Last month, we shared a post about big brand social media blunders and how to avoid them. Over the weekend, Aldi’s twitter account blew up after responding online to a rival supermarket’s legal case against them. So we thought now would be a great time to share five social media wins and talk about what small businesses can learn from them…
Aldi and #FreeCuthbert.
The social media team for the supermarket brand Aldi recently went viral with a series of tweets.
The tweets responded to industry competitor, Marks & Spencer’s decision to take legal action against Aldi for ripping off the Colin The Caterpillar Brand. If you’ve seen the #FreeCuthbert hashtag appear in your social feed, Cuthbert is Aldi’s equivalent to Colin. Here’s just one of Aldi’s tweets which caught the public’s attention (and their hearts) over the weekend…
Marks & Snitches more like. #FreeCuthbert
— Aldi Stores UK (@AldiUK) April 16, 2021
Aldi rose to the challenge of an expensive lawsuit and turned it into a huge PR win with the help of social media. This week, they took it even further by tagging M&S in a tweet which suggested legal fees would be better redirected into a more worthy cause. They have asked their rival and other supermarket brands to team up with them for the #caterpillarsforcancer campaign, and donate the profits from their caterpillar cakes to cancer charities…
Hey @marksandspencer can Colin and Cuthbert be besties? We’re bringing back a limited edition Cuthbert and want to donate profits to cancer charities including your partners @macmillancancer & ours @teenagecancer. Let’s raise money for charity, not lawyers #caterpillarsforcancer.
— Aldi Stores UK (@AldiUK) April 20, 2021
The public have sided with Aldi, which puts pressure on M&S to reconsider taking legal action in order to protect their reputation. Even if M&S decide to push forward with legal action, the free publicity Aldi has gained will go towards recovering the costs.
As well as individual twitter users’ reactions, Aldi’s fellow supermarkets and other brands got on board with #FreeCuthbert. Many large media organisations got involved too, reporting on the Cuthbert scandal and debating which caterpillar cake tastes the best.
Lesson learned: #FreeCuthbert shows one way to creatively respond to a threat to your business and turn it into a PR opportunity. The threat doesn’t even need to be directed towards your brand specifically, but can instead have a wider affect on your industry. Just like how other brands jumped in and used the hashtag for their own content, engaging with popular trends connected to your industry is great for getting engagement on your social media accounts.
Getty Museum and #GettyMuseumChallenge.
Remember at the start of the pandemic when people were re-creating works of art with the objects they found at home? It all started with Getty Museum’s trending hashtag #GettyMuseumChallenge.
Back in March 2020, when all non-essential places shut their doors for lockdown, many museums and art galleries moved their operations online. One museum took it one step further, raising our spirits and bringing joy to our social feeds, with this simple and fun challenge.
Getty Museum asked followers to check out its online collection and recreate their favourite artwork with whatever objects they could find in their home. The campaign went viral, with 78.4K mentions, and 10.8K retweets. You can view the original post below…
We challenge you to recreate a work of art with objects (and people) in your home.
🥇 Choose your favorite artwork
🥈 Find three things lying around your house⠀
🥉 Recreate the artwork with those items
And share with us. pic.twitter.com/9BNq35HY2V
— Getty (@GettyMuseum) March 25, 2020
Lesson learned: Adapting to the pandemic and making full use of online resources is one lesson to take away from this viral campaign. It’s never been more important to have an online presence for your business. That includes your site, social media profiles and more. The campaign also shows the full potential of user generated content, from increased brand awareness and reach, to more engagement and followers on social media.
Ocean Spray and viral skateboarding TikTok.
If you’re addicted to TikTok (as most of us have become while in lockdown), you’ll most likely have seen the video of a skateboarder gliding down the highway, drinking from a bottle of cranberry juice while Fleetwood Mac’s hit Dreams plays in the background. If you haven’t, you can watch it here…
Nathan Apodaca, the skateboarder in the TikTok, explained he filmed the video while longboarding to work after the battery in his car had died. The video quickly went viral, racking up more than 26 million views on the social platform. It attracted many responses from other TikTok users, including Fleetwood Mac’s own drummer and namesake, Mick Fleetwood.
It’s worth noting that Ocean Spray didn’t immediately respond to the trend, instead letting it play out and grow organically. But when they finally did, gifting Apodaca with a brand new truck, it gave the brand another opportunity for some positive publicity.
Lesson learned: Not all social media wins come from planned campaigns… Or even comes from the brand itself! People love content made by other people, especially on platforms like TikTok, which make it easy for users to create. If you’re lucky enough to have content associated with your brand attract notice, it’s a great opportunity for PR and you should think about sharing the content on your social media.
Spotify’s 2020 Wrapped Report.
At the end of last December, Spotify released a year-in-review feature. This followed on from the previous year’s successful campaign, Spotify Wrapped, which helped users to remember their decade of music.
The report analysed user’s listening history for the year and shared insights, like top albums, artists and playlists. Similar to the Getty Museum example, this came at a time when live music events were put on hold and media streaming service providers stepped in to support their industry.
Lesson learned: By introducing a feature which could easily be shared across social media platforms, Spotify turned millions of people into unpaid brand influencers. This example also highlights the importance of personalisation for attracting engagement. In other words, if you want to get people to share your content on their own profiles, you need to make it about them.
Wendy’s keeps on winning.
Wendy’s social media team is well known for their humour and authenticity, frequently responding to tweets about their brand and their rivals by straight up roasting users. This approach stands out against fast food giants like McDonald’s and KFC, which still abide by the traditional customer first mentality.
Just one example of Wendy’s social media wins occurred back in 2017, when one lucky Twitter user won a years’ worth of free nuggets after he tweeted the fast food company. The tweet broke a world record by becoming the most re-tweeted tweet in Twitter history…
HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS pic.twitter.com/4SrfHmEMo3
— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) April 6, 2017
Wendy’s approach works so well because their target audience are young people who enjoy Twitter feuds and online banter. They don’t sell a serious product either – it’s cheap, fast food. So their social media strategy may not be appropriate for all brands, but there are still some general lessons which can be taken away…
Lesson learned: The first is being responsive. When you reply directly to a user as a brand, you make them feel valued. The second is being relatable. Wendy’s know who their target market is, how to talk and connect with them. That’s why the brand continues to win on social media even without the support of viral campaigns.