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January 10, 2017

6 Brilliant Social Media Campaigns to Shape Your 2017 Marketing Strategies

What are the strategies that really worked on social media this year and how can you replicate or adapt them for your needs in 2017?

We scoured the Web, looked at the metrics, and here’s what we’ve put together – a list of six of the best social media marketing campaigns across multiple platforms and industries to help you get inspired for 2017.


Airbnb has shaken up the hospitality sector both in terms of the service it provides and its excellent marketing. As our hospitality social media report shows, there’s really plenty that any brand can learn from Airbnb’s, let alone those in the hospitality sector.

“Live there” focused on encouraging people to live like a local was the result of smart consumer research from Airbnb that suggested 86 percent of its users select the platform because they want to experience the cities they visit like locals. In truth it was much more than just a social media marketing campaign with the accommodation giant using 3D technology to deliver a new style of visual advertising. The campaign video received 11 million views on Facebook,56,000 likes and 5,200 comments.

Airbnb also made good use of Instagram by partnering with both professional photographers and users to post images and messages like the one below. With smart design and a message that spoke to its audience, Airbnb really hit the sweetspot on social media and beyond.

Find out more: What hospitality brands can learn from Airbnb’s social media strategy



2016 was the year that video content really exploded on social media. And nothing exemplified this better than BuzzFeed’s new social media channel, Tasty that was focused specifically on Facebook.

The concept was simple, the result deliciously addictive. I think we’ve all found ourselves transfixed at Tasty’s videos at some point this year and here’s just one mouth-watering example that’s been doing the rounds recently.

As BuzzFeed’s chief marketing office Frank Cooper explains, this is an example of their acceptance that the giants of social media now control the content pipeline.

The social media analytics from the page have been remarkable. Almost all Tasty’s videos on Facebook get several million views and the top post? A jaw dropping 161 million views, 4.4 million shares and 1.2 million likes. Here it is:

It’s widely known that Facebook’s algorithm now promotes video ahead of other types of content and BuzzFeed has found a very smart way of taking advantage.


Sometimes it’s the simple ideas executed well that are the most effective.

Esurance’s #esurancesweepstakes campaign during the 2016 Super Bowl was nothing particularly original but it was devastatingly effective.

#Esurancesweepstakes racked up more mentions than the rest of the top brand hashtags combined and kept the momentum going from pre-game to post-game.

Who would have guessed that an insurance company would be the one to dominate the world’s biggest advertising opportunity and to do it mostly through Twitter.


The key was execution. For one, while others focused on TV, YouTube or other social channels, Esurance focused on Twitter, a smart play because this is often where the buzz is during live sporting events.

From an analytics perspective, the results were very impressive:


Some commentators felt that a sweepstakes was too financially motivated to attract actual customers but others felt it was worth it for the brand awareness. Either way, as social media campaigns go, it certainly managed to catch everybody’s attention.

Find out more: How to use trends and live events to make your content go viral


It was certainly the biggest story of 2016 but the biggest social media campaign?

It may not have been a traditional social media marketing campaign but few can deny that the president-elect was a force to be reckoned with.

Few could match his incredible ability to generate engagement on social. His campaign also mastered the hashtag as a way to build a movement (although not necessarily in a positive way).

Throughout the entire campaign, Trump dominated on social receiving around three times the engagement of Clinton. His main campaign hashtag #MAGA was used more than eight million times in the last month of the campaign, over double that of Clinton’s top hashtag, #ImWithHer.

As Talkwalker CEO Todd Grossman explained to the American Marketing Association, “Trump has been a master of tailoring his messages and approach and created a brand that resonated with his followers and beyond.”

In a world where public figures (even presidents) are brands unto themselves, Trump used the power of social media to get himself to the very top.


For a few years now, headache drug Excedrin has been quietly effective when it comes to marketing through social. But this year it built on their already stellar portfolio of work by taking advantage of the US Presidential Debates.

On the day of the final debate, Excedrin posted and then promoted several tweets and their hashtag with a very simple message that resonated with everyone, not just headache sufferers.

The results were spectacular. #DebateHeadache was used more than 100,000 times, taking on a life of it’s own. The campaign was so successful, it became a news story of its own featured in the New York Times and Adweek among others.

It was newsjacking at it’s best — a simple, relevant message, a touch of humor and perfect timing.


GE is one of the more underrated stars of social media marketing, partly because its subject matter is so targeted to its audience.

This means that although GE may not get the incredible numbers of say Tasty, its ideas are targeted and effective as Kissmetrics explains here.

GE has had many great social media campaigns over the last few years but in 2016 one of its most successful was #CC9900 a coding challenge timed to coincide with the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

GE used social to gamify the event and provide challengers with regular clues, inspiring many coders to discuss the challenge on GE’s own Twitter channel. In one fell swoop, GE tied its brand to a major event, made it relevant to the company, made it fun and ensured the conversation was happening on its social channel. Top marks for effective social media marketing.

Any other social media marketing campaigns you think should be in there? Let us know in the comments below.


Richard Sunley is a content marketing specialist at Talkwalker, a leading provider of social media analytics.