5 Social Media Case Studies Worth Close Examination

Ann Handley gave the 5 Social Media Case Studies Worth Close Examination session at the Social Media Success Summit. She took interesting case studies that are less well known. What she was looking for were fresh ideas that set social marketing campaigns apart. Each one of these campaigns shows at least one of the following:

Ann Handley
Ann Handley
  • Friendliness – being human and using a voice that’s real
  • Focus – actively participating in the social network that their customer are in now
  • Fertile – cross pollinating using content creatively across social media venues


  • They wanted to promote the 70th anniversary edition of Pinocchio, so Disney hired Melanie Notkin of SavyAuntie.com, not a mommy blogger
  • They wanted sponsorship of tweets to PANKs (Professional Aunts, no Kids)
  • Malanie used her own inner voice
  • Everyone knew that the tweets were sponsored by Disney
  • Malanie tweeted about 300 tweets for Disney in 3 weeks
  • Disney was happy with the success

Coffee Groundz

  • Wanted to differentiate themselves from the crowd – there are a lot of coffee shops
  • One of the owners decided to use Twitter to engage customers
  • One customer tweeted an order and it become the first to-go order on Twitter
  • It was written up in the paper and gave the shop a lot of publicity
  • Coffee Groundz built an entire community on Twitter, and they sponsor local tweet-ups
  • Coffe Groundz is now known as the hip, tech savy place to go
  • Business increased 30%

General Mills – Fiber One

  • General Mills uses facebook to further communicate with customers and have customers talk about Fiber One
  • They created a cause – a pretend disorder: IDS (irrational disbelief syndrome) for their social media marketing campaign
  • They created a phony clinic with specialists to let people know how IDS is treated
  • Videos where created with phony patients who had problems believing in gravity, animals, and that fiber one is high in fiber because it tastes too good
  • Subtle marketing with product placement of Fiber One in the videos and finishing the videos off with “Major funding provided by Fiber One”
  • Facebook fans started creating pretend people with the disorder. They would talk about fake patient outings
  • The campaign was very viral and engaging. General Mills sat back and let the users take off with it


  • To coincide with the release of their new processor, Intel created a page on facebook for “Live Music” – the 1st global crowdsourced animated short film
  • Intel created the storyline and allowed animators to add 5 second segments of film with a special facebook app
  • Fans were allowed to vote on which clips should be included in the final release
  • Creators of the segments that got the most votes got a Dell system with Intel’s new processor
  • Over 50,000 fans were part of it
  • The finished version of “Live Music” has been shown at many film festivals


  • Forty is an interactive marketing agency in Arizona
  • Most ads on facebook are B to C, but Forty was looking for B to B messaging
  • Their first ads were traditional facebook as that had company logo and a link to become a  fan
  • They changed their ads to display team members, with a picture and mini bio which linked to their profiles on the website
  • People wanted to know more about them and the click through rate was 1 in 11
  • The ads were targeted to businesses in Arizona
  • Created buzz and made their employees more recognizable at events
  • The cost-per-click campaign was only $400

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