Increasing Engagement: IKEA Creates A Website On Instagram

There are brands that follow the norm, and there are brands that go beyond the norm. And then there are brands, only a few of them albeit, which don’t even consider the much-travelled-path of being ‘norm’. They disrupt, they transform, and they set templates for new norms.

While companies across the world are still trying to figure out ways in which they can use Instagram to engage with their consumers, Ikea has gone ahead and created world’s first inter-linked website on Instagram. Yes, you read that correctly – a website on Instagram!

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The ‘website’ has been created by the Russian division of Ikea on the brand’s latest Instagram account dedicated to its PS 2014 collection. The inspiration behind Ikea PS 2014 is \”in the moment\”, as the collection has been specifically created for the young, urban folks, who owing to their versatile and fast-changing lifestyle are constantly on the move, living in cramped spaces, and frequently changing cities and apartments. The collection offers a range of lightweight and portable items with multifunctional design.

So why is Ikea calling this Instagram account a ‘website’?

The PS 2014 Instagram account acts as the homepage of this ‘website’. It has 12 posts around the categories of benches, tables, storage, light, textiles, and ideas and all these posts have tags that take you to sub-categories. For instance, the post on ‘tables’ has tags of ‘ps_laptop _station’, ‘ps_storage_table’, ps_bureau, ps_f_table, ps_table, and ‘ps_side_table’. Clicking on any of these tags takes you to a separate Instagram account dedicated to that sub-category. This structure allows the user to seamlessly move from one collection to another, giving the feel of a website.

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The ‘website’ went live in June and already has more than 21,500 followers. To those who thought Instagram was only about nostalgic filters and selfies, there is inspiration to be taken from Ikea. Here is a quick look at some of the things they got right, and some others they could have done better.

3 Things Ikea Did Right

Hit The Sweet Spot With The Target Audience

Ikea is a mass brand. From students, and the newly wed to the middle-aged and those in their twilight years, everyone can find value in the simplicity, and elegance of Ikea furniture. The challenge of a mass brand however is to constantly reiterate its relevance to its distinct users. Since PS 2014 collection is all about young people on the move, the Instagram App proved to be the right platform to engage with this target group.

Built A ‘First’

The word first has a charm because nothing can ever replace what it represents. In the fast-moving world of social media, firsts are a rarity. To have the vision, and inclination to build a first is in itself commendable, and Ikea gets full points for doing so.

They\’ve Got Their PR Right

Would anyone have taken notice if Ikea had promoted PS 2014 Instagram account as just another brand Instagram page? Probably not. But the moment they said they had created a website on Instagram people were all ears. Using a catchphrase such as ‘first Instagram website’ – even though it was not the right one to use – got Ikea the required PR buzz.

3 Things Ikea Could Have Done Better

Not Used The Word ‘Website’

As important as it is to use a catchphrase to draw attention, it’s even more important to use the right one. The PS 2014 Instagram page is not a website. To begin with it does not work efficiently on a browser and was designed for people specifically using the Instagram App from their mobile phones. By calling it a website, Ikea has probably stretched facts, and taken a little bit of a risk.

Given Greater Opportunity For User Participation

The PS 2014 Instagram account is like a catalogue. It works very well for those who are interested in browsing the different categories and want to check out various products that are a part of the collection. Even though Ikea has invited people to share photos of their collections by tagging @ikea_ps_2014, the catalogue structure gives very little opportunity for users to participate in and interact with the content.

Focused More On The Product

The Instagram account dedicated to the sub-category gives a link to the designer\’s bio in the information box. While this displays great respect for the designers, it doesn’t help the user, who at this point might want to go to the product’s description page on the Ikea website.

Ikea_cornerchair

 

There is a lesson to be learnt from Ikea here. The Ikea Instagram \’website\’ is not an innovation. It is also not an outstanding example of increasing engagement or brand storytelling. It\’s merely an idea.  But what makes it a winner is its attempt to use Instagram in the form it exists to create a completely new concept for free.

7 Ways To Achieve Direct Response Marketing

Online marketing can go in millions of different directions, but the one marketers seem to stick with the most is direct response marketing.

This type of marketing inspires an immediate response from consumers. You might want more people to sign up for your e-newsletters, attend your webinars or simply buy something from you. With this type of marketing, you can easily judge the success of your efforts based on the level of response.

There are two basic approaches to this type of marketing: the one-shot and the campaign. Both have the ability to deliver good results and drive up your profits, but different companies will find different uses for each approach.

The one-shot is a narrowly targeted ad, email, postcard or letter that urges consumers to act, almost always to buy. Marketers first find a problem that their product or service will solve and then work tirelessly to define the target audience so they can be sure their ad is going to the right people. Once they have a problem and target carved out, marketers create a strong ad to put in front of consumers.

The campaign approach begins like the one-shot, with a strong marketing ad. However, the goal is different. With the campaign, you don’t need to sell products and services right away. Instead, you want people to join your mailing and emailing lists so you can send them frequent updates, newsletters and coupons, which encourages purchasing over a period of time.

Lead

So now that you know what direct response marketing is, let’s take a look at seven awesome direct response strategies that will help your profits grow.

Begin With A Story

One of the best ways to put a consumer into the right frame of mind for your product or service is to open with a story or narrative. You’ll often see this in infomercial ads that feature people confronted by a problem who use a product or service to solve a problem.

Life Alert, the medical alert system with the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” slogan illustrates this strategy. This ad includes a testimonial from a concerned daughter who wants to be sure that her elderly mother, who lives alone, is safe. The alert system has a button on a lanyard that can be worn around the mother’s neck. If she falls and can’t get to the phone, she presses the button, which calls for an ambulance.

Life

A story gives readers something to connect with. They can relate to the situation and will feel the need to solve the problem similar to the person in the ad. This story reaches out to all sons and daughters with elderly relatives who live alone and offers peace of mind.

Become An Expert In Attention-Interest-Action

John Caples, one of the leading names in the history of advertising, swore by the research-based approach, what he called “scientific advertising.” With this in mind, he developed the Attention-Interest-Action (AIA) plan, the three-step process to creating a knock-out ad. Here’s what it means:

  • Attention: Get the audience’s attention and fast!
  • Interest: Keep that attention and further pique it.
  • Action: Present them with a valid reason to act and tell them how to do it.

Caples always placed great emphasis on the action part and deemed any campaign that failed to deliver actions as a dud, no matter how cool and creative it looked.

Define The Ultimate Appeal

When someone is purchasing a product or service, what is the one thing about the product or service that is the most appealing? Maybe a woman buys a designer skirt to appear more professional to her peers. A student might buy a laptop that suits all of his gaming needs.

Dior

Your goal is to determine the most appealing aspect of your product and push that into the faces of your potential consumers. A good marketer will appeal to the human emotions that are timeless and shared by nearly all consumers. Try some of these:

  • Make more/save money
  • Prestige
  • Better health
  • Bring comfort (both physical and emotional)
  • Reduce fat
  • Banish worrying thoughts

There are many more, but these appeals are considered most common. Luxury car dealers want to appeal to a buyer’s sense of prestige, showing them how their cars will bring drivers prestige. Diet pills and exercise equipment sellers like to show before-and-after pictures of people who have lost weight and body fat by using either a diet pill or exercising on a certain machine.

Message, Not Medium

Have you ever seen a commercial that made you laugh, but you can’t remember what they were actually selling? Or have you ever stared too long admiring an image, but completely forgot to look at what the image was supposed to sell?

These are examples of mediums overtaking the message. Though a funny ad or a striking image can instantly capture a person’s attention, it can also overpower the ad and cause viewers to completely miss the message.

The trick is to harmonise the message with the medium. Keep the Attention aspect of AIA interesting, but not too interesting that your viewers never make it past the medium. Keep typeface simple and don’t let the colours overtake the ad. Let it all work together to showcase your message.

Offer An Incentive

Companies like Steve Madden and ModCloth use two-step direct response campaign when they offer discounts to consumers just for signing up for emails. Consumers agree to receive updates and are given a small coupon to entice them to buy. Once they see the product and are satisfied with it, they’ll be more apt to buy from the company again.

ModCloth

Software service and other types of services like to offer free-trials to encourage people to sign up. After trying the product, consumers will be better convinced to purchase a subscription or an ongoing service.

If you’re worried about getting people to the site in the first place, remember that you can advertise these incentives online and in print ads. Include your website address so people know where to find you.

Try AdWords

When it comes to direct response, nothing is more direct than Google AdWords. This pay-per-click service allows you to target certain keywords. When someone types in those keywords, banner ads will appear alongside the search results. They’ll even appear on Google’s partnership websites.

You’ll know you’re getting your name into the hands of people who are actively searching for your product or service. You also won’t pay until someone clicks the ad to your site.

There are a few different types of ads to try:

  • Offer that incentive mentioned above: “Sign up for get 15% off your first purchase.”
  • Make a bold, yet true statement or warning: “Don’t buy this without reading this first.”
  • Pose a question: “Thinking about remodelling your kitchen?”

Test Everything in Direct Response Marketing

And when you’re done, test it again.

Think for a minute about Coca Cola’s current ad campaign. Is it the same campaign they ran last year? Five years ago? Absolutely not. Coca Cola knows that its market is constantly changing and the only way to know if you’re reaching them is to test your websites, headlines, ad copies and images again and again.

Coca

Take advantage of free programs like Google Analytics and Pingdom to monitor your website and sales progress. Test different markets until you see a definite upturn in your sales.

In short, direct response marketing is something of an art form. With the right components, you can create something memorable that will stick with viewers long after they’re put down the ad or closed their email.

Hashtag Woes: Lessons From The Ice Challenge

Hashtags – the little bookmarks of the internet are also one of the most exploited tools in social media campaigns. Brands use these all the time to promote themselves and get their campaigns trending. However, every once in a while, this strategy can backfire leading to really confusing situation for the brand as well as the brand\’s followers. We have picked one such incident where two very different social media campaigns used the exact same hashtag for promotion leading to an ocean of confused fans and of course a few hearty laughs.

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The hashtag in limelight for all the wrong reasons is Ice Challenge. It was chosen to promote two very different types of causes. The first one was used with the intention of creating awareness about breast cancer and the second one by Moet & Chandon was for their Sea & White photo contest – both of which used #icechallenge as their main hashtag. So you might imagine the plight of the marketers as well as fans when both the campaigns went live. Those searching for pictures of yachts and champagne ended up looking at hundreds of people taking pictures of themselves taking an ice cold shower.

Moet & Chandon

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The campaign from Moet & Chandon was a typical social media photo contest where the fans were asked to share images that best illustrated their theme for the month of July which was Sea & White. Moet & Chandon asked their fans to share these images with #IceChallenge and this is where everything went wrong. The marketers failed to check and verify if the hashtag was already in use. As a result, a well planned campaign goes down the drain and the brand gets ridiculed for poor execution. Basically, the marketers at Moet & Chandon have to wade their way through a tsunami of online reputation management. This is perhaps the reason why they have also included #moeticechallenge as a hashtag to be used for the contest but not before vigorously promoting #IceChallenge.

Lessons to be learnt

  1. Always do your homework before launching a social media campaign. It is always the finer details that make a huge difference (in this case the poor research and hashtag selection).
  2. Double check your homework. Even if you have planned a campaign, it doesn\’t hurt to go over it once more before launching it does it?
  3. Be quick to rectify your mistakes. Okay mistakes do happen we are after all just human. Not rectifying your mistake is something that is not forgivable especially when an impending disaster threatens to ruin you completely. So if you find yourself in a similar situation, be quick with the damage control. Nobody will hold an apology against you.

Cancer Awareness Drive

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Driving awareness for the cause of cancer is a very noble cause. From giving away donations in exchange for motor boats from girls to dumping a bucket of icy cold water on yourself, the internet is not short of downright bizarre campaigns aimed at spreading awareness. The #IceChallenge is one of the many such bizarre awareness drives. It is hard to understand how dumping a buckets of icy cold water on yourself can help drive any form of awareness towards breast cancer which has resulted in the campaign being ridiculed widely on social media at its lack of sense.

you would think a campaign that focuses on cancer awareness and fundraising would actually mention cancer #IceChallenge

— Catherine Hume (@cathume83) July 15, 2014

#IceChallenge just wasn\’t complete until parents started gettin their Toddlers & Infants to do it aye……Fux sakes…

— TheBlackSheep.com (@LivinOffTheGrid) July 10, 2014

When designing a campaign always make something meaningful. If it is about cancer, don\’t leave out cancer from the cause even if you think getting completely drenched in cold water is a lot of fun.

The Importance of Social User Experience Design

User experience design enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty by making your campaign website or social site easier and more enjoyable to use. This design allows you to gauge how consumers will react to your social and digital marketing campaigns once they are live, followed by an analysis of their behaviors.

These are main aspects of UX:

Visual Design

Visual design represents the aesthetics or look-and-feel of the front end of any user interface. Put simply; how your website looks.

The purpose of visual design is to use visual elements like colours, images, and symbols to convey a message to its audience. The design must enhance the user’s experience of your website. Bold colours must highlight priorities like \’call to action\’ buttons rather than adding background images that hinder the user\’s experience.

Information Architecture

The IA is the model that structures the information of your website or social site. The IA makes the campaign content easily navigable so that users can find the most useful content for them.

Structuring, Organizing and Labelling

Structuring is reducing information to its basic building units and then relating them to each other. Organisation involve grouping these units in a distinctive and meaningful manner.

Human-Computer Interaction

Human-Computer Interaction is the main contributor to user experience design because of its emphasis on human performance rather than mere usability. User experience cannot be manufactured or designed; it has to be incorporated in the design. Understanding the user\’s emotional quotient plays a key role while designing User Experience.

Cancer Research UK and User Testing

At Cancer Research UK, we gather HCI information from User testing sessions. User testing aims to test aspects of your site that are new or need improving.

We run user testing sessions once a week to test the website with volunteers who match the correct personas. For instance, we would test a sports event campaign with volunteers and supporters with an interest in sport. A cancer information page would be tested with patients or medical professionals.

Our user testing takes place in a user testing lab. The user sits in one room with a computer or device linked up and mirrored by a computer on the other side. There is also a double sided mirror whereby the UX team can watch the user reaction to the website and how they complete the tasks which are asked of them. You may think that this sounds like a CSI investigation but it is an excellent way to gauge HCI.

Stand Up To Cancer

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Last week Cancer Research UK launched Stand Up To Cancer, an excellent campaign which sees the charity collaborating with the UK’s television Channel 4. The campaign, which started in America, encourages celebrities and the world to ‘stand up’ and show their support for Cancer Research UK.

I was involved in the initial UX ideation for the campaign. It was important to see the campaign with a fresh perception, abandoning the previous non-responsive site. We wanted a way to display the campaign content in a clean design, as well as incorporating the cool, fun sub-brand that Stand Up To Cancer is.

At each stage in the design and each agile sprint, we would take the site to user testing to ensure that aspects we saw as a priority were clearly defined as most important to the customer. For instance, the key goals for us were to fundraise for the campaign and to sign up to the March on Cancer; the main collective activity. Once the user could easily and happily complete these objectives, we knew the design was looking good.

Typically the outputs from our user testing sessions are:

  • Site Audit (usability study of existing assets)
  • Flows and Navigation Maps
  • User Stories or Scenarios
  • Defined User Segmentations and Personas
  • Site Maps and Content Inventory
  • Wireframes (screen blueprints or storyboards)
  • Prototypes (Interactive blueprints)
  • Written specifications (describing the behaviour or design)
  • Graphic mockups (Precise visual of the expected end result)

Implementing UX For Your Brand

a) Advertise on your social networks for user testing volunteers

b) Hire a UX lab (if you can). If you can\’t, simple guerrilla testing and watching whether a user complete a task can be equally as effective.

c) Create a report of your findings E.g. \”The user was unable to sign up for an event because they couldn\’t find the relevant page and therefore couldn\’t fill in the relevant sign up form.\”

d) Make informed UX decisions based on how many users found your design or content difficult to understand. E.g. \”Most users were unaware that the label \’say something\’ means share with your social networks. Action: change to social media icons and the wording \’Share on social\’\”.

Overall, UX may seem like a laborious process but it is necessary. It means that in the long term you will save money on your campaign design because you\’re appealing to the right user personas and that your website design and content compliment your company and what you\’re trying to promote.

Benefits of UX:

  • Avoiding unnecessary features and campaign spend
  • Simplifying design documentation
  • Improving the usability of the campaign
  • Incorporating business and marketing goals while protecting the customerr\’s freedom of choice

Introduce UX into your business. Align your social site with learnings from your website (as much as you can) for the same look and feel on all your platforms. By investing in UX, your campaigns will be more customer driven and in turn more successful.

#LastSelfie: WWF’s Brilliant Snapchat Campaign

 

Social media has become the medium where brands have made it their word of mouth. The latest app, Snapchat developed by Evan Spiegel and Jonathan May, carved way for an engaging campaign created by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) called the #LastSelfie.

#LastSelfie

Snapchat is popular for its photo and video sharing features with a specialty of setting a time limit for the viewing of the same by the sender to the recipient, ranging from 1 to 10 seconds. WWF used SnapChat by sharing ‘selfies’ of many endangered animals such as tigers, polar bears, dolphins and others under the hashtag #LastSelfie. These images lasted for 10 seconds and before they disappeared, users had to either share, donate or adopt the animal or help in any other way which they could. These images cannot be saved and are clicked from real life moments creating emotional impact  in the minds of the viewers.

The idea behind the campaign is simple – the animals are conveying a message to their viewers which says “Don’t let this be my last selfie”. 

In an interview with Click Z, WWF’s communications officer Tugba Ugur said, “Since Snapchat has a limited display of images, you have to take a screenshot in order to save the #LastSelfie. At this point, we ask and expect the images to be shared on Twitter with their quotes.”

Quotes from the campaign includes: “Better take a screenshot. This could be my #LastSelfie” and “In 6 seconds, I’ll be gone forever, but you can still save my kind.”

“The emphasis of this new campaign is to underline that if we don’t take action in real life, these species will disappear for real,” Ugur shared.

The WWF campaign #LastSelfie managed to achieve a donation sufficient for one month in a span of three days. The company made this possible by tapping the core of social media tools. What were the key points that WWF made sure to adopt to make its mark can be understood as below.

1. Creating an Impact

The campaign’s main highlight was to create an awareness among the minds of viewers that these animals needed help or they would go extinct. For this, the company used Snapchat’s photo sharing feature where in real life images of these animals were shared and which disappeared within 10 seconds, post which the image cannot be saved implying on the fact that if we do not act soon enough, they are going to go!

Image

2. Factual Accounts

The campaign ensured that it was true to its words and stated facts about the animals. They gave real life images and videos as examples with an option for the viewer to either share the post on twitter or snapchat, donate or adopt the animal for its well being.

3. Call To Action

Snapchat’s time limit feature was a boon in disguise to the campaign as it literally displayed what the core of the campaign dealt with., that is, act soon enough or it will disappear! The images were viewable for only 10 seconds within which the viewers had to act. Taking an all new spin in the selfie category, pervasive marketing was used to embed the feeling of loss and fleeting urgency if not acted soon enough. There are variant images and videos of animals shared, but all of them hold the same tagline.

Creating

Creating a feeling of urgency with the catchy tagline!

4. Going With What’s Trending

The campaign aimed at capitalizing on the popularity of selfies prevalent in today’s social front. It introduced ‘selfies’ of endangered animals quoting this could be my #LastSelfie”. This kept in tune with the minds of the viewers and made an impact based on what is currently trending in the social marketplace.

5. Emotional Quotient

EQ forms the most prominent tab that holds the first position in the checklist of things to consider before creating a social media campaign. Creating an impact on the emotional sphere in the minds of the viewers is essential and this has been taken care of very well.

6. Choosing The Right Medium

The Snapchat’s disappearing feature adds to the tagline of the campaign #LastSelfie. It creates a notion of urgency which is actually the aim behind the campaign itself – The urgency to act before time laps!

The outcome is definitely the success of the campaign. there are many draw backs to Snapchat as a tool, some like limiting sharing of the picture or video, time limit, inability to save or refer back to the images shred, no archives. These all can contribute to major failure in a campaign. But the nature of the WWF’s campaign was to enable a feeling of urgency and impact that if not acted soon enough these animals would be extinct, it blended beautifully with the features of the tool. The otherwise drawbacks of Snapchat became just what the meaning of the campaign was! In short, it seemed to be a tool tailor made for the campaign #LastSelfie, enhancing every meaning behind the tag line “This could be my last selfie!”

 

If you are looking for a campaign tracking tool that can track hashtag campaigns like this campaign, across multiple social media platforms, look no further than 20/Twenty.

3 Best Pinterest Campaigns From Big Brands

Think of the best social media campaigns by brands. Think again. Make a quick mental list. Stop.

Chances are that a Pinterest campaign did not make that list. It’s not surprising. Despite tremendous and meteoric rise, this four-year-old visual communication social platform has not managed to strongly resonate with social media managers. Brands that have a huge visual element such as apparel, cosmetics, and food have still managed to leverage on Pinterest. However, for others it has been an uphill task.

After looking at 5 best Vines, Instagram, and Twitter campaigns, we decided to explore 3 best Pinterest campaigns that not only were successful, but also taught other brands a thing or two about how to rock Pinterest.

Honda #Pintermission

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The Honda #Pintermission campaign hits the nail on the head when it comes to conceptualizing a Pinterest campaign. Honda used this campaign to introduce Honda CRV on Pinterest. The campaign was simple and low cost. Honda reached out to five most influential pinners, and asked them to take a 24 hour break from Pinterest to go out and do things they had been pinning about. The brand gave each of them $500 for taking the Pintermission.

Honda was promoting CRV as a vehicle of choice for the young. The car stood for fun, freedom and exploration. By asking pinners to go out and explore the things they had been pinning about, Honda managed to communicate the underlying brand message.

Honda created a personalized board for all five pinners on which they could upload photos of their Pintermission. The pinners also created Pintermission boards on their pages, giving Honda exposure to their network as well. For just $2500, 4.5 million people got exposed to Pintermission, which produced 5000 re-pins and 2000 likes.

Kotex Woman’s Inspiration Day

What are the odds that a sanitary tampon and pad maker will be able to pull off one of the best ever Pinterest campaigns? Kotex Woman’s Inspiration Day campaign demonstrates that even a company with obvious limitations in visual communication can create brilliant Pinterest campaigns.

For this campaign, Kotex especially chose Pinterest because of its large women user base. The aim of the campaign was to celebrate individuality and uniqueness of each woman.

The campaign involved identifying 50 most inspirational women based on their pins. Kotex went through the pins of these 50 women to figure out what inspired them. The brand then created customized virtual gifts for each of these 50 women based on their interests as reflected in the pins. The women who pinned the virtual gift, got the real gift delivered at their doorstep. All 50 women pinned something about their virtual gifts with a majority sharing something about it on their other social networks as well. The result: 50 customized gift boxes got the brand 694,853 total impressions.

MasterCard #AcceptanceMatters

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MasterCard is no stranger to outstanding communication. The brand that uses the iconic tagline “There are some things money can\’t buy. For everything else there\’s MasterCard.” has succeeded in establishing a deep emotional connect with the user in the otherwise staid and harsh financial services industry.

In 2013, the brand came up with a Pinterest focussed campaign called #AcceptanceMatters. The campaign drove home the message of MasterCard being the most accepted credit card globally. However, MasterCard extended the message of ‘acceptance’ to different kinds of people as well, linking it to NYC Pride Parade and gay rights. For the campaign the brand shared inspirational quotes and words around acceptance on Pinterest, and partnered with influential pinners to spread the content. Simple, yet effective.

MasterCard chose Pinterest as the social platform for this campaign as it felt Pinterest was “a place where messages of love, encouragement, and acceptance were commonly shared”. At the beginning of the campaign, MasterCard had zero followers on Pinterest. But in just 9 weeks the campaign received 24.5 million potential impressions, more than 13,000 re-pins, and 171 followers.

Why These Pinterest Campaigns Make The Cut

When Pinterest joined the social media bandwagon, brands started working aggressively to broadcast the most appealing, beautiful, and colourful visual communication without much thought to the larger aim of such a communication.  Some brands saw it as an extension of Facebook and Twitter, which are quite different from Pinterest because of their focus on conversations, and people-to-people connections. The unfortunate fallout of this was dull and ineffective Pinterest engagement. Honda, Kotex, and MasterCard broke the stereotype by understanding the pulse of Pinterest as a platform that thrived on aspiration (Honda Pintermission), inspiration (Kotext Woman’s Inspiration Day), and community sentiment (MasterCard AcceptanceMatters). The other common thread between these three campaigns was the outreach to influential pinners in order to build the brand on Pinterest. But in the end it was an understanding of Pinterest’s strength and reach, as well as evaluation of its distinctness from other social platforms that did the trick for these brands.

5 Best Twitter Campaigns From Big Brands

August 2007, and the Twitter account @MrMessina have played an important role in shaping the internet as we know it today. Yes I\’m talking about the very first use of hashtags on the internet. Ever since then, these tiny little markers of the internet have spread like wildfire across almost every single social platform and play a massive role in helping social media marketers to analyze and plan campaigns that go viral and begin trending instantly.

After exploring 5 Best Vines and 5 Best Instagram campaigns, we decided to shift our focus on Twitter campaigns. This list explores some of the most creative and highly engaging campaigns on Twitter over the past 1 year and what we can take away from each campaign.

#ShareTheSofa – Heineken

Being one of the major sponsors of club soccer\’s greatest league – the UEFA Champions League, Heineken decide they need to make the most of this opportunity even on Twitter by launching the #ShareTheSofa campaign. Beer and sofas are two of the most common things you could perhaps associate a soccer fan with. Heineken made use of this opportunity and helped soccer fans interact with some of the greatest soccer champions.

@Heineken What do you think would have been Ancelotti\’s half time message? #ShareTheSofa

— British GQ (@BritishGQ) May 24, 2014

The month long campaign included interviews from several soccer stars and Heineken even gave select fans an opportunity to literally share a sofa with the legends of the soccer world. It is a well known fact that over 70% of the soccer fans watch the matches alone with their smart devices and UEFA is among the top 3 most tweeted sporting events in the world. Despite this, most brands haven\’t been able to leverage the statistics in their campaigns until #ShareTheSofa.

#LetsEatTogether – CocaCola

Live tweets can be a boon as well as a bane at the same time. As a result, marketers usually try to avoid live tweets in their campaigns as much as possible. However, CocaCola is not one among those brands. CocaCola has been responsible for some of the most amazing ad campaigns and they have proved it again with their #LetsEatTogether campaign that began in Romania.

The campaign focused over he fact that over 60% of the Romanians eat alone in front of the TV or while staring at their mobile devices. This gave way to one of the most creative Twitter and TV ad campaigns. CocaCola asked Romanians to invite people over to dinner with their tweets. During the commercial, CocaCola would feature some of these tweets after editing them. The result was that people actually started waiting for the commercial to come on. Now how often does one get to see that happen? If this wasn\’t enough, many of the local celebrities, started tweeting, a chef came on board and the ad was even featured on news giving CocaCola a lifetimes coverage.

Subsequently, the campaign was spread to other parts of the world as well!

#LetsEatTogether with Coca-Cola #Pakistan http://t.co/l1Ks4hci2n pic.twitter.com/AIJm1SDCc7

— Brandsynario (@brandsynario) February 26, 2014

Dunk in the Dark – Oreo

When anyone talks about social media campaigns, you simply can\’t leave out Oreo. The sandwich cookie maker is by far one of the most innovative brands online. Their campaigns are quite creative and very original.

Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC

— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013

The SuperBowl is one of the most watched event across the U.S. As a result, every brand demonstrates their best and the most creative ads during the commercial. The contest is so intense that everyone wait eagerly even for the commercials. However, the last SuperBowl witnessed a blackout. Something most brands would scoff at but not Oreo. They decided to make the best of the situation and the result is a tweet that was talked about long after the event. They not only got the creative up in minutes but were able to capitalize on something like the blackout despite having a powerful strategy in place.

@Tweetacoffee – Starbucks

Last holiday, Starbucks came up with a brilliant campaign in line with the spirit of giving that would soon give them a massive ROI. Last October, Starcucks launched the Tweetacoffee campaign that allowed users to buy their friends coffee by linking their credit cards to the Starbucks account and the Starbucks account to their Twitter account. Once you have done this, all you need to do is mention @Tweetacoffee and your friends Twitter handle on the same tweet. Starbucks would then give your friend a free coffee from you.

Now sharing the gift of @Starbucks is as easy as sending a Tweet. http://t.co/UNbkcjRX1s

— Tweetacoffee (@Tweetacoffee) October 28, 2013

According to Keyhole, an independent research firm, the whole campaign generated as much as $180,000 in revenue to Starbucks which is quite a huge sum considering that the investment behind the campaign was very minimal. This study also revealed that about 32% of the coffees were purchased on the first day of the campaign and as many as 34% of Starbucks followers on Twitter used the service to buy coffee.

#SFBatKid – Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation

While sharing a sofa with a celebrity, eating with your family or even sending coffee to your friends is sweet, what takes the icing on the cake when it comes to the best Twitter campaign so far is possible #SFBatKid. The campaign was initiated by the Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation in November 2013. The campaign has won the Shorty Awards for the best Twitter campaign and is considered to be one of the best campaigns ever created not only because it went viral soon after it was launched but also because of the fact that the whole campaign was created and executed in less than 24 hours. The whole promotion began only a week before the actual event took place and yet it was a global phenomenon.

Thank you #SFBatKid. You were the true Hero of #SFGOpeningDay pic.twitter.com/RwGQbweZ9B

— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) April 9, 2014

The #SFBatKid became a massive success thanks to the clever narrative and story telling that backed the campaign.

To end with, the most important lesson we could perhaps learn from some of the best Twitter campaigns is perhaps the fact that these campaigns did not become a massive success on their own. In many cases, it was cross channeling of media that really worked for the brands. At the same time, these brands make sure that they time their campaigns to perfection and nothing explains this better than the “Dunk in the Dark” tweet from Oreo. At times even a single tweet could propel your brand to the heights of glory but what everyone needs to take away from here is the fact that timing and cross channeling are certainly something that every brand needs to endorse a lot more in 2014.

QUIT\’s Creative Vine Campaign For World No Tobacco Day

Quit is a non-profit organization that aims to deter children from smoking so when faced with the challenge of creating a campaign for World No Tobacco Day they turned to M&C Saatchi Sydney.

M&C Saatchi wanted to communicate the dangers to Quit’s young demographic in such a way that it would be ‘cool’ to share. Often, the challenge that most health marketers face when advertising the harm of cigarettes is that this young demographic actually like a danger factor in adverts and this can work well in other campaigns.

Simplicity in Vine Videos

A pro bono online video campaign using the social network Vine. Vine is particularly driven to a younger audience meaning M & C Saatchi depending on shares to drive awareness of the dangers of smoking.

The rapidity of Vine, with its unique 6-second looping video format, is the perfect medium to communicate the fact that every 6 seconds someone in the world dies from a smoking-related illness.

Glyn McIntosh, QUIT CEO: \”The fact that someone dies of a smoking-related disease every 6 seconds is shocking – that means 14,400 smokers will die on \’World No Tobacco Day\’ alone. M&C Saatchi has dramatised it a way that will drive awareness, debate and donations. Ultimately, this highly emotive work will inspire people to quit and help us save lives.\” In the first five days, the three posts altogether got nearly 50,000 likes and 26,000 revines. While spreading awareness was the campaign’s main goal, some of the shares included a call to action to donate to anti-smoking causes.

https://vine.co/v/MdtluprM2dB/embed

Someone Dies of a Smoking-related Disease Every 6 Seconds

The videos are not over dramatic but the sobering facts that are enough to create a memorable and chilling film. Each vine portrays a model representing a different demographic group (the carefree youth, the invincible old timer and the older smoker resigned to their fate) audibly dragging on a cigarette.

Each vine closes with the line, “Before this video starts again, another smoker will die.” Hard-hitting and straight to the point.

https://vine.co/v/MdtL5gElBJT/embed

How Can You Use Vines In Your Campaigns?

This campaign is a great example of how Vine can change initial conceptions within a matter of seconds. At first glance, the campaign’s main image, of a young, attractive woman exhaling smoke from her red-painted lips, might come across as glamorizing smoking. However, with the nature of Vine, as the videos are played over and over, the effect changes. Think about your campaigns, what wrong conception of your brand do your users have? Something you want to challenge or change? Maybe you want to challenge the idea that your brand is only for men or perhaps you want to dispel and negative outlook on your brand.

Previously, at Cancer Research UK, we have been thought of as a colder brand, a team in lab coats, which care about science rather than the people. However, our Every Moment Counts campaign and Race for Life, Cancer We\’re Coming to Get You campaign, helped demonstrate that we’re all about the people and that research is the way that we can fight cancer. Therefore, a Vine is a great medium to challenge misconceptions. However, don’t accuse the users by challenging them. You want to enlighten them.  Similar to the Quit video, use interesting facts to make your video anchored and relevant.

The real challenge is portraying a powerful message in a short amount of time. Don’t get lost in the visual like you could with traditional video, focus on delivering a short and impactful message.

https://vine.co/v/Mdt3HjIinIH/embed

Q&A With M&C Saatchi\’s Ant Medler

We spoke directly to M & C Saatchi\’s Creative Director, Ant Medler, to find out more about the campaign.

Hi Ant! Could you share with us the idea behind this campaign?

We knew that, because of the peer-to-peer nature of social media, for something to work, to take off and spread, it has to be disruptive, different, compelling, engaging. It also has to have that magic ingredient that’s makes it funnier/more shocking/more original than anything else in people\’s feeds. The other essential ingredient is simplicity. Social media by its very nature is quick – from twitter to Facebook to Vine and beyond the platforms are unforgiving of complicated messages and executions. This works well for us: at M&C Saatchi our ethos is \’Brutal Simplicity of Thought\’ – we believe that it\’s harder to make messages simple than complicated, it takes talent and time to boil them down. But when a message is distilled to its simplest form it goes into the audience\’s brains quicker and is likely to be remembered for longer.

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Taking this thinking into the Every Six Seconds campaign, we believed that if we could launch the right execution at the right time, it could deliver the impact we were looking for. Fortunately we were right. We learned this blend of an engaging idea executed simply can achieve outstanding traction in social media.

Which element of this campaign would re-use in another campaign?

The infamous advertising \’mad man\’ Howard Gossage once said: \”People don’t read ads. They read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.\” I think this principle can be applied to putting marketing and public service messages into social media. Sure, you can stick your client\’s message onto the platforms, but if you don\’t deliver that message in an interesting way, it\’ll just get ignored – just as a consumer would simply turn the page on a dull press ad or tune out a boring radio ad.

QUIT has an essentially important message to get out there, facts and information which can positively impact the world. On platforms like Twitter and Vine, users are sharing their passions, passing on things that move and inspire them. So if we were doing the campaign again, we\’d use Vine again as it\’s the perfect platform for people to pick up simple, socially informed messages and pass them on. The fact that the campaign achieved over 200, 000 likes and and ReVines is proof of this. And putting Vines at the centre of the campaign than spreading them across Facebook and Twitter worked very well, with high engagement across all platforms.

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How did QUIT react to your team\’s creation?

Our client was over the moon with the work and the response to it. QUIT is an independent charity that has to work with minimal budgets to get their message out, engage people, drive awareness of the dangers of smoking and remind people of their important work educating kids, corporates and ethnic minorities about the dangers of smoking. Without a huge budget to carpet bomb mainstream media, it was still important to launch a campaign around the World Health Organization\’s No Tobacco Day.

To drive such phenomenal engagement on social media plus such a huge response in the mainstream media (national press and TV coverage, coverage on websites and blogs globally) is a massive win for them. Every piece about the campaign on and offline is another audience reached with their message.


This revolutionized marketing campaigns for companies, especially non-profit ones to convey that Vine can be a great medium for health messages and for summarising a message in an effective way.

Don’t think that a medium won’t be taken seriously just because it’s new. Get vining!

The Rise of High Quality Content Marketing

Several years ago, companies thought content marketing was a niche strategy that only applied to certain businesses. Really, why would a computer brand blog or why should a restaurant post photos on Instagram? While content marketing might be great for magazines, interior designers and other business that create, most businesses just don\’t have the time and energy for content marketing.

But now, they\’re making time. The benefits of content marketing have taken off in the past year and business owners are paying attention. They\’re recognising how effective content marketing is at attracting new customers and qualified leads, and now they\’re creating their own content marketing campaigns.

For 2014, the only way to the top of the search results is through high quality content marketing. Don\’t believe us? See for yourself.

The Facts

The biggest upswing in content marketing made headlines at the start of 2013. Ninety-two percent of marketers were creating and promoting content marketing. That means 92 percent of businesses were blogging, creating videos or snapping pictures and sharing their ideas with their audience.

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How is this affecting businesses? See for yourself:

Google is a big proponent of quality content. Its algorithm, Hummingbird, is designed to pick up better results based on the flow of the content. It should be natural, as if someone were actually speaking. No fancy words, no difficult explanations, it\’s just like talking to a friend. Google also prefers sites that update their content regularly, so if you\’re posting blog articles or videos consistently, you\’ll get pushed above your competition.

Engagement with your content is now so much easier to track. You can use tools like Google Analytics to see how many people are clicking on your content and how long they\’re spending on your site. You\’ll be able to see what is working, what isn\’t and how you might go about making changes.

Content Marketing Trends

Now that you know why high quality content marketing is so important, here are a few up-and-coming trends you\’ll want to look out for:

1. A Stellar Marketing Team

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You probably have a few marketers dedicated to building your brand, but if you don\’t have someone dedicated to content marketing, you might not be reaching nearly as many people. Many companies are hiring content directors to post, track and assess content marketing.

A great director of content has:

  • Solid writing and strong communication skills
  • Sharp eyes for quality visual content
  • An analytically driven mind, one that lives for data
  • Keen knowledge of conversion optimisation, meaning knowing the difference between content for sharing and content for leads
  • Great research skills to stay ahead of the latest innovations and advancements in your industry

Investing in a professional director of content is a great start to creating the online presence you always wanted.

2. One Website Design To Rule Them All

You might have heard about responsive website design, but did you know that it can change your whole content marketing plan? In fact, a terrific website with responsive web design will eliminate your need for a mobile strategy or even your need for an app.

Responsive design simply means that there is one site easily accessible on all devices. Google began promoting this as a way to avoid having to index all the different versions of the same website, and consumers are agreeing with Google. It\’s better to have one site than several that vary from device to device.

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Consumers will be able to access your content on any device, and they won\’t have to worry about the screen being badly proportioned or finding the right navigation buttons. A study done by Flurry, the mobile analytics firm, found that the average amount of time a U.S. user spent on his or her mobile device jumped by 12 minutes, making it two hours and 42 minutes of the day.

What does that mean? It means that people aren\’t using browsers so much, so if your site is only suited for a browser, your content is going to be ignored by the vast amount of people on their smart devices. Though having an app wouldn\’t be a bad idea, so long as your site can be accessed on Google\’s app, you should be okay.

3. The Best Type Of Content

While it\’s hard to say exactly which type of content marketing is the most effective overall, it seems to be the blog is the favoured among most B2B content marketers and fifth favourite for B2C marketers. A study from the Content Marketing Institute found that B2B marketers thought blogs were so effective, they even beat out in-person events.

It might be because blogs are easy to maintain and easy to share. Marketers can update them several times a week, which will please the gods at Google and push the website higher in search results. Users also get well-written, informative articles that will keep them on top of the latest styles or the coolest updates. Whatever the reason, blogs are winning fans around the business community.

4. Custom Content Streams

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As content marketing becomes more and more popular, marketers are finding unique ways to bring multiple types of content together, showcasing directed content streams. Social media is helping to make this possible. Twitter, for example, has rolled out its custom timeline function and LinkedIn is promoting its showcase pages. This means that rather than sifting through a pile of content, users can easily pick the stories that most interest them and interact.

This also gives you a way to tell a story across several social media platforms. An athletic shoe company might post a blog interview with a gold medallist runner and post pictures from the interview on Instagram. This way, you can show your viewers all sorts of cool information from all different angles.

Increase Engagement Through Photo And Video Contests

Brands are on every social media platform imaginable to make their mark, fetching themselves some likes, getting pinned on boards or simply busy sharing an \’inside\’ view of their workplace. However, getting the end user engaged requires a lot of efforts by brands and that can be done via photo and video contests. Analysed below are examples of two popular brands that have successfully created contests to win over their audience and increase engagement.

Skittles: BFF Campaign

Skittles took to social media in 2009 and since creating their Facebook page, they have garnered over 26 million page likes. One of their tactics was to make their page fun and interactive through innovative videos to photo contests, creating an image of themselves as a  \’living entity\’ and \’not\’ just a candy brand.

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Skittles launched a campaign called BFF (Best Fan Forever), early this year. It had fans from all over post a picture of themselves with Skittles on Facebook and be eligible to be featured as a BFF for the week. Pictures poured in thousands and it is still ongoing.

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The Strategy

Online Engagement

Skittles BFF campaign created large levels of consumer engagement where customers not only posted pictures of themselves but made efforts to bring the brand in the larger picture. A free ad campaign by all means!

Cost Effectiveness

Of course, visuals are one of the primary modes of advertisements today and they sure do cost a lot but what Skittles did was extraordinary. It made people talk about it,  for it! The campaign had the brand posed as the \’hero\’ in every entry for the BFF campaign.

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Creating Awareness 

The competitive environment created in the minds of the users would only add to the establishment of the brand further, by word of mouth. Fans made efforts to indulge themselves into getting creative pictures made just to be a part of Skittles photo contest.

Vine Your Disney Side

Disney parks (Disneyland) launched a video contest called \”Vine Your Disney Side\” where fans were invited to send in creative videos that showed how Disney was a part of them – heart and soul! And yes, it worked crazy well. Their daily winners received $1000 and the grand prize winners won a trip to Disneyland along with a prize money of $10,000.

<iframe class=\"vine-embed\" src=\"https://vine.co/v/hgVKIDQ9XzY/embed/simple\" width=\"600\" height=\"600\" frameborder=\"0\"></iframe><script async src=\"//platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"></script>

The Strategy

Brand Awareness 

The contest made people remember the brand for its USP which is enlivening the child in you. People of all ages created and shared videos on Vine that had creativity at its best.

Media Hype

The hashtag #disneyside received all the media hype it could get and is popular all around the globe making this one of Disneyland\’s most popular campaigns.

Cost Effectiveness

One of the most obvious features of creating a video or a photo contest is that you get all the advertising done – by the masses and for the masses – therefore almost zeroing in costs.

Increase Engagement

The #disneyside contest created increased engagement among the followers of the brand. It allowed interactions to grow within the brand and its user in a much more personal level.

Creating Photo And Video Contests

If you\’re thinking for a way to increase your online engagement with audiences, Circus Social\’s plug and play app will do the job for you. Creating photo and video contests allows users to create stories with their customers, thus increasing brand worth and reach. People love stories and get engaged by visuals and what better way than to make them the source of what they say and hear!

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Plug and Play

 The simple view dashboard provides a clean placement of all the apps offered by circussocial.

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Customization

A simple click of a button and some standard information is all it takes to get through to your own personal photo or video contest. Select a theme and customize you contest based on information such as the name of the theme, the prizes, rules and submission information. That and you are ready to go!

Online Engagement

Creating an impact in the minds of the consumer is what today\’s digital marketing environment is all about. With the help of subtle apps such as plug and play apps for your Facebook pages, it is simpler for the marketer to tap the segment they are eyeing on. Making a statement and creating stories via photo and video contests form the \’way\’ today!