7 of the Best Social Media Marketing Examples in 2020

a woman using her phone to take a photo of pastries
a woman using her phone to take a photo of pastries

Every day, more than 4.1 billion people use social media. Social media has arguably never been more important than it is right now for brands, but many brands need some guidance on what, when and how-to posts. That's why looking at social media marketing example can be helpful to brands when formulating their social media strategy.

As marketers, we're more than aware of the massive potential. Social media marketing offers brands the opportunity to connect with global audiences, build a memorable brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. 

But it takes a lot more than just posting content to social media to be successful. Brands need a winning strategy to stand out, including unique creative, relevant targeting, and effective advertising.

That's where we can help. We've gathered examples of posts, tweets and videos from brands that can inspire your social media strategy.

For more social media marketing examples and advice on how to run a social media program, download our Social Media Playbook. So before you hit the “post” button on Instagram, we recommend taking the time to read through our tips.

The Most Successful Social Media Marketing Posts in 2020

1. Zoom - Virtual Background Contest

Why it works: Zoom leveraged the power of a contest and giveaway to drive engagement across their social media channels.

The world has gone online in 2020. Virtual meetings with coworkers, family, and friends are a part of everyday life. Many brands have focused their social media marketing campaigns on addressing this huge virtual shift head-on. 

Video conferencing tool Zoom was looking to increase brand awareness, while simultaneously driving new users to install their product. Both of these goals were achieved by their innovative Virtual Background contest and giveaway.

Zoom asked their community to share a picture or video using its virtual background feature. Every month three winning entries are awarded branded items as prizes, which are announced on their social channels.

For brands looking to host their own contest, it all starts with setting ambitious goals. Do you want to reach more potential customers? Increase social media engagement? Drive more sales?

Decide on a goal that contributes to your wider business strategy, then decide what your goal is worth to you and create a budget that fits. Finally, make sure that the prize is worth people's time and encourage them to share with their network.

2. Planters - The Death of Mr. Peanut (#RIPPeanut)

Why it works: Planters took a risk by playing off of the popularity of a movie icon while utilizing satirical, never-before-seen content to bring forward a 114-year-old brand.

In perhaps the most unique social media marketing stunt of 2020, Planters said goodbye to their beloved Mr. Peanut. The #RIPPeanut campaign was inspired by the internet’s response to the death of Iron Man. It aimed to repeat the same level of engagement on social media that Tony Stark’s death caused in Avengers. The video originally aired during the Super Bowl and was an instant success:

Road Trip | Planters | 2020 Big Game Commercial

Mike Pierantozzi from VaynerMedia told Vulture, “We did the unthinkable: we created a social marketing program and an idea where Mr. Peanut dies, and dies specifically sacrificing himself for his friends, which has always been a tenet of who he is and what he does — he always puts others first."

The results of the #RIPPeanut campaign are staggering:

  • The Tweet garnered nearly 50,000 Retweets
  • The hashtag has been used more than 1.5 million times across social platforms
  • The YouTube video now has more than 7 million total views

But it didn't stop there. Planters followed the success of #RIPPeanut with a new #BabyNut campaign, already capturing the hearts and attention of millions of followers.

3. Dawn - #PassTheCrown

Why it works: Dove has been creating unforgettable social media marketing campaigns for more than 20 years. Every single campaign is built around its core values of inclusivity, natural beauty, and positive body image.

Dove’s latest marketing campaign is called #PassTheCrown. Dove believes that everyone should be able to embrace their natural hair without judgement. Dove teamed up with National Urban League, Color of Change, and Western Centre to end race-based hair discrimination in the U.S.

After the brand discovered that 70% of women don’t feel represented in media and advertising, Dove started a campaign to tell the stories of real women, with real stories. Dove's ask? That we all engage and take immediate action and help us create a more inclusive world.

As a marketer, B2B, or B2C brand, the ultimate goal is to grow an audience of loyal followers and micro-influencers around the world that can swing into action whenever called upon. Perhaps no brand is a better example of that than Dove.

4. Apple - #ShotOniPhone

Why it works: Apple found a way to activate their community and showcase its products all in one brilliant marketing campaign called #ShotOniPhone.

One social strategy that has been proven to increase awareness on social media is utilizing user-generated content, or UGC, to showcase your products.

In fact, 75% of people feel user-generated content makes a brand more authentic. And 90% of consumers reported that UGC has more influence over their decision-making process than search engine results. 

The #ShotOniPhone Apple marketing campaign leverages several different marketing tactics, such as online and offline advertisements, and has produced some staggering results.

The hashtag has been used more than 16 million times on Instagram alone. This is incredible brand exposure that Apple hasn’t had to pay for directly. 

UGC is a cost-effective and persuasive source of content that brands will need to help build trust, increase revenue, and encourage stronger relationships with customers.

5. Coors Light - #CouldUseABeer

Why it works: Coors Light deeply understood that their audience was looking for positive messaging during challenging times and created a social media giveaway that was hard to ignore.

This year has brought some memorable social campaigns from top brands. Coors Light's #CouldUseABeer was a bright spot in what was a challenging April.

"Let's face it - right now America #CouldUseABeer". That's the straightforward message behind Coors Light's hit social media campaign. The brand offered a six-pack to anyone who used the hashtag #CouldUseABeer in a pinned Tweet until they handed out a whopping 500,000 beers. Cheers to that!

In this social media marketing example, the timing was everything for the Coors Light team. Coors Light offered the perfect social content at the perfect time - leveraging their authentic band voice and empathizing deeply with their target audience. Marketing at the right time, to the right people, in the right places, with the right messages is critical.

6. Starbucks - #WhatsYourName

Why it works: People around the world are becoming more and more wary of inauthentic brands and content on social media. Starbucks created a relatable, inclusive campaign that touched the hearts of millions.

In February 2020, Starbucks collaborated with Mermaids - an organization that supports gender-diverse and transgender youth - on a campaign titled #WhatsYourName. The goal of the campaign was to celebrate and welcome every customer's name. It was inspired by the real-life experiences of people who were transitioning.

Starbucks LGBT+ Channel 4 Diversity Award 2019 | Every name’s a story (Extended Version)

The Starbucks campaign requested that users post content with the hashtag #WhatsYourName hashtag. Starbucks then shared this user-generated content across multiple social media channels, significantly improving engagement rates. They also used the content generated as an integral part of their advertising and marketing strategy on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Starbucks is a mission-driven company and they let that mission shine in this social media campaign. Brands that let their mission guide their social media strategy will almost always end up with more authentic, engaging content.

7. HelloBC - #ExploreBCLater

Why it works: HelloBC is known for its incredible visual content across social media. The #ExploreBCLater campaign highlighted much of that engaging content, while also presenting HelloBC as a socially responsible brand.

2020 brought the travel industry to a near stand-still. Many of the top destinations in British Columbia have been asking travellers to put their trip plans on hold until COVID-19 has passed. This marketing idea sparked HelloBC's top-notch social media campaign called #ExploreBCLater.

The Hello BC #ExploreBCLater campaign was a highly effective way to use the lockdown to their advantage by connecting on a personal level with their community. Through posts on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Twitter, the tourism organization capitalized on the wanderlust that comes from being stuck indoors. 

This cross-channel campaign helped to heighten awareness of the organization's social responsibility while also giving their fans something to look forward to when life returns to normal. The analytics showed that #ExploreBCLater received more than 500,000 engagements in a matter of months.

Wrapping Up: Successful Social Media Marketing Examples 2020

The above social media marketing examples demonstrate that social media is a great way to promote your brand, engage your target audience, and, ultimately, boost sales.

Whether it's through user-generated content, a hashtag, beautiful imagery, or authentic engagement, there is a group of people out there waiting to interact with your brand.

You just need to give people a reason.