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10 Viral Social Media Campaigns You Can Learn From

10 Viral Social Media Campaigns You Can Learn From

In a world with 7.9 billion people, 4.48 billion have social media accounts. That means more than half of the world is using social media. Making it one of the most powerful marketing tools in the age of digital media.

According to statistics, an average user currently spends more than two hours each day on social media. Obviously, many people hang out on social media longer than that. It’s no wonder then that marketers are constantly on the lookout for the next big social media campaign ideas.

But while many brands are still having a hard time breaking through social media, some have already launched phenomenal campaigns that catapulted them into the spotlight. Not only did their sales increase, but these campaigns also made their brands more visible and recognizable.

So if you’re still racking your brains for the best social media strategy, here are ten phenomenal social media campaigns you can learn from.

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1. #DistanceDance

Company: Procter and Gamble

Platform: TikTok

What They Did

https://www.tiktok.com/@charlidamelio/video/6807971434959310085?lang=en

The whole campaign started as a result of a series of phone calls. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine called P&G CEO David Tylor to discuss his concern about the youngsters not following social distancing in his state.

The phone calls eventually reached Debby Reiner, the President for Global Clients at Grey Worldwide, a partner branding agency of P&G.

The next 24 hours saw the brainstorming of an absolutely brilliant social media campaign called #DistanceDance. To kick-start the campaign, the agency hired the most popular TikToker Charli D’Amelio to do a video challenge.

Charli initiated the campaign with her first distance dance video that garnered 8 billion views in a week. It also inspired youngsters on TikTok to stay home and do their own #DistanceDance video. The first week ended with about 1.7 million imitation dances from every kind of social media user.

When the challenge went viral, P&G used the hashtag to start a fundraiser for the populations hit hard by the pandemic.

What We Can Learn From It

P&G showed how an organization can achieve its brand awareness goals while keeping up with its corporate social responsibility.

2. Dear Kitten

Company: Friskies (in collaboration with Buzzfeed)

Platform: YouTube

What They Did

Friskies did a video campaign in collaboration with Buzzfeed in 2013. The video has more than 32 million views on YouTube to date, and it proved to be one of the most successful social media campaigns.

The concept was simple. The video shows two cats, an old cat, and a young kitten. The old cat advises the little kitten in a human voice.

The catchy and funny script hooked the audience to the video, and Friskies and Buzzfeed used this campaign to create a viral video series after that.

What We Can Learn From It

The video series proved that funny content hooks audiences better than any other type of content.

3. #WhatsYourName

Company: Starbucks

Platform: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube

What They Did

Starbucks UK partnered with an organization named Mermaid to show support for the gender non-conforming youth and transgender community. Together, they created a TV commercial that shows the struggle of a transgender teen called Jemma.

But the highlight of this brilliantly poignant ad was when Jemma uses the name ‘James’ when ordering coffee at Starbucks.

The campaign aligned two concepts. One is the support for the transgender community. The other is the familiar experience of ordering coffee at Starbucks and having your name written on the cup.

After the TVC, Starbucks created a social media campaign with the hashtag #WhatsYourName.

People used the hashtag to post their pictures with a Mermaid tail cookie to show support for the Mermaid community. That hashtag also worked as a fundraiser for the organization.

What We Can Learn From It

Marketers need to keep tabs on the current social issues and use their platform to help break taboos.

4. #ShotOniPhone

Company: Apple

Platform: Instagram

What They Did

Instagram

In March 2015, Apple promoted the hashtag #ShotOniPhone on Instagram. Six years later, the campaign is still going on and has generated over 21.9 million posts to date.

Through the hashtag, Apple has encouraged its users to share their photos and other user-generated content. It is a smart way to build brand awareness through the existing customer base without paying anything to them.

What We Can Learn From It

User-generated content can be a powerful tool to engage your target audience.

5. #MoonPieToTheMoon2024

Company: MoonPie

Platform: Twitter

What They Did

Put-A-M00nPie-On-The-Moon

MoonPie has made us laugh out loud a lot of times thanks to its hilarious Twitter antics. But recently, it caught the attention of NASA executives by launching an interestingly innovative ad. They directly addressed NASA to take their MoonPie to the moon, stating ten funny reasons for it.

The ad became viral through the hashtag #MoonPieToTheMoon2024 when all MoonPie supporters kept sharing it to support the cause. The trend was even backed by an actual petition on Change.org that got almost 5000 signatures.

Judging by how the campaign is going, there’s a big chance we’ll get to see an astronaut munching on a MoonPie while landing on the moon.

What We Can Learn From It

Companies can build interesting narratives around current events and use them to create a unique brand voice.

6. Sleep Channel

Company: Casper

Platform: Spotify and YouTube

What They Did

Casper

Casper, a popular mattress brand made a unique sleep audio playlist they called the “Sleep Channel”. Hosted on Spotify and YouTube, the playlist features relaxing tunes that can help lull the listener to sleep. Casper then advertised it on other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Considering that they sell mattresses, the campaign was a stroke of brilliance. It quickly became phenomenal and elevated the brand from a mere mattress manufacturer to a sleep company.

What We Can Learn From It

Giving your audience a unique, out-of-the-box experience can give you an edge over your competitors.

7. #BigGameColorCommentary

Company: Pantone

Platform: Twitter

What They Did

Pantone

Pantone, a color company that deals mainly with graphics, took advantage of the Superbowl to launch a brilliant social media campaign.

The campaign came about when two Superbowl teams (Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers) were both wearing red uniforms, albeit with different shades. To clear the confusion, Pantone tweeted an image that shows the Pantone colors of both team’s uniforms.

Pantone then followed it up by promoting the #BigGameColorCommentary. Using this hashtag, they shared their views about all the colors they encountered during play. The company even posted commentary on the brands that put their ads on the game.

Since it’s the Superbowl, the campaign became a trending topic on Twitter which led to increased brand visibility for Pantone.

What We Can Learn From It

Marketers need to learn how to effectively incorporate big events into their social media strategies without losing their brand voice.

8. #ShowUs

Company: Dove in partnership with Getty Images

Platform: Instagram

What They Did

Instagram-Showus

Dove is a beauty brand that, for the past few years, has promoted originality and inclusivity for all women. To showcase its brand values, the company started a campaign with the hashtag #ShowUs.

This campaign’s idea revolves around user-generated content shared on social media that encourages body positivity.

To date, the hashtag has gathered more than 650,000 raw, unedited photographs of women.

What We Can Learn From It

Promoting brand values can stir up loyalty among your customers. If your customer’s values coincide with your brand’s values, they are most likely to stick with the brand.

9. #OptOutside

Company: REI

Platform: Instagram

What They Did

Instagram-Optoutside

REI is a recreational equipment company that stood against the frenzy that came with Black Friday sales. The company promoted the hashtag #OptOutside by announcing that they will be closed on Black Friday.

The hashtag quickly went viral and now has more than 17 million Instagram posts.

The idea behind the campaign was to curb the consumerism that Black Friday instigates in the minds of consumers through FOMO.

Using the hashtag, they encouraged people to go outdoors instead of fighting their way into a shopping mall. This, obviously, resonated with a lot of people who think that mindless shopping is not a great way to spend the holiday.

What We Can Learn From It

Companies should stand for what they believe in, even if they may not agree with popular opinion.

10. #CouldUseABeer

Company: Coors Light

Platform: Twitter

What They Did

America-Could-Use-A-Beer

Coors Light started the hashtag #CouldUseABeer to cheer up Americans during quarantine. Everyone who retweeted the hashtag received a pack of six beers. When the campaign ended, Coors was able to give away a total of 500,000 beers.

The campaign was inspired by another giveaway that Coors Light did for a quarantined 93-year-old woman who went viral when she put up an “I need more beer” sign on her window.

What We Can Learn From It

There are actually two things we can learn from this campaign. One is that giveaways are a brilliant way to gain brand recognition. Another is that marketers should keep track of what’s trending on social media and use it to their advantage.

Key takeaways

Social media campaigns usually need careful planning and timely execution to be successful. But as some of these campaigns have taught us, it doesn’t hurt to jump on the bandwagon every once in a while. Nor should you be afraid to think out of the box, harness the power of social media influencers, or go against the flow. Because when it comes to social media, your creativity is your only limit.

Guest author: Mandy Schmitz is a freelance consultant and project management expert with 10+ years of experience working internationally for big brands in fintech, consumer goods, and more. Join her on Changeaholic.com to learn how to optimize your business operations and find the latest software reviews.