
- Frank Hannigan- Irish Businessman Frank Hannigan proved LinkedIn doubters wrong when he successfully raised around $212,000 to invest in his new startup software business Goshido entirely through LinkedIn. Even more impressive? It took Hannigan a total of only 8 days. Hannigan contacted potential investors through LinkedIn messages who were entirely people from his own network. He asked each of these investors to spread the word about his initiative. In the end, 30% of the money he raised came from investors who did not have a direct connection with him.
- AMC Theatres – AMC Theatres used Pinterest to promote their contests and free giveaways. The company used one board for all of these pins so movie lovers could just follow a single board to see all of the theatre’s offers. Each pin takes users to the contest landing page where the user is asked to repin the pin and fill out a form on their site to enter the contest.
- NASA – Google+ is another social media tool that is highly underestimated and overlooked by businesses. No one has displayed the abilities of Google+ better than NASA. The page receives constant attention, with 5 to 15 updates each day with the latest news, pictures, and videos. The site is engaging and interactive to viewers. Some of their best performing content includes an invitation to send holiday greetings to the International Space Station Crew and constant updates on the latest discoveries from the NASA Mars Rover and the Voyager’s discoveries at the edge of the solar system.
Clearly businesses have had success with social media. This is not to say that every company will achieve such remarkable results as the ones listed above, but the social media of all these companies reveal some truths when it comes to social media strategy. To have a truly successful campaign, social media marketing must be taken to the next level. In other words, the occasional tweet or Facebook page update will rarely prove to yield significant results.
Listed below are some important characteristics businesses with successful social media display:
- Strong Content –This can not be stressed enough.Content by far the most important step in having successful social media marketing but it is the aspect most companies have difficulty with. Although quantity is an important consideration, quality is always greater than quantity. Good content is well written, educational or amusing, and interesting. It has purpose and everything said helps to reach the end goal. Good content is not repetitive, irrelevant, boring, or a constant series of sales pitches. Need good content? The best place to start is by educating yourself and staying updated on your industry’s topics. Frequently reading a variety of blogs is a great way to stay updated and get content ideas for your social media.
- Contains a Clear Call to Action – What is it you want to achieve in the social media campaign and do viewers have a strong sense of what they should do when they see your social media?
- Consistent and Active –No one wants to engage with a company who might drop off the face of the earth at any given moment. Businesses should provide customers with new material as much as possible to maintain awareness and create a strong and steady presence. However, it is critical that this is also balanced with strong content.
- Interactive – Social media won’t work well if it’s not “social”. Keeping strong communication and involvement between your business and your customers is critical in maintaining a strong social media reputation. In the above case with NASA, allowing people to send holiday cards to the space station crew created direct positive communication between NASA and the audience. Continuously being responsive and helpful towards people within your social networks will increase enthusiasm. Combining several different types of social media and intertwining your communication through them will also increase shares and awareness.
- Innovative and Creative – One area that all of the above companies excelled in was creativity. Most people are not going to consider your interacting with a company’s social presence unless its their approach is new, interesting, or catches the eye. This can often be done by having consistent strong content, however, don’t be afraid to take risks with your social media and try something completely new and out of the ordinary. The very best and most successful social media campaigns are one of a kind.
- Tracking – Many businesses are not tracking their social media. Without tracking, a business can not adequately determine if their social media marketing is working and has very little insight into what they can do to improve it. Before even starting a campaign, your business should determine the best measurement tools to use, determine what they are going to measure, and set specific goals.
Everything boils down to this: social media works, but it’s not easy. To be successful, it will involve a time commitment. Developing strong content is not always an easy thing to come by, and having strong content is only the beginning. On the other hand, companies who are up for the challenge can reap exciting and often revolutionary rewards.
If you would like to enhance your social media skills and be successful at social media in your business,check out our Social Media Boot Camp. Learn to successfully manage social media marketing and get an in-depth look at how to effectively use, manage, and optimize your social media with all the major social media networks.