Facebook Live video, Snapchat’s funky face filters, Twitter’s move to make Tweets longer – these are just a few of the new enhancements we saw added to our favorite social networks over the past year. As users continue to demand more from these platforms, these applications will continue to evolve to meet these requirements.

But social media networks are not the only ones paying attention to consumers’ changing preferences – brands are certainly taking notice and are increasingly focusing on making social media marketing plans a major objective of their overall goals.

But businesses can’t just throw any old post, photo or Tweet up there and hope it resonates with the target audience. This type of content needs a variety of elements to get the results that marketers are looking for. It’s got to be eye-catching and engaging, it must tell a story, and it has to keep consumers coming back for more.

Having all of these components sounds impossible, right? Not so! By incorporating these details into your social media marketing plan, you can experience the wide range of benefits that these platforms offer.

Still not convinced? Take a look below at some of the best social media campaigns we saw over the past year and what made each of them successful.

Buzzfeed’s Tasty Facebook videos

Chances are you’ve seen one of Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos – they’ve appeared on all forms of social media in the recent past but have found the most success on Facebook. These videos feature action shots of various recipes being made, from bacon mac ‘n’ cheese pot pie to cookies & cream brownie cheesecake bars to slow cooker spiced apple cider, among many other delectable dishes.

But what makes these visual recipes stand out from the deluge of other videos that no doubt flood your Facebook Newsfeed daily?

Well, you wouldn’t think that shorter videos would have a lot time to convey much of a message, but Tasty excels in that regard. In between one and two minutes for each video, Buzzfeed has effectively told a story to its viewers, and it’s one they can easily take with them or share with others. High engagement is the goal with the Tasty strategy, and Buzzfeed achieves this with grace, as pointed out by Brandwatch’s Vice President of Agency – Americas, Jim Reynolds.

“These videos are examples of great, short engagement and shareable content that quickly sucks a consumer in and draws them into clicking videos left and right,” Jim stated.

And while Tasty has experienced most of its success on Facebook, Jim explained that the strategy was built to be used cross-channel, and this is something that brands should incorporate into their upcoming campaigns for ultimate success.

GoPro’s Instagram strategy

GoPro has essentially dominated the Instagram domain with a strategy that showcases various shots and videos from its versatile camera.

Every post is through a GoPro lens, of course, but the focus of the feed is not on the product – it’s on the user-generated photos and videos that showcase a variety of lifestyles – family, adventure, relaxation.

GoPro doesn’t need to overly promote its camera with this strategy – after all, it’s not the actual product that’s successfully telling the story, it’s the GoPro users and the content they’re sharing. And this is resonating with the brand’s followers, as they are interested in the lifestyle aspect, not the promotional one.

“GoPro kills the game with its Instagram strategy,” stated Allie Stone, Brafton’s Promotions & Engagement Manager. “Their brand identity is uniformly represented throughout the entire feed. Most importantly, GoPro doesn’t use Instagram to sell its product – it uses the platform to celebrate a lifestyle of adventure.”

Making user engagement a focal point of its marketing strategy has allowed GoPro to establish more intimate and human connections with its target audience. It’s no longer a traditional business-to-consumer relationship – the brand is showing that it appreciates its customers and wants to celebrate their lifestyles.

“Can I say I get an adrenaline rush just reviewing their content?” said Jim. “GoPro has pushed its customers to the limit and consistently push the boundaries of what a tech company can be.”

Nuna and influencer marketing

Nuna, which makes and sells baby products like car seats, strollers and high chairs, has found success by teaming up with an influencer. Influencers are individuals within a target audience who often have large followings, and often influence others’ purchasing decisions. Mommy blogging is a relatively new trend that has skyrocketed in recent years, and Nuna works with the some of the biggest mommy bloggers to promote its brand.

One example is Cara Van Brocklin, a fashion blogger and mom, who has posted Instagram photos of her and her children using Nuna products. With nearly 700,000 followers on the image-sharing platform and a strong presence on other social networks, Cara is well-known within the mommy blogging sphere, and Nuna has figured out that its target audience follows Cara on social media.

“Partnering with well-known mommy bloggers allows Nuna to tap into the credibility that these bloggers already have,” Allie stated. “Long story short, these bloggers are influencers in the community of moms. Consumers want what they are using.”

Influencer marketing is increasing in use and importance as it has brought many brands spectacular results. A study conducted by TapInfluence and Nielsen Catalina Solutions found that when compared to traditional methods of online marketing, influencer marketing has an ROI rate that is 11 times higher. What company wouldn’t want to experience that kind of success?

Social media has allowed brands to establish and maintain strong connections with their target audiences, and it’s a strategy that companies should continue to follow. Conversing with prospects and customers, showcasing a consistent message and letting consumers become part of the journey will give marketers the results they are looking for.

 

We’d like to extend a special thank you to Jim Reynolds for providing his expertise for this article. Jim is the Vice President of Agency – Americas at Brandwatch, a leading global provider in the social analytics market. He has over 10 years of sales experience in cutting edge technologies. In his current role, Jim oversees all agency enhancements for the Americas and leads a team focus on recruiting, managing and growing relationships in Brandwatch’s agency business.

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Tressa Sloane is the Sr. Manager of Editorial Development in Boston. Born a Southern belle, she now resides in the chilly (but wicked awesome) Northeast, and when she's not learning everything she can about content marketing, she's obsessing over Elvis, Auburn football and France.