4 Creative Uses of Social Media by Brands

Nothing grabs the attention of the online audience like the creative use of social media, and these four brands nailed it.

Though we have been watching brands try and leverage the reach social media offers for several years now, we are still seeing some brands steal the show with new, innovative ways in which the medium can be used.

The term ‘social media marketing’ has been so greatly overused, that true marketing through social media seems to have lost its meaning. Well, these four brands can help restore your faith in innovation with these creative uses of social media.

UNICEF on Pinterest

Do you know Ami Musa? She is a fictional 13-year-old girl from Sierra Leone that shared four pictures on Pinterest on a board called, ‘Really want these’. Is the board made up of iPods and and new laptops? Hardly.

Instead, when you open the board, you find a picture of sandals, running water and a bar of soap. Visual content is more powerful than most; we have learned that through data. But visual content that evokes an emotional response is exactly what a campaign like this is designed to do – and did.

unicef creative uses of social media

This static board has six simple pictures. It is not updated regularly, and it is not active on Pinterest. Yet, there are almost 1,600 followers, hundreds of repins on every one of the images, dozens of likes and multiple comments.

Kellogg’s Tweet Shop

The 2013 winner of the PR Week Awards Most Innovative use of Social Media went to Kellogg’s Tweet Shop.

What is a tweet shop? Well, to answer that, we have to first take a step back and understand the concept of social currency.

What is the value of a tweet from your branded account? What about the value of a tweet from a paid spokesperson, or a brand advocate? What is the value of your brand being a household (or social) name? It is from here that the idea of social currency was developed. How much value (Social Equity) is your brand’s social presence worth?

Well, Kellogg’s decided to increase theirs by replacing fiscal currency with social currency. People could come up to a retail space, pay for new Special K Cracker Crisps with a branded tweet telling their followers what they thought after trying it, and walk away with a box. It was that simple.

kellogg's innovative use of social media

The results were outstanding. Some of the highlights were the hundreds of thousands of mentions they received on social channels, not to mention the hundreds of pieces of mainstream media that covered the campaign and product. Ultimately, this was one of the most successful product launches in company history, and they started off by exchanging products for social mentions.

The Gnome Experiment

When I say excitement, you almost certainly do not say gravity. Yet, by leveraging the power and reach of social media and some good ol’ fashioned creative marketing, Kern & Sohn managed to make gravity one of the more exciting phenomena on the Internet.

In order to showcase how precise their scales were, they decided to send scales and a small ceramic gnome to scientists and social media influencers. Recipients were then encouraged to take these ‘Gnome Kits’ and bring them to different places on Earth.

The idea was that when they weighed the gnomes at different altitudes and locations around the globe, different would weights would appear for the same gnome. Why? Well, because of gravity, of course!

So what happened? Well, pictures of the gnome at difference iconic locations around the globe started surfacing until eventually it reached the South Pole (oh, and 400 million people). Shortly following the surge in coverage of the gnome, Kern & Sohn saw a 21% increase in revenues and a return on investment over 1000%!


If you live on the web, then you have no doubt seen the #DancePonyDance video from Three, the UK-based communications firm. If not, here it is:

It’s short, it’s funny and it’s pointless – just like anything that reaches millions of people online. Well, they were right to make it, because in just a few short weeks, it had reached over 5 million people and driven a whole bunch of interest in Three.

Marketing on social platforms is not conventional marketing or advertising, and it takes quite a bit of trial and error before companies realize that. Three recognized why people were spending time online, and decided to relate to them instead of hoping that users would find Three if they were just another brand in the crowd of salespeople.

These are just a few of the reasons why marketers and consumers alike should not lose hope in social media marketing. Though the market is cluttered, diamonds still shine. All it takes is a little bit of innovation, like these four brands.

What are some of your favorite brands on social media? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter!