We make look back on 2012 as the watershed year for social media during which creativity, technology and marketing acumen all came together to transport it from a nice to have component to an essential cornerstone for just about any business.  Or, perhaps these are just the wishful dreams of a daily practitioner.  

Regardless, here are six recent social media success stories each one exemplifying how to cut through via a particular social channel including Vimeo, Facebook, YouTube, VideoGenie, Instagram, and Pinterest.  Covering six different product categories including one B2B case, they also represent a broad spectrum of budgets and measurable outcomes. 

Old Spice on Vimeo: Hits the Right Notes

If you’ve yet to play with Terry Crews’ muscles on Vimeo, then stop reading this and start banging away.  It is simply outrageous fun and the first of its kind from the trailblazing team at Old Spice (and their agency Wieden & Kennedy).  Since its August launch, the video has been watched 7.4 million times and generated 16,100 personalized versions that have in turn been shared endlessly across the entire social web.

Grey Poupon on Facebook: Personalized Sauciness

It takes a brave brand to actually turn away fans but that’s exactly what Grey Poupon is doing with its “Society of Good Taste” Facebook application, which provides a tasty personalized experience even if you get rejected.  This ‘elitist’ approach is completely on brand, provides a reason to come back to their Facebook page and most importantly generated millions of PR impressions that far exceed the value of the lost “Likes.” 

Oscar Meyer Bacon on YouTube: Cooking Up Fresh Content

Josh Sankey is just an ordinary guy with an extraordinary challenge--barter his way across the country with 2,000 pounds of Oscar Meyer Butcher Thick Cut Bacon.  Providing endless courses of content across multiple channels including Twitter and Facebook, Bacon Barter is a tasty idea that has generated over 100,000 views on YouTube and millions of PR impressions since its launch this month. 

PerkStreet on Video Genie: Let Your Customer Do the Selling

Customer testimonials have been a staple of marketing long before VideoGenie enabled brand advocates to provide their own video testimonials and reviews for a product. According to Jennifer Spencer, Digital Communications and Community Manager for PerkStreet Financial, VideoGenie made it “easy for our customers to create and submit videos,” and as a result, PerkStreet received over 200 unique submissions in about 2 weeks. Not only were these 200 real people really good at selling the brand, but their videos became compelling content for PerkStreet’s website. Notes Spencer, “There was so much good stuff in there, we couldn't help but feature it on our homepage.”   

Warby Parker on Instagram:  Picture Perfect Passion Unleashed

With a crystal clear value proposition ($95 for prescription glasses) and an equal dedication to customer service, Warby Parker has built a fanatical following.  Inviting a select group of these fans to a walking tour of NYC, the brand was able to generate thousands of photos that included WP glasses they had given to each of the attendees.  Explained Jen Rubio, WP’s social media director, at a recent BDI Conference, “we didn’t ask them to show our glasses, they just did it and the results were amazing.” 

GE on Pinterest: The Medium Can Also Be the Message

Sometimes, experimentation has a value in and of itself concluded Katrina Craigwell, Digital Marketing Manager at GE, who has helped this B2B marketer demonstrate its innovative spirit by employing emerging platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr and Instragram.  GE’s presence on Pinterest is particularly effective with cleverly named boards like “Badass Machines” and “That’s Genius,” a board that celebrates the enduring wisdom of GE founder Thomas Edison.

Final Note:  

For more details on how PerkStreet Financial and GE are approaching social media and digital content, please check out my interviews with Jennifer Spencer and Katrina Craigwell on TheDrewBlog