We all remember the class clowns, goths, jocks, band-os and other quirky kids from high school. Why? Because they were unabashedly themselves and never failed to stand out in the crowd. Translate that into today’s social media landscape and you’ll see that the companies with the strongest social game are a lot like those classmates you’ve never forgotten — from Wendy’s, the Queen of the Social Roast; to Taco Bell, everyone’s favorite class cut-up; to Dove, your empowering BFF who loves you just the way you are.We’ve compiled a list of five of our favorite, lesser-known social media heroes. These are stand-out brands because they adhere to a very specific voice, embrace a very specific purpose and — most of all — aren’t afraid to push the envelope and be themselves.
You might not think of the BK Lounge when you think of social media heavy hitters, but the Home of the Whopper is killing it with their impeccable humor and ability to hold their own against countless other fast food brands online. For starters, the brand has teased McDonald’s for years now in multiple inventive ways including the McWhopper, The Whopper Detour and the Big King XL. None of these disses required a ton of time or effort on the social media side but still resulted in increased profits each time, showing how friendly competition is a great social media strategy.In 2015 for World Peace Day, the brand issued a statement to their competitor to make a crossover burger called the McWhopper. McDonald’s declined, but maybe that was a big miss for the Golden Arches; for BK, the results of the campaign were nearly 9 billion impressions on social media for the company and a print and publishing Grand Prix win at Cannes. Similarly, The Whopper Detour that offered a one-cent whopper to anyone that got within 600 feet of a McDonald’s and then redeemed the coupon and left actually increased Burger King app sales and social media impressions significantly and helped the Burger King app rank No.1 on the App store in less than a day. Take-aways for your brand:Keep your friends close . . . The competitor isn’t always the enemy. The main thing to take from Burger King’s social media stunts and strategies is that you can leverage friendly competition to come out on top.
Although Old Spice has certainly made a name for themselves through their various marketing strategies, their social media game is certainly something to marvel at. Think of Old Spice as the popular kid with the extremely weird sense of humor. Although they’re loved by everyone, idolized for their humor and clearly a member of leadership in the digital age, they continue to take drastic marketing leaps on social media that never fail to be successful. To begin, let’s take a look at some of their statistics presented by Jeff Bullas regarding their social media game throughout the years:
The number-one, most-viewed sponsored channel on YouTube
236 million YouTube Views
80,000 Twitter followers in two days
Facebook Interaction increased 800% with the personalized videos (fans now total over 1.5 million)
Sales figures increased by 107%
So, how did Old Spice achieve these numbers? Well, the answer is simple: Their video marketing game on social media is FIRE. The brand chose to target video marketing knowing that statistics favor this marketing format greatly — and it worked. With celebrities like Terry Crews, Fabio and Neil Patrick Harris participating in videos, outlandish and direct video, and social media copy, and a humorous level of confidence in their social media campaign strategies, Old Spice is poised for continued growth. Take-aways for your brand: Confidence is key.Old Spice is a great example of successful video marketing on social media. Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, they went all-in with one content format and remained consistent with their brand identity, too.
Humor isn’t the only way to connect with your audience. Social media is also about stunning visual content. In this context, think of Airbnb as the creative virtuoso. She’s popular because she’s offbeat, intelligent and intriguing. What does this person look like as a social media campaign? Think stunning travel photos, experiential stories that tap into human emotion, beautiful videos and adorable animals, 24/7. In fact, Airbnb’s social media presence has drawn in 600,000 more followers on Facebook than their competitor, Priceline, in one year’s time. Furthermore, their Experiences campaign, which cost the company more than $5 million, continues to take over Instagram daily with stunning photos and videos across the 20 countries where the company offers its services. Take-aways for your brand: Be inspiring.Content marketing is the modern form of storytelling. More than that, it’s about helping your target audience tell THEIR story. Airbnb married the two, finding a way to tell the brand’s story by facilitating its users to share theirs.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the dawn of YouTube, you have probably heard of Rhett and Link. The dynamic duo has been creating videos since the earliest days of the social media platform and have transformed their extremely quirky personalities into a thriving career across multiple businesses. Best friends since 1st grade, these two excel at social media in myriad ways including creating viral ads for other businesses, making strange YouTube videos, running their podcast and YouTube show, and exemplifying what a magical friendship can look like throughout the years. So, how did they manage to do this? Well, there are many ways creative thought leaders can take from these two lovable goofballs and their social media strategies. For starters, the duo perfected the awkward viral video recipe and chose to be a part of a rising social media platform (aka YouTube). Furthermore, they continued to have original ideas and video formats that propelled their business and kept them fresh in viewers’ eyes. Lastly, they remained genuine, consistent and took smart leaps with their business to continue to grow and expand their social media concepts over time. This led to them being able to release the statistics below and acquire Smosh as well in February for $10 million.
5.5 billion views
$16.5K—$263.2K monthly earnings
$197.4K - $3.2M yearly earnings
811.4K followers on Twitter
Take-aways for your brand: Consistency is key.Whatever you do with your social accounts, keep the content coming. As evidenced by Rhett and Link, organic growth and name recognition only grow with time and consistent publishing.
The last one on this list may not get as much recognition as the brands above, but their distinctive voice earns them a spot on our list. Think of MoonPie as the kid that sits in the back of the class, asleep or with their headphones on, that always has some killer disses but chooses to only tell them to those that are in-the-know enough to listen. MoonPie may not seem like a heavy hitter, but the brand was considered top social media brand of 2017. In fact, in one social media post, they were able to completely annihilate their biggest competitor, Hostess, in the most epic way possible.
Since then, the brand has continued with countless quirky posts on their Twitter account that led to them acquiring more than 291K Twitter followers since 2017. Furthermore, with their latest campaign to get a MoonPie on the moon, the brand has taken a page from Burger King and incorporated itself into the latest hot topics. Of course, they created a hashtag to match: #MoonPietotheMoon2024 Take-aways for your brand: You do you.Even without the biggest social media presence and funds for marketing, you can set yourself apart simply by having an undimmable personality. MoonPie makes one product, and they don’t try to front like they’re anything but a weird, marshmallow-cookie thing. In the end, it’s about resonating with your audience and creating content consistently. No matter how big your current following is, what your business model consists of, or who your target audience is, you can get in the social game in a way that’s authentic to you. Stay on top of trends and add your voice; it’s the key to a strong social presence with strong results to match.