By Alexis Caffrey  As the year rounds to a close, the marketing world is looking back over the past year. Some are patting themselves on the back for a job well done, while others are still cringing from their social media no-no’s. Social media marketing has become increasingly important to marketers, who can find amazing success – and humiliating failure – as they navigate the new waters of the social media craze.

And there were outrageous failures for brands in 2013, ones that just didn’t have a grasp of what makes good social media marketing before they hit submit. For instance, AT&T learned the hard way how not to commemorate national tragedies with their tweet on September 11, 2013.

Their attempt featured someone holding a Samsung phone, seeming to take a photo of two beams of light at Ground Zero. The Tweet was seen by the public as more of an attempt to showcase a new phone rather than remember the fallen victims of the 9/11 attack. The Tweet was deleted almost immediately and AT&T issued an apology.

Despite AT&T’s failure, some brands did a great job with their social media marketing strategy this year.


Here are just a few of the biggest wins we saw this year:

Dove – Real Beauty campaign

Dove launched a 3-minute ad that captured the attention and hearts of America. The video now has more than 50 million views on YouTube. The ad features an artist who sketches women based on their own description of their appearance and then sketches someone else’s interpretation of that same woman.

Budweiser – Super Bowl commercial

Budweiser’s Super Bowl commercials are regularly the stuff of legend, and it was no different in 2013. With their adorable commercial, which gave Super Bowl fans a chance to “Meet Hope,” Budweiser accrued the most retweets of all the Super Bowl advertisers and 11 million views on YouTube.

Oreo – Super Bowl tweet

The importance and popularity of Super Bowl advertising lives on in the social media age. Oreo took advantage of both marketing outlets at this year’s Super Bowl with their timely tweet “You can still dunk in the dark,” after the lights went out at the stadium. It’s been retweeted 15,000 times and received a lot of media coverage.

 Chipotle – “The Scarecrow”

The commercial is long – over 3 minutes – but it created a huge impact in the online space for the Chipotle restaurant. With the look and feel of a Pixar movie, Chipotle used this commercial to promote a cause, and received a ton of praise for it. The ad quickly went viral and was extremely positive for the Chipotle brand.


A few minor social media wins

These social media efforts didn’t receive the mass attention and media coverage that Dove, Budweiser, Oreo and Chipotle did, but they were strategically successful moves by the brand to further their interaction with customers in a more personal way.

Verizon/Foursquare partnership 

The Verizon company that brings fiber-optic Internet to customers recently entered into a partnership with Foursquare. After Foursquare users “check-in” in Washington D.C., Baltimore or Boston, Verizon FiOS ads will appear. If fans click through the ads, they will be prompted to enter an NFL contest.

Urban Outfitters – first brand to use Vine

After the brand new video-sharing social media app debuted in January of 2013, the clothing brand was quick to get on board. Their quickness paid off; Urban Outfitters is officially the first brand to ever use Vine. The video did not get retweeted much, but the media praised Urban Outfitters for how quickly they realized the importance of advertising on Vine.


Social media advertising predictions for 2014

Instead of slowing down in the slightest, an expert at Forbes predicts that social media marketing will only become more important in 2014. The possibilities for increased “lead generation, referral traffic and revenue” that brands see with social media advertising will make the strategy a necessity next year.

Just like we saw with Urban Outfitter’s success with Vine, Forbes predicts that these “image-centric networks” will find even more success in 2014. Pinterest, Instagram and even Snapchat have become incredibly popular this year, prompting brands to strategize away from only text-based social media content.

Alexis Caffrey is a freelance writer with a focus on technology, new media, and design. You can reach Alex via @alexiscaffrey or



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