Social Media Campaigns: What Makes a Home Run?

While preparing course materials for the new social media campaign class that I’m teaching at SFSU College of Extended Learning, I had the pleasure of revisiting several great campaigns from the past year or so: Old Spice Guy and Old Spice Guy Responses, Live Off Groupon, DEWmocracy, and MTV/Foursquare’s GYT to name a few.

What do these campaigns have in common? They’re:

  • Unique
  • Human
  • Interactive
  • True to brand
  • Multichannel (social and traditional)

Imitation May Be the Sincerest Form of Flattery—But Going Viral Isn’t Likely

It’s good to study and learn from great campaigns, but use them for inspiration vs. a blueprint for designing your own. Remember, these campaigns succeeded because they were unique and the organization stayed true to their brand.

Think about your audience, your brand, your goals—and let your creativity flow. Old Spice is a great example. Personally, dare I say, I thought the first video silly when I saw it at the movies (good decision on Old Spice’s part to show it there, too). BUT, I no longer thought of Old Spice as just for my grandpa. And because it was different and entertaining, it got people talking about Old Spice.

Can we learn from Old Spice? Definitely. Are there best practices to take away from this and employ in your own campaigns? Sure. Mashable does a nice job of outlining the lessons learned and best practices employed by Old Spice imitators:

  • Interact with consumers
  • Leverage influencers
  • Revitalize brand image
  • Make your brand shareable

Five Sure Ways to Strikeout with Your Social Media Campaign

Audi’s 2011 Super Bowl campaign had all the makings of a home run. It was unique, interactive, true to brand (but looking to change things up), multichannel, and human. But—and that’s a big BUT—they mucked up the follow-through.

We should be thankful for campaigns that do this occasionally, because the lessons learned are often more beneficial than the ones garnered from home runs.

So what did Audi’s campaign teach us?

  • It ain’t over ‘til it’s over—don’t forget the follow-through
  • Be transparent—always
  • Respond
  • Be fluid not rigid in your implementation
  • Own up to your mistakes

Ryan Kawailani Ozawa on Hawaii Blog analyzes Audi’s campaign in detail in “Audi’s Social Media Fail.”

What do you think? Did Audi tank? Did Old Spice kick butt? What defines success? As Jeremy Scott writes, “viral success does not equal money.”