Social media is a really crazy space. It’s difficult to predict what the next trend will be and what will capture the attention of thousands when planning social campaigns, but we have a trick for making it a bit easier. Looking back over past viral social media campaigns will give you insight into what clicks with a modern audience and give your social media planning a stronger foundation. This week we’re having a look back on 3 viral social media campaigns that caught all of our attention, and we’ll take a closer look at what we can learn from them.
If you have a social media account, we are pretty sure you’ll have encountered the Spotify ‘Wrapped’ campaign at one point or another.
Towards the end of every year, Spotify run this campaign to give users an overview of their music habits that year. That includes things like their most listened to artist or how many times they played a particular song.
How successful is this social media campaign? “In 2020, Spotify Wrapped was responsible for increasing Spotify’s mobile app downloads by 21% in the first week of December.” (Moengage.com) So in short, this campaign proved to be one of Spotify’s most successful social media marketing strategies yet. But what is it about Spotify Wrapped that clicked with their audience so well?
One reason is simply because it is content that people really want to share. The Spotify Wrapped campaign offers users completely unique and personal content that piques their interest. Not only is the content really interesting, the bright and bold graphics make it eye-catching and pleasing to look at. By teaming this with an easy-to-share social content format, you had the perfect storm of interesting content that was super easy to share and looked great on everybody’s social media pages.
Another branch of this campaign that adds to its momentum is its saturation across other platforms at the same time users are being pushed notifications to check out their own Spotify Wrapped. Spotify make their campaign stronger with paid advertisements (the copy often being unusual stats generated from other users), and also produce content related to how users can learn more about their music habits with Spotify Wrapped. This has even sparked other websites to create content around ways you can share your Spotify Wrapped!
You most likely already know the campaign we’re talking about, and that’s testament to the amazing achievements of the Shot on Iphone campaign.
The ‘Shot on Iphone’ campaign started off as an invitation to Apple’s audience to share the best photographs they’d captured using their Iphone. Then the photos could be judged and if they were good enough, you’d be in with a chance of having your work up on billboards and across Apple’s other marketing platforms. A relatively simple idea, but this campaign has turned into a sensational viral campaign. The ‘Shot on Iphone’ copy is no longer just something in ad creatives, it is something understood and accepted by Iphone users as a way to showcase the incredible quality photographs that the Iphone camera gives you access to right in your pocket. Apple have adopted the Shot on Iphone campaign to advertise their latest models functionality and most recently, their pet photography shots are to showcase the professional effect Portrait Lighting offers.
This campaign is genius since it not only advertises the quality of the camera on Iphone but it also encourages a mass amount of user-generated content that is shared across social media. A quick search for #shotoniphone via instagram alone brings you back 21.6 million posts.
When it comes to the graphic design on this campaign, it really is as simple as brilliant quality images teamed with powerful and understandable messaging. Often Apple will use shots that evoke some kind of emotional reaction in the viewer (like adorable pets for example) and use the simple #ShotOnIphone messaging to portray both the idea that this is an image created by an actual Iphone user, and that you can join the conversation via social media.
This year we’ve already seen some viral social media campaigns introduced, one of which being the recent Weetabix and Baked Beans combo social campaign. Unlike the last two viral social media campaigns we’ve looked at it, Weetabix created insanely bizarre graphics for social media that shocked their audience into sharing. And it worked… really, amazingly well.
— Weetabix (@weetabix) February 9, 2021
This campaign was not accompanied by any paid advertisements and in February had “more than 133k likes, 106k re-tweets, and 22k comments.” (Power House) It even achieved a trending hashtag, and caused a wave of reactions by the likes of Nandos, West Yorkshire Police, Pfizer UK, Tinder, Specsavers and Morrisons.
Even though this is criminal, please don’t ring us to report it.
— West Yorkshire Police (@WestYorksPolice) February 9, 2021
In all of the examples of viral social media campaigns above, there’s a few common lessons that we can apply when planning out social media content strategy.
In each of the above examples, high quality images and design elements played a part in catching the users attention. Spotify used bright and visually engaging contrasting colours, Apple stick strictly to brand fonts and premium quality imagery and Weetabix used a juxtaposition in their design that commanded attention from their audience. Making graphic design a priority is clearly no longer just an idea, it has to be a reality if you want your social campaigns to stand out in a sea of lower quality social posts.
When planning a killer social media content strategy, you need to think about how easy it will be for users to interact with the content. Take for example Weetabix. Weetabix wanted to start a conversation, and so they chose Twitter as the platform on which to share their content. This was absolutely the right choice as can be seen by the thousands of retweets, shares and brand reactions. On the other hand, Shot on Iphone is shared using a hashtag on a Instagram, a platform made for image sharing. By doing that, Apple made it easier for users to get involved with the campaign. What do we learn? When planning a social media campaign, you need to also consider how easy it will be for users to interact with that content and to achieve your desired goal whether that be engagement by likes or by starting a conversation. From there, carefully select the right content formats (like how Spotify Wrapped created beautiful story graphics) on the right platform.
Building on the momentum created by a strong social media campaign through the power of paid advertising and supporting social content is a great method to boost your results even further. Apple use Shot On Iphone content throughout formats like billboards and Spotify Wrapped create how-to articles, so whichever way you choose to reflect your social media campaign throughout the rest of your content strategy – it’s a great practice to consider.
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