When Posts Go Viral: What We Can Learn From 2014’s Greatest Social Media Hits

Social Media viralThis time of year is often spent in both reflection of the past and planning for the future. It’s a transitional period as we gauge the wind and readjust our sails, often setting us on a new course in uncharted waters. So too, should be the way businesses evaluate their Social Media practices. Effective social media strategies change all the time in response to the constant disruptions by social media giants like Facebook and Twitter (and even the government). Then there are the constant upstarts that consistently threaten to take market share away from these giants. Some find success (Instagram) and others don’t (Ello).

The bottom line is that businesses should keep a vigilant eye on what works and doesn’t work in terms of Social Media Marketing. One fun way to readjust your Social sails is by learning from what works. In order to plan for the future, it’s worth it to review what has worked for the ‘big boys’ in 2014.

McDonalds, for instance, really shook the Social Media world with this fun and talent-ridden video: “McDonald’s Gol!” which paid homage to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It was McDonald’s most engaging Facebook post for the entire year, and has since garnered 7.5M views on YouTube. They even incorporated a free mobile game app to further engage its audience. McDonalds scored big on this one.

Then there’s Microsoft. In May they composed this funny tweet portraying a Floppy Disk as Darth Vader and a Cloud as Luke Skywalker amidst the famous “I am your father” scene from Star Wars. By appealing to both geek culture and IT professionals alike (all while showing their light-hearted side), Microsoft was able to pull in over 9,000 retweets with this post.
microsoft viral tweet P&G won the hearts of moms everywhere with this tear-jerker titled “Thank you, Mom” in response to the 2014 Winter Olympics. This inspirational video brought in an impressive 10M views within 10 days on YouTube. That’s one million views a day! It goes to show the viral nature of inspiration. Oh, and by the way, the “Thank you, Mom” Facebook page currently has over 800,000 likes.

Oreo struck gold with this Twitter ad by being quick on their feet during the Super Bowl XLVII power outage. This is a great example of how spontaneity and ‘being in the moment’ can work in your favor (please proceed with caution). But hey, they also had a team of 15 Social Media professionals standing by for such an opportunity.

Oreo-Dunk-in-the-DarkFinally, who could forget about the famous Ice Bucket Challenge? ALS was able to raise over $100M due to this genius viral marketing campaign that saw over 1M videos shared on Facebook. Celebrities and politicians even got on board, as people saw it as a fun way to spread awareness for a good cause and connect with friends and family

Of course, we don’t suggest that everyone go out and develop their own gaming app or invest in a high production promotional video. It just doesn’t make sense for 95% of businesses out there. But it does make sense to learn from these ‘instances of clarity’, as I like to call them. The common thread in all of these success stories is that they appeal to the human emotion in some unique way. Whether it is through humor, inspiration, thankfulness, or sentimentality, they all invoke a positive emotion, and they invoke it well. So remember as you redirect course for 2015: It pays to be creative. It pays to be thoughtful. And it most certainly pays to be social.

(For more success stories, check out this article for an infographic of brands who won Social Media ’14.)


3 thoughts on “When Posts Go Viral: What We Can Learn From 2014’s Greatest Social Media Hits

  1. Very interesting! I didn’t even know about the Oreo ad, but its great that social media allows for the communication of messages on the spot!

    Happy New Year!

    Follow me at thesocialblonde.wordpress.com 🙂

    1. Thanks for the nice comment! And yeah, I found it very interesting that they had a team of 15 people standing by for a Social Media ‘rapid-fire’. Happy New Year to you as well 🙂

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