Lime’s team has been looking out for the best examples of social media campaigns for the first six months of the year (so you don’t have to!)
We’ve found the best half dozen from the first six months. Unless, of course, you know better…..
JANUARY – GREGGS ON A ROLL
In what is traditionally a dismal week for retailers, Greggs launched their vegan sausage roll in January.
It was a perfect example of how to hitch a social media campaign to boosting your profits.
Over the festive period, the company had sent journalists sausage roll iPhone cases and Greggs’ Christmas jumpers.
And when one journalist in particular – a certain Piers Morgan – complained on Twitter that “Nobody was waiting for a vegan bloody sausage, you PC-ravaged fools,” their success was assured. Greggs’ response bordered on genius: “Oh hello, Piers, we’ve been expecting you.” That summed up perfectly the Greggs’ approach to social media – sort of friendly, but confident and robust.
The whole campaign attracted huge headlines (did anyone not see it??), it displayed humour, sparking a debate about whether a vegan product could actually be called a sausage roll, and well, it was just there. It didn’t try to preach or encourage people to become vegan, it was just what it was.
Oh, and of course, sales went through the roof.
FEBRUARY – OH BABY, MOTHERCARE GET IT RIGHT FOR MUMS
Body consciousness can be a difficult topic to raise anywhere, let alone in an online campaign
But Mothercare found an innovative way of dealing with it through their #BodyProudMums initiative.
It focused on the post-pregnancy bodies of new mums and the challenging expectations that social media can set them as a group. Mothercare wanted to “celebrate the beauty of the post-birth body”, seeking to start a conversation and help mothers feel proud of how they look.
They opted for a visual platform (Instagram) and worked closely with ten real life mums, who told their stories as part of the campaign. The social activity was backed by links with charities to offer parental advice, and even Baby On Board badges in partnership with Transport for London.
Mothercare was on the receiving end of much praise for highlighting the pressure that mums felt under to “get back into shape” – turning the focus to the joy of motherhood rather than how we look.
And central to that was the belief that all mums are beautiful, and their bodies perform miracles. And we can all agree with that, right?
MARCH – CHARITY NOSE BEST HOW TO RAISE FUNDS
We’re all familiar with the work of Comic Relief, which in itself presents a problem (for Comic Relief, that is).
In promoting their activities, many charities commonly go down the adverts route, either online, on billboards or in print.
But for this year’s Red Nose Day, Comic Relief clearly felt that social media should be an integral part of the campaign. Which is why they hatched “We Need Each Other More Than Ever.” The ad was shown on mainstream TV channels, but really gained traction on social media.
At its heart was a video featuring a grandad (the actor Peter Mullan), left by his daughter to look after her baby. He’s seen making tea, while in the background a radio plays a news story about Britain being divided (ring any bells?) and he tells the little one: “You’ve arrived at an interesting time.”
A 30-second life lesson follows, after which we learn that Comic Relief has raised £1.2billion over the past 30 years.
The message is clear – the people of the UK have always given to charitable causes, even during turbulent times, and its rallying call is for people to focus on that characteristic to boost the cause. Simple, heart-rending and effective, and ideal across social platforms.
APRIL – PRIMARK PULLS IN THE PUNTERS
When Primark opened its 187th UK shop (which just happened to be the biggest in the world) in April, it was hailed nationwide – and nowhere more so than on social media. A classic example of how to generate noise and interest in something that’s….erm….a shop, Primark anticipated there would be huge interest online. And they were right.
While the company was quick to push product and innovation – a blow dry bar, a Disney-themed café – its channels also had a heavy focus on ethics.
Limited use of plastics in the new Birmingham flagship store, water coolers throughout, a range of sustainable clothing, even recycling bins for your old clothes – all were highlighted on Twitter in the run-up to launch, which proved to be one of the most anticipated events of the year in the city.
The chain was giving shoppers what they needed – and their social media impressed across a range of platforms. All of which means Primark can use social to drive shoppers into store – which of course, they have to do as they can’t buy online.
Not a bad advertisement for a store with 14 million followers, many of whom are online advocates for the brand.
MAY – CHARITY SHOWS CAT’S THE WAY TO DO IT
The relationship between men and their cats may not be the most obvious subject matter for a social media campaign – but the leading feline welfare charity Cats Protection saw something in it.
They asked people to Tweet stories, videos and photos to Cats Protection using the hashtag #CatMenDo.
A great example of how encouraging user-generated content as a means for an organisation to get people involved, informed and engaged, #CatMenDo was a hit from the start, with the charity’s very first Tweet gaining a lot of traction across the UK.
It soon became apparent that men don’t need to be asked twice to tell the world their cat or kitten is their very best feline friend.
The gallery of photos on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook quickly gathered momentum. And the charity backed up the campaign with entertaining blogs – Six Reasons Why Men Should Own a Cat being a great example. A handful of male celebrities spilling the beans on why they were proud to be ‘Cat Dads’ did no harm either.
There was some lovely creative thinking too (a charity always needs a fund-raiser), such as a range of Happy #CatDad Day greetings cards. All in all, a cracking cat campaign, focusing on an unusual take on why men love their moggies.
JUNE – JUST LOVING THE WAY HIT TV SHOW DOES IT
Who doesn’t love a bit of Love Island? OK not everyone, but you’ve got to hand it to them when it comes to social media. The team handling their various platforms know their stuff – and clearly know their audience too.
By creating colourful squares of summer fun on their Instagram page, they give viewers a form of escapism from the dull UK summer. The casual use of words like ‘swipe’ (knowing that the people they’re aiming at will probably be familiar with the world of dating apps), or a willingness to poke fun and say what everyone is thinking about the islanders sums up their sure-footed, but not cocky, approach. This helps enormously when it comes to building anticipation, a key aspect of what they are trying to achieve given that the audience already understands the format. In short, they need to be teased with something else, and the Love Island social team offer a masterclass in TV teasing.
They repeatedly post during the show itself – when the ad breaks kick in the viewer will reach for their phone to begin scrolling and the first thing they see is from the very show they’re glued to. Everyone has an opinion on the show and social media basically comes together as a group chat for the nation, as memes and tweets go viral about the islanders. Celebrities join the conversation with the likes of Adele, Liam Gallagher, and Stormzy all being known to put in their two pennies’ worth! The wittiest posts are often referenced on the show during group challenges. It’s like Love Island’s way of thanking the social media community for making them the hottest topic every summer.
Does it all work? Oh yes – just look at the numbers of followers to see how well.