The world of social media is large, with people and organizations from all over the world wanting their piece of the pie. Everyone wants to stand out and receive respect for the content they create (through likes, shares, comments, etc.). When it comes to businesses, it is extremely important that they be able to create content draws in potential customers, and that they develop connections with potential clients by listening and communicating with them. Not every business succeeds, but a few organizations have done particularly well. Let’s take a look at some social media wins and losses.
Social Media Win: Sony PlayStation
The brand names “Sony” and “PlayStation” are extremely recognizable. Though not everyone may realize that the two companies are connected (I did not realize that Sony owned PlayStation until I started researching PlayStation itself), most people would recognize both companies as being key players in the technology industry. Being a tech-based organization, it makes sense that PlayStation would make effective use of social media marketing.
According to this article on Econsultancy, PlayStation “is the most followed brand on Twitter”. During the pandemic, PlayStation chose to support the stay at home movement through their campaign #PlayAtHome. During their campaign, they allowed people to download a few of their games for free to play at home. Econsultancy says that more that 10 million people downloaded the games during the campaign – that’s quite the reach!
Being a regular Facebook user, I decided to take a peek at the PlayStation Facebook page. One of the first things I noticed was that the page said, “Welcome to the PlayStation Canada Facebook community. We want to hear from you and encourage comments, critiques, questions and suggestions.” So, PlayStation makes it clear that they are listening to what their audience has to say. As expected, PlayStation has posted multiple videos featuring their video games. They also seem to have worked with people’s love of sharing cat photos on social media with a campaign that had people sending in pictures of their cats alongside their PlayStation remotes. Overall, PlayStation seems to be succeeding in attracting people to their social media, developing a sense of online community, and connecting with large audiences.
Social Media Win: Dove
Dove is a company that strives to promote wellness and natural beauty. One of the most memorable campaigns for me is Dove’s #ShowUs Project. For #ShowUs, Dove uses models that do not fit into the standard, stereotypical definition of beauty. For example, their models may have large beauty marks, bald heads, armpit hair, or a few extra pounds. I think the main attraction for these photos is that people are shocked to see models that do not fit into the “norm”. Once people are shocked by the photos, they realize that Dove is trying to advocate for appreciation of women no matter what they look like. According to Dove, “Project #ShowUs is changing the way media & advertising represent women.”
Dove also has other campaigns that focus on true beauty, such as #BeautyBias and My Beauty My Say which can be found on their website.
I headed to Dove’s Facebook Page. Right now, it seems that they are focusing on a new campaign called #DetoxYourFeed. They are encouraging parents to teach their daughters that social media can decrease self-esteem by showing unrealistic images.
Overall, through multiple campaigns that advocate for women, Dove attracts attention to their business and promotes wellness for women.
Social Media Loss: IHOP
Full disclosure: it is my personal opinion is that IHOP’s social media campaigns have a tendency to fall flat, so to speak. However, some may feel that IHOP is excellent at attracting attention and, so, their social media campaigns are successful.
One of IHOP’s controversial campaigns would be IHOb. This campaign was listed in Jose Angelo Gallegos’ article, “The Best Social Media Marketing Campaigns of 2019 (So Far)“. Expecting to be dazzled, I ended up confused when I read about the campaign. Apparently, to drum up business for their new line of burgers, IHOP changed their name on Twitter to IHOb. A few flaws that came to my mind were:
1. If I saw that a business had removed the “P” for pancakes from its name, I would assume that they no longer sold pancakes.
2. After IHOb was introduced, I would expect that there was a company by this name and may look for it to purchase a burger from in the future when, in fact, this was just a temporary marketing campaign.
3. Why is the “b” lower-cased when the “P” is upper-cased?
So, clearly, despite the fact that this campaign is celebrated for bringing attention to IHOP and their new burger product, I was less-than impressed by the marketing strategy. Upon further research into marketing campaigns, I came across IHOP again. This time, in an article by Purple Frog titled, “10 of the Worst Examples of Social Media Marketing Campaigns“.
In the article, a social media post by IHOP was shared:
This Tweet is remarkably inappropriate, especially when it is being posted by a company you would expect to be serving brunch to friendly families.
In general, after viewing IHOP’s social media, I am left with negative feelings towards the company. Nevertheless, it is clear that they have received a great deal of coverage from their social media posts. Maybe coverage was simply all they were aiming for or, perhaps, other people do not find their campaigns as confusing and offensive as I do.
When a business is designing a social media campaign, they have to consider it carefully so that it will affect their target audience in they way they would like them to be affected. PlayStation has reached millions of people through their social media campaigns, and ensures potential customers on social media that they want to hear from them. Dove uses their campaigns to advocate for the appreciation of true beauty in addition to themselves. Meanwhile, IHOP’s campaigns feel a little poorly planned to me. However, they still do receive plenty of coverage. Different people respond in different ways to social media campaigns. Businesses just have to assure that they are choosing the right campaign for them and their audience.