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15 Social Media Marketing Examples To Help Inspire Your Own

Published September 18, 2023
/ Updated May 6, 2024

Having the best social media marketing examples in your idea vault is an excellent way to develop new ideas for your next campaign.

You can always blend two ideas together to create a new strategy or steal a campaign recipe from a brand in another industry. Not to mention, studying successful examples can also bring fresh ideas to your mind.

So in this piece, let’s walk you through the top 15 social media marketing examples you can’t miss.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing involves using social media platforms to build an audience, promote your brand, engage with customers, and grow your business.

Recommended Reading: Social Media Management: How To Create A Plan + Best Tools

How To Gain Social Media Marketing Success

Successful social media marketing is consistent, takes a customer-first approach, and is fueled by a well-thought-out strategy.

To begin with, ROI-positive social media marketing centers around building relationships with the target audience by:

Good social media marketing ties all these efforts together with a strategy — a game plan answering key questions like what content you’ll create, what channels you’ll use, and how often you’ll post.

The last important element of successful social media marketing is consistency. Consistency allows you to set your audience’s expectations and position yourself as an approachable and trustworthy business.

What Are The Best Social Media Marketing Platforms?

The best social media platforms are the ones that your target buyers use. In-depth target audience research will give you a list of these platforms.

When finalizing them, consider how these platforms will help your business grow. For instance, if you have an apparel business, you’ll benefit from a visual-first social platform like Instagram rather than Twitter, as it’ll help you feature your products better.

15 Social Media Marketing Examples

From taking an influencer-led approach to sponsoring a live event, there are lots of ideas you can explore. Here are 15 of the best real-life social media marketing examples to inspire you:

Recommended Reading: Social Media Marketing Software

1. Red Bull’s Viral Live Event Campaign

Red Bull puts a lot of upfront work into their social media marketing. Their Red Bull Stratos campaign that sponsored athlete Felix Baumgartner’s space jump is an excellent example of this.

The brand created a dedicated Facebook page for the campaign and published engaging content that built anticipation around the day Felix jumped.

The live event became a viral buzz, bringing in 100 million playbacks — proving that well-thought-out social media campaigns deliver long-term results.

The take-home message? The best-performing campaigns demand extensive up-front work but pay dividends. When planning such a campaign for your company, make sure you’re working on an idea that aligns with your brand mission.

2. AllBirds’ Hype-Inducing Product Launch

A well-executed launch campaign can build or break your brand. Take it from AllBirds, a company that’s valued at over $4 billion today.

Their launch campaign? A hype-instilling campaign across Instagram and YouTube that got people excited and ready to buy the footwear before the launch date.

Allbirds’ campaign kicked off by sharing high-quality pictures that gave its audience a peep at its sneakers.

On YouTube, they created a humorous intro video — using compelling storytelling elements to share Allbirds’ value proposition (its eco-friendliness).

Additionally, the brand collaborated with affiliates to create content on social media and other marketing channels, which helped them grow by word of mouth.

The campaign delivered excellent results because:

  • It created anticipation around the launch.
  • They created a unique brand image for themselves that resonated with the target buyers.
  • The brand grew social proof so people could trust it, helping increase sales.

The take-home message here is simple: don’t be afraid to show your brand personality, voice, and values. If anything, staying true to your brand differentiates your social content and helps you stand out in the noise. What’s more, get people talking to generate buzz and social proof around your products.

3. DoorDash’s Heartwarming & Circumstances-Sensitive Ad

DoorDash launched this ad in the thick of the pandemic when social distance had impacted thousands of livelihoods.

But instead of being insensitive to the circumstances, DoorDash addressed them head-on — offering a solution but never once mentioning their business.

They did so by taking a human-first angle by featuring real chefs impacted by the empty restaurants but still toiling away to deliver food.

The campaign was a hit because it tugged at its audience’s emotions by covering a subject that their target audience valued: the impact of Covid-19 on small businesses.

Another factor that contributed to its success was the brevity of the video message. It was to the point, used persuasive copy, and captured scenes that appealed to the viewers’ emotions.

A few points you can replicate from this campaign example: use emotional storytelling, keep your message short but make it as impactful as possible, and never be tone-deaf. If anything, talk about things that matter to your audience and align with your brand too.

4. The Yard Milkshake Bar’s Product-Led Social Content

The Yard Milkshake Bar’s social media marketing is the perfect example of putting your products front and center to encourage sales. Here’s how the milkshake bar wins at its social media marketing:

  • Has an active presence on all the social channels its target audience uses, including Instagram and Facebook.
  • Leverages user-generated content (UGC) — even collaborates with affiliates for social media marketing.
  • Creates content that meets each channel’s audience’s expectations and engages them. For example, the milkshake bar shares high-quality behind-the-scenes videos on Instagram and mouthwatering Shorts on YouTube.

Despite its product-led social content, The Yard Milkshake Bar continues to focus on its consumers. Wondering how? By using a Facebook Group to share exclusive discounts for members.

Lessons to take home from this example:

  • Take a community-first approach
  • Share UGC and plan exclusive deals and perks for your community members
  • Use all the social channels where your audience is present to reach them where they are

5. National Geographic’s Educational ‘Heroes of the Oceans’ Campaign

NatGeo’s mission is to educate and encourage change in its audience’s behavior. It leverages two elements effectively to do so: creative storytelling and photojournalism.

It also accomplishes this using different social channels and native content that satisfies each channel’s audience.

On Instagram, for example, NatGeo uses Stories to create interactive and episodic content around different topics, such as Black Joy:

It also plans out specific campaigns, such as the Heroes of the Oceans documentary that NatGeo created with Rolex. They shared the documentary’s highlights, trailers, and more across their combined social channels.

Put simply, NatGeo’s social campaigns are winners because of their creative approach. The brand also makes the most of each social platform’s features, such as polls on Twitter and Stories on Instagram.

The takeaways? Visual storytelling is strong — use it to educate, entertain, and inspire change. Also, make sure to use all channel-specific features to engage your followers. Not to forget, brand partnerships can be excellent for reaching a wider audience.

6. Spotify’s End-Of-Year Social Sharing Campaign

Spotify’s Wrapped campaign gives users stats around the songs, podcasts, artists, and genres they listen to throughout the year.

The annual campaign also has an artist-specific version called Artist Wrapped that lets artists see their songs’ overall stats and thank their listeners too:

The campaign has helped the music streaming giant instill FOMO among non-users, which has grown its app downloads. It also helps increase the time users spend on the app. And with artists sharing their stats on social media, Spotify taps into influencer marketing to grow further without paying those influencers.

You can tap into influencer marketing yourself to increase brand awareness and sales. But Spotify’s campaign teaches another important lesson: gamifying your campaign encourages people to automatically share it on social media, which grows social proof, brand awareness, and sales.

If you’re planning to create such a campaign, make sure you make it uber-simple to share on social media. Any friction here can quickly topple your campaign’s success.

7. Chewy’s Customer Care-Centered Social Media Experience

Chewy’s social media is an incredible example of creating platform-specific content, effective social listening, and providing proactive customer service over social.

To begin with, each of Chewy’s social channels has a specific strategy. For example, its YouTube channel doesn’t just post any videos. Instead, there are various video categories that the Chewy team creates content for, such as educational videos on pet training under Chewtorials and recipe videos bundled under Chewy Eats.

On Instagram, too, Chewy shares educational content. It also creates interactive content, such as Q&A sessions with professional vets.

That said, Chewy pays attention to everything its consumers and target audience says about it. This is evident from their proactive responses on social media. Here’s one example of a thoughtful response that went viral — contributing to making Chewy known as a widely applauded customer-first brand and inspiring brand advocacy.

The strategy works because it focuses on customers — answering their questions, offering timely help and support, and making it all about their target audience’s pets.

What are the best things to learn from this social media marketing example? Create content that is genuinely valuable to your target audience and dedicate resources to customer support on social media.

8. Shopify’s Empowering & Entertaining Content For Entrepreneurs

Like the other social media marketing examples, Shopify leverages several social channels to reach and engage its audience. It stands out through its mission of empowering entrepreneurs (their target users: Shopify merchants).

To this end, Shopify creates content that:

  • Inspires people to start their business
  • Provides the resources to start and grow their business
  • Celebrates them by featuring their success on their channels, such as in this thread:

The strategy works so well because Shopify answers every question that small business entrepreneurs have — making them a trusted resource for them to rely on.

Consider talking to your target audience to learn their pain points and create entertaining and educational content around them. Be sure to reach more people by following trends on social media — Shopify does this incredibly well on TikTok.

9. Old Navy’s Co-Create With Your Audience Approach

Old Navy took a fresh approach to a successful brand and influencer collaboration: they sourced ideas for their ad using social media.

The result:

The campaign got an excellent response for a handful of reasons:

  • It asked the audience for their ideas, which told Old Navy’s followers it values them.
  • It created hype around the ad as people were looking forward to how it’d turn out — even sharing it with their circle as it featured their ideas.
  • It reduced work on the marketing team in terms of ideation and distribution while inspiring brand loyalty.

The takeaway? Listen to and source ideas from your audience. And don’t be afraid of trying something new — this approach was the first of its kind.

10. GoPro’s No-Rules Creator Campaign

For the launch of its new flagship product, the GoPro Hero 11 Black, GoPro hosted an all-expenses-paid, four-day GoPro Creator Summit in Switzerland, where it invited 42 creators.

The exciting part? There were no set content production requirements or guidelines for these creators. Instead, the tech giant offered these creators a memorable experience and gifted them their new product before it was available to the product.

The results speak for themselves, with the creators producing lots of content using the #GoProCreatorSummit branded hashtag. For example, Johnny Lo’s canyon swing video garnered 12.7 million views with 917,000 likes — driving significant awareness for GoPro’s new product.

And Johnny’s just one creator. 41 others shared content with their engaged audiences across various social channels.

The no-rules flexibility made this campaign a success. It’s also what led to the production of the most creative content. The lesson? Trust the influencers you work with to make creative social media posts. On your part, make sure you’re only onboarding creators whose audience aligns with yours.

11. REI’s Experience-First Black Friday Campaign

REI’s social campaign #OptOutside is a wellness-focused idea for Black Friday that encourages people to go outdoors, plan adventures, and spend time with friends and family doing something adrenaline-pumping.

The idea is a winner for three main reasons:

  • It’s a breath of fresh air as the brand encourages people to get active on Black Friday instead of promoting non-stop shopping.
  • It’s both relevant to the brand (REI sells outdoor & sporting goods) and its target buyers as it centers around their wellness.
  • It gets its customers involved. People share their outdoor adventure videos using REI’s branded hashtag, which the company then shares on its social channels.

Note that the campaign also wins hearts because it’s less about REI’s product and more about encouraging its customers to experience the outdoors. This is something worth considering when planning your next social media campaign: experiences. Prompt your audience to create new experiences and memories in a way that’s relevant to your brand.

12. Peloton’s Employees As Brand Ambassadors Social Strategy

Last on this list of social media marketing examples is Peloton’s instructor-led strategy.

The fitness company uses influencer marketing but with a twist. That is: its instructors are the influencers or brand ambassadors that attract and engage new and old subscribers.

It’s why Peloton’s campaigns revolve around featuring instructors, their personalities, and their unique motivational styles.

It works simply because of its human-first approach. People don’t trust — even engage with — brand accounts as much as they trust and interact with humans. So giving your employees the spotlight is a surefire way to gain your audience’s trust faster and inspire brand loyalty too.

13. Microsoft’s Blog Post Marketing Tactic

Microsoft is a popular tech company known for its computers, softwares, and other innovative products. What some people may be unaware of is that Microsoft has a popular blog that talks about all of the up-and-coming media and technology news.

Microsoft chose LinkedIn to post this specific content because:

  • LinkedIn is a platform for businesses, and is the perfect social media channel to market something like a new blog post
  • It provides a link that goes directly to the website, making it easy for viewers to read
  • Viewers can repost this post with their thoughts, and share valuable insights from it with their colleagues.

Microsoft uses LinkedIn to market their blog page, so users or anyone interested in new technology advancements and updates can read new posts. By posting about their blog page, they can further enlighten customers on new updates and enhancements from Microsoft.

14. Wendy’s New Strawberry Frosty

We’re all aware of Wendy’s infamous Frosty flavors: chocolate and vanilla, but they have recently leveled up and added a new flavor, strawberry.

What better way to market the strawberry Frosty than to incorporate a popular movie release?

Here are some key takeaways from Wendy’s social media post:

  • They use a popular hashtag, which boosts SEO and viewer engagement
  • Both caption and graphic are simple, and easy to understand
  • They market the new Frosty, which inadvertently markets the Barbie movie as well

Wendy’s X account chose to market their strawberry Frosty to Barbie movie lovers, which is a strong marketing technique as it appeals to a specific target market.

15. Starbucks Annual Pumpkin Spice Campaign

Starbucks knows how to market their products through every season. They make sure every post has an intention, and reaches their target audience. Starbucks does a great job  announcing when they bring beloved products back, such as the Pumpkin Spice Latte. This was their recent post on Instagram, and it had customers ready for fall all over the world.

This campaign was successful because:

  • It is a limited-time popular product that customers look forward to
  • The caption is short and easy to understand
  • They added emojis to help attract views
  • They use trendy lingo

When marketing on any social media channel it is important to appeal to your audience, use high-quality graphics, and make it easy to understand for all viewers and customers.