Social Media Marketing Examples to Inspire Your Social Media Strategy
Did you know that Pepsi can never seem to beat Coca-Cola in the Cola Wars?
If we judge Pepsi on taste alone it often leaves victorious. However, when it comes to market share, Coca-Cola owns 17.8% to Pepsi’s 8.4%. Why, may you ask?
Why does the superior product lose?
There's no easy answer to that. Many have written books and case studies about Coca-Cola and its marketing endeavors. One of the easiest ways to identify its success leads back to how they stay fresh in your mind at just the right time. This is top-of-mind marketing, omnipresence, or what we know as omnichannel marketing. The fact of the matter is that Coca-Cola has mastered the art of getting in front of its customers frequently utilizing unique, out-of-the-box ideas and compelling messages. The thing that sets them apart from most companies is that they’ve been doing this for nearly 150 years.
This ad from 1889 sums up Coca-Cola’s approach well. Through billboards, magazines, newspapers, and endorsements, Coca-Cola got its message in front of lots of people. This continued as they owned the airwaves, television screens, and today, your cell phone.
Yet how often does Coca-Cola sell through these ads?
Oftentimes they simply promote their brand so it remains in your mind.
Then, when you’re at a restaurant or store, you say “I’ll have a Coke, please,” before you realize you said it. This simple matter is why Coca-Cola has had the success they have had over the years. They spend billions doing this, making billions in return.
So, what does this have to do with you?
YOU…well, you don’t have the budget that Coca-Cola does.
True. Yet today it’s possible to replicate what they do even if you have no budget or audience to speak of.
How Social Media Marketing Can Help You Become the Coca-Cola of Your Niche
No matter your type of business, your aim is the same: to reach more people with what you offer.
For many years, this was complicated and very expensive to achieve.
You had to purchase newspaper ads and TV slots.
You had to get on the radio and run impressive PR campaigns.
If you wanted to reach more people, you needed a big budget.
This is no longer the case. In just ten years, the internet gathered one billion users.
And then, in just nine short years, Facebook improved on this by getting to two billion users!
A quarter of the world’s population is part of a single platform.
And Facebook is just one platform of many…
In 2019, reports suggested that there are $3.5 billion Daily and Active social media users (that’s 45% of the human species!). It’s also reported that 90% of millennials use social media, and possibly more surprisingly…nearly 50% of Baby Boomers.
And on average, people like you and me spend 3 hours on social media every day!
The potential reach social media offers is unlike any other. It isn’t to say it’s easy to achieve or that you’re guaranteed success. However, social media marketing opens up a seat at the table that used to only allow a few very large players at any one time.
You may be wondering... What’s the Fuss About Social Media Marketing?
You’ve heard all this before, I’m sure. You no doubt already use social media, are part of several platforms, and have maybe built a few social media campaigns over the years.
You know social media is important and can be powerful.Yet you also know it’s “noisy” and difficult to stand out.That’s why we’ve written this article. To not only better define what social media marketing is and HOW you can build effective campaigns, but to also introduce you to some of the best social media marketing examples around.
The reality is that social media is highly saturated and it becomes difficult to stand out. If you can't stand out for the right reason social media quickly wastes your time, money, and resources. This results in most people having a love-hate relationship with social media.
They know it can be a very useful tool. Yet, they also have learned how wasteful and pointless it can be. Yet it presents an opportunity that no other generation has had access to. Used properly, you can create the same top-of-mind awareness that Coca-Cola has used to build its empire. You too can stand out in your industry or niche and become the “go-to” authority.
Through social media marketing, you can do it quickly and efficiently, without a large budget.
By reading this guide, you’ll know what to do, when and how. Before we get started, let’s first define what social media marketing is. I like this one from Neil Patel: “Social media marketing is the process of creating content that you have tailored to the context of each individual social media platform in order to drive user engagement and sharing.”It isn’t about creating one message and hoping it does well on all platforms. It isn’t about reaching the most people you can. Reach alone is not enough to create top-of-mind awareness. For this to happen in today’s noisy and competitive world you need to generate engagement. As you go through the social media marketing examples we share in this guide, you’ll notice how engagement comes up again and again. In fact, it’s in the title itself…SOCIAL media. Remember, Coca-Cola didn’t achieve success by forcing one sales ad after another onto people. They continuously thought outside of the box and came up with new, unique messages to engage their customers. Not so it would result in a sale right now, but rather so it would when the time is right.The same applies here to you and your course (or whatever else it is that you offer). By using social media marketing in this way you increase your chances of standing out for the right reasons. Let’s dive into the process so you know what it looks like to create effective social media campaigns.
How to Create Effective Social Media Campaigns
Before we inspire you with some of the best social media marketing examples I've come across in recent years, it’s important to first show you how to build social media campaigns of your own.
The specifics vary from platform to platform and depending on you, your industry and your audience, what works for one business won’t work for another. Yet the overall process is the same, which is what we’ll walk you through now.
Relate what you learn to you, your industry, and your audience. Don’t move on to the social media marketing examples until you understand this process. This process begins before everything else. Make sure to take time to fully understand it.
STEP 1: Research Your Competitors
The first step to building your own social media campaigns is to research what other people in your industry are doing.
A social media competitive analysis like this helps you:
Identify who your competitors are on social media
Understand the platforms they’re on
Know how they’re using these platforms.
Gain a greater understanding of which social media campaigns are working
Measure your own social results against your competition
Find and fill any gaps in your own social media campaigns
To begin with, you need to create a list of who your main competitors are. You may already know some of these, but you’ll likely be unaware of many. So, create a new spreadsheet and start building your competitor list. Beginning there, research the most relevant keywords to you and your industry and see who’s ranking high for them. For example, let’s say you have an online course based around ‘vegan baking’.Using Google’s Keyword Planner, find other keywords that relate to this.
It’s then a case of “Googling” the most relevant keywords and seeing which blogs, video channels, podcasts, and companies rank high.
Once you have a list of your core competitors you can research their social media campaigns and performance using tools like Sprout Social, SEMRush, MozBar and Buzzsumo.
For each main competitor make a note of:
The social media platforms they’re on…
How large their following is (and how fast it’s growing)…
Who their top followers are…How often they post…
What their engagement rate is like…
What hashtags they use the most…
How many hashtags they use…Your goal here is to learn more about what your competitors are doing. As you do, you’ll come up with new ideas of your own, spot patterns, and have all you need to create your own social media marketing strategy.
STEP 2: Create Your Strategy
The most important thing to remember when creating your social media marketing strategy is that it can (and will) develop over time. It doesn’t have to be perfect from day one. It’s better to start, track, and measure something rather than spend months coming up with a sophisticated plan.In short…get started!!
The key elements of your strategy to consider are:
The social media platforms you will use.
The type of content you will createYour social media marketing goalsWho your customer profile is!!That last one is an important one.
Your entire social media strategy needs to speak to someone. If you don’t have a clear Customer Avatar, now’s the time to create one. The social media plain is a large one, as we’ve already discussed. You could reach millions of people. Keep in mind, the most important part of all is to create engagement.
This only happens if you create specific content for specific people.
So, get clear on who these people are (for a complete guide on how to create your customer profile.
Getting clear on who your customer profile is makes choosing the platforms you’ll go on easier (as well as honing in on the type of content you need to create).
Which platforms are your main avatar already on?
What content do they engage with the most (video, podcasts, articles…)?
Which hashtags do they use (if any)?
How do they consume content (laptop, phone, at home, in the office…)?
To begin with, it’s better to focus your social media strategy around two to three platforms.
Master these. Have a huge impact on them. In time, you can grow your strategy so it covers more platforms and reaches more people.
Yet in the beginning, it’s vital you build momentum.
Finally…you need to set some clear, attainable, and challenging goals to drive your strategy forward. Without setting goals like these, you’ll never know how far you’ve come.
It’s hard to know what works, what doesn’t, and where your energy should go.
Each social media marketing strategy differs from the next. So long as it’s directed at someone, focuses on a few specific platforms fueled by relevant content and centers around tangible and challenging goals, your strategy will beat most of your competition.
The bar is set low in this regard.
Most people and businesses skip these first two steps of the process and jump straight into the next one. It’s a huge mistake that you will know not make…
STEP 3: Build ONE Core Message
This is the part of the process that excites most people.
It involves creating the content, writing the posts, recording the videos, and jumping on the mic. Creating content for the sake of it no longer works in this content-driven world. You need to have something that people want to consume, that stands out from the rest.
And while doing all this you need to balance it with your own time and energy. After all, you have more to do than to create social media content all day…right?Of course you do, which is why this approach to content creation often makes the most sense.
Popularized by Gary Vaynerchuk, it involves creating one piece of core content and then repurposing this into lots of other pieces. For example, let’s say a YouTube Channel forms part of your social media marketing strategy.Each week, you publish one high-quality, in-depth video (be it an interview, tutorial, or whatever else).You can then take this one piece of content and repurpose it into:2 to 3 short video trailers (perfect for Facebook and Instagram)Memes or visual quotes (ideal for Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter)An audio-only podcast episode (so you can launch a podcast as well as a video channel)A high-quality blog post that focuses on one core takeaway from the video2 to 3 short written posts that discuss key points from the video (perfect for Facebook and LinkedIn)With this approach, you have an entire week’s worth of social media content even though YOU only create one video. Your team takes care of the rest, or at the very least, remove a lot of the burden from your shoulders.It’s the simplest way to create consistent, high-quality content for your social media campaigns. This way you can plan your content weeks or even months in advance. You can record an entire month’s worth of videos in one morning.Providing your audience with relevant and high-quality content that feels fresh and new fuels your social media campaigns now and in the future. Best of all…this approach also helps you achieve the next step in this process, which may be the most important one of all.
STEP 4: Craft a Consistent Content Creation and Publishing Schedule
There’s no right or wrong approach to how much content you publish each day/week. Different platforms cater to different frequencies. For instance, you may need to “tweet” more on Twitter because each message is short. Whereas if you publish ten or more long-form written posts on Facebook, it’s sure to overwhelm your audience. Instead of thinking about how much content you should publish each day, what’s more important is to think about how consistent you are.
When it comes to successful social media campaigns, consistency is key.
In step 3, you create a constant stream of content you can use. In this step, you need to focus on where and when you will publish this content. Again, there’s no cut and dry method to this. A lot of it comes down to you and your audience.
You may have to experiment with different schedules to see what works best. However, throughout it all, consistency remains key!
Show up, frequently.
Provide value, always.
Remember to find the right balance between promotional material and value-driven content.
Although you want to provide your audience with value, you also have certain goals to achieve.
You want to sell more courses, grow your email list, and sell products and/or services.
Building trust through social media helps you leverage this.
So you need to promote what you offer from time to time.
Yet not so much that you “sell” more than you serve.
It can be a tricky balance to get right, which is why using a social media scheduling tool like CoSchedule, Buffer, or Hootsuite helps. Not only do they allow you to schedule your posts ahead of time, they visually show you what type of content you’re publishing and optimal times to post.
Without using a tool like this you may place too many promotional messages too close together.
You may publish too many posts on one platform and not enough on another.
The risk of replicating certain content or forgetting about others altogether. Consistency is key. When you first start your social media campaigns you’ll have the necessary energy to pull through. As the weeks go by it’s easy to lose sight of your plan. All the momentum you build can be lost overnight. It's why I recommend creating a publishing schedule, be consistent and use relevant tools to make your life easier. Work smarter. Not harder.
STEP 5: Track Your Results
Now is the time to revisit the goals you set in step two of this process. If you want to achieve them, you need to measure your results over time.
To do this, you must track certain data each day, week, or month.
What you track and how depends on the goals you set. They may focus on follower growth, comments, shares, or other forms of engagement.
You may also want to track email subscribers, visits to your sales page, or website traffic as a whole.It’s hard to say what you should track.Yet it’s important to state that you should!
So for each goal you set, make sure you create 2-3 KPIs (key performance indicators) that you can track on a regular basis.
Keep it simple in the beginning.
Tracking too much can become worse than tracking nothing at all. Less is more, as they say. Keep it simple and build a spreadsheet that houses all your core metrics. Furthermore, schedule WHEN you will track this data!
Once more, consistency is key. Don’t track all this once. View it as an important part of your process.
These results not only show you how far you’ve come, but help you decide where to go next.
STEP 6: Analyze Your Results
This final step is important because there’s no point tracking your results if you don’t take the time to analyze them. Again, how you analyze your results (and how often) depends on the goals you set.
You may have to set aside time each month, or possibly once per quarter.
What matters is that you analyze the results you track and make informed decisions on the results of them.
There’s no such thing as a perfect social media campaign. You can always improve upon each campaign after analyzing your results. This only happens if you take the time to analyze your results and measure what’s working.
Which platform(s) isn’t performing as well as it should?
Should you dive deeper into this platform or cut it from your social media strategy?
What type of content drives the most engagement?
Which results surprise you the most (either in a positive or negative way)?
I analyze results on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. Each KPI I set requires different attention. Some need constant eyes on them, each week. Whereas other data won’t make sense on a week-to-week basis. You need to look at the results over an entire year.
What matters, once more, is consistency!
Most people do not measure their results. Those who do collect data and rarely analyze it. This results in leaving them at a disadvantage, but presents a huge opportunity to those who do over everyone else. Do the process in full and see the rewards. If you do, you’ll create successful social media campaigns that scale over time. I'll share some of these successful social media marketing examples with you now. As you read about each one, I encourage you to bookmark them to study in greater detail later. However, before we get to those social media marketing examples, let’s quickly review the strategy to creating effective and high-performing social media campaigns.
Research your competition. Learn about who they are and what they’re doing.
Create a solid strategy. Build a plan and set clear goals that will help drive you forward.
Focus on only the most relevant social media platforms.
Create content that will ENGAGE your audience (to achieve this, you need to know who your ideal customer is).
Focus on creating high-quality, in-depth content.
From there, repurpose this into micro-content you can share across multiple platforms.
Be consistent with your content scheduling.
Find the right balance between content that sells and content that serves.
Use tools to help you schedule your content and visually map out your plan.
Track your results. For each goal you set, create 2-3 KPIs that you can track on a regular basis.
Analyze your results. Set aside time each week, month, and/or quarter to measure your progress.
Your future social media campaigns often come on the back of this final step!
Some of the Best Social Media Marketing Examples
The following are some of the best social media marketing examples I have seen recently. As you study each example, I share these to inspire you to create your own social media campaigns.
Not for you to attempt to replicate. I'd prefer to show you how best to implement your own social media campaigns and get the same results.
In 2019, Gillette launched the rather controversial “best a man can be” campaign. Centered around a powerful video, it spread across multiple social media platforms in the form of videos, clips, and memes. It’s a divided campaign that has turned certain customers away from the brand. Yet in doing so it spoke to others on a deep level, and helped build rapport with a new generation.
What You Can Learn From This Social Media Marketing Example:
Probably one of the most polarizing social media marketing examples on this list. It shows that you don’t always have to appeal to everyone in order to build success.
Released as the world began to open its eyes to the #Metoo movement, Gillette realized it has played a part in the problem for many years.
They chose a stance, even though it meant turning many loyal customers away.
Social media is a great tool for achieving this. It allows you to deliver a message.
To stand for something and bring those you’re speaking to closer.
Even if it creates conflict with the masses.
In June 2019, Starbucks created the #extrashotofpride social media campaign to celebrate Pride month and support the LGBTQ community.
In this campaign, they posted colourful pictures of people from the community, asking their followers to check out their Instagram Stories/Highlights and to share their own.
With a huge focus on Instagram, this campaign was images and video centric.
What You Can Learn From This Social Media Marketing Example
With this campaign, Starbucks jumped on an existing bandwagon that had already built momentum.
In general, the LGBTQ community is gaining a greater voice in the public domain; and Pride month is an event celebrated across the world.
Starbucks leveraged this, not by selling or promoting their products, but by being part of the conversation. When you join a conversation that matters like this one, your brand quickly becomes a part of it.
Dove has always focused on social causes in their social media campaigns. Often these center around women’s equality, empowerment and diversity, striving to break the brand stereotype. This was demonstrated in their #ShowUs campaign. Through it, Dove engaged with their audience on a deep level, collating 10,000+ user-generated images that they and other businesses can use as part of their marketing campaigns.
What You Can Learn From This Social Media Marketing Example
Through their #ShowUs campaign, Dove proves they understand who their customer profile is.They spoke directly to them.They engaged them on a deep level.10,000+ images from their audience says it all. All Dove did was provide a platform to share these. They created a message, and a movement rose from it. Yet it all comes down to knowing who your audience is, what pain they feel, and how you can play a role in solving it.
Another user-generated example, Apple created the #ShotOniPhone campaign to great effect in 2019. Spanning across Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, the #ShotOniPhone campaign empowered Apple’s already loyal audience to become part of their marketing efforts. They gave their users a large platform to share their art and work, while demonstrating the power of their product at the same time.
What You Can Learn From This Social Media Marketing Example
Not only did Apple engage with their audience through this campaign, but they subtly placed their product at the center of it all. At no point did they “sell” it or promote it. Yet by encouraging talented photographers to share their art, they showed the world just how powerful Apple’s latest phone (and camera) is.
Apple’s role in this was very small. They created a call to action and allowed their customers to do the rest. Yet this is what social media is all about. You, as the brand, may start something. But for it to truly work, it needs to grow way beyond you…