Digital Marketing News – Top 5 Social Media Success Stories of 2012


While we love to poke fun at those who get it wrong, it’s a lot more inspiring to take our lead from those who got it right. I’ve pulled together my top 5 success stories of 2012 who, for a variety of reasons, have stood out for me this year.

Editor: We’re always keen to hear about your successful campaigns and we may even feature them in the blog if they are of interest to our readers (We’ll even give you a link back to your site which is a great SEO benefit).


If you read my previous post ‘Top 10 #socialmediafails of 2012 you may be surprised to find the same company taking the top spot for success stories too. But I think McDonalds deserves the win, not just for launching a successful and well thought out campaign, but for not shying away after such an epic fail on their earlier attempt.

Bouncing back is always tough but McDonalds earned its stripes later in the year with their ‘Our Food. Your Questions’ campaign. Quite simply it was a way for the public to ask anything they liked and have it answered in an honest and frank way. The questions of course were many and varied and a lot were negative which was no different to the response to their #McDStories campaign. This time however, instead of opening the campaign up through social media, they created a very simple platform which allowed them a little more control and were able to respond in a structured way to each question.

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This in itself is a well run piece of work and no doubt dispelled some myths about the company’s products and processes. But then McDonalds hit upon the genius idea of responding to some of the most popular questions with video content; shared through youtube most of the short films have been viewed by a staggering number of people. One video boasts viewing figures over of 7.5 million with many others in hot pursuit.

Using video has guaranteed a far larger audience than those currently reading responses on the website and the content will continue to be relevant for a long time. McDonalds has utilised social media in the campaign but in a much more engaging way, sharing their own responses, rich media content and encouraging users back to their forum thus avoiding the chaos it dealt with following their earlier efforts.

As far as marketing goes, I take my hat off to McDonalds for bouncing back and learning from their mistakes. Whether you’re a fan of them or not, social media wise it’s a great example.


As far as I’m concerned, this campaign is a stroke of genius and the kind of stunt most of us working in PR dream of coming up with (and being allowed to create).

Telenet is a Belgium provider of TV/Internet services and the campaign aimed to raise the profile of TNT, their drama channel.

The campaign involved erecting a large red button in the square of a local town with a sign inviting members of the public to ‘Push to add drama’. When the button was activated a live drama scene unfolded in front of the public audience with an ambulance roaring in, someone being knocked off a bike, a gun fight, kidnapping and a half naked woman randomly riding around on a motorbike.

The scene was loud, chaotic and elicited exactly the desired response from the audience. Clearly the intention was to create something a bit different that would go viral once online. And that’s exactly what it did. In its first day the video attracted over 4m views and the current count is almost 42m with nearly 2,000 comments on youtube.

What works is the element of surprise, the reactions from the crowd and the fact that its universal so has mass appeal far and beyond its target audience. I made me smile when I saw it and I think it’s a stroke of genius from Telenet.


There’s no doubt the Olympics dominated social media chatter throughout 2012 turning the world’s spotlight on the UK and heralding it as the first ever ‘Social Games’.

It’s easy to forget how recent our surge into digital media really is when you consider the lack of social media usage in the last games only 4 years ago.

But were the 2012 Olympics a social media success? They certainly were for the brands involved, with McDonalds, Coca Cola, Visa and Nike doing particularly well for brand engagement.

The opening ceremony saw the biggest peak in conversation with almost 3m mentions on Twitter. But then again the games are social media gold with almost every aspect offering great shareable content. Plenty of rich media, opportunities for fans to engage with their favourite Olympians and stats coming out of your ears. On the surface I’d agree with the majority that for the UK at least, the games were a social media success. But as these are the first games to involve the use of social media, it will be interesting to see how it compares with the next ones.


This particular confectioner came under some fire in pervious years for its off the wall campaigns and lack of social media engagement.

They finally seemed to have woken up to their social media failings and this year has made a real push to engage fans online through Facebook in particular. While they have used the page to promote specific products, the brand realised that although they have a large number of fans, only around 16% were actually engaging with its content.

As they had reached the 1m ‘Likes’ landmark, they decided to thank their supporters with a rather lovely video campaign that saw their engagement rates rise to over 30% and gained them an additional 40,000 fans.

Although the campaign was short term, it has kickstarted their engagement and gives them a great base from which to build future campaigns. It has also demonstrated the opportunities social media offers to those who were fairly skeptical.

Red Bull

Never one to shy away from pushing the boundaries with their stunts, this year saw Felix Baumgartner, a skydiving expert from Austria, freefall from over 128,000 ft above the earth falling at a rate of 833.9 mph and breaking the sound barrier.

The video of the stunt is amazing and terrifying and has been viewed by almost 3m users. The campaign had its own Facebook and Twitter profiles, a dedicated website and Felix and the team have been nominated for numerous awards.

This really is one for the record books and since the stunt took place, Red Bull has been valued at a staggering 5bn which is amazing when you consider its product.


Obviously this kind of success won’t be seen by everyone and is hard to replicate, but one thing they all have in common is coming up with something original that not only appeals to their audience but also fits with the product and embodies the personality of the brand.


Written be Felice Ayling

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