5 Social Media Lessons Any Business Can Learn from Toyota’s #BuckleUpForLife Campaign

Posted by Sara on 21 Jan 2015 / 0 Comment

Every once in awhile we run across a social media campaign that’s being run so perfectly we feel compelled to share with our readers the lessons that can be learned from it.

You may remember when we walked you through a well-executed Facebook app being run by Mrs. Butterworth’s.

Since then, times have changed and while we still see very successful Facebook campaigns, we love it when we see a business running a successful social media campaign that reaches beyond Facebook.

Toyota did just that with their latest #BuckleUpForLife philanthropic campaign.

You may be thinking:  “Toyota has an endless budget so they can execute on whatever they dream up.” While Toyota definitely has the benefit of a large budget, when you break down their campaign’s strategy and tactics there are a few lessons and takeaways that any business can learn from when building and implementing their next campaign.

Here are 5 lessons that any business can learn from Toyota’s #BuckleUpForLife campaign.

 1. Connect a Hashtag to Your Promotion

To date, one of our most popular blog posts is the most frequently used Instagram hashtags of 2014.

It’s no secret that hashtags can be a powerful marketing tool if used properly.

Toyota has chosen to attach the hashtag #BuckleUpForLife to their campaign. In fact, their entire campaign is based around this hashtag that users have to include when they upload a photo. By requiring that people use this specific hashtag they can trace activity on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Facebook.

The next time you run a promotion or campaign, consider using a relevant hashtag to support your idea. Even if it’s not a means of entry, hashtags are a great way to keep track of what’s being said about your campaign or to rally people behind a movement or idea.

2. Bring In a Philanthropic Element

Did you know that 47% of Americans learn about causes via social media and online channels? (If you’re part of our International audience, this is not a number to overlook.) Philanthropic campaigns allow social media users to support a cause they care about.

Toyota chose to tie their campaign to a children’s-safety related cause that also aligns with their business. It wouldn’t have made as much sense for Toyota to donate to, say, a healthcare charity.

While Toyota has the ability to donate a large number of car seats, you don’t have to have a huge budget in order to run a philanthropic campaign. Get creative with your donations and think beyond giving money. If you own a restaurant, for example, you could donate meals; a car dealership could donate a car, or if you’re a service-oriented business you could donate carpet cleaning or tax preparation or a haircut. There are lots of ways to give and audiences are likely to support a campaign that has a “giving back” element. If you have a tight budget, try partnering with another business that’s interested in doing a similar campaign.

3. Use Advertising

Toyota sought the help of digital agency VaynerMedia to run the social side of their campaign. VaynerMedia chose two strategies: influencer marketing (which we’ll get to next) and paid media.

We probably don’t need to explain the benefits of Facebook advertising, but something for businesses to remember is that other platforms offer advertising as well.

When you’re ready to promote your campaign, there are 40 ways you can do it – yep, 40 — and most of them are free!

4. Work with Influencers

As I mentioned earlier, VaynerMedia had two strategies for Toyota, paid media and influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing is when you work with powerful bloggers, writers, and people in your industry to further promote your campaign.

Toyota has the luxury of working with celebrities like actress Sunny Mabrey, but there are a lot of different kinds of influencers you can work with for your campaign.

If you’re a local business, you may consider talking with the mayor or news stations and media personalities in your town. No matter what your industry is, there are likely influential bloggers you can partner with to help get the word out about your campaign.

It’s best to build influential relationships all year long, not just when you need something! Twitter is a great network for finding influencers, connecting with them and building relationships. The more content you share from others, the more they’ll share from you!

5. Ask People to Do Something They Actually Like Doing

This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often we see a campaign that requires the entrants to do something that they don’t enjoy doing on social media. For example, people don’t like being forced to like social profiles in order to enter a promotion. They’ll most likely take the action of liking you but then they’ll quickly un-like your brand after they’ve entered. While people are willing to make short Vine or Instagram videos, most social media users aren’t interested in creating a three minute video in order to win a prize (unless it’s really, really valuable). One other thing people don’t enjoy doing is filling out long, invasive entry forms. Short is better!

So what are social media users interested in doing? Sharing photos, stories and opinions! Toyota has picked the easiest and most convenient form of participation by allowing people to simply upload a photo in order to participate in their campaign.

If you plan on making your fans do something in order to partake in your campaign make sure it’s something you wouldn’t mind doing on social media.

While large businesses like Toyota have some benefits that small businesses don’t, the core of a successful campaign is the strategy and tactics behind that campaign. Whether you’re a local brick-and-mortar business or a national car manufacturer, with the right strategy you can run a successful social media campaign that involves all of your social audiences.

In conclusion, here are the 5  lessons that Toyota taught us with their campaign.

• Connect a hashtag to your promotion
• Bring in a philanthropic element
• Use advertising
• Work with influencers
• Ask people to do something they actually like doing

If you’re ready to run an awesome campaign, the link below will take you straight to a tool that can help you do it!


 **Cover Image Photo Credit: Toyota