The 7 Most Inspiring Social Media Promotions of 2013

If we’ve learned anything from 2013, it’s that brands have become more savvy with their social media marketing.

So, to help inspire your pet business’ next online promotion, we’ve rounded up some of the year’s most creative social media campaigns.

Oreo#1 OREO: Instagram Promotion
Oreo made a bold move during Super Bowl XVLll by pushing users to Instagram instead of using the traditional Facebook link or Twitter hashtag. The popular cookie brand activated their Instagram account on January 31, 2013 and posted their first image immediately before the big game on Sunday, February 3. Oreo’s Instagram following climbed to nearly 20,000 almost instantly.

How This Inspires: Creating a campaign around an event that’s important to your market audience, such as a popular dog show or favorite Triple Crown race, presents an opportunity to connect with potential customers and helps bring real-time relevance to your brand.

Purina capture#2 Purina: Pets at Work campaign
With “Pets at Work” (affectionately known as “PAW”), Purina created a unique way to gain brand exposure through the “bring your dog to work” movement. The PAW campaign included a website, a #petsatwork hashtag for social sharing, and a short video on YouTube.

PAW raised awareness about pets at the workplace, resulting in a total of 46,000 total page views during the week of June 17, 2013 (a seven-time increase over the previous week). With a total of only 258 tweets sent, Purina saw staggering results including an 89% retweet rate and a 117% response rate on tweets sent.

How This Inspires: Determine what’s meaningful to your target market and then add value to it with educational, inspiring and entertaining content. Social listening and engagement will help you discover the right type of content at just the right time.

#3 Target: “Best.Holiday.Ever.” Pinterest Board
In mid-November, Target partnered with event planner David Stark to offer guests a complete party-planning resource. Stark’s board on Target’s Pinterest page showcases a series of images, inspirations, ideas, recipes and playlists that give fans everything they need for creating a holiday party.

How This Inspires: Besides creating a theme-based Pinterest board, the key take-away from this promotion is Target’s use of a guest “pinner”. Inviting an expert to create a board or blog exclusively for your pet business sets you apart from the crowd, encourages repinning and “ups” your social currency.

#4 Jell-O: “Fun My Life” Twitter Campaign
Thanks to this clever campaign, the popular hashtag known for expressing a not-so-happy life experience or circumstance became one of pure fun. Jell-O brand gelatin took the popular twitter hashtag #FML and turned it on its head, changing the meaning entirely to “Fun My Life.” Attaching a new meaning to a popular hashtag brought thousands to the Jell-O website.

How This Inspires: Taking an already-established hashtag and redefining it, is a simple and effective way to attract new friends, followers and subsequently new customers!

Grey Poupon#5 Grey Poupon: Facebook ‘LIKES’ On-Approval
Instead of joining the fold and trying to collect as many Facebook ‘likes’ as possible, Grey Poupon decided they would do something different and choose who’s ‘like’ they would accept or decline.

Before accepting a Facebook friend, the Dijon mustard brand gave refinement scores based on things like the number of friends, check-ins, ‘likes’ and even the use of grammar. Access was granted only to the top percentile, who were then given exclusive content and rewards. Those who weren’t deemed to be worthy, had their ‘like’ rescinded and were asked to work on improving their profile before applying again. The fan page now has over 66,000 refined likes.

How This Inspires: Remembering brand identity is so important when it comes to creating any type of advertising campaign and that includes social media marketing. Grey Poupon didn’t change their brand’s identity to fit into a certain mold. Instead, they changed a standard social media rule to fit their brand’s image… and that’s inspiring!

#6 Red Cross: National Preparedness Month Campaign
As a non-profit that helps with disaster relief and emergencies, it makes perfect sense for Red Cross to associate their brand with National Preparedness Month. And so, they adopted the social hashtag #NPM13 to help prepare people for emergencies. Every day throughout September, the Red Cross posted valuable tips and information on emergency preparedness along with the #NPM13 hashtag, making it easy for those interested to find them.

How This Inspires: Jump on trends that make sense to your product or service. If there’s a month or day that relates directly to your brand, such as Pet Adoption Month or Kiss a Cat Day, you can help raise awareness through educational content and at the same time, increase your brand awareness.

Sprout it#7 Sprout It: Backyard Takeover campaign
Sprout It­, a website dedicated to teaching gardeners how to grow fruits and vegetables, launched its new iPad app with a contest giving followers a chance to win a backyard makeover. For a chance at winning, fans were asked to post a picture of their backyard with the hashtag #GrowInspired.

To help spread the word about the contest, Sprout It contacted DIY bloggers and other influencers within the gardening community. In just seven days, the campaign resulted in over 300,000 Facebook-related posts, more than 60,000 tweets, and over 5,000 visits to the Sprout It website.

How This Inspires: True, this social media contest involved an attractive prize, but more than that–it built its success by targeting industry influencers. It’s important to know your market’s needs, but it’s even more beneficial to connect with pet industry influencers and others within the pet community.