With the advent of social media, organizations across the world have the opportunity to communicate with their customers in a fashion which was previously unprecedented. They can speak to the consumer as though they were a personal acquaintance, rather than some large, intimidating, faceless entity. They can connect – which, at the end of the day, is what social media is all about.
Of course, social networks are intimidating beasts. How do you know if you’ve done something wrong? What demographic are you trying for? What’s the best way to communicate with that demographic? What platform is best for that demographic? And furthermore, how do you quantify it all? How do you determine success or failure?
You’d think devising a social media strategy, a social advertising campaign, would be easy; it’s not.
Needless to say, some businesses are better at the social game than others. Some organizations stand head and shoulders above the rest –be they cleverer, more approachable, or simply more knowledgeable about how social networking sites function. Whatever the reason, each organization on this list is an exemplar of how to do social advertising.
1 – Razer
I challenge you to find a serious PC gamer out there who’s been on Facebook or Twitter and not heard of Razer. They’ve established a reputation as one of the best suppliers of PC peripherals and gaming gear on the market, and their “Cult of Razer” marketing campaign is more or less designed to make every customer feel like they’re a part of some grand, elite community. Couple that with the fact that they regularly host contests and establish a direct dialogue with their fans and, well…it’s easy to see why the Cult of Razer’s gotten so big. They know their demographic, and talk to their customers like they’re “Part of the Cult.” Not bad, right?
2 – Kraft
I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t heard of macaroni and cheese – during my college years, it was one of the chief staples of my diet. Still, you’ve gotta hand it to Kraft - they know how to market in a social community. They launched a rather brilliant campaign on Twitter, one which cost them virtually nothing; it was known as “Mac & Jinx.” Whenever two different people used the phrase “Mac & Cheese” in a tweet, Kraft’s social media manager replied with “Mac & Jinx.” Whoever responded first got five free boxes of KD and a T-Shirt.
The lesson here? Social media campaigns don’t have to be complicated, expensive, or grand – sometimes it’s as simple as utilizing the ‘search’ function.
3 – Ingo
Last year, Grey Stockholm and Ogilvy Stockholm merged, and they wanted to get the word out. How’d they do it? They took to Facebook, asking fans to sign in and have a look at the new name. The kicker? Every person who signed in had the option to add their profile picture to the logo – which was incomplete at first. They got fans involved and advertised their product without anyone feeling as though were having something hawked to them, and they barely had to spend a dime.
4 – Reinert Sausages
Again, Reinert Sausages reinforced a common theme with their “Wurst Face” application: If you want to advertise something on a social network, do it by giving users something fun, unique, or interesting to participate in – something they can talk about and share with one another. If you’ve managed it properly (without being too ‘salesy’ in the process), there’s a good chance your campaign will go viral pretty quick.
The “Wurst Face” app allowed users to upload a picture of their face, at which point it engraved the image in a cold cut. And it worked – very, very well.
5 – GranataPet
Pet Food organization GranataPet provide with its billboard last year that you don’t necessarily have to host social campaigns completely online. An ad campaign can just as easily take off into the stratosphere if you find a way to integrate it – and a social network – into the real world in a clever fashion.
They put up a billboard in Argenta, Germany, which dispensed dog food to anyone who signed in to the board using FourSquare. They filmed the board, put the video on YouTube, and it went viral- and probably made them a small fortune in revenue.
6 - Zappos
Want to make a connection with your fans and customers? Prove you care about building a relationship with them- that’s what Zappos did, completely integrating Facebook into their website, and including a whole plethora of “fan only” content, which only becomes available after you’ve hit the ‘like’ button. They include user comments, exclusive content, special promotions, and a ‘fan of the week’ initiative, where they encourage fans of their products to send in their photo and feature them on the site.
They focus on the consumer, rather than the product- and it pays off, big.
7 - GiantNerd
Much like Zappos, GiantNerd offers their fans special deals and exclusive promotions for ‘liking’ their site. Not only that, they’ve masterfully integrated a wiki into their website- allowing their own customers to sell their products by answering questions for potential buyers. Not bad, eh?
8 – Hasbro
From their engagement with fans of D&D and Magic: The Gathering to their subtle nods to peripheral demographics in several of their television programs, Hasbro does a fairly good job of being a social business- even if they make a few fumbles along the way. One of their biggest successes lies with the board game Cranium, where they engage with fans through clever marketing materials, fun content, and interesting facts.
9 – Bungie/Microsoft
Look up “Ilovebees” if you want a perfect how-to regarding viral marketing. Way back in 2004, Bungie wanted a clever way to advertise Halo 2, the sequel to the game which defined the Xbox. They weren’t content with just a simple, boring old marketing campaign, however. Instead, they devised an Alternate Reality game, known as I Love Bees, which they advertised via subliminal messages in a Halo 2 Trailer.
Players who cared to investigate found a beekeeping website being ‘hacked’ by an AI stranded on Earth, desperately trying to reconstitute itself. Players solved puzzles, sought out audio logs revealing the backstory, and shared the campaign on a worldwide scale. Again, the key here is to get people engaged in spreading the word about your product without necessarily realizing they’re doing so.
10 – Martell Home Builders
A custom-home building organization, Martell used to rely primarily on realtors to bring them business- as most agencies in real estate tend to do. Some time ago, they decided to cut the middleman out of the equation, communicating directly with their consumers through their website. Customers can share the progress on their custom build (thus bringing more potential customers to the fold) and subscribe to Martell’s blog for a number of great tips and fresh content on home ownership. Once again, the keywords are engage and communicate.