Social media campaigns are the rocket fuel of your marketing efforts: a concentrated burst of energy that pays off in a major boost to your brand reputation, awareness or sales.

Looking for inspiration for your next social media campaign? We’ve gathered a selection of the best social media campaigns in recent memory to show you how it’s done.

Bonus: Download a free social media campaign template to help you plan your next goal-crushing campaign of any size or budget. Assign responsibilities, set timelines, list deliverables, and more!

What is a social media campaign?

A social media campaign reinforces or assists your social media marketing plan. It’s a series of coordinated actions that are intended to fulfil the goals set forth in your overall strategy.

A social media campaign will feature specific outcomes that can be tracked and measured over a specific period of time (e.g., one month). It should be more concentrated and targeted than your “business as usual” social media content.

Your campaign can be limited to a single network, or take place across multiple social media platforms. Often it will have a specific theme, such as “Black Friday” or “Fashion week.”

7 inspirational social media campaigns

Looking for inspiration for your next social media campaign? We’ve gathered a selection of the best social media campaigns in recent memory to show you how it’s done.

Getty Museum Challenge

Platforms used: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

What Getty Museum did: In the height of the lockdown, Los Angeles’ Getty Museum challenged the public to share homespun recreations of its various artworks… and the public responded in droves with homages both hilarious and impressive.

As images came in, Getty shared them side-by-side with the original artwork. The posts showcased Getty’s warmth and sense of humor, but also quietly showcased the impressive variety and scope of its collection. During a time where there wasn’t much to report on social, user-generated content kept the content calendar full (not to mention it cost nothing and made fans happy in the process).

Why it worked: The barrier to participate was dead simple. “Choose your favorite artwork, find three things lying around your house, recreate the artwork with those items. And share with us,” tweeted the official Getty Museum account. There was no prize, no time limit, no parameters: this was just a playful challenge to art fans that ultimately cultivated joy and community in a dark time.

The Museum offered a few examples to get the ball rolling, and the submissions started pouring in from there.

What you can learn: Creativity comes from constraint. By offering followers a simple-yet-structured way to showcase their fandom (and stave off quarantine boredom), Getty sparked inspiration for thousands of pieces of content. What kind of IP or inspiration can you offer up your followers to play around with or riff on?

Save The Music’s #musicsaves

Platform used: TikTok

What Save the Music did: Save the Music Foundation is an American non-profit that provides public school kids in need with music education. Its #musicsaves campaign was intended to raise awareness of the importance and impact music can have on mental health, as well as draw attention to the foundation itself.

Partnering with TikTok, Save the Music got a #musicsaves hashtag on the Featured Hashtags list, which helped encourage people to use the tag to share their own musical stories. On an app like TikTok, where music is king, the audience was well positioned to soak up the emotional tales of the power of song (and usually some hot tracks, too). The campaign garnered 229 million views.

When people used the #musicsaves hashtag, it also activated TikTok’s then-new Donate sticker to tap into the audience for fundraising.

TikTok Music saves hashtag donate option

Why it worked: There are two unshakable truths that combine here: people love talking about themselves, and personal stories are a powerful force in fundraising in general. Opening up the ability for anyone on TikTok to share how music had impacted them allowed Save the Music to spread its message even further than it might with a more formal campaign.

@chloeflower

Help my friends @savethemusic by tapping the sticker to donate! And spread the word MusicSaves! #SavetheMusic #chloeflower #flowerthroughconcrete

♬ Flower Through Concrete – Chloe Flower

What you can learn: Uplifting personal stories don’t just give your brand something to post about: they build a feel-good relationship with your followers and fan bases. The #musicsaves campaign allowed anyone to position themselves as an ambassador for a worthy cause. If your brand is a non-profit or charity, or even if you have a values-based marketing strategy or social-impact goals, invite your followers to get involved in advocacy, too.

Cadbury’s #justaskanAus

Platforms: Instagram Stories

What Cadbury did: The Cadbury UK team built a street-level billboard in London with a seat for an Australian person to sit on in front of the text, “It’s amazing, just ask this Aussie.” But while this ad campaign was obviously a fun physical stunt for passersby to experience, the social media layer of the campaign was important, too: followers could ask questions of the Aussie using the Questions sticker, via Instagram Stories.

While it wasn’t necessarily an Instagram Live video, the constant updates about this stunt over the course of a single day gave the campaign a feeling of immediacy. (Though it lives on in Cadbury’s highlight reel.)

Cadbury UK Just Ask An Aussie Instagram highlight reel

Why it worked: Even for those who couldn’t harass this dangling chocolate fan in person, Stories still offered a way to participate and get in on the gag, and the videos of the Aussie responding created even more content for the Cadbury UK account to share.

This blending of the “real” world and social created a sense of slight urgency—who knows how long this person is going to be sitting on the billboard answering questions?!—that prompted users to engage.

What you can learn: There’s something kind of magical about blending the world of social media with real-world events, like the platform is a window into another world. What stunt or special event could act as a content generator for your brand?

Athlete’s Foot’s Katch the Kayanos campaign

Platform: TikTok

What did Athlete’s Foot do? The global retailer (which specializes in athletic shoes) went beyond a typical shoe giveaway to create a virtual race on TikTok. Teaming up with creator Sarah Magusara, Athlete’s Foot created a series of targeted ads.

@user037048

Win a pair of ASICS Gel-Kayano 28. Scroll to catch @sarahmagusara

♬ original sound – theathletesfootaunz

TikTokers would see Sarah running in a pair of slick new ASICS Gel-Kayano 28s and be invited to “race” her through the For You page to the finish line. By continuing to scroll, users would see additional ads of Sarah running and learn more about the shoe. Those who made it to the final ad in the “story” could enter to win a pair of the sneakers themselves.

As TikTok itself explains, “As people moved through their For You Feeds, the advertising placements acted as signposts with different In-Feed Ads encouraging the community to continue to scroll to race to the finish line. A lucky few in the community who got to the final ad placement then had the chance to win a pair of new ASICS Gel-Kayano 28s.”

Why it worked: The sequential storytelling piqued TikTok user’s curiosity, and the treasure-hunt aspect of “finding” Sarah in your For You feed is almost irresistible. The Katch the Kayanos campaign wound up with 8.5 million impressions and a 5% engagement rate.

What you can learn: Paid social campaigns can be just as creative and fun as organic ones, and gamification is one great way to catch the attention of new potential followers.

Oreo’s #oreoscope

Platform: Twitter

What Oreo did: Tapping into the current obsession with horoscopes and star signs, the cookie brand offered to analyze fan’s most recent tweets and share a personalized “Oreoscope” with insights about their personality — and how it connected to one of the brand’s products, naturally.

Why it worked: People love personalized content: if the smash success of Spotify Wrapped each year isn’t proof enough for you, we don’t know what is. And while there are obviously a set number of “Oreoscopes” out there, receiving your own personal diagnosis from the brand still feels a little special and inspires users to share the results to help their own followers understand them a little better.

The beauty of personalized results (whether it’s from some sort of data analysis, or from the results of a quiz) is that even when you get it dead wrong, that still gives fans an opportunity to talk about themselves… and your products in the process.

Bonus: Download a free social media campaign template to help you plan your next goal-crushing campaign of any size or budget. Assign responsibilities, set timelines, list deliverables, and more!

Get the template now!

What you can learn: You’ll have a much higher share rate when you offer followers a chance to say something about themselves. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need a big AI program or some supercomputer crunching Tweets or Spotify listens. Even a collection of memes about your product that tie into different star signs or age groups or life experiences can present your fans with the opportunity to go “that is so me.”

Weetabix and Heinz collaboration

Platform: Twitter

What Weetabix did: The high-fiber cereal trolled a nation with an oddball collaboration with Heinz beans back in February 2021.

Simply by posting a perplexing photo of beans on its bran cakes and suggesting that this, um, unusual combination was a good idea, the brand sparked a massive conversation and slew of reactions, garnering over 36K retweets, 68K quote tweets and 131K likes in the process.

Why it worked: What’s funny about this photo in particular is how normal it is, shot like any other photo of a balanced breakfast and accompanied by earnest-seeming text. “Why should bread have all the fun, when there’s Weetabix?” the tweet asks innocently. Some people (and tons of brands!) saw the joke right away and weighed in with their own cheeky commentary, but others assumed it was a genuine pairing suggestion and couldn’t resist reacting with outrage.

TikTok users even started making videos of themselves trying the pairing suggestion.

What you can learn: First off: straight up lying to your audience is probably not a great business move. But if you run a brand account that can appropriately use a little bit of playful humor, there’s a lot of fun to be had with throwing out a comedic offer to your followers.

Not only will a weirdo image like this one stand out from the crowd in the newsfeed, it’ll get conversation going. Would that taste good? Is that actually crazy? Are they joking or is this serious? An image or post that sparks curiosity is also going to spark conversation.

Zalando’s #styledayfriday

Platforms: Instagram and TikTok

What Zalando did: When Covid hit and many people were stuck at home or no longer going into the office, loungewear sales jumped up as most fashion-y pieces (read: clothes with “buttons” and “waistbands”) dropped dramatically. European fashion brand Zalando tried to combat the plummet by promoting a weekly, get-dolled-up challenge among its followers: turn Casual Friday into Style Day Friday.

The weekly event offered themes, challenges (like “Matchy Monochrome” or “Flower Power”) and live content, promoted via Zalando employees, established fashion influencers and active #styledayfriday participants (who were rewarded with a promotion to the “Zquad” and featured on the Zalando social channels).

Why it worked: During a dark time, the challenge gave Zalando fans a chance to connect with community, and reconnect with their love of fashion. Seeing other people’s outfits flood in each week offered inspiration and the chance for some playful oneupsmanship. (You call that a crop top?! I’ll show you!)

@irinahp

flower power 🌸#styledayfriday #tiktokvienna #viennagirl #vienna #outfitchallenge @zalando

♬ Originalton – Irina

Followers flooded Zalando’s channels with comments like “Good occasion to get dressed!” and “Thank you for the joy you brought my fridays!”, showcasing the positive impact that the campaign had. All in all, #styledayfriday doubled Zalando’s engagement and quadrupled the brand’s follower growth; the weekly content reached more than 182 million users.

What you can learn: Tying a campaign to a specific recurring time period (in this case, once a week) makes an event out of it: something for fans to look forward to, or even plan for. Providing a weekly challenge layered in a sense of urgency, too: if you wanted to participate, it was now or never.

@levinhotho

Today is StyledayFriday! Get your favourite Flower Power Outfit and share it with me – maybe you’ll win a 200€ @zalando Gift Card! *Anzeige

♬ original sound – Levin

Social media campaign template

Feeling inspired? Ready to get started with your own social media campaign? We’ve got a template ready to help you hit the ground running.

Bonus: Download a free social media campaign template to help you plan your next goal-crushing campaign of any size or budget. Assign responsibilities, set timelines, list deliverables, and more!

Use Hootsuite to manage your next social media campaign. From a single dashboard you can schedule and publish posts across networks, engage the audience, and measure results. Try it free today.

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With files from Michelle Cyca.

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