This has been an interesting year for social media. Users are demanding more and more from social platforms and the social networks are continuing to evolve to meet these new asks. Social networks aren't the only ones who must pay attention and adapt to consumers' changing preferences -- smart brands are certainly taking notice and are starting to think outside their traditional social marketing plans to reach this audience in an meaningful way.
From Facebook video to Snapchat to Instagram influencers, here are some of my favorite campaigns that have leveraged social media in new and inventive ways in 2016.
BuzzFeed Tasty: Silent Facebook videos
Facebook users are now watching more than 100 million hours of video on the platform each day, and most of those views are soundless. The silent video approach to Facebook videos isn't new, but many brands still struggle with it, not realizing that videos often auto-play in the News Feed without sound. One of my personal favorite brands who has completely tapped into the silent video movement is Tasty.
BuzzFeed's Tasty series basically combines food porn and watching a cooking show into a short video that just works. But why?
The key to its success is making it look simple and easy. The simplified but super popular video demonstrations of recipes showcase nothing but the ingredients and the cook's hands. The text is also simple -- viewers might see the name of the recipe or a few ingredient cues, but that's it.
PricewaterhouseCoopers: #BallotBriefcase on Snapchat
You don't see many B2B companies investing in Snapchat, but PxC did and they even won a Shorty Award for it. The financial company wanted to raise awareness of its 82-year involvement in the Academy Awards ceremony, reposition the brand to appeal to a younger demographic, and activate its employees to create buzz and generate excitement.
The #BallotBriefcase campaign centered around the journey of the Oscar ballot briefcase as it traveled around the country, posing for photo ops, and arriving just in time for the live awards ceremony. PwC leveraged celebs like Neil Patrick Harris who joined the briefcase on its journey which, of course, helped generate more buzz. The campaign increased PwC's social impressions by 136x http://shortyawards.com/8th/oscars-ballotbriefcase-snapchat-journey on Twitter and boosted its Instagram and Snapchat presence.
What really made this campaign smart is that PwC capitalized on an organic moment from last year's Academy Awards – Neil Patrick Harris used a briefcase as a prop for a magic trick. PwC saw the opportunity and leapt. PwC also gave the briefcase a personality (that of a sassy Hollywood diva), which brought a great sense of humor to the campaign.
Chanel: Instagram influencers
Instagram is a treasure trove for fashion brands. It provides the best engagement rate of any social media platform and is perfect for the visual nature of these brands and their products. In fact, a recent study found that of all the social media interactions that took place at the Fall 2016 New York Fashion Week, 97 percent occurred on Instagram.
One of the most popular way to leverage Instagram as a brand is to tap into top influencers on the platform, and Chanel did just that. In an effort to build awareness of and anticipation for the new Chanel No. 5 L'Eau, Chanel reached out to several top Instagram fashion/beauty influencers (like Julie Sariñana of the blog Sincerely Jules and my personal girl crush, Anna from The Anna Edit) and invited them to visit the brand's flower fields near Grasse to see (and share on social media) how Chanel uses actual flowers to make its iconic No. 5 perfume.
With two branded hashtags -- #newchanel5 and #chanelgrasse -- helped social media users find the new branded content and inspire other Instagram users to create their own content around the new Chanel No. 5.
The #newchanel5 hashtag generated more than 1,600 pieces of content resulting in almost 1 million likes in the first month of the campaign. Chanel's partnerships with both traditional celebrities and top influencers exposed more than 9 million people to the campaign.