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The best social media campaigns of 2013

The best social media campaigns of 2013 Lauren Friedman

It's almost the end of the year, and you know what that means! It's time for a roundup of (what I think are) some of the best social media campaigns of 2013. If you missed my mid-year review, make sure you have a read.

This year has been a huge year for social media. With big Facebook changes, Twitter's IPO, and the launch of multiple other social platforms, more and more brands are continuing to explore the possibilities social media has to offer. Here are a few campaigns and programs that have especially caught my eye.

Starbucks: Tweet-A-Coffee

Starbucks has taken e-gifts to a whole new level. Now you can buy coffee for a friend via Twitter. All you have to do is connect your Twitter account to your Starbucks account, tweet @tweetacoffee and your friend's Twitter handle, and voila! Your friend can click to add the gifted coffee to his or her Starbucks account (or print out the voucher if you still actually use a printer).

Starbucks has been at the forefront of mobile integrations already allowing you to purchase coffee through the Starbucks app as well as track rewards and free coffees. And let me tell you, this process of gifting coffee through Twitter couldn't be more seamless.

Starbucks first launched its e-gifting platform on Starbucks.com in 2011 and has since extended the program to Facebook and its mobile app. This program is really bringing e-gifting to the online space in a highly shareable way.

The program is still in beta but has already prompted $180,000 in purchases. What's more is Starbucks has now linked 54,000 users' Twitter IDs to their mobile phone and customer IDs. With this kind of information, the possibilities are endless!

"The Warner Sound captured by Nikon" at SXSW 2013

During the 2013 SXSW Interactive, Film, and Music Festival, attendees were given Nikon cameras to capture live performances sponsored by the Warner Music Group. The videos were then live-streamed online using the hashtag #NikonWarnerSound and Facebook posts to promote engagement.

More than 500,000 people watched the live stream, with an average viewing time that was five times greater than the industry average.

The future of social media campaigns relies heavily on these types of influencer engagements. It's the essence of word-of-mouth marketing and can be so much more powerful than traditional digital advertisements. Putting your product in the hands of socially savvy influencers is the way to make waves. Just ask Nikon.

Kenneth Cole: "30 Years Bold"

Brands have used contests and sweepstakes to drive word-of-mouth and grow their presences on social media for as long as they've had the option. Rules have changed, platforms have changed, and there are more opportunities to be creative with campaigns.

Kenneth Cole created the #30yrsbold campaign to represent the brand's cultural and social boldness. Kenneth Cole leveraged hashtags across multiple platforms like Twitter and Instagram and pulled entries into one central hub. The hub was used to drive engagement and participation by encouraging fans and followers to contribute their brand experiences.

By using three hashtags -- #boldfashion, #boldexperience, and #boldstatement -- Kenneth Cole reached a broader audience and increased participation. Each hashtag sweepstakes offered a $500 gift card to Kenneth Cole and then a customized prize: a street-style photoshoot with partner Refinery29, a trip to the nearest city, and a night out in NYC including a special gallery tour. All entries are still live on the site, making for an incredible aggregation of powerful user-generated content.

BaubleBar: Online-offline experience and social integrations

BaubleBar, an online jewelry retailer, has truly capitalized on the social world we live in today. As BaubleBar expanded its brand by opening two pop-up retail locations in New York City, it also seamlessly integrated the offline and online experience for its customers.

BaubleBar's SoHo location features its jewelry using a unique display system that enables customers to interact directly with the products. A customer picks up an item, and the display showcases more information about the product, including how to style it -- the same information you can get on the brand's website.

Not only has BaubleBar integrated online and offline experiences, but it has also integrated social into its website in a perfect way. BaubleBar uses hashtags to pull in photos (mostly from Instagram) that contain BaubleBar jewelry, most of which are posted by women who are wearing and styling the jewels themselves. On every product page, there is an aggregation of photos that contain that specific product. So, you can see how customers in the real world, not just models, are wearing the products.

This is excellent word of mouth and a great form of "reviews" when customers are looking to buy a product.

Charmin: "Asgardian"

In what I think of as brilliant marketing, Charmin capitalized on current events and trends and released a tweet with the image below:

Charmin launched this movie-related pun just as "Thor: The Dark World" was released in theaters the same day. Thor hails from Asgard, and Asgard sounds like "ass guard," so most of the community chuckled at the photo. And then the tweet was wiped clean (pun intended). Was it an effort to keep the campaign going and have it talked about? Who knows? But I do know it was damn funny and got people talking.

These kinds of real-time, current-event brand promotions are catching fire. Just like Oreo's "Dunk in the Dark" tweet, brands that are agile, creative, in-the-moment, and not afraid to take risks create memories and content that lives on.

Now that social media has become a standard when it comes to online marketing, I'm thrilled to be seeing creativity and innovation when it comes to social campaigns. Keeping it fresh and customer-focused has made for some outstanding, integrated programs. Looking forward to 2014!

Lauren Friedman head of social business enablement at Adobe.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

Lauren Friedman is the head of Global Social Business Enablement at Adobe.  She's a digital and social marketing authority, with extensive experience working with Fortune 500 brands to integrate digital and social media into their overarching...

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to leave comments.

Commenter: Alan Cassinelli

2013, December 19

Great list Lauren. Postano is very proud of our work on the Kenneth Cole social hub and are very glad it was such a success!