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By: Mark Tomich

Ever since social media has been around, companies have been using it to promote themselves. Sometimes, it backfires and just looks like a blatant, embarrassing attempt at going viral but every now and then a business gets it right. Here’s a look at four examples of social media marketing done right. These four campaigns managed to hit the spot, and there’s a lot to be learned from their unique strategies.

Whether you’re talking about an extra 500 real likes on a Facebook page with a few dozen leads, or a video that gets seen by millions and helps to redefine a decades old brand, there’s a lot of potential for businesses of all sizes in social media to drive leads, sales, and overall brand exposure.

Do You Want To Test Drive A Harley?

In Brazil, the Harley-Davidson motorcycle company was able to leverage social media marketing in order to generate the least expensive leads they’ve ever come across.

Initially, their two-week campaign that encouraged people to sign up for a test drive generated 41 red-hot leads that were ready and desperately wanting to buy bikes, and 500 likes to their Facebook page during the two weeks that it ran. Today, their Facebook page has tens of thousands of likes with thousands of people talking about them. They’ve undoubtedly surged well past those initial 41 leads thanks to all of the extra exposure they’ve been getting. It goes to show you how powerful the residual effects of a solid social media marketing campaign can be.

Takeaway—In this case, Harley-Davidson’s top priority was to get people on their motorcycles by taking test-drives. They recognize that the brand and the feeling’s that are associated with them will sell itself once you get the person on the bike, and they were able to do this via an effective, well-thought-out campaign. Establishing clear goals for your campaign that relate directly to the company’s success are the keys to reaching that success.

Look Away. Now Look At Me. I’m On A Horse.

If you make ads that people want to see, people will pay attention to your ads. It’s a dead-simple principle, yet a lot of advertising still seems to miss the mark. Rather than struggling against resistance, why not just entertain your audience and actually have them going out of their way to watch and share your commercials? This is exactly what Old Spice did. People look forward to “Your Man Could Smell Like Me” commercials, and three years later they’re still going strong and being shared and watched by millions of people, and that’s just online—they’re also all over the television.

You can bet that their ROI on social is much better than buying expensive TV ads, with an active Facebook page of 2.5 million fans, and hundreds of millions of views on YouTube (they’ve had more views than Obama!). This campaign alone drove them more than double the sales during the next three months.

Takeaway—If you can make your campaigns entertaining, people will eagerly sign up to see more of them.

Celebrities, Clothes, and Massive Profits.

The online retailer Asos took advantage of the clout of celebrities to promote a sale. Using the hash tag #BestNightEver and some strategically planned re-tweets, they were able to gain massive exposure and 5m pounds in extra sales. How did they pull this off? They gave their followers the shirts right off their backs. Actually, they enlisted the help of songstresses Ellie Goulding and Azelia Banks, as well as model Charlotte Free, to give away clothes in exchange for people tweeting and pinning.

Takeaway—Good old celebrity endorsements can go a long way online, and with a little creative marketing, they can be had for a lot less than traditional endorsement deals.

The Mater Foundation Teams Up With The Lions

As long-time supporters of the Mater foundation, the Brisbane Lions were the perfect partners for the last, but not least, highly effective social media campaign on our list. They called this the “Change Lives” campaign.

They ran a contest in which the winner would get a once in a lifetime opportunity to win an incredible home any many other prizes, and highlighted the fact that they change lives each and every day by providing healthcare to those who need it most through The Mater Foundation. Mater Prize Homes are luxury homes that can be won via the Mater Lottery.

Having the Lions on board has given the Mater Lottery a lot more exposure. The Mater Foundation was able to accumulate thousands of subscribers, thousands of people participating from the seats at Brisbane Lions games, over a thousand messages forwarded to friends, and huge overall exposure for the great work that the Foundation is doing.

The campaign ran during a Lions match in which people were handed out fortune cookies with the message to send an SMS at a specified phone number. As far as the numbers go, the campaign was successful, as over 1,300 people sent an SMS during a Lions match hoping to win the opportunity to spend a day with the team. Plus, there were over 2,600 total competition entries and almost 2,500 new subscribers to Mater Prize Home newsletter.

Takeaway—People are much more receptive to social stories that tug at their heartstrings. Selling deodorant with jokes is one thing, but truly making people feel they are making a positive difference in the world (because they are) is on another level.

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