Key Lessons from the Best Social Media Campaigns of 2019

Social media campaigns are fast becoming the main facet of any brand’s marketing efforts. After all, these campaigns provide access to the 2.5 billion Facebook users, 1 billion Instagram users, and 330 million Twitter users that prowl these apps every month. Getting your content out there is as simple as creating an account and publishing your post… right?

Given the sheer volume of posts that are being created every day, brands must do a little extra to stand out. As we look towards 2020, here’s our roundup of campaigns that have grabbed audiences by the collar.

Instagram: The “Instagram Egg”

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This humble stock image of an egg broke the world record for the number of likes on a single Instagram post following its appearance in January this year. To date, it remains the most-liked post on Instagram, having garnered over 53.9 million likes thus far. 

Over the course of a few weeks, the egg gradually began to crack, leading up to the grand reveal (during a SuperBowl commercial, no less) of Talking Egg, a global mental health resources page. 

So how did the egg do it?

While the account’s Instagram feed remained sparsely populated, the account’s creators instilled a sense of camaraderie in its main target audience — youths — through Instagram Stories. Fuelled by the common goal of breaking a world record, people who had come across the account were able to influence fans and laymen alike to ‘like’ the egg.  

By further using the post’s virality to promote mental health, the account’s creators ensured that the egg would become more than a passing fad. Today, the account continues to post original animations that promote mental wellbeing. 

Twitter: GoJek x Rich Brian

GoJek, the Indonesian ride-hailing app, made waves on Twitter due to its exchange with rapper Rich Brian. After the rapper tweeted about missing Indonesian food, the company offered to have food delivered to him despite him being in New York at the time. 

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Banter between the two ensued, with GoJek insisting that distance would not be an issue:

The company stayed true to its word, delivering food to Rich Brian’s doorstep within 48 hours. 

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This gesture was made in the spirit of pasti ada jalan, or “there’s always a way,” the tagline for its cerdikiawan campaign, which encourages users to showcase smart solutions to everyday problems. The tagline is also the central message reiterated by its recent rebranding efforts.

Proof of GoJek’s eventual food delivery received almost 19K retweets and over 25K likes. While the exchange was entirely organic, Rich Brian eventually collaborated with GoJek on its cerdikiawan campaign a month later. 

Why exactly did this Twitter exchange go viral?

GoJek simply capitalised on the right influencer — Indonesia-born Rich Brian, whose global following would allow GoJek to reach users beyond its home base. By following through on its commitment, GoJek ensured that its main customer base — Indonesian users — would have a better impression of its variety of offerings. On a global scale, followers of Rich Brian would also gain greater awareness of the brand even if they did not use the app in their home countries.

Facebook: Lazada Malaysia’s Facebook Live Show

On top of regular Facebook and Instagram ads, e-commerce giant Lazada went big this year with its interactive Facebook Live event. 

To celebrate its 7th birthday, Lazada Malaysia launched LUCKY 7th, a game show that allowed shoppers to catch a glimpse of the prices of items on sale. To drive greater awareness towards the campaign, carousel ads that targeted users based on previous shopping activity were created. Photo ads announcing discounts were also published after the show.

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The game show itself drew over 11K views, with Lazada Malaysia reportedly earning 38 times more than its historical highest revenue from a campaign. The campaign was also able to reach 30% more users and garner 46% more interactions than previous campaigns. 

How did Lazada do it?

Lazada made use of an underutilised Facebook advertising function — the livestream, which allowed it to showcase product information and interact with fans in real-time. Lazada is no stranger to live streaming, having also done so for its birthday Super Party concert this year. What then makes livestreaming on Facebook different?

Facebook’s 2018 algorithm favours “meaningful interactions” — namely comments, shares, replies, and reactions. Live videos especially are prioritised over traditional ads and posts through the possibility of encouraging discussions among viewers

This means that live videos are likely to get more airtime on an individual’s news feed. In addition, the ability to notify followers of a brand’s page when the brand goes live contributes to an increase in potential reach and engagement. 

According to Facebook, live videos also produce 6 times more interactions than traditional videos, with users being more likely to comment or engage directly with a brand than on a regular post. 

TikTok: Uniqlo #UTPlayYourWorld

Since its inception, TikTok has risen to become a leading player among short-form video social apps. Popular among users within the millennial demographic or younger, the app’s downloads this year surpassed Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat

Not one to miss out on marketing to youths within its markets, Uniqlo UT partnered with TikTok to launch an in-app challenge, #UTPlayYourWorld, in Japan, Taiwan, and France. The challenge encouraged users to share their experiences while wearing a Uniqlo UT outfit. Selected participants then won the chance to appear on screen in Uniqlo stores and social media pages worldwide.

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The two-week campaign saw over 185K submissions, with over 95K TikTok participants and over 330 million views on submissions. 

Why did this campaign stand out?

According to Rei Matsunuma, director of UT and collaboration business at Uniqlo, UT’s main challenge was generating interest in Uniqlo from younger audiences who had never shopped there. As such, paid media would not generate long-term interest in the brand’s main offering — ‘LifeWear’, or clothing designed to make life better. 

User-generated content (UGC), which would be crucial in this campaign, is right up TikTok’s alley. By partnering with a platform that is built on UGC, Uniqlo was able to leverage on a huge base of young creators. These creators would act as micro-influencers, spreading awareness of the brand through their participation in the contest. Furthermore, the campaign’s aim of showcasing interesting snippets of daily life tied in well with the philosophy of LifeWear.

Spotify: Spotify Wrapped

Spotify’s Wrapped campaign has become something of a year-end tradition. Users look forward to receiving a simple, personalised recap of their year in music, be it to rediscover songs they used to love or revisit embarrassing favourites. 

This year’s Spotify Wrapped, however, included something special — a Decade Wrapped, which provided unique listening stats and compared users’ favourites from 2010 to 2019. 

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In addition, Spotify introduced new shareability functions that built on its integrations with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. Both Free and Premium users could share their 2019 Wrapped or Decade Wrapped cards on these social platforms.

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In Australia, for example, Spotify showcased statistics on prominent local artists such as Tones and I, while Aussie phenomenon Egg Boy also received a cheeky nod. The streaming platform even gave away speciality slushies in Melbourne and Sydney that feature the likenesses of four Aussie artists.

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What makes Spotify Wrapped special?

Even though it’s only been a week since the campaign’s release, it has generated a huge amount of buzz among Spotify users.

For one, the integration of sharing functionalities for both Free and Premium users have increased the campaign’s reach. What was once a private, personalised recap can now be shared with a user’s followers. Artists can also share their audience listening stats with their fans, promoting greater interaction between both parties.

Spotify Wrapped also makes the user its focus. While the brand employs a distinct look, the campaign’s copy makes scant reference to the company. The repetition of “you”, the user, reiterates the viewer’s role as the hero of the campaign. The clever use of audience insights also ensures that every user relates to the content that they receive.

Furthermore, the commitment to holistic advertising efforts both on and offline cements the campaign’s status as a year-end checkpoint for users.

Key learning points from these top campaigns

Successful campaigns are relatable ones

In the case of GoJek and Spotify, relatability accounted for a huge part of user engagement.

Both brands understood that they were writing for their audience. GoJek and Spotify did not highlight their own platforms and instead allowed their content to drive organic engagement.

Creating relatable content isn’t just dependent on your copywriting prowess. An important aspect of this involves a keen understanding of your top audience demographic. Which brands do they pay attention to? What age group do they belong to and what trends are they interested in?

Meltwater’s Audience Insight reports allow you to understand the communities that drive conversations on your social media channels. Our tool allows you to discover your audience’s consumption habits, analyse shifts in their demographic, and identify key influencers within these groups. You can then use these insights to create content that is tailored for your audience.

Apart from the use of cheeky language, these brands were able to capitalise on the right influencers. Be it showcasing top local artists on billboards around the city or engaging directly with an artist on Twitter, both moves ensured that the artists’ followers would be watching.

While these brands used high-profile influencers, brands can emulate these results even when engaging micro or nano-influencers.

With Meltwater’s Influencer Discovery tool, searching for influencers with high reach numbers and high follower engagement is easy. Find influencers based on your audience’s demographic as well as your target market, industry, or topic. This allows you to engage influencers that know your product and would genuinely like to promote it. By extension, their followers will be familiar with brands in your industry, ensuring that the content you produce is always relatable.

User-generated content can be as valuable as paid media

In the case of Uniqlo, paid media would not have been as effective as UGC in demonstrating their brand’s principle. Brands that wish to reach untapped markets can likewise consider using UGC as an arm to showcase their products. Marketers benefit from killing two birds with one stone — you get content, and your customers feel greater affinity with your product.

The main reason why UGC is so valuable is the fact that consumers often find this type of content the most authentic. Within the millennial demographic, UGC is trusted 50% more than traditional media and contributes 20% more to purchase decisions than other media types.

Social media platforms, particularly video platforms, are big proponents of UGC. Think TikTok and Snapchat’s short videos, IGTV or Instagram Stories, and even YouTube. After all, video content benefits brands by showing, not telling.

Types of UGC that can be useful for both B2B and B2C brands include client stories, product use cases, employee-generated content, product tutorials and contest submissions.

Seasonal posts don’t have to follow a pattern

The best brands make a key event or holiday campaign their specialty. Just as Spotify Wrapped has become a hit seasonal offering, Lazada’s annual birthday campaign has also become something that shoppers anticipate.

Campaigns centred around festivities and events (think the Lunar New Year, or Black Friday sales) are valuable even though they are predictable. Instead of just offering festive greetings or sweeping discounts every year, utilise your social media platform of choice to produce interactive content that engages your audience.

This could include creating simple games on Instagram Stories, hosting a Facebook or YouTube live video, or posting a TikTok video challenge.

While preparing for a big campaign is important, it is also vital that you leave wiggle room for other posts. Meltwater’s Social Media Management tool allows you to plan and publish your content on different social channels, identify gaps in your publishing schedule, and easily reorganise your posts all on a single platform. With this consolidated workflow, you can anticipate upcoming events and start planning for them ahead of time.

Social media can do so much more

Shares and likes aren’t all that social media platforms today have to offer. Lazada’s Facebook live event is proof that a good campaign doesn’t have to rely on ads alone, while the Instagram Egg post was made popular through another key Instagram feature — Instagram Stories.

Just as marketers strive to find new ways to engage their audiences, social media platforms are also finding new ways to make content creation better. In fact, these platforms and their innovations can help to make marketers’ jobs much easier.

Instagram, for example, has released a ‘create’ function on Instagram Stories, allowing users to easily create polls, questions, gifs or even simple drawing games from the app. Instagram’s integration with Spark AR Studio also means that brands can create unique Instagram filters for their audiences.

Facebook 360, powered by Oculus, allows brands to create immersive 360-degree photo or video experiences that can be liked and shared just like any other post.

Effective online campaigns are supplemented by offline initiatives

The success of Spotify Wrapped demonstrates the power of a comprehensive on and offline campaign. When implemented in tandem, both strategies serve to support each other and reinforce your campaign’s ideals. This can be especially important for B2B brands, where strong offline connections can demonstrate your sincerity and the value of your product.

Offline initiatives aren’t limited to print advertisements. Networking events, speaking opportunities, demos or consultations, trade shows, and online-to-offline experiences (in-store events, click-and-collect options) are all ways that brands can take their social media campaigns into the real world.

The mix of online and offline efforts, however, vary with each company. To find out the combination that works best for your brand, monitor key trends and happenings online to figure out your audience’s needs. For example, frequent requests for samples or product inquiries may indicate the need for a pop-up store.

To better keep track of online chatter, consider using Meltwater’s Media Intelligence tool. We provide you with a comprehensive view of conversations that impact your brand, products, and industry. With unlimited searches and full historical data from up to 15 months, you can access reviews, online news, articles from blogs and forums, and data from social media channels such as Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook. In addition, you can perform searches on-the-go with our mobile app. These insights will help you to better understand your brand health, market insights, competitor strategy, and audience needs.

What’s next?

There’s no doubt that social media marketing will continue to be a mainstay for marketers in 2020. With our rundown of what makes a great campaign stick, you too are ready to leverage the power of social media.

Meltwater’s Social tools are here to take your c.ampaign from A to B. Manage your social interactions across multiple channels, plan and publish your content, and obtain one-click reports to easily track how you’re doing. Social media marketing has never been easier.