If you ask me which social media campaign is the most impressive and worth-learning to me, Mercedes-Benz USA immediately comes in my mind. It really did a phenomenal job packing a punch through their social media campaign in 2016, #MBPhotoPass.
The #MBPhotoPass campaign began in 2014 and laid a foundation, but with 2016’s inclusion of YouTube’s 360-degree video technology, it has become even better! The company relies on user-generated content as a way to get audiences engaged. Instead of putting out the same pictures and short videos of their vehicles, Mercedes-Benz gives control of their social media to select individuals.
The company “passes” access to their Instagram feed to social influencers, journalists, photographers and team members to curate content for the account for certain periods, which is a great way to keep the content fresh and keep audiences looking forward to upcoming editions. As opposed to advertising their cars by spamming their social media outlets with car model pictures, they let the influencers tell a story using their vehicles. Along with access to the Instagram account, these influencers were given the keys to a Benz to drive around while they are taking pictures and curating the company’s Instagram account.
Take for instance this video using YouTube’s 360-degree video technology featuring Insta-famous pup Loki the Wolf Dog and his ever-adventurous owner Kelly Lund. The dog accompanies his owner on travels around the world that are documented on social. The content generated tells a unique and sincere story and does not revolve around the cars.
The result? Pretty remarkable! Instagram alone generated 173 million impressions, 2.3 million likes and comments, and $4 million worth of earned media. In addition, these influencer-led stories created around 1,700 brand assets that are still being used across the Mercedes Benz website.
Actually, With Instagram implementing an algorithm, a part of marketers are worried about still being able to gain that kind of traction on the platform. However, from the wise campaign, we can say that Mark Aikman, general manager of marketing services at Mercedes-Benz USA, isn’t among them.
What can we learn from Mercedes-Benz USA?
First, it’s important to create original content and not recycle images and videos. Dedicated contents are the key motivation for a successful campaign, because everything updated so fast on today’s social media that only creative and sincere messages can catch people’s attention.
Second, using social media as branding platforms instead of just direct-response channels. Mercedes bolsters its social content with paid ads on Facebook and Instagram, supporting posts with dedicated pushes. In other words, one day, the brand may run ads solely on Instagram, and the next day a campaign may be live only on Facebook.
Also, social media campaigns should be planned in the long term. As Aikman says, “It’s a multiday, multimonth, multiyear journey with consumers.”