What 2014 Taught Us: The Norbella Social Media Edition

Posted by Taylor Haney on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

Hope all of our New England friends are staying safe and warm in this blizzard! If you are locked inside and looking for something to do we've got a great guest blog for you to read from our friends at Norbella. Lindsey Doolittle, Content Marketing Strategist and Aileen McQuillen, Content Marketing Coordinator at Norbella share some big social take-aways from 2014.

Lindsey DoolittleLindsey’s career spans multiple communication channels including public relations, social media, and content marketing. Her recent experience as a fashion editor at Rue La La has given her invaluable experience working with brands such as 20th Century Fox, Norwegian Cruise Line, Canyon Ranch, FX Networks and Blue Apron. Lindsey is also a local blogger, having been featured in the New York Times Style Section, Boston Globe, and BostInno.com.

Aileen McQuillenAileen’s passion for social media and PR has been a driving force in her career. A graduate of Georgetown University, she gained invaluable experience interning at Refugees International, the U.S. Holocaust Museum, and the U.S. Peace Corps. In her spare time, she volunteers for local non-profit, Empower Dalit Women of Nepal. She directs the organization’s social media efforts, supporting their fundraising initiatives and public awareness campaigns.

During every minute of 2014, there were 600,000 logins to Facebook, 67,000 photos uploaded to Instagram, 433,000 tweets sent and 3,400 pins added to Pinterest![1] From innovative real-time posts, to powerful trending hashtags, to the rise of user-generated content, it looks like this social media thing is really catching on!

As consumers are bombarded with thousands of brand messages throughout the day, social media can be the weapon to amplify your voice and establish a more personal connection with your target audience. Here are some of the top moments from 2014 that inspire how we will look towards social media in 2015.

Focus on engaging your audience. This past year we saw a great shift towards focusing on engagement, as “likes” are no longer a viable measurement of campaign success. Luckily for brands, engagement is where brands can move customers to the point of purchase, locate aficionados and push channel growth. A great example of a brand that created a campaign intended for consumer participation was Coca Cola’s #ShareACoke. Coke, Diet Coke & Coke Zero labels were updated to include the top 250 names among teens and millennials, as well as terms of endearment such as buddy, friend or Mom. Through this campaign, Coca-Cola encouraged their target audience to get even more involved and visit www.shareacoke.com to personalize virtual bottles and share them with friends via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram using the #ShareACoke hashtag for a chance to be featured on a Coke billboards across the country.[2] There were more than 125,000 user-generated posts about the campaign across all social channels between June 2nd and July 14, which is a great response![3] We applaud Coca Cola for designing a refreshing campaign that spoke directly to its fan base with content that was easy and amusing to share.

Take risks. The gloves were off this year, as brands tried new tactics to make a splash. We saw some succeed and others fail. One of our favorite triumph stories was Taco Bell’s Social Media Blackout. In order to promote their new mobile ordering app, Taco Bell surprised their social fans by blacking out all of their social media accounts and website on the morning that they launched the app. With a combination of promoted tweets, sponsored posts and organic content, the brand directed fans to download the mobile app with the hashtag #onlyintheapp.[4]The social stunt paid off, as the company reported that just after 24 hours of launching, 75% of its stores had received a mobile order.[5] The accomplishment of Taco Bell’s risky campaign displays that with a well thought-out strategy and flawless execution, doing what no others have done before can definitely reap large rewards. So we say, if you are armed with the proper consumer research and channel familiarity, don’t be afraid to make that bold move.

norbella blog 1

Photo cred: Taco Bell

Make it meaningful. Social campaigns should tell a story that your customers can communicate on your behalf and to do this you need to get emotional. And no, we don’t mean crying at work, we mean telling stories that reflect real-life values that are able to connect with your target audience on a personal level. An example we love to reference is ASOS’s #MakeMeACurveModel. The UK Top Modeling Agency, Models1 launched an Instagram campaign with retailer ASOS searching for their next plus size model. ASOS’s target audience is women who are more likely to wear a size 8 or larger. Using the hashtag, #MakeMeACurveModel, over 8,000 hopefuls entered the contest.[6] The top 10 submissions were chosen and the entrants competed based on the following criteria – beauty, shape, personality, interesting features, fit and healthy appearance. The contest winner, Lauren Punter was bullied in school for being curvy and she said that being able to simply snap a selfie to enter instead of having to walk into a daunting modeling agency made her feel comfortable.[7] So while this campaign boosted brand awareness via user-generated content, it also struck a chord with women who desired the chance to be considered for an opportunity to work in an industry that would not typically recognize them.[8]

Think integrated. Long gone are the days where media channels operate without collaboration. This type of thinking ignores the reality of today’s consumer journey where a brand can reach an individual at multiple points throughout the day, such as through a cell phone, social profile, TV, newspapers or billboards. Brands need to think of how content can flow seamlessly from channel to channel, extending the life of the campaign and ultimately, furthering reach. Take the U.S Open’s #StoryoftheOpen for example. To increase event visibility, the U.S. Open created an integrated campaign to document the key events of the competition on a mural billboard over New York’s Midtown tunnel. Painter, Josh Cochran, updated the billboard daily with notable moments of the tournament, spreading images around the hashtag #StoryoftheOpen. His work was visible from the road, as well as live streamed through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.[9] This campaign brought an inventive approach to sports marketing, while also taking a creative spin on one of the oldest mediums of the media world, the billboard! The U.S. Open made the case that brands should not just focus on social media, but rather how social can supplement other channels and vice versa.[10]

norbella blog 2

Photo cred: Fast Company

Whether it was through challenging the status quo or pulling off real-time opportunities, we saw a lot of large brands adapt their social tactics to grow with the times this past year. So brace yourselves for what is to come! 2015 will be the year of the consumer and a time to challenge all campaigns to connect with consumers on a deeper level to create compelling interactions. Blur the lines between channels, try new things and remember, listen to your audience.



[1] http://blog.red-website-design.co.uk/2014/12/29/how-social-media-grew-in-2014-and-why-you-cant-ignore-it-any-longer/
[2] http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/share-a-coke-how-the-groundbreaking-campaign-got-its-start-down-under
[3] http://instagram.com/p/p4I0hgAp8L/?modal=true
[4] http://marketingland.com/taco-bell-mobile-app-tops-106015
[5] http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/taco-bell-explains-its-social-media-blackout-and-how-it-lit-mobile-orders-within-hours-161094
[6] http://girltalkhq.com/asos-uses-instagram-to-find-their-next-plus-size-supermodel/
[7] http://www.eonline.com/news/556181/marc-jacobs-asos-more-brands-using-instagram-to-cast-models-take-a-look
[8] http://hellogiggles.com/rise-plus-size-model
[9] http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/sports-marketing
[10] http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/us-open-billboard-being-updated-daily-include-most-memorable-moments-159823