Brands struggle on a daily basis to find new and creative ways to engage their audience and expand their reach to acquire new followers. Everyone wants to get a bigger slice of the 936 million active daily users on Facebook and the millions of other users spread across Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and beyond.

Aside from paid ads and more diverse, engaging content, what can you do to reach a larger audience? If you need some inspiration, just check out these five brands that pulled out all the stops and raked in big results through their creative use of social media:

1. The Red Bull Space Jump


On October 14, 2012, Red Bull sent a man to the edge of space. That man, Felix Baumgartner, ascended more than 24 miles above surface of the Earth. There were millions of people around the world watching as he stepped out of the capsule in his space suit and leaped into the stratosphere. 

During his freefall, Baumgartner broke the speed of sound and set three world records. The Red Bull campaign had everything it needed to capture the attention of the world, and to top it all off, the jump was streamed live on YouTube, which helped make it a trending topic across social media channels. The social promotion led to a massive amount of coverage as sites embedded the live stream from YouTube.

According to data cited by AdAge:

  • The jump was broadcasted on 80 TV stations in 50 countries
  • The live stream was embedded and distributed across 280 digital partners, racking up 52 million views
  • In the 6 months after the jump, Red Bull’s sales rose 7% to $1.6 billion in the U.S. alone
  • By the end of 2012, sales jumped 17% in the U.S.

2. The Old Spice Guy Q&A


The quirky randomness of Old Spice’s new marketing strategy was catching on fast ( it was actually the fastest growing campaign in history), and people loved the Old Spice Guy commercials. Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity to leverage consumer interest, Old Spice extended the reach of its campaign through a complex-yet-perfectly-executed series of live Q&A videos with Old Spice Guy.

Fans posed questions for the brand’s icon, while a social team monitored the incoming questions. When a good question came in, the production team quickly assembled props and recorded custom videos to post on the brand’s social account. Each video addressed the user directly and the interactive content campaign became a viral sensation that elevated the brand to epic proportions.

According to AdWeek:

  • The campaign received more than 5.9 million views on its first day
  • By day 2, Old Spice accounted for 8 out of the 11 most popular videos on the web
  • By day 3, total views were over 20 million, and that figure doubled to over 40 million after the first week
  • After the campaign, Old Spice’s Twitter following increased 2700%, Facebook interaction grew 800%, and organic traffic to the company’s website jumped by 300%
  • Old Spice became the #1 most-viewed brand of all time on YouTube 
  • Sales spiked by 107%

3. Heineken Brazil Turns Likes into Balloons


You don’t always need epic stunts or a huge production budget to get noticed. Sometimes, in order to build visibility and reach a larger audience, you just need a touch of creativity. Heineken Brazil wanted to increase engagement on Facebook and grow the number of likes on its brand page. The team came up with a ridiculous, but simple-to-execute strategy for gaining new fans.

The ‘Um Like Um Balao’ (One Like One Balloon) campaign was straightforward: for every new page like, a member of their staff would inflate a green balloon. It didn’t take long for the typically clean workspace to fill with balloons as Heineken Brazil shared custom videos with their fans on Facebook throughout the process.

For Heineken Brazil, the campaign was a complete success. In just a single day, the brand page gained thousands of new likes. Proof that you can get big results with minimal investment and a little creativity.

4. KLM Uses Twitter to Delight Customers

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was on a mission to improve the customer experience, so they asked the question: “Could we use social media to make our passengers feel special?” The company put together a team that used Twitter, FourSquare, and other social channels to find nearby passengers who were getting ready to check-in and board flights. Based on their social content, the KLM’s team then acquired personalized gifts and tracked down customers to deliver their gifts before departure.

In the video, customers are clearly surprised and delighted by the experience. The campaign ran for several weeks, with passengers sharing their stories with their social connections. By the end, it had generated more than one million impressions for KLM on Twitter alone.

5. TOMS Goes #withoutshoes


TOMS has gained massive popularity for their philanthropic efforts in which they donate a pair of shoes to needy children every time a pair of TOMS shoes is sold. In 2015, TOMS wanted to expand their efforts and launched a #WithoutShoes campaign on Instagram to build visibility for the cause.

Whenever someone posted a picture of their bare feet with the hashtag in the caption, TOMS would donate a pair of shoes. The campaign showed followers the company’s authenticity and commitment to the cause, which subsequently generated a great deal of trust and expansive reach for TOMS. By the end of the campaign, over a quarter million pairs of shoes were donated.

Have you been inspired by another brand’s success to change up your social promotion? What worked best for you? Share your tips with me in the comments below:

Image Sources: RedBull, TOMS

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Aaron AgiusAaron Agius is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world’s largest and most recognized brands, including Salesforce, Coca-Cola, Target and others, to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, his blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
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