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3 Times Brands Knocked it Out of Park with Social Media

These brands knew what they were doing with social media and it resulted in some of the most viral moments of the past few years.

In 2019, social media and online digital marketing are absolutely controlling the field. In fact, many franchise consultants suggest abstaining from older marketing pathways and sticking with online. This has brought on an overwhelming amount of oversaturation when it comes to social media marketing campaigns. If you don’t know where to look for inspiration, we’ve got you covered! Here are three times brands found a way to knock it out of the park with social media. 

1. Wendy’s Viral Marketing on Twitter

The Twittersphere is rapidly becoming an absolutely essential part of every brand’s marketing strategy. Established franchises with huge reach, such as KFC or Wendy’s, have decided to dive headfirst into millennial-centered viral Twitter campaigns. These companies recognize the value of appealing to as many online users as possible in an attempt to stay on-brand.

As of 2019, Wendy’s follower count is a whopping 3.24 million. The brand's Twitter bio sums up its presence on the platform pretty well: “We like our tweets the same way we like to make hamburgers: better than anyone expects from a fast food joint.” The QSR brand has been known to “clap back” at various other franchise competitors, such as McDonald’s and Burger King, all in the name of a good tweet. 

Wendy’s dared to move away from the usual corporate Twitter voice in an attempt to maximize its reach, and so far, it has worked. The popularity of Wendy’s account now allows even the most basic promotional tweets to reach sky-high numbers.

2. Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappucino on Instagram

Everyone wants to know how to get more popular on Instagram. Whether it be through selfies or vacation pics, we're all looking for ways to boost our likes and follower count. In 2017, Starbucks did just that with the rollout of its Unicorn Frappucino

The colorful drink was made of mango syrup, sour blue drizzle, sweet pink powder and vanilla whipped cream. Most importantly, the viral concoction magically changed color and flavor as the person drank it. 

Naturally, people were excited to try the product and seemingly even more thrilled to share their experience on Instagram. In a stroke of genius, Starbucks made the product available for one week only, ensuring that droves of teens would flock to its stores in fear of missing out on the trend. 

The campaign was undeniable, with Starbucks execs even deeming the beverage an “Instagrammable success” and a driver of “significant traffic.” During its one-week reign, the Unicorn Frappucino hashtag generated nearly 155,000 Instagram posts. The response wasn’t all positive, but a combination of morbid curiosity and FOMO (fear of missing out) made even the haters fall for Starbuck’s marketing genius.  

Of course, the actual drink was only the beginning of a bigger campaign to promote the year’s upcoming Frappuccino Happy Hour. The Unicorn proved to be just the social-media friendly tool that Starbucks predicted.

3. IHOP's Odd IHOb Campaign

Who could forget IHOP's bizarre social media campaign in the Summer of 2018? For a brief point in time, it seemed like the International House of Pancakes might be changing its focus from breakfast to burgers. After announcing that IHOP would be swapping the last letter of its name from a ‘P’ to a ‘B’, the brand encouraged users to guess what ‘B” might stand for. After 30,000 Twitter responses, the company finally announced that the ‘B’ stood for ‘burger.’ 

The Internet exploded in response. Users all over were digging for more information about whether or not the stunt was real. Both versions of the name were trending, with the original Tweet generating over 15,000 retweets and 40,000 likes. If there is one thing the internet loves to do, it’s solving a mystery. If a brand can get users digging, there’s no telling how far a campaign can go. Everyone was talking about IHOb, and burger sales at the chain even quadrupled due to the stunt. 

In the end, it was clear that the ‘P’ in IHOP wasn’t going anywhere, but that wasn’t the point. The chain was able to create an incredible amount buzz out of thin air simply by playfully flipping the last letter in their logo upside down. Now that is good marketing!