UPDATE: Iconic American brands Betty Crocker and Converse make it to the final round. Vote now!
UPDATE: ClickZ's Holiday Social Showdown winner will be announced Tuesday, January 3.
The Holiday Social Showdown is getting down to the wire! We started with 16 contenders, picked off losers each week, and now we've finally made it to the last round. Perhaps contrary to predictions, the final survivors are not young brands with built-in social media savvy. Indeed, the remaining contestants are two iconic American brands with a long history of strong brand marketing.
Judging has been based on campaign innovation, social engagement data from SocialBakers, and expert insight from Ken Kraemer, executive creative director at social media marketing agency Deep Focus. Big name brands including Absolut, Bacardi, Coke, Target, and Xbox have all buckled under the pressure.
Left to battle on in the past week were Best Buy, Betty Crocker, Build-a-Bear, and Converse.
Betty Crocker vs. Build-a-Bear: Betty Crocker Wins!
Considering the innovation of Build-a-Bear's highly-engaging, live streaming video "Get Your Wish On" experience, this was a difficult choice to make. And, even though the custom stuffed animal toy maker promoted the planned launch of its Christmas Eve Santa tracker on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, the initiative itself is less social than it is immersive.
Classic cake and cookie mix brand Betty Crocker, on the other hand, has managed to incorporate Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter throughout its holiday campaign, including in the Betty911 effort launched this week. The Betty911 cooking tip hotline-style program has a strong presence on all three top social media platforms.
The brand continued to display Facebook engagement prowess in the past week. A post including a photo of a festive red and green cake inspired more than 300 shares and over 1,500 likes. A Betty911 related post to Facebook yesterday encouraging people to ask their holiday baking questions generated 90 comments including answers from the Betty Crocker team, and 29 shares in six hours. Another holiday gift related post asking people to fill in a blank spurred 14 shares, 95 likes, and 60 comments in less than 10 minutes.
The #Betty911 hashtag is gaining traction on Twitter, as people promote the tip service or ask questions there. And, perhaps most engaging, the old-school brand posted three Betty911 branded holiday videos in the past week with the launch of the cooking tip initiative.
"Betty Crocker is proving out one of the big strengths of social media done well: utility marketing," said Kraemer. "Just as in old-school traditional marketing planning, they've found a niche-y but hyper-relevant need in their audience base's lives, and then responded with a tailor-made program to serve it. And because social media allows a sort of broadcast intimacy, the 1-to-1 nature of the multiple channels used in the 911 program really exemplify and strengthen their brand. Nice job here."
According to SocialBakers, Betty Crocker's "Talking About" rate on Facebook increased in the past week while Build-a-Bear's decreased. Betty's rose around 1,300 to more than 14,000 as Bear's fell by nearly 7,000 to around 13,000.
ClickZ readers went for Build-a-Bear in a big way, though. Just four percent of readers voted for Betty Crocker in round three.
Best Buy vs. Converse: Converse Wins!
Another classic American brand, footwear maker Converse, won this matchup.
Best Buy started off strong with its series of light-hearted holiday gift guide videos on YouTube, but, despite a lengthy flash mob-inspired video, hasn't done much to enhance that experience over the last few weeks. Though Best Buy did make sure to push out holiday related deals and messages on Facebook and Twitter, Converse has come through again and again with a series of zany videos promoting one-day deals on specific shoes. The brand is also regularly pushing the videos out on Facebook and Twitter.
"Converse wins out because they've recognized - and really exploited - one of the realities of social media: a constant thirst for content," Kraemer said. "They've taken a little bit of a scrappy approach (which is great for their brand) and provided a continuous drumbeat of good, sometimes pretty funny content and promotions. All of them feel at home in a newsfeed or timeline."
Overall, according to SocialBakers data, between December 15 and December 20, Converse drove more interactions on Facebook (more than 8,000) than BestBuy (around 7,500).
The ClickZ reader poll was close on this matchup: 57 percent went for Best Buy compared to 43 percent for Converse.
Voting has ended for the final round. ClickZ's Holiday Social Showdown winner will be announced Tuesday, January 3.
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