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Top 2012 Social Media Campaigns

Posted Wednesday, December 26, 2012, at 10:37 AM

With the considerable growth in social media users in 2012, more brands are wading further into the social media waters, allocating nearly 11 percent of their advertising budgets toward these channels this year -- three times more than 2011.

As brands get their social media sea legs, we are seeing increasingly successful campaigns defined by their ability to drive significant social media engagement among the brand's target markets. Three brands in particular stand out.

Cadbury: Despite an impressive one million Facebook fans, the brand was concerned that only 16 percent ever saw their content due to their low fan engagement levels and Facebook's messaging prioritization algorithms. As such, Cadbury embarked on a campaign to improve fan interactivity. That's when the idea was born to engineer a giant chocolate hand giving the infamous Facebook "thumbs up" as a thank-you to their fans.

A real-time video feed of the construction process drove tremendous fan engagement. The result was a whopping 250K people actively involved in the campaign with a bonus of 40K new fans gained.

Heinz: While known for its dominance in the ketchup market, Heinz produces a variety of other food products, including a line of beans.

A Heinz "Beanz" Facebook page was born, generating a community of 150K fans called "beaniez." In order to create engagement with a "bean" page, the brand knew a dose of fun and humor was needed.

One of the brand's bean products, Five Beanz, is intended for adult consumers with a sophisticated palette. The brand created a "My Grown Up Beanz" game for the product, where Facebook users were asked a series of questions about their personality traits and told which of the five beans they had grow up to become most like.

Five winners were selected every hour, receiving their very own "personalized bean." Participants were encouraged to invite 10 of their friends to play to win a free goodie bag, which gave the campaign a significant viral boost.

The campaign generated 22K quiz participants and 30K new Facebook fans. If you think your brand doesn't lend itself to significant Facebook engagement, imagine the uphill battle that Heinz faced with a can of beans.

Snickers: In the evolution of the "You're Not You When You're Hungry" campaign, Snickers paid celebrities to send uncharacteristic tweets. Supermodel Katie Price inexplicably tweeted about global economics and soccer player Rio Ferdinand tweeted about his new knitting hobby. Shortly thereafter, they tweeted the campaign slogan with a photo of them eating a Snickers bar.

The campaign built such a buzz with shares and retweets that it reached a total of 26 million people.

As 2013 approaches, more and more brands are finding creative ways to stand out in social media, with consumer engagement being the name of the game.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and Founder/CEO of RedRover Sales & Marketing, www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).

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Lori Turner-Wilson
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Lori spent over 15 years leading corporate marketing and communications divisions in the financial services, hospitality and franchise restaurant sectors. As Director of Target Marketing for the Hampton Hotels brand of Hilton Hotels Corporation, Lori managed promotional, direct and Web marketing, as well as custom publishing, for the brand's franchise system. In her role as Vice President of Employee Communications and Development for First Horizon National Corporation, she managed the corporation's internal culture initiatives, communications, and employee recognition programs. Other positions held include Sr. Communications Director/Corporate Editor for TCBY Enterprises, Inc., and Vice President of Marketing for First National Banking Company. Lori is a founding sponsor and member of the Board of Directors for LaunchMemphis -- an organization committed to developing an entrepreneurial community in Memphis comprised of investors, entrepreneurs and local organizations. In addition, Lori is on the Board of Directors of the Sales and Marketing Society of the Mid-South and on the Advisory Board for the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County. She is a sought-after speaker in the Memphis area, delivering sales and marketing keynote addresses and workshops to organizations like: the Memphis Chapter of the American Advertising Federation, the Sales & Marketing Society of the Mid-South, LaunchMemphis, EmergeMemphis, the Memphis Regional Chamber, the National Association of Women Business Owners, and the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. Lori holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, in addition to having completed the University of Colorado's School of Bank Marketing and Management. She is the recipient of numerous industry awards including local and district Addy's, Communicator awards, and a Telly. She received recognition as one of the Memphis Business Journal's "Top 40 Under 40" recipients in 2009. Lori also served as a contributing ghost writer for the renowned "Complete Idiot's Guide to Guerilla Marketing." Beyond her passions for marketing and dogs of all shapes and sizes, Lori is an avid traveler, runner and foodie.