The 10 best, good and the worst social media campaigns! Social Media for Beginners. Information and Guide to understand Social Media.

If you’re heading a company that’s not particularly savvy with the concept of Social Media, you must have at least come across the term “Social Media” somewhere on the web. Or you may have read about it in a few blogs, after all, just about anyone who writes blogs has become a social media expert, or has at least one post glorifying the benefits of using social media. And quite frankly, with all due respect even to the “I-have-one-social-media-post-in-my-blog-I’m-an-expert-now!” type of bloggers, they do have a good point. We’re all experts at social media, even if we’ve just opened a new mail account. You don’t get it? You soon will, as you read on…

In several of my meetings, I’ve had clients asking me what exactly Social Media is. They do understand that it’s all about advertising and promoting products and brands using networking sites on the internet. But if it’s really that simple, then why isn’t it just called Online Advertising? The truth is, Social Media Marketing is a unique concept that’s entirely different from traditional means of online advertising. But we’re still left with the question, what then is social media?

The easiest way to understanding social media, is to relate it to the relationship between men and women. We may think we know everything about relationships, but every day is a new day. And one can never know what makes a partner happy and what doesn’t, even if they’ve been married for fifty years, or have been jumping from one bed to another faster than their new partner can fasten their zippers. So is social media like a relationship? Yes, to a large extent. But is social media a mystery? Not at all! Then why are there so many different definitions, you may ask? The easiest way to explain all the confusion about Social Media is that it is just too simple! Its simplicity is its biggest boon, and yet, its biggest bane.

Without going any further into the post, let me explain what social media is, without entering the zone of a dictionary or a research paper. This paragraph is for newbies though. For starters, social media is nothing but a method by which we can sell, brand or reach out to the whole world by using websites, forums, content sites, wiki sites, networking communities, blogs, etc. But it’s done with a difference (we’ll talk about this in a bit though). Networking community sites and forums are websites where people can interact with each other and create new friends in the online world. A few examples of social networking sites include Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter. If you’ve used the internet and haven’t really heard of at least one of these sites, I’m guessing you’ve had your head buried under a pile of sand or snow, depending on where you’re coming from. But it’s alright, really. We’ve all been out of the loop at some time in our lives. And we’ve all dusted ourselves clean on the way out.

Social media marketing is a means by which we can advertise products or ideas to the rest of the world using two-way communication channels. Traditional advertising has always been one sided, but with social media, a new interactive medium of promotion can be created. This one factor is the biggest difference between traditional media and social media.

Anyways, so why is social media simple? It’s simple because anyone can understand it, and it’s simple because even a newbie can enter a site and start a social media campaign! You don’t believe me? What do you think you do as soon as you join a social networking community like Facebook? The first two things every single person does is 1. Update profile. 2. Invite friends.

Isn’t that like creating a product or a brand (you), and reaching out to a particular audience (your friends)? So every single person who has ever used a social networking site and has at least a few friends online has created a social media strategy! And that’s how simple it really is. And that’s why social media, as simple as it seems, is a tough nut to crack. Social media tactics are easy to understand and implement on a small scale, i.e., between friends.

But the problem starts when you want to connect and reach out to more than just your good friends. Social Media Application is all about using similar strategies as connecting with friends on Facebook, but on a larger scale, and reaching out to more people. So how do we reach out to people we don’t know, and beyond that, how do we make those unknown people reach out and spread your message to more unknown people?

Celebrities get an easier deal here, because they have hundreds of thousands of people willing to follow them on their social networking pages. But an upcoming brand that not many people know of is definitely bound to have a harder time getting people to talk or follow them on social networking sites.

If a friend tweets a good link, or leaves you a message about a funny incident on Facebook, and you find it interesting, big chances are, you may forward the message to other friends of yours. That’s one of the key elements of social media marketing. It’s the exponential spreading and exchanging of ideas between different people. And even small measures can show huge results. One single tweet on Twitter could spread across the world in a few minutes, if the tweet is informative or has something that’s worth tweeting.

So now we come to the concept of implementing social media for your business. Obtaining good results from social media asks for the creation of an idea that’s worth spreading and talking about. As we’ve experienced before, if we like something on our Facebook page or Twitter homepage, we’ll forward it. So do you have a great message to send out to people on community sites? Do you know a way to entice users to follow you or your product?

Clothing stores and just about any other kind of store there is, use certain tactics to draw customers. Some have awesome window displays, some create a nice cosy hangout, and some stores put up big discount hoardings. They’re all ways to draw potential customers’ attention. And these potential customers talk about it with their friends, and the chain building starts off, and continues as long as the store has something worth talking about. To implement social media marketing and use it well, you need something just like that to reach out to people, over the internet.

Simplicity has a strange way of bringing along with it the biggest difficulties. Social Media campaigns are simple and yet, difficult to perfect. While it’s easy to spread ideas amongst loyal customers and people we know or interact with, getting them to spread it further to their friends and co-workers is where the difficulty begins. There are several social media marketing companies across the world that create these campaigns for their clients. Few ideas work, but most ideas don’t.

So can you become a social media expert or can you use different ideas to implement social media campaigns for your own brand? Perhaps. But remember that campaigns created by an untrained eye can actually do you more harm than good. A campaign could backfire and your message may be forwarded to other people with negative remarks! It’s happened even with the biggest brands like Skittles and GM (Make your own SUV ad). What matters is how well you understand the concept of social media and its implementation. Almost all of us can drive, but why aren’t we all participating in F1? That’s the difference between someone who knows what’s social media, and a professional social media marketing practitioner. But for someone who wants to know more about social media, here are some great examples, a few good ones, and (gasp) the ugly ones.

The Best Social Media Campaigns

Dunkin’ Donuts Coolatta Campaign

Dunkin’ Donuts came up with an innovative campaign to reach out to its customers through Twitter and Facebook. It was a campaign that worked, and did wonders for the brand.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

When Universal Orlando Resort wanted to launch this theme park, they didn’t spend millions to reach out to their audience. They told just seven people about it. And today, the world knows about it!

The Pink Chaddi Campaign

This is an awesome campaign that brought the whole of India together against a political party. The best part about this campaign was that it was started by just another journo, with no interest in branding or ROI!

The Good Social Media Campaigns

Fiesta Movement Campaign

How can a company that’s being funded by tax payers create a campaign that won’t burn its pockets by going the traditional route? Ford found the perfect way.

The Moonfruit Campaign

What are you going to do on your tenth birthday? Giving away gifts via Twitter might be a good option to get more followers, you know.

Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice

Will you sacrifice ten friends to get a free burger? Apparently, some people will. And good news for the brand, a lot more spoke about the campaign.

ISpy Levi’s

How far will you go to get someone to drop their pants, and win a pair of Levi’s in return? I’d say, quite far!

The Ugly Social Media Campaigns

Skittles Homepage

What happens when kids find a wall or a blackboard in class, and no one’s around? Well, they scribble the F word. Now why didn’t Skittles give that a thought when they launched their campaign?

Resident Evil Game – T-Virus Campaign

Who wouldn’t panic when they think their phone is attacked by a virus? Even if it was just a joke, would you take that well?

L.K. Advani’s Election Campaign

Why spend over two and a half billion rupees on a social media campaign when there’s nothing social about it? And why didn’t his party spend a few more rupees on a few more people to see where this campaign was popping up?!

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