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The Good, The Bad And The Ugly: Top 5 Social Media Success and Fails of 2013

It's January (a sarcastic "great" might be the response of many, but personally, I love the fresh new start) - Christmas is over, health kicks have started desperately trying to budge those pounds you gained over the festive season and you are probably slowly putting together your marketing plan for 2014. So, to get you started I thought I would round up some of the best and worst social media campaigns of 2013 to give you some ideas on how to, and how not to, create buzz via social media. So go on, take a ten minute break on this fine January morning and read some humorous, genius and heart-warming social media campaigns and some, to be honest, very silly mistakes of the social media teams - you may even learn something along the way!

The Good...

1. Tic Tac Toe

I heard about this particular engagement on Twitter whilst at Marketing Week earlier this year and thought it was great (and inspirational). It all began with chocolate lover and Twitter user Laura Ellen who one day tweeted the following:

“Can tell I like chocolate a bit too much when I'm following @KITKAT and @Oreo hahahahahah”

The response from the two marketing teams was fantastic and completely unexpected... Kit Kat initially playfully responded two days later challenging Oreo to a game of Tic-Tac-Toe.

“The fight for @Laura_ellenxx’s affection is on @orea your move #haveabreak”

Oreo politely declined with the following: “Sorry, @kitkat we couldn’t resist… #GiveOreaABreak”

3 lessons in one: Be humorous, engage with your followers and be playful with your competitors. This social media engagement demonstrated that no matter how famous and giant your brand is, your customers really matter. By engaging with Laura, Kit Kat and Oreo displayed to the world that their customers matter and they are listening to them. 

2. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches

I particularly like this one and if you haven’t watched the video, the link is just below. With statistics showing that only 4% of women describe themselves as beautiful. A criminal sketch artist was hired and drew pictures of women who he could not see via their own descriptions and then again of the same women via descriptions from strangers. The outcome was heart warming, beautifully filmed and targets each and every one of us. It instantly went viral across all social media channels  and since its release in April 2013, the shorter 3 minute version of the campaign has had more than 60 million views. What can you learn from this? Make something that makes people stop and think, be original and be personal. 


3.  #ShareaCoke

Just wow. This is one of the simplest and yet most effective marketing campaigns I have ever seen. Earlier this year Coca Cola introduced a colossal campaign whereby they printed common names on bottles and cans of coke, and if you couldn't find your name, you could buy a bottle that had "Friends" or "Family" printed on it. I would frequently walk into local super markets with hoards of people huddled around the Coca Cola bottles searching for names for themselves and for friends. And what do they do when they find one? They take a picture, post it across various social media channels and include hashtags – genius. And the results? 

  • Coke Facebook site increased by 870%, with page likes growing by 39%.
  • The hash tag #shareacoke was used 29,000 times on twitter by June 2013 alone
  • When a similar campaign was launched in Australia in 2011, youth consumption increases by 7% in the country 

I could never find a bottle of coke with my name on, but I saw the below instead.... my name on a billboard

The Bad… 

1. Paying For Promoted Tweets

Whilst doing my search for some social media fail gems, this particular one cropped up on several occasions. One way in which to make sure you increase the number of people who view your tweets is to pay a small fee to “promote” your tweet. One guy did just this…

Hasan Syed’s parents, following a flight from Chicago to Paris with BA, realised one of their bags didn’t turn up. Having had no response from the airline in two days, Syed bought a promoted tweet to get the attention of the airline’s customer services. Not only did Syed’s 400 followers see the tweet but, according to Time, 50,000 other twitter users saw his tweet also… but that’s not it… to further highlight how bad their customer services was… it took BA 8 hours to notice the tweet. 

What lessons can we learn from this? Although you shouldn’t be chained to the social media for your company or brand – please keep an eye on it. In this day and age, most of us have smart phones and you can very easily set up alerts so that if someone does post/ tweet something which could potentially have detrimental results to the face of your brand, you can engage in damage control sooner than later. Lesson learned BA?

And the Ugly…. 

1. The Horse Meat Scandal 

If you are UK based I am sure you will have heard about the Tesco horse meat scandal (up to a 1/3 of the meat in burgers was horse meat!!). Now… as if this wasn’t bad enough publicity, the following tweet was aired by one of the customer care team. Oops. 

“It’s sleepy time, so we’re off to the hit the hay! See you at 8am for more #TescoTweets”

What can you learn from this? Be careful about what you tweet - always think carefully about what you are saying and how it could appear to your followers. Do you trust the Junior members of your company/ social media teams to tweet for you? Remember, social media channels are how you as a brand connect to your customers so always be vigilant in your messages. 


I hope you have enjoyed the last installment of my social media tips, to read some of my other articles listed below, click on my picture: 

- How to create BUZZ around your brand using social media

- How to use Twitter, both for personal use and business

- How to utilise Facebook in increasing brand awareness and customers