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By: Ramona Sukhraj on September 9th, 2016

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25 Social Media Campaign Ideas From Big Brands You Want to Be

Getting Found

Before you can turn followers into customers, you have to turn strangers into friends and today, it seems like friendship exists more online than in person -- especially thanks to social media

The social media landscape is more competitive than ever and brands are constantly on the lookout for ideas to help them stand out. 

In this article, we've put together a list of 25 social media campaign ideas from big brands that have had tremendous success in the last few years.

Use them to get inspired or borrow one to try out on your audience. Take a look and let us know how they work out for you!

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1. #6SecondScienceFair by GE (Vine and Tumblr)

GE launched a campaign hosting a #6SecondScienceFair on Vine and Tumblr where they re-vined posts from people using this tag to encourage interest in science, increase engagement, and build GE's reputation as an innovator. The particular Vine below highlights what happens when you combine milk, food coloring, and dish soap. It has been liked 130,000 times and re-vined 105,000 times.


2. Fan Helmet Art by Biltwell, Inc (Facebook)

Biltwell sells motorcycling accessories and does a great job of keeping their fans engaged and passionate about their brand using their Facebook fan page. One way they do this is by sharing fan-shared helmet art on their timeline. Fans get their 15 minutes of fame and Biltwell gets to show off the awesome things people do with their products and "delight" their fans in the process.

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3. #itaddsup by TD Ameritrade (Twitter)

With this campaign, TD Ameritrade was able to capitalize on the 2014 Winter Olympics hype by comparing the accumulation of small investments over time to the practice and preparation that athletes go through to compete.

An entire staff created for the campaign stayed in Sochi to document the athletes' journeys with photos, videos, and other content. The campaign resulted in 78,000+ uses of the campaign hashtag #itaddsup, a 12% increase in overall social audience, and 97 million brand impressions.

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4. Queso Bliss Showdown by Qdoba (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram)

Popular restaurant chain, Qdoba, created a campaign where their fans could vote for their favorite queso, deciding which one the company would keep and which one would have to go.

The best part about this social media campaign was that the Qdoba team updated the results in real-time, keeping everyone engaged, and building suspense around the showdown. 

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5. 50 Million Smiles and Counting by Honey Bunches of Oats (Facebook and Instagram)

Honey Bunches of Oats ran a campaign with the tagline “50 Million Smiles and Counting,” during which they shared the testimonial videos, images, and quotes from fans they had "made smile" across the country in exchange for a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip. By sharing the user-submitted content across Facebook and Instagram, they were able to add 162,000 new fans (a 721% increase) and increase engagement and traffic to their pages.

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6. My Nat Geo Covershot by National Geographic (Facebook)

National Geographic launched a Facebook contest where their fans had a chance to have their own photo featured on the cover of the magazine and win two tickets for a free vacation. All the fans had to do was upload their photos and caption it and they were automatically entered to win.

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7. Justin Bieber Believe Tour Sponsorship by Essence (Facebook and Twitter)

The European beauty brand Essence made the most of their sponsorship of Justin Bieber's Believe Tour by creating social media events around each show.

They gave away free products at shows and offered various sweepstakes that highlighted user-generated content as contest entries for free tickets and other prizes.

Not only did they generate a lot of interest in their own brand, but they helped build buzz around each of the shows on the tour. The campaign resulted in 263 million brand impressions, 82,615 brand expressions, and 35 percent of on-site activation through social.

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8. Get Electric. Festival Style. by Urban Decay (Pinterest)

Urban Decay built a social campaign on Pinterest where users could submit their best recreations of makeup styles that they've seen at their favorite music festivals. Throughout the campaign Urban Decay gave away free festival tickets to Pinterest users that created the best boards featuring festival looks. 

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9. April Fools: Helium Beer by Samuel Adams (YouTube)

This is a perfect example of leveraging a holiday to create a viral piece of social content. The beer maker Sam Adams posted this video across their social media platforms, showing off their new helium beer as an April Fools prank. You have to watch the video to see why it was such a hit.

10. Tiffany Blue by Tiffany (Instagram)

Tiffany shows you can position your brand around nearly anything to increase brand awareness -- in their case it's around their signature blue. Instagram users posts tens of thousands of photos with the hashtag #tiffanyblue and many of the blue items have nothing to do with Tiffany. 

11. Personable Brand Voice by CapitalOne (LinkedIn)

Banks and other financial institutions generally don't do a great job of connecting with people through social media. (Amex is the notable exception.) However, CaptialOne does a great job of consistently posting snappy and relatable content on their LinkedIn page. This is a reminder that "serious" businesses can get away with keeping it casual on social media.

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12. #PeterSomForKohls by Kohls (Google+)

A lot of brands are undecided on how to leverage Google+, because it doesn't fit neatly into one category of social media. However, Kohls has found a way to leverage the popularity of influencers to promote their Peter Som line of clothing on Google+ -- while still keeping it fun for the fans.

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13. #crashthesuperbowl by Doritos (YouTube and Twitter)

Doritos utilizes two great strategies in this campaign: highlighting user-generated content and building off of the buzz from a huge event -- the Superbowl. This social media contest allows fans to submit their Doritios commercials and the winner gets their video on TV during the Superbowl, along with other cool prizes.

14. #LiveForNow by Pepsi (Twitter and YouTube)

This might be difficult for most companies to pull off unless you have a large enough budget to make room for these special effects. As part of Pepsi's #livefornow campaign, they created this incredible bus shelter in London that's designed to get funny reaction from people. This is one you really have to watch. 

15. Snack Hacks by Oreo (Vine)

Oreo found a great way to engage their fans by posting DIY content on Vine. Fast tips like these do very well on the platform and it gave Oreo a unique opportunity to engage with their fans and see how they engage with their product. 

16. Celebrity Selfie by Samsung (Twitter)

Who could forget the star-studded selfie from the 2014 Oscars that received 1 million retweets in 45 minutes? While this isn't technically a campaign, it was a great accidental social marketing by Samsung. 

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17. Altar Your Thinking by Offbeat Bride (Pinterest)

Offbeat Bride is a wedding website that brings high-quality content curation to social media -- pinning their own content and other useful content for their followers to explore.

Their Pinterest account is a must-follow for brides-to-be, providing ideas for engagement photos, wedding venues, dresses, and much more, along with some of the most creative wedding ideas you've ever seen.

While more of an every practice than a campaign, their sharing attracts a great deal of fan attention and interaction. 

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18. #treehousetuesdays by Airbnb (Instagram)

A great way to get people excited about your brand is to offer them the chance to experience something unique. With #treehousetuesday, Airbnb features photos of actual listings in their service that allow you to spend the night in a real-life tree house. Judging from the engagement on this photo, I'd say it's working well for them. 

19. Mini Billboards by Ant-Man (Twitter and Instagram)

To build hype for their upcoming movie, the marketing team behind Ant-Man placed tiny billboards in Australian cities.

Naturally, people reacted in the only way you would expect in 2015 when seeing something out of the ordinary, they posted pictures of it on social media. This is a genius way to get people talking about your brand, without asking them to.

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(Source: AdWeek

20. For Almost Everything. Almost. by A.1. (Facebook)

Kraft Foods has decided to re-brand A.1. by removing "steak" from their name and encouraging people to use the sauce on almost everything.

The posted this screenshot of their Facebook fan page changing their relationship with steak to "it's complicated."

Consumers can be resistant to a re-branding if your product has been solidified in their mind as one thing, but using humor and social media is a great way to build awareness and get people excited.

21. Ice Bucket Challenge by ALS Association (Everywhere)

The Ice Bucket Challenge is now considered one of the legendary social media campaigns of all time after using a simple (but unpleasant and hilarious) challenge to raise over $115 million dollars for a disease that most people had never even heard of.

What helped propel the virality was the fact that people were publicly challenging their friends and family on social media, which made them more likely to get involved than someone asking for a retweet. 

22. #CastMeMarc by Marc Jacobs (Instagram and Twitter)

Want to find fresh talent and build brand awareness at the same time? That's exactly what Marc Jacobs did when he sought out to find the face of his new contemporary label. For the chance to star in the fashion icon's next campaign, all you  had to do was share a photo of yourself on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #CastMeMarc.  Marc announced the winner of his online casting call from his personal Twitter page.

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23. #GlobalSelfie by NASA (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram)

In 2014, NASA found a way to get people excited about collaborating on a creative project it called the Global Selfie. By gathering photos that people posted of their environment, NASA created a mosaic of the entire world. The result is pretty incredible. =

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(Source: NASA)

24. #getcovered by White House (Twitter)

Have you lost control of the narrative on your brand? This campaign is a risky one, but certainly one to consider.

When Healthcare.gov first launched, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the program and it didn't help that their website kept malfunctioning from all of the traffic.

The White House created the #getcovered hashtag to retweet posts from people sharing their positive experience to change the narrative to a more positive one.

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25. #JobSearch by NPR (LinkedIn) 

The most successful social media campaigns are relevant to their platform and make use of its unique features. Professionals use LinkedIn for education and connections that further their career. NPR makes a point of posting content that nearly everyone on the platform can find useful, even if they don't listen to NPR.

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Social-media-marketing

About Ramona Sukhraj

As Content Marketing Manager, Ramona approaches marketing not only as a profession, but as a creative outlet. She has a passion for all things artistic and strives to create content that is educational, yet quirky and entertaining as well. With a B.S. in Marketing from the UCONN School of Business, Ramona is a frequent contributor to the HubSpot blog and a nonprofit consultant. Outside of IMPACT, she is a design, movie, and pop culture buff, and a fierce advocate of free hugs.

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