Although 3.96 billion people around the world have a social media presence, the platforms get a pretty bad wrap. And there’s no denying that the concerns raised about the prevalence of cyberbullying, the impact on mental health and the feelings of inadequacy it can cause (to name a few) are all very real and valid. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many people’s social media use has gone through the roof, leading several experts to wonder just what impact all this time spent in the virtual world will have on society as a whole?
Now, as important as all of those issues are to understand, explore and address, we’re pretty sure there’s been enough doom and gloom recently to last us all a lifetime, which got us thinking… Sure, social media has its flaws, but have you ever stopped to think about just how powerful it is when it’s used for good?! ❤️
The channels allow us to stay in touch with family, friends, brands and organisations around the world, enable us to connect with people who share similar passions and interests, provide an outlet for creativity and self-expression and help us to learn and discover valuable information on so many different topics - there's just no other platform quite like it! And as we saw last year with the Sir Thomas Moore effect, the power it has to amplify a good news story, spread a positive message or bring joy through a funny video, campaign or meme is truly unrivalled!
With that in mind, we've been looking at some of our favourite good news stories from the last few months in which social media has played a big part, and we’ve got our top three below! As much as we want to brighten your day, we’ve also given you insight into some of the things that we think made these campaigns a real viral success. Read on if you’re ready to be cheered up! 😁
The one with an important message: British Red Cross x TikTok 🤕
Like Weetabix and beans, another pair we didn’t imagine teaming up were TikTok and the British Red Cross. But in January of this year, the British Red Cross became the latest organisation to collaborate with TikTok for the platform’s educational programme #LearnonTikTok. Built to make learning accessible to anyone, anywhere, the hashtag currently has over 100 billion views.
Together the two launched a brand new TikTok channel, @firstaidtoolkit, featuring well known doctors such as Dr Alex George, to share vital skills that could help when faced with a first aid emergency. Sparked by research from the British Red Cross that found just 5% of UK adults have the skills and confidence to provide first aid in emergency situations, not only is this channel engaging, interesting and informative, but it also helps to effectively spread some really important information that could help to save lives. With over 48.1K followers and 178.9K likes in under 4 months, it’s safe to say the channel is on its way to achieving its goal!
So, what is it about this campaign that we think worked well? Well, as we’ve all seen from the epic rise of TikTok, short form video content is the way to get audience attention. And with so much misinformation available online, people are always seeking out credible sources to get information from and the British Red Cross ticks that box. Add to that the use of influential content creators and a societal focus on health and wellbeing due to the current health crisis and you’ve got yourself a pretty compelling campaign. Hats off to the British Red Cross marketing team for this one!
The one that made us smile: Tesco 🍺
It’s no secret that the last year has been a really hard one for the Leisure & Hospitality industry, and April the 12th was a big moment for the sector. As pubs and restaurants opened their doors once more, it was one of the UK’s biggest supermarkets that caught people’s attention with an unlikely message to its customers.
Tesco, who no doubt have benefitted from increased alcohol sales over the UK’s three lockdowns, encouraged shoppers to ‘pop to your local if you can’ in an effort to support local pubs as they open for business - because right now, every little helps! The tweet, which received over 6.6M views, got a largely positive response from Twitter users.
The thoughtful message was one that really resonated with the British public, showing the brand really does know its audience. Among the 5.3K retweets and 33.2K likes, there were messages of thanks and support from pub landlords who truly appreciated the sentiment. Although a fairly small gesture, the ad - which was also seen in print media - was a bold move from the retailer and is sure to have struck a chord with many who have been swapping out a swift pint at the local for a tinny or two from Tesco over the last year. And though it may not have directly driven sales for the supermarket, demonstrating authenticity and building a connection with shoppers is sure to pay off in the long run.
The one that made us all laugh: Colin vs. Cuthbert 🐛🎂
When it was announced that national treasure, M&S, had launched a legal case against Aldi, it didn’t come as too much of a surprise. After all, anyone who has set foot inside a branch of the fast-growing supermarket chain, will have noticed their not so subtle copies of some seriously big brands. In this case, imitation was not the greatest form of flattery as M&S lodged an intellectual property claim against Aldi’s Cuthbert the caterpillar cake, saying it was just too similar to M&S’ iconic Colin, despite Cuthbert’s untimely discontinuation a couple of months earlier.
As news broke, Aldi was quick to respond, adapting one of M&S famous taglines for the moment in a tweet that read: ‘This is not just any court case, this is… #FreeCuthbert’. And with that, Twitter erupted with a barrage of posts, including many more from Aldi and other supermarkets, yet the silence from M&S was deafening. In just one day the hashtag attracted over 60,000 tweets, many of which were in support of Cuthbert and absolutely hilarious.
The babble around the legal case kept going and after a few days, Aldi extended an olive branch to M&S, asking them to team up on a campaign to ‘raise money for charity, not lawyers’ and donate profits to cancer charities. M&S was all for the charity idea, but wanted Aldi to use a different character - a suggestion that was met with criticism by Twitter users, and so the thread continued…
A story with many twists and turns, there are just so many factors that made this one a good’un. Aside from the exceptional sense of humour from the Aldi social media team, the thing that’s kept this alive seems to be the adoption of the hashtag. Not only did this help the topic to trend on Twitter, but also helped Aldi and their audience to easily find and interact with the content generated by other users on the platform.
A month on, there’s been a campaign for Aldi to bring back Cuthbert (spoiler: he’ll be on a shelf near you on the 17th of May!), he’s also doing a skydive to raise money for cancer charities and there are still new tweets using the hashtag daily. People around the UK have knitted post box covers, baked their own caterpillar cakes and even made their own #FreeCuthbert merch, providing ultimate confirmation that any publicity really can be good publicity!
With so many heartwarming stories, informative campaigns and funny threads out there that demonstrate the power of social for good, it’s hard to choose just a few. But these three examples just go to show that the world of social media really can be a great place to find something that’ll give you a little ‘pick me up’ on a bad day. As a brand or organisation with a social media presence, having the ability to share something positive with your audience that has the potential to spread far and wide is an opportunity not to be missed, so why not give it a go yourself? Who knows, perhaps there’ll be a part two of this blog featuring you and your campaign! Watch this space... 👀