We have a winner! In December, ClickZ decided to have a little fun - and get our readers involved - by holding a contest to judge the best in holiday social media campaigns. Brands we expected to do more interesting, engaging stuff - like Coca-Cola, Gap, and Toys "R" Us - lost in the first round, while unanticipated gamers like Build-A-Bear rose through the ranks.
The two finalists - iconic American brands, Betty Crocker and Converse - both displayed social media marketing prowess. But, in the end, only one had that special something it takes to rise to the top: Betty Crocker.
By taking a one-to-one approach to response marketing, and providing a steady flow of platform-relevant content for its Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube communities, the cake and cookie mix maker showed that old brands can learn new tricks.
"Betty Crocker's approach was a nice implementation of a social media as customer service platform strategy, but without all the negativity that that approach usually entails (see Target criticism from week 1)," noted Ken Kraemer, executive creative director at social media marketing agency Deep Focus, who helped guide ClickZ's decisions in each round of the contest.
Throughout the holiday season, Betty displayed an enviable ability to generate lots of likes, comments, and shares from fans on Facebook. After Christmas, the brand continued posting festive recipe ideas looking ahead to New Year's Eve, along with photos that spurred steady engagement.
Leading up to Christmas, the #Betty911 hashtag gained traction on Twitter, as people promoted the tip service or asked questions there. And the brand did something most brands featured in this contest failed to do: it created a cohesive approach to all three top social media platforms while customizing content and tone for each one.
While Facebook posts often asked questions and generated lots of discussion and sharing, Twitter posts employed hashtags like #Betty911. Meanwhile, YouTube videos complemented the #Betty911 theme with a handful of how-to cooking and baking videos to calm nerves in the kitchen.
Betty Crocker "used a one-to-one strategy of engaging their communities in both positive and supportive ways," said Kraemer. "Their #Betty911 - a program where they triaged holiday cooking issues for their followers - was spot-on in terms of using social in an effective way to serve a consumer insight: people need help shattering the anxiety of holiday cooking."
Overall, Socialbakers analysis of Facebook brand pages, which ClickZ used to help judge throughout the process, also gave Betty Crocker the thumbs up. Taking into account real fan growth, content quality, engagement, and posting strategy, Betty Crocker's page score was 55 percent during the month of December, compared to Converse's 30 percent. ClickZ readers agreed with our choice. Seventy percent chose Betty Crocker for the win.
However, Converse managed to drive interest in its classic sneakers, apparel - and deals - on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, throughout December. But the brand mostly fell silent in those channels following Christmas.
Converse deserves accolades. The brand ran a cool YouTube-centric campaign that combined goofy, entertaining videos with a month of daily - or near daily - deals. Better yet, the videos had a connection to each deal.
"Converse has implemented a creative platform for the season - the 30 deals in 30ish days - where a new video was created each day-ish and then distributed through social channels, with a goal of driving traffic and purchase on their ecommerce property. The videos were at times smart, funny, and effective expressions of the brand - and nicely done," said Kraemer.
"So we see that these two brands used very different approaches. Converse used outbound, branded content with a promotional hook, while Betty Crocker used one-to-one response marketing - to create effective, interesting programs.... Our two finalists are successful in their own ways and using two completely different social media approaches."
Added Kraemer, "Many of the programs we looked at - and especially our finalists' - did a good job of expressing the brand they were marketing. This sounds like a 101 kind of thing you'd expect, but the truth is most social marketing creative lacks a real focus and artful expression of a brand's real value, promise and/or message. Betty Crocker was skillful here, and I think Converse's program did well too."
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Articles written by ClickZ's news staff.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT