Even though social media may seem spontaneous and off-the-cuff, it might surprise the average user just how much of the content they see every day is part of a larger social media strategy. Digital marketers know that an active social media presence and engaged followings are important pieces in the SEO puzzle, which turns social media management into a strategic effort worth many hours of time and planning. Enter the social media campaign: a concentrated burst of marketing with creativity and user involvement at its core.

A plethora of social media case studies are published every year, but only a handful can stand above as the most sincerely creative of the year. Here are our picks for 2014’s best social media campaigns:


Probably best known for its powerful commercial during Super Bowl XLIX, the #LikeAGirl campaign from Always actually kicked off last June with a powerful full-length YouTube video that spawned an immensely popular hashtag still seeing frequent use today. Always demonstrates that when a company takes a visible stance on social issues, they can activate the passions of those who might not otherwise feel comfortable joining the conversation.

[embed: <iframe width=”854″ height=”510″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/XjJQBjWYDTs” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>]

Burger King Motel

For sheer effort alone, the Burger King Motel and #motelBK earn a spot on this list. To increase awareness and sales of its new chicken sandwich in New Zealand, where the “Whopper” was outselling all other burgers, Burger King repurposed a motel to give social media users a chance to “cheat on the Whopper.” The social funnel perfectly matched the user journey, from having New Zealanders book a room by tagging friends on the Burger King NZ Facebook page to numerous calls-to-action throughout the experience. And it worked: user engagement, user-generated content, and chicken sandwich sales went through the roof.

[embed: <iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/96554432?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0″ width=”500″ height=”281″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/96554432″>Motel Burger King</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user3943759″>aimcol</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>]

Via aimcol on Vimeo


Who thought the entity to surprise us in 2014 by stepping outside its comfort zone would be the White House? To reach millennials and encourage registration for the Affordable Care Act, President Obama and his social media team started the #GetCovered hashtag with a strong foundation: a campaign website chockfull of facts and easy-to-share graphics. Then, things got interesting, with President Obama stepping onto platforms like Quora (where he became the first verified user) and “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifinakis to answer questions.

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama from Funny Or Die

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

No list of 2014’s most effective social media campaigns would be complete without recalling the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Pouring ice water over your head is meant to momentarily simulate the loss of muscle control as your motor neurons deteriorate, but there are other compelling aspects. From the competitive spirit of challenging friends to donate or get dumped on and the “social judging” of deciding which videos to share to the user-generated spirit running throughout, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was truly a campaign by the people. The results for the people were outstanding: the ALS Association reports $115 million in donations since July 2014, thanks in no small part to the 17 million videos shared on Facebook and viewed more than 10 billion times.

What social media campaigns and hashtags from 2014 have stuck with you? Did you participate in any campaigns? What insights do you derive from our top four?