Social-Media Marketing Is Not Dead: 10 Companies That Are Still Rocking It

Does social media for business still make sense in 2016? These campaigns illustrate that the answer is yes.

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By Sujan Patel


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There's been endless debate over the last few years as to whether or not social media marketing is dead. Recently, the Content Marketing Institute finally put the debate to rest -- or tried to -- with a podcast arguing that social media isn't actually dead, we're just using it wrong. That's the bad news.

The good news is that there are still plenty of companies that are rocking social media marketing and can inspire the masses to follow suit with their perfected strategies. Here are 10 to start following today.

Related: The Paradox of What Makes Something Go Viral

1. Old Spice

When Isaiah Mustafa stepped into the role of the ultimate Old Spice guy, the drugstore cologne-turned-viral sensation attracted a legion of followers across multiple social media channels. The brand keeps exploring unexpected ideas, like having Mustafa answer tweets on YouTube. But what Old Spice really gets right is the emotional element of marketing, making followers wish their man was as suave as that cologne guy.

2. TEDx

It's not easy to take informational lectures and turn them into sensational content that everyone is talking about. TEDx doesn't just nail its medium, it also manages to turn authentic storytelling videos into bite-size, shareable content across social media. Check out the organization's Twitter page and you'll see everything from how asteroid mining can help us live in space to how loneliness scrambles our thinking. All this is sandwiched in between awesome food pics from TEDx events around the world.

3. Newcastle Brown Ale

Newcastle pioneered self-aware advertising in a quest for "no bullocks" messaging, and got it right. For starters, the brand took the genius concept of not having enough cash to put together a Super Bowl ad, and produced one anyway. But without the funds to broadcast it to millions, Newcastle instead spread the ad around social media to poke fun at itself, its budget and the Super Bowl. Essentially, Newcastle called bollocks on the idea of needing millions to effectively earn global recognition.

4. Starbucks

Unlike Newcastle, Starbucks probably has the budget for Super Bowl-worthy ads. However, the coffee company's stand-out feature on social media is how it has taken the idea of engagement to a whole new level. For a while, Starbucks even gave customers the option to manage and reload their coffee cards on social media. The company also makes it easy to find nearby locations, look up international Starbucks spots and apply for jobs at its stores.

5. Denny's

This dining franchise has quickly earned the reputation of being deliciously weird on social media. Denny's has mostly ditched the idea of traditional promotional specials and asking diners how they like their burgers and omelettes. Instead, Denny's has worked to stand out from its competitors and attract a younger crowd. A recent post on Twitter read, "It's national French toast day. Do you think this holiday is upset it's so close to Thanksgiving? Living in its shadow. . . "

Related: 7 Instagram Accounts That Inspire the Entrepreneurial Journey

6. Staples

The office-supply juggernaut gets plenty right, like educating and informing its audience and offering gift card giveaways and product promotions. Staples also thrills followers by making fun of office culture and the doldrums of cubicle life. The chain recognizes that its followers are into more than just paper clips and office furniture. So, Staples engages that audience by asking questions like, "Who is your favorite Star Wars character?" alongside offering quirky videos on office party etiquette.


It's not just geeky space talk and shuttle news on NASA's social media channels. The organization's Mars Curiosity channel on Twitter wows followers with the latest mission to explore that planet's surface. Its Rover takes photos of everything from two-story Martian dunes to silica deposits. And, it turns out that those nerds at NASA also have a great sense of humor. One of their recent Tweets simply said, "I'm on a road trip to Mars' Bagnold Dunes. What's new with you?"

8. Pampers

Pampers knows its target audience well and embraces that nurturing parent vibe accordingly. The company regularly hosts photo contests to encourage moms to upload photos of their babies and offer information on their rewards program. Pampers' #BetterForBaby campaign tugged on heartstrings by showing struggling families trying to make their babies' lives better. By the time we see how Pampers transforms their lives, social media followers are wiping away tears in secret.

9. GoPro

YouTube turned GoPro into a viral sensation with its extraordinary videos created by users wearing the tiny camera. GoPro understood that user-generated videos and the value they created wasn't just a trend. Scores of GoPro converts are creating amazing videos, from pelicans flying to skydivers taking their first jump. The videos are contagious and widely shared.

GoPro videos have become more than just people watching shaky adventure footage on YouTube. There's even a GoPro channel on Virgin America Airlines and a streaming option right from Xbox.

10. XBox

XBox's Twitter page resembles a buttoned-up corporation sending out news, promotions and slick advertising photos. Meanwhile, over at its @XboxSupport handle, gamers can get near-instantaneous answers to their issues. And that may be their most powerful strategy in social media marketing. In between tweets assuring users that it's working hard to answer everyone's questions, Xbox also offers resources such as phone numbers and common topics addressed online.

What are your favorite companies that are still rocking social media marketing? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Related: Top 20 Social-Media Tools to Add to Your Arsenal in 2016

Sujan Patel

Entrepreneur and Marketer, Co-founder of Web Profits

In his 14-plus years as a marketer and entrepreneur, Sujan Patel has helped hundreds of companies boost online traffic and sales and strengthen their online brand reputation. Patel is the co-founder of Web Profits and Mailshake.

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