Top Social Media Campaigns of 2019

We’re wrapping up 2019 and you know what that means—we’re ranking our top social media campaigns of the year. 

We know just how important social media is to your brand’s overall marketing strategy, which is why it’s important to reflect on what really works across different networks. And because social media channels are the primary way consumers determine what to buy, now is more important than ever to learn from the very best.

The following top social media campaigns will provide you with plenty of inspiration to help level up your social media strategy in 2020.

1. Dove: Project #ShowUs

In 2018, Dove launched their #RealBeauty campaign, which was successful in helping bring self-esteem into their marketing content. Though Dove’s global campaign has taken many forms since launching 16 years ago, it has morphed into a corporate mission.

This year, Dove continued their success with a brand new campaign called Project #ShowUS. According to their website, 70% of women still don’t feel represented in media and advertising. Dove partnered with Girlgaze, Getty Images, and women everywhere to create the world’s largest photo library created by women and non-binary individuals to shatter beauty stereotypes.

Today, with over 1,000,000 uses of the hashtag and 5,000 images in the photo library, Dove’s social media campaign demonstrated that brands can use online communities and forums to create positive and lasting changes for people globally.

2. Purple: Every Supermom Needs a Sidekick

In 2018, Purple posted revenue of $285.8 million, an increase of $88.9 million over 2017 revenues. There are a lot of factors that go into a successful company, but there’s no doubt that Purple’s social media strategy plays a role in their growth.

In 2019, Purple created the “Every Supermom Needs a Sidekick” social media campaign, which piggybacked off of their already massive video hit on YouTube. Purple, as with many brands in 2019, relies heavily on advertising campaigns to help ignite and fuel the popularity of their videos over a long period of time.

That’s not all. Purple has been working with partners like Facebook Creative and Agency Within to use data to better connect with consumers.

For example, Purple created a video series inspired by data that phone usage spikes on Sunday nights. It’s pure comedic gold from well-known influencers Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, as the Purple Boys, brainstorming on how to conquer the “Sunday Scaries”.

Over 12 weeks, the campaign received 8.5 million views, 35,000 shares, and 32,000 comments. 

3. Oreo: #GameOfCookies

One of the biggest media highlights of 2019 was the “Game of Thrones” finale and so it’s no surprise that tons of brands tried to hitch their wagon (a.k.a. newsjacking) to the excitement. But even with fans’ disappointment in the GoT finale, one brand garnered significant enough attention during the mania to stand out: Oreo.

Oreo’s #GameOfCookies reimagined the opening sequence of the show done entirely with cookies, becoming one of the most talked-about videos or commercials that Oreo has ever produced:

The 50-second video—which was also cut into a 15-second TV ad —was created to promote limited-edition “Thrones” packaging and has more than one million views on YouTube at the time this post was written.

4. Starbucks: #ExtraShotOfPride

Starbucks has a reputation for doing things differently than other companies, especially online.

And Pride Month is a busy time for millions of people on social media. In 2019, not many campaigns matched the impact of Starbucks’ #ExtraShotOfPride campaign.

They capitalized on this moment to not only show support for the LGBTQ community, but to engage with their own community as well. This helped to endear Starbucks’ already loyal community even further, showing support for a cause that is near and dear to their hearts. 

Brands, take note.

5: MoonPie: Twitter

MoonPie lit the Twitter world on fire throughout 2019 with non-stop, hysterical content that garnered media attention from just about every outlet. While we’re not featuring MoonPie for a single successful campaign, we did want to highlight just how powerful developing a unique brand voice can be for your business.

A key element of creating a successful Twitter presence and brand voice is inserting some personality into your tweeting. With only 280 characters per post, you have to give each Tweet as much creativity as possible.

MoonPie has this art down to a science:

What’s in Store for Top Social Media Campaigns 2020

As you tell from the content above, social media campaigns can ignite and evoke the interest of consumers and potential customers. Not only that, they can fundamentally change the way we engage with brands in the social space.

Only time will tell, but 2020 is sure to involve highly-charged, incredibly-creative, and groundbreaking social media campaigns led by some of the world’s top brands.

How to Use Instagram Hashtags Strategically

Meltwater recently hosted a webinar discussing Instagram strategies and how the algorithm sorts content. Included in that discussion was the strategic approach to Instagram hashtags to increase search results and conversions for your business. This blog post will outline that strategic approach to help you pick the right hashtags for your brand. Additionally, if you haven’t read our blog post on Understanding How Instagram Hashtags Work, make sure you check that out first. 

Picking the Right Hashtags for Your Business 

Many brands rely on popular or trending hashtags in hopes of being found. Or they slap up a slew of hashtags all about what they do but don’t think about what their customers are actually looking for. It’s important that you choose the right hashtags for your business to improve your chances of appearing in the searches your audience is actually looking at. 

Let’s consider the example of car insurance. If your company sells car insurance and you’re on Instagram posting #carinsurance #insurancebroker and the like, you’re NOT attracting your target audience. The reality is that no one is coming to Instagram to look for car insurance. They’ll use Google for that. So, the only people looking at those car insurance hashtags are other brokers – who are your competitors! Instead, you need to think about your target audience. Who are they? They’re people with cars. And people with cars are looking at things like #dreamcar or #newcar or #myfirstcar. And people buying their first car need car insurance! You can have your content out there, providing information, tips, and advice but use the hashtags they are more likely to be searching.

In contrast, if you’re a wedding photographer, the first place most brides to be will go look is Instagram. In that case, using #weddingphotographer is perfectly acceptable. But even then, that’s a global search result and chances are you only serve a local area as a photographer. It would be wise for you to add the city or state to your #weddingphotographer or #photography hashtags to appear in the searches your actual target customers are looking at. 

Additionally, you want to have your own branded hashtag for your business. It can be your business name, your slogan, or something you’re known for. But it should be something that no one else is actively using on Instagram. And you may decide to have more than one branded hashtag, one being your business name and the other being a slogan or catchphrase. Having two or three is perfectly acceptable. 

Where to Find the Right Hashtags

The best place to find hashtags for Instagram is Instagram. Go into the search tab (the magnifying glass icon in the bottom menu bar) and type in a hashtag or topic or phrase. Go to the “Tags” tab and you’ll see a listing of hashtags with that word or phrase, in addition to how many posts are associated with that hashtag. 

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This shows you the popularity of a hashtag and also provide recommendations for other similar ones you might want to use. Additionally, if you select any of those hashtags to review, there will be a list of recommended similar hashtags at the top of that screen to give you more suggestions of what to use. 

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These results are the most reliable because this is what is actually populating and being searched within Instagram. There are other options and third-party tools you can rely on as well. However, those often provide varied results as they factor in Twitter and other social media searches.

You can, of course, use Meltwater’s monitoring tool to review hashtags and determine which ones are best for you. In addition, you can use tools like Tagboard and Hashtagify for more insights and popular hashtag results. 

The Right Hashtag Recipe for Success 

Picking the right hashtags is only half the process. Now you need to know which ones to use in what format to increase your chances of ranking higher in the Top hashtag tab and getting found by more potential customers. 

This recipe for hashtags will help you to achieve this!

  1. Use at least 3-5 popular hashtags. These are hashtags that have 500,000 to a million posts associated with them. I don’t recommend using hashtags with more than a million results as they usually only attract spam bots and fake engagement.
  2. Use at least 3-5 moderately popular hashtags. These are hashtags with high tens of thousands of posts up to the mid hundreds of thousands.
  3. Use at least 3-5 niche specific hashtags. These are hashtags with usually less than 25,000 posts associated with them and that are specifically targeted to what your business does and the solution or product you offer. 
  4. Use 1-3 branded hashtags.

Why does this work? Once you post to Instagram, your followers start seeing your content and interacting with it. The algorithm is making note of this. In addition, hashtags allow you to get found by non-followers. The popular hashtags get you an initial burst of activity immediately after posting. But your content will dissolve into the archives quickly. The moderately popular hashtags you used will keep your content active for hours or days. And the algorithm is tracking this too. As both followers and non-followers interact with your content, the algorithm ranks your content higher, and in those niche specific hashtags (and even possibly the more popular ones), your content will rank as a top performing post (regardless of how many likes you have) and your content will appear in top placements on that Top tab for that hashtag result. This allows more people to find you and the exact solution you offer to them. 

This results in more engagement on your content, more followers on your account, more traffic to your website, and more sales for your business!

And that is how you use Instagram hashtags effectively and strategically. You want to hit all of these components of choosing the right hashtags for your business and audience as well as combining the right mix of hashtag popularity to increase your results. 

How the Enterprise Is Shifting Toward Corporate Social Responsibility and What It Means for Comms

In August 2019, one of the most influential business organizations in the world, the Business Roundtable, released a new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation. The Roundtable has periodically released such documents since 1978, serving as a kind of corporate compass for generations now. But, this newest release really turned heads.

The statement reads, “While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders.” The organization laid out its commitment to customers and employees. It strongly advocated ethical and fair treatment of suppliers and support of communities, along with shareholder value.

Previously, the Business Roundtable had mainly emphasized supporting shareholders. The shift in emphasis from shareholders to stakeholders is being felt throughout the corporate world. Simply put, it means companies will concentrate more on CSR going forward.

Why Businesses Need to Embrace Corporate Social Responsibility

While the Roundtable’s announcement has generated plenty of debate, the idea of embracing CSR and stakeholder marketing is supported by research. A 2017 study by Cone Communications found that the American public puts high value on corporate social responsibility at big companies. In fact, 78% of survey respondents wanted companies to address social justice issues. 63% said they hoped American businesses will drive social and environmental change where government regulation lacks. 

4 Ways Businesses Can Incorporate CSR into Comms and Marketing

A company that wants to improve its social responsibility efforts may choose to focus on a number of different activities and approaches:

1. Make Sure the World Knows You Care and Help

Corporations can embrace social philanthropy by making strategic donations to causes. It’s best for executives to find a nonprofit that aligns with company priorities. ties. Donate a percentage of your profits to the charity organization, hold an employee volunteer day, or sponsor joint events. Make sure the world learns about these efforts.

2. Make Changes to Your Products

It’s important for companies to focus on their own products or services. If a business takes the time to evaluate, rework, or make the product more socially responsible, that creates a valuable marketing opportunity. These changes could be anything from relocating production to a more ecofriendly factory, or changing policies to better support workers who provide your business’ daily services. They will also be viewed as an even deeper commitment to change that philanthropy.

3. Support Employees

Adopting practices and programs that support employees demonstrates an understanding and prioritizing of social responsibility. Given the high cost of college, loan forgiveness or college education contribution programs are a tremendous way to invest in employees. Starbucks is well-known for being one of only a few large companies that offers health insurance to part-time employees. Then make the most of employee brand ambassadors in your marketing.

4. Go Local

It’s easy to get swept up in the idea of grand changes on a national level. However, great opportunities to contribute to the local community exist too. Rather than donating to a national nonprofit, a business could do better to supply nearby schools or community centers with products, volunteer hours, or donation money, for example. This generates plenty of marketing opportunities.

3 Companies to Look to for Inspiration 

1. Johnson & Johnson

CEOs and other executives are already coming out of the woodwork to laud their companies’ work in this area. Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky posted a response to the Business Roundtable’s statement, identifying ways Johnson & Johnson already embraces the stakeholder approach through its business operations and marketing. He posted a link to the company’s credo, which emphasizes responsibility to customers and employees. It only highlights responsibility toward shareholders at the very end of the credo. 

2. BlackRock

Investment management corporation BlackRock is also embracing the importance of CSR in its marketing. Chairman and CEO Larry Fink, drew attention to the link between a company’s purpose and profits in his 2019 letter to CEOs. BlackRock, which works mainly in the B2B sector, called on CEOs to lead by make positive changes through causes like helping employees navigate retirement. 

3. Patagonia

Outdoor apparel and gear manufacturer Patagonia has also become a standout company for its public support of important causes. While its branding has always focused on preserving the environment, CEO Rose Marcario announced the company would donate the $10 million it saved as a result of President Trump’s 2018 tax cuts to environmental protection groups. Such a significant public action solidified the company’s reputation for genuine dedication to that cause.

CSR: The Future of Marketing and Business

The world of business and marketing is changing, and the Business Roundtable’s latest statement reflects those trends. With an increased emphasis on corporate social responsibility, businesses can truly give more attention to the people and communities that rely on them, and not just their stock price or investors. Shifting these priorities will help companies develop long-term, genuine support from audiences and ensure future profitability.

To learn how to make the most of CSR opportunities when communicating with the media, read our ebook on the latest best practices in media relations.

Top 5 PR Campaigns of 2019

As PR pros look back on 2019, there’s a lot to study—but which brands stood out with their public relations campaigns, making a big splash both on social and in traditional media?

Here we look at five of the best.

The Top PR Campaigns of 

1. Miller Lite: With the launch of its “Cantroller” at the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) event in Los Angeles last June, Miller Lite scored a plethora of earned media.

The Cantroller, a 12-ounce can of beer that doubles as a working video game controller, was developed to engage the 40% of gamers who drink beer while they play. “The Cantroller is Bluetooth-enabled, contains a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for a three-hour charge, offers haptic feedback and, importantly, can be refrigerated,” says Marketing Dive.

Miller Lite furthered the reach by partnering with comedian and gamer Eric Andre to connect with his 1.7 million Instagram followers. Attendees who qualified could battle Andre to win one of the coveted Cantrollers. The event was streamed live on Miller Lite’s Twitch channel, which it had also just launched.

The brand scored a major win with this well-planned, multi-channel effort.


2. Country Time Lemonade: What’s more wholesome than a neighborhood lemonade stand? So imagine being fined for operating one. Turns out, the stands are legal in just 14 states. Country Time decided to do something to help out all those budding entrepreneurs by launching Country Time Legal-Ade.

The effort helps kids stay open for business by covering the cost of a permit or a fine, up to $300. In addition, Country Time encouraged political activism, urging parents to contact their state representatives to ask that the laws be repealed. The brand offered downloadable yard signs to help further support the cause.

The creativity of this effort earned Country Time media coverage in everything from mainstream media to legal blogs.

3. Taco Bell: Taco Bell garners a top spot in this year’s list. When it rolled out its The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel & Resort in Palm Springs, California, last June, reservations sold out in less than two minutes.

Taking advantage of the experiential space, Taco Bell catered to its biggest fans when it refurbished an entire hotel to create a destination. The brand worked for two years on the project, which was also a hit on Instagram. 400 people from 21 states stayed at the hotel during the four days it was open.

“Online, the campaign generated 4.4 billion impressions and more than 5,000 articles from news outlets,” said Jennifer Arnoldt​, senior director of retail management at Taco Bell.

4. Barbie: The Barbie brand had quite a year. From the launch of its line of dolls with disabilities, to its “Totally Throwback Tour” which is traveling around the U.S. through 2022,  to its Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse, which you can actually stay in via Airbnb, the 60-year-old icon was in the news throughout 2019. There’s even a Barbie film in the works, slated to star Margot Robbie.

Again, Instagram factors heavily into Mattel’s efforts to promote Barbie, who has more than 1.5 million followers there.


5. Chobani: Known for its employee-friendly policies, Chobani also does a lot for the community. This year, when the company paid more than half of the $77,000 student lunch debt at Warwick Public School in Rhode Island, it made news once again for its philanthropic efforts.

“Chobani has done extensive work beyond its corporate walls by working in areas such as LGBTQ rights, championing the causes of refugees and immigrants, doing community service near its offices and factories and giving paid parental leave to new parents. It has been recognized for four years in a row by Great Place to Work[ii].”

What Can PR Pros Learn From 2019’s Top Campaigns?

  • Use a multi-channel approach. Most of the year’s top efforts involved social media in addition to traditional earned media strategies.
  • Factor experiences into your PR campaigns. This is an area that’s ripe for innovation.
  • Don’t forget about the power of doing good. Charitable and community-focused initiatives played a role in some of the best campaigns this year.
  • Keep in mind that to achieve strong results, planning and time are a factor.

Also, take a moment to make sure you’re prepared to capture the ROI of your campaigns. For everything you need to know about PR and social media KPIs and reporting, read our ebook.

Streaming Services: A Showdown

It’s a showdown alright…of streaming services that is. Who was the top-performing platform this year? In order for us to find out, we searched to find out the affinities behind the top players. 

Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Sling, HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, Apple TV+, CBS All Access…are all key services in this face-off. Some took the title for top players and some are new players—we broke it down a little more to get a full picture of the details. 

  • The new guys? Apple TV+ and Disney+
  • Most talked about show on social? Stranger Things…is this a surprise?
  • YouTube takes the win for most costly per month. Do customers find value? 
  • Drumroll for the overall top streaming platform…Netflix for the win!

Are you surprised by any of these stats? Look out for the new players in 2020: HBOmax, peacock, and Quibi.