Ivan Ivanov posted on 2 August 2017
There’s no place like the internet. Stars are made every day, weird trends take the world by storm and everything can become viral seemingly out of nowhere. The pound symbol has been officially replaced by the hashtag and the hype train never stops. What is also obvious is that brands want to get in on that.
The internet-verse is not the hot new thing. Instead, it’s how things are now. More than a decade ago, website designers would advertise that without a website your business is doomed.
A few years ago, social media marketers pledged that a brand without a Facebook page is non existent. Today, being on all the major social media platforms on top of having a website is a given.
Almost no one in the developed world starts a business without setting budget aside for proper online presence. Not to mention that companies are often created completely online.
This is also the reason why social media marketing campaigns are at the forefront of marketing as a whole. Everyone, from the biggest of corporations to the smallest of startups, plans out and executes on different strategies to engage with their audience through the various social media network. And more often than not, the sought-after success is either a viral status or at least enough engagement to boost brand exposure. Yet, the bigger percentage of social media campaigns fail.
Here at Locowise, we often discuss the factors that are involved in the success of a social media marketing campaign. We further try to do our best to help you use all the available statistical insights to your advantage when planning your marketing moves.
Yet, at times we are caught completely off-guard by the success (or failures) of different campaigns and the response from the audience and the different communities.
There are those rare occasions on the internet when all the stars comprised of zeros and ones align, resulting in a viral success of a post and a completely unintentional social media marketing campaign.
We decided to gather some of the best such online events in a nice list and see what can we learn about internet culture. Without further adieu, here are the most unintentionally successful social media marketing campaigns in recent years.
One of the most popular social media phenomenons in 2017 is undoubtedly the Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe. Without much thought about brand awareness or even the slightest bit of social media planning, he decided to upload an Instagram video of himself and his art. In the short video, he stripped and sliced a steak and threw salt on it.
The video quickly became popular and people started dubbing it, making GIFs, photos and memes in a variety of ways. In just a few days #SaltBae was trending. Completely unintentionally, the chef managed to increase the brand awareness of his chain of steakhouses to the point of expansion.
The 34 year old Gökçe now has 8.3 million followers, with his Nusr Et chain of steakhouses becoming a top destination for people from all over the world. Today, due to the success and popularity he achieved, the chef is planning a worldwide expansion with the first destination to open in London.
Gordon Ramsay is an infamous chef most widely known for his frantic persona on the TV Reality Show Master Chef. Throughout the years, Ramsay has managed to build his name into a highly successful brand, but up until recently his presence on social media was rarely noticed outside of his core audience.
However, one day the chef decided to casually start replying to people on Twitter, commenting on their dishes. This resulted into a huge sensation.
Your suppose to roast the chicken not take to the crematorium https://t.co/y39HQRFmiP
— Gordon Ramsay (@GordonRamsay) February 23, 2017
At first, home cooks who sought after genuine opinion from the chef shared their photos with him. While he was mostly positive and motivational, a few on-brand critical responses caught the attention of online thrill seekers.
Soon the chef was blasted with dozens of images of intentionally bad meals, for the purpose of stimulating him to give a satirical response. And he did.
Ramsay is already infamous and it’s quite difficult to put into perspective how much this unintentional social media marketing campaign has helped him with brand awareness. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that, if not else, this phenomenon resulted in increased engagement and bigger following on Twitter for the Chef.
Drake has been a target of online ridicule for the past couple of years due to his unconventional musical endeavors. The video for his single Hotline Bling for example, is being dubbed in a satirical way to this day.
However, the most unintentional brand awareness success the artist had on social media was after the release of his album Views From the Six.
To the city I love and the people in it…Thank you for everything #VIEWS pic.twitter.com/HEXHNwrWwd
— Drizzy (@Drake) April 25, 2016
Released on Twitter, the album cover quickly gained the attention of people due to the small-sized Drake. Shortly after the release, a trend of photoshopping the so-called tiny Drake into the most obscure and humorous of places.
It’s quite easy to argue that the artist is quite aware of how the Internet culture works. Nevertheless, we believe that even he didn’t intend for the album cover to turn into what it did, resulting in this amazing unintentionally successful social media marketing campaign, that definitely helped him increase the awareness of his new album release.
We’ve praised Wendy’s social media marketing gurus for knowing just how to increase their engagement on Twitter via internet humor numerous times. Nevertheless, this list wouldn’t be full without mentioning the most retweeted tweet of all time.
For those unaware, a teen by the name of Carter Wilkerson decided to ask the fast food restaurant chain how many re-tweets would it take for him to get a year of free chicken nuggets.
Popular for ironic and sarcastic responses on Twitter, Wendy’s responded with the unachievable high number of 18 million. A simple response, meant as a silly joke, quickly took the internet by storm.
The #NuggsForCarter resulted in the teen surpassing Ellen with the most retweeted tweet of all time. This helped not only Carter to get his year of free nuggets, but also Wendy’s to achieve an increased brand exposure on social media and better engagement rates on their humoristic tweets.
This further goes to show that the proper handling of your audience, can ultimately be the best thing for your brand.
@carterjwm 👆 It’s official. Carter, your Tweet is the most Retweeted of all time. #NuggsForCarter pic.twitter.com/9KqS8eTykJ
— Twitter (@Twitter) May 10, 2017
If you haven’t heard of DJ Khaled, you would still probably recognize him from one of his many internet memes. The artist now fully embodies and embraces the fact that he is a living meme and as with any meme his social media success was completely unintentional.
DJ Khaled often shared motivational posts and photos which were quickly remixed by his audience to serve a different purpose. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until 2016 when out of nowhere, a photo of the artist with president Obama, became a news sensation.
The photo itself presented DJ Khaled as the leader of ISIS. It became one of the most popular photos on Social Media during the U.S. Presidential elections and definitely increased the exposure of the artist in the long run.
MAJOR 🔑 ALERT!https://t.co/4O22TBTKnl the deadline is January 31st! @whitehouse #Wethebest @barackobama bless up pic.twitter.com/VPohMcwWRI
— DJ KHALED (@djkhaled) January 28, 2016
That’s the beauty of internet culture. A person could never know or expect what could be the next biggest trend. For some brands and social media marketers, the above examples might lead to an unmotivated campaign. After all, what these examples go to show is that often, the viral success is mostly luck.
Nevertheless, we hope that this post serves the opposite. We hope that it inspires you to make your social media marketing campaigns even better. In fact, while luck is a factor, we do believe that there is a lot of calculation involved.
Drake for example, is completely aware that his work is a target of dubbing and he tries to make this process even easier for enthusiasts. DJ Khaled embraces his living meme status. Even Wendy’s humoristic responses are a long-term strategy.
While the success ultimately can’t be predicted, closely following the numbers, seeing what works with your audience and what doesn’t, increasing your engagement and ultimately leaving the door open for potential virality is certainly the right step forward.
To help you out plan your next social media marketing campaign, here at Locowise we give you a 7-day free trial to our suite of services that include audits and marketing reports, analysis of your social media accounts, competitor insight and more. Sign up today!