Social media is the most powerful form of digital persuasion. From a distance, some people view it as mindless scrolling, but engaged consumers use platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to inform their purchasing decisions, qualify brands’ trustworthiness and form tight connections with those whom they regard as a community.
When it comes to your marketing funnel, social media can be a vital source for fresh traffic and leads. And while you have a social media presence – Is it driving your traffic? If you aren’t sure about it, there may be a problem. We don’t always know exactly what to post. The solution? Simple: get inspired by studying what works. With so many platforms and tactics to choose from, sometimes it’s best to start by looking to other brands for social media campaigns for inspiration. The following social media campaign examples should give you plenty of inspiration to help you ramp up your social media strategy.
For years, Travel Alberta has showcased the beauty of Alberta while promoting the tourism industry and their social media efforts are particularly noteworthy. Take, for example, their informative and super-fun YouTube channel videos like “How to Have Fun in Winter in Alberta” and “How to Take the Best Photos in Alberta” are so brilliantly specific to their target audience, but still have that irresistible click-bait feel.
Plus, their daily social media posts, which feature work by local photographers, help both tourists and locals discover exciting activities while building a sense of community – and we can’t help but admire their consistent digital presence. There are lots to love about the province, but Travel Alberta’s powerful social media strategy provides extra incentive to #ExploreAlberta.
Starbucks: Unicorn Frappuccino
Platform used: Instagram
As part of the rollout of its Frappuccino Happy Hour, Starbucks rolled out the Unicorn Frappuccino, for one short week in April 2017. The purple-and-pink nightmare seized on nearly everything that makes millennials tick (and their older counterparts sick): limited-time scarcity, a fear of missing out, and the sheer Instagrammability of the frozen, pastel-hued abomination.
The Unicorn Frappuccino, and its hashtag, generated nearly 155,000 Instagram posts during that time period. Manufacturing scarcity is one of the oldest tricks in the book – but capitalizing on it via social media can create a viral sensation. Starbucks knew the drivers that would trigger its young, social media–savvy audience – and pounced.
Lego: Extending Across Audience’s Interests
Platforms used: Facebook, Instagram
It’s impressive how a classic children’s toy brand has stayed so relevant on Instagram. From partnerships with Stranger Things, Star Wars, and Harry Potter to impeccably produced videos, Lego has found its groove on Instagram as a pop culture consortium. Lego creates content to align with their audience’s favorite interests outside of Lego.
Taco Bell: Instagram Storytelling
Platforms used: Instagram
Taco Bell has long been a social media masterclass. Taco Bell distributes a wide variety of video content, witty captions, and selfie lenses that make individuals the face of the brand. One genius tactic the company has used on Instagram: Leveraging a variety of Instagram Stories to highlight different brand activities that range from free to paid. From wallpapers to their Taco Shop merchandise, brand fans can connect with Taco Bell in the way that currently suits their fandom and budget.
Tim Hortons: “The Priestley”
Platform used: All social media channels
Anyone who’s spent time in Canada has most likely visited a Tim Hortons, or eight. Famous for their “double-double” coffee and mouth-watering doughnuts, the coffee shop chain was recently catapulted into a dream marketing opportunity after a lucky reference in the U.S. sitcom How I Met Your Mother.
In the episode, the idea of ‘The Priestly’, a chocolate Timbit (a bite-sized doughnut) stuffed into a strawberry-vanilla doughnut, was born. Almost immediately after it aired, viewers stormed social media asking where they could get one. Tim Horton’s jumped on the opportunity bringing The Priestley dream to life and going one step further to launch a doughnut flavour invention competition, of which Mr. Priestly himself was a judge.
Tim Hortons and The Away Game
Platform used: All social media channels
No Canadian social media campaign list would be complete without at least one hockey-centric tearjerker. Enter Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Tim Hortons. In an effort to spread the spirit of hockey, Tim Hortons flew the Kenya Ice Lions – Kenya’s only hockey team – to Toronto for a chance to finally play against another team. The twist? The Ice Lions needed a couple extra players to fill up the bench, so Crosby and MacKinnon geared up.
Besides building goodwill for Tim Hortons, Crosby and MacKinnon, this video changed the outlook for the Kenyan hockey community and caused countless viewers to catch the feels. Consider this the definition of excellent branding.
Fraiche Food, Full Hearts
Platform used: Instagram
Jillian Harris has been a leading lifestyle influencer for years after making a name for herself on The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Love It or List It Vancouver – she’s acquired a massive social media following via her picture-perfect Instagram, YouTube channel and blog. Often, Jillian collaborates with her cousin, Tori Wesszer, of Fraiche Living fame – Tori’s a registered dietician who definitely knows a thing or two about delicious, nutritious eats (and dreamy aesthetics, of course).
Together, the two Kelowna-based influencers used their combined social media stardom to score a book deal. They documented every step of the creation process in their Instagram stories, building up tons of hype prior to the book’s October 2019 release. Thanks to their savvy social media skills, the cookbook – Fraiche Food, Full Hearts – was an instant bestseller.
The Journey: A Canada Goose Experience
Platform used: Instagram
Throughout the decade, it’s become increasingly difficult for brick and mortar stores to thrive as online shopping overtakes. That’s why this year, Canada Goose decided to try something a little different – they opened a store that contains no inventory.
This “experience”, which is currently only in Toronto, features recreations of Canada’s winter landscape – cracking ice, a faux rock crevasse, even an Arctic-temperature cold room – that concludes with the option for shoppers to browse a digital catalogue and place an order. The idea behind the experiment comes from the hub-and-spoke model – Canada Goose is counting on social media buzz to create sales. After all, a good Instagram photo op is priceless in this day and age.
Backcountry Brewing’s Suck It Cancer Campaign
Platforms used: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Backcountry Brewing, a beloved Squamish, BC brewery known for its incredible brews and funny beer names, rebranded one of its fan-favourites, Suck It Trebek, upon hearing of Alex Trebek‘s battle with cancer.
They gave the pale ale a new name – Suck It Cancer – and also updated the label with art by Chili Thom, who succumbed to cancer in 2016. With partial proceeds from the beer going to the BC Cancer Foundation, theand “How to Take the Best Photos in Alberta” game plan was to raise over $5,000. The brewery relaunched the beer on social media – and the campaign did so well, Backcountry ended up brewing a second batch. As of their last update, Backcountry has raised nearly $10,000 for cancer research. Cheers to that!
For a brand that’s literally called “No Name”, Loblaw’s low-budget line of grocery and household products has certainly established a reputation for itself. Generic, economical, straight-forward and very, very yellow, No Name is a Canadian staple simply due to the savings it offers. That is until 2019, when No Name brilliantly transplanted their brand into the digital landscape, crafting hilariously bare-bones tweets, website copy and YouTube videos. Ultimately, No Name identified and capitalized on all the attributes that made their brand unique and managed to integrate those qualities across their digital platforms. Clearly they’re not so “generic” after all.
Bell Media’s #BellLetsTalk
Platforms used: All the social media channels
We’d be remiss not to kick off our list with arguably one of the most famous Canadian social media campaigns, #BellLetsTalk. Back in 2010 when Twitter was still relatively new, Bell used the platform to encourage Canadians to start a conversation about mental health while also fundraising for the cause. Needless to say, the campaign took off.
Now, Bell Let’s Talk Day is an annual event. On this day, Bell donates five cents to Canadian mental health initiatives for every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video, and every use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. Each text message, mobile and a long-distance call made by Bell customers also earn a five-cent donation.
While Canadian athletes and media personalities initially brought this campaign to the forefront, Bell Let’s Talk Day’s popularity now extends far beyond the Canadian border. Everyone from Ellen DeGeneres to the Backstreet Boys have shared the hashtag, spreading the word to millions around the globe.
Canadian Cannabis Legalization, According to Vice
Platforms used: Facebook, Instagram
Whether you’re for or against legalization, we can all agree on one thing: there’s a ton of confusion surrounding Canada’s legalization of cannabis. So who better to supply clear, accurate information than Vice Canada?
Known for their edgy and enlightening content, Vice Canada did what the government apparently could not – they laid out the facts surrounding legalization so that everyday Canadians could actually understand what the heck is going on.
#RealBeauty: A lot of brands preach it nowadays, but Dove was a pioneer that helped bring self-esteem and self-love into marketing.
Dove’s global campaign has taken many forms since it first launched nearly 15 years ago, but it has become more than a campaign since then, it’s extended into a corporate mission. The company has commissioned independent research on self-esteem that it has used in its television and print advertising as well as its social campaigns, and its website features resources to educate consumers of all ages on issues related to self-esteem, bullying, the online world, and more.
Hashtag campaigns, including #RealBeauty, #NoLikesNeeded, and #SpeakBeautiful have encouraged users to show off their inner beauty. And after discovering that 70 percent of women don’t feel represented in advertising, the company pledged to stop retouching all photos used in its marketing by 2019.
Gillette: The Best Men Can Get
Platforms used: YouTube, Twitter
Gillette faced toxic masculinity head-on with a controversial video that “calls on men to be better in light of the #MeToo movement.” The spot was polarizing, with many calling for a boycott of the razor brand.
In addition to taking a public stand against Gillette is donating $1 million per year for the next three years to non-profit organizations creating U.S. programs to help men of all ages achieve their “best.”
According to the analytics company TalkWalker, Gillette had 1.5 million social media mentions between Jan 14 – Jan 16. The previous week they had less than 10,000. More than a million of those mentions took place within 24 hours of the original publish date. The brand’s hashtag, #TheBestMenCanBe, was used 187,400 times during the same period. As of mid-February 2019, the brand’s original tweet has been shared nearly 250,000 times.
No matter what type of product or service you provide, you can find ways to use curated content in your own social media marketing campaign. Here are a few things to keep in mind when sharing third-party content:
– Make sure it’s relevant. If the content that you share isn’t relevant for your audience, it will just come off as spam. Be sure to find articles that your leads and customers will find helpful and enjoy reading.
– Share content from neutral sources. It may seem like a given, but you should not share curated content that comes from your competitors. Likewise, try to avoid sharing content that might mention your competitors.
– Create your own post content when sharing. Don’t just drop a link in your social media post. You need to create your own post content that helps the user understand what the post is about and why they should read it.
Ultimately, sharing relevant third-party content helps you add more value for your leads and customers. Not only are you sharing helpful content with them, but you are also demonstrating that your business stays up-to-date with the latest trends and news in your industry. This can help you build trust for your brand and establish your business as a leader.
You don’t have to have a big budget to make a big splash on social media. The small businesses above provide perfect examples of companies that are making a significant impact on their content, even on a limited social media budget. When developing your next social media campaign, use some of the best social media marketing tactics to make your social media campaigns outstanding.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.