Hollywood has the Golden Globes, music has the Grammy Awards and social media has the Shorty Awards. As social media has evolved from only a way to socialize online to a platform where businesses and organizations can engage with customers and address global issues, mainstream media is beginning to recognize adopters for their contributions to the social media movement.
Established six years ago, the Shorty Awards honor the best in social media and recognize the individuals, agencies, businesses and content creators making an impact across the social Web. For those of us seeking to break the mold and set new standards for social media success, the Shorty Awards can offer fresh ideas and newfound inspiration as we dream up the next “viral” social media campaign.
The one thing all Shorty Award winners have in common is the ability to create original content and use social media platforms in innovative ways to drive engagement and make an impact on the world.
From consumer brands and electronics to travel and entertainment, here are a few examples of how brands are winning big in social media:
Samsung Galaxy: Best Use of Social Media for Customer Service
As a tech brand that was already embracing social media to engage with customers on Twitter and solve customer service issues, Samsung was looking for a way to up the ante and build upon the prestige of being a Samsung Galaxy owner. The goal was to increase brand loyalty among existing customers and enhance the overall perception of the brand. All it needed was a way to bridge existing online conversations with real-world experiences. As a result, Samsung created the #PowerOn campaign and claimed its spot in history as the first company to allow its smartphone owners to recharge their phone with a tweet.
WestJet: Best Viral Campaign
We all dream of having our campaigns go “viral,” so maybe we should take a few notes from this year’s Best Viral Campaign winner, WestJet. Last year, the airline company carefully orchestrated its buzzworthy real-time giving campaign, WestJet Christmas Miracle. The holidays can be a stressful time of year, especially for weary travelers flying home to spend time with family. This was the main motivation for WestJet’s viral campaign, as the company sought to spread the joy of the season by surprising unsuspecting travelers with a real-time holiday surprise that was personally delivered as they landed at their destination. The entire experience was documented on video and shared on the company’s YouTube channel. The campaign was supported by an integrated strategic marketing communications program, which acted as the catalyst that made it go viral.
GoPro: Best Facebook Page
Consumer electronics and lifestyle brand GoPro walked away with the Best Facebook Page award at last night’s Shorty Awards. What made GoPro stand out from other big players, like Mercedes-Benz, Visa and Game of Thrones, was the company’s uncanny ability to produce engaging, interactive content and encourage thoughtful discussion amongst fans to foster brand loyalty and drive product sales. Unlike other brands, GoPro has a distinct vision for its social media program: “To empower a generation of consumers and professional producers to capture, create and share their unique GoPro perspectives of the world.”
You may recall the Red Bull Stratos Campaign where Felix Baumgartner ascended more than 24 miles above Earth’s surface to the edge of space in a stratospheric balloon. The chosen device to capture this record-breaking achievement—the GoPro Hero 2. Long after this historic event, GoPro continues to encourage and sustain a large volume of user-generated content from a variety of consumer segments to build an “always-on” content distribution network in which the everyday consumer is portrayed as the hero.
Sports Center: Best Facebook Contest
Sports Center walked away with the award for Best Facebook Contest for its “This Is Sports Center” contest. The contest, which encouraged fans to rank their favorite “This Is Sports Center” ads for a special countdown segment aired on ESPN, utilized an interactive fan voting app to drive interest in the contest. While at first glance this may seem like any other other fan voting contest, Sports Center’s contest capitalized upon decades of advertising campaigns to reward an audience of passionate sports fans across multiple generations.
Other notable brand achievements and categories included:
- Best Facebook Campaign: Turning the Internet Red (Human Rights Campaign)
- Best Brand on Twitter: American Express
- Best Twitter Campaign: Clever Girls Collective #SFBatKid
- Best Use of a Hashtag on Twitter: The Voice #VoiceSave
- Best Brand on Pinterest: Whole Foods Market
- Best Brand on Vine: GE
- Best Brand on Snapchat: Wet Seal
- Best Social Integration with a TV Commercial: Never.no and Leo Burnett
Do you feel adequately inspired? I challenge you to make your next social media campaign one for the history books. With a little imagination, creativity and hard work, you could be celebrating at the Shorty Awards this time next year.
What will your 140-character award speech say?