2013 was a year filled with stunts and activity designed to capture attention and keep people talking. Here are a few of the best social media moments and tools:

Best Viral Video:

Volvo’s epic split video featuring Jean Claude Van Damme captures the imagination while focusing on the product. It is a best practice example for companies that want to create viral videos without sacrificing product exposure. The video delivered views, exposure, and engagement.

The dynamic steering stability of Volvo trucks was the focus. The marketing team used a dramatic example to highlight the stability. The video was awe inspiring in every aspect. The stunt, music, and background contributed to the perfection of this “show, not tell” message. It delivered viral content without sacrificing product visibility.

Best Newsjacking Stunt:

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos effectively hijacked the media the Sunday before Black Friday and Cyber Monday with his drone story on 60 Minutes. People couldn’t stop talking about the idea of drones delivering packages. The information provided was filled with disclaimers but that didn’t stop the story.

From a marketing standpoint, the top three stories were Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon’s drones. Realistically, it is impossible to quantify the effect but wouldn’t you like to know how many people ordered from Amazon hoping to see one of those drones?

Best Use of Controversy:

Miley Cyrus twerked her way into feature stories for every major media outlet spawning thousands of blog posts and conversations. The good girl gone bad story effectively catapulted Cyrus to the top of the charts.

What was often called a train wreck is perhaps one of the most brilliant marketing moves of the year. Cyrus remained focused on her objective throughout it all. She used the controversy to change her image and sell her music.

Best Understanding of Fan Base:

The Duck Commander family understands their fans and uses that understanding to create, for lack of a better word, their dynasty. The stars of the reality show Duck Dynasty controlled the outcome of the media firestorm with one statement: “…as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm.”

This simple response added fuel to the raging fire created by A & E’s reaction to controversial comments by the family’s patriarch, Phil Robertson. He was suspended when advocacy groups complained. The family’s fan base quickly responded with petitions and social media activity requesting reinstatement. A & E changed course with this statement, "After discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family,"

Best Inexpensive Social Media Tool:

Buffer wins this award hands down. It is a multi-platform multi-screen solution that makes posting to Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus pages easy. It allows posting to social platforms on the fly from every screen.

Once the account has been set up and the apps installed, scheduling updates only requires a few clicks. The tool is effective, efficient, and inexpensive. There is a free version available for people who don’t have multiple accounts to update. There are also options for individuals who need more access and business plans for companies.

Best New Platform:

Snapchat has been around since 2011 but this was its year to shine. It takes the best new platform award because it has become a favorite go to sharing tool despite media warnings about the permanence of the photos.

This platform provides social sharing in its purest form. Photos shared have limited exposure providing an intimacy not found in other platforms. The growth of Snapchat suggests that people are embracing less public communication tools.