We’ve been saying for years now that having a social media marketing strategy is essential for any business that wishes to take full advantage of the benefits of the Web. Well, guess what? Having it is not enough anymore – and it hasn’t been for a while now. Since everyone got on that wagon, for your business to truly stand out among the hundreds of thousands that populate the Internet, you’ll have to squeeze your brains. In other words, get creative on your online marketing plan or get out.
Fortunately, anyone can have a bright idea to promote a business. Want proofs? Below you’ll find 5 examples of small businesses that had THE idea and knocked the ball out of the park with their content marketing strategies. See if they can inspire you to do the same!
Selling beer isn’t as easy as you might think: there’s a lot of beer companies out there that live in the shadow of the big brands. That was happening to Maes Beer when they decided to go with a totally creative idea via Facebook. What did they do? They offered a free barrel of beer to any person with the last name Maes.
Of course, people wanting the barrels had to do a little thing for the company: they had to share it with 20 friends. Now, think about it: a company offers you and your closest friends a free barrel of beer. What would you say about them? The campaign was a total success and it even drove more than 7,000 people to change their last name to Maes just to claim a barrel. Besides, the company got over 75,000 likes on Facebook and more than 500,000 visits on its Facebook page in six weeks.
What can you learn from this: your product is your best promotion. Learn how to use it – and even give it away if it’s necessary!
The casual wear designer Uniqlo had created a new line of Dry mesh T-shirts and were thinking about promoting it. Of course, they wanted to make an impact on social networks and especially on Pinterest, the social network of choice for clothing companies. They knew, however, that grabbing the pinners’ attention isn’t an easy feat: they jump from image to image almost aimlessly and without stopping.
So, Uniqlo marketers felt that they had to come up with an idea to increase the chances of pinners finding their new clothes. To do so, about 100 users started pinning images with the new line in a simultaneous fashion. Thus, users logged on at that time started seeing how their streams were hijacked by Uniqlo’s T-shirts and their wide variety of colors. When they scrolled, they saw a dance of tones that were really eye-catching. Pinners were fascinated and Uniqlo reached 55 million impressions and more than 6,000 mentions on Twitter without spending a single extra dime.
What can you learn from this: first and foremost, you should focus your main effort on the favorite social network of your target audience. Second, that knowing what to post and when to post it might prove enough to make a difference.
Many marketers still remember Airbnb’s short film “Hollywood and Vines” as an amazing hit by the rental company. Why? Because they took advantage of the recently-introduced Vine, a new social network that had a buzz of its own to make the company name go from mouth to mouth. How did they do it? By using Vine’s ability to share six second videos to create a full short film of about five minutes.
The company asked for help on Twitter to complete the project. Users had to submit their 6-second videos to the company following an strict list of pre given shots. Of all the submissions they got, Airnbnb picked 100 and their creators got $100 for their collaboration. The result wasn’t just interesting in and by itself: it garnered users and media attention for being the first short film directed via Twitter. Besides, it helped in demonstrating Vine’s creative capabilities and (more importantly) helped the company gain a wide recognition.
What can you learn from this: don’t close the door on the possibility to try new things. Just keep your eyes open to identify potential opportunities for your creative output. An interesting work can really go a long way – and take your business name with it.
Body Form had it all worked out. It had the perfect social media marketing strategy and it was sticking to it. But when a disappointed Richard Neil commented on their Facebook page that he was angry at the company for lying to him about “that wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things like bike riding, rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, blue water’ and wings”, the strategy had to be slightly corrected.
Rather than feeling discouraged, Body Form seized the opportunity to use Richard’s joke to release a video response to the comment. Since Neil’s comment was being commented and discussed to begin with, the video went viral in a blink and got more than 5 million views – and the company earned some free publicity that came out of the blue skies.
What can you learn from this: it’s perfect to have a marketing plan but feel free to step out of your way to adjust it as you go. There will be some opportunities down the road you didn’t consider in the first place: be sure to stay focused to identify and take advantage of them.
Software company SmartBear wanted to do something different to advertise their development tools. Rather than just creating a video or ad, they started a little game called “Where’s Dain”, the company’s version of “Where’s Waldo” in which one of its developers took the role of Waldo. Then, they hid Dain in various spots throughout the company’s official site and invited visitors to find and click on him.
Once visitors did that, a Twitter prompt appeared inviting them to join a contest for a T-Shirt by tweeting a message with the company’s Twitter user and a special hashtag. Of course, this shoot SmartBear’s mentions through the roof and increased the site’s traffic by more than a 120%, making the campaign a clear success for its creators.
What can you learn from this: invite visitors to participate in new and fun activities and make sure to include some sort of message that can be viralized. If people are engaged with the activity you’re offering, they’ll likely share the message and your brand will see a significant recognition boost.
Have more stories about social marketing successes? Have you ever tried a campaign like this? Join us on Facebook and Twitter and tell us!