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200+ Case Studies: Social Media and Content Marketing Examples

Posted by Christine B. Whittemore on Jun 19, 2017 8:30:00 AM

This is a 37 minute read.
200+ Case Studies: Social Media and Content Marketing Examples

Do you enjoy case studies? I do, especially when those case studies are about social media and content marketing.

At one point, I used to share examples I came across via Twitter using the hashtags #retailexp and #practicalmktr. And, then recap those tweets in blog articles. Eventally - in September 2011 - I created a first compendium in an article titled 100+ Case Studies: Social Media Marketing Examples.

A year later, on September 4th, 2012, I published a follow up article detailing 200+ case studies of social media and content marketing examples shared on Twitter from September 1, 2011 through August 31, 2012. 

Fast forward to 2017. Social media and content marketing have evolved considerably. Although there are plenty of new examples, those original stories remain inspiring. I hope you enjoy the combination of classic and new case studies.

To help sort through the categories, I've created the following table of contents. 

 Airlines Fashion Night Out   Philanthropy 
 Alcohol Brands  Food  Politics
 Banking  Food Outlets  Religion
 Beauty & Personal Products  Government  Retail – Big Box
 Big Business  Hospitality  Retail – Department Stores
 Car Brands  Insurance  Retail – Specialty Stores
 Casinos  Law Enforcement  Retail – Grocery Stores
 Dentists  Libraries  Retailers Go Mobile
 Design  Luxury Brands  Sports
 Disaster Communication  Manufacturers  Tourism
 Education/Museum  Media Brands  Transportation
 Entertainment  News Organizations  


Airlines and Social Media

The best (and worst) ways airlines use Twitter for customer service

Singapore Airlines finally discovers Facebook, Twitter 

How JetBlue Deals with Social Media Whiners - "JetBlue, for example, has one customer service policy that it adheres to. And it uses it across the board, regardless of how consumers are getting in touch. There have been instances where the company has had to revamp its policy. Consistency is really important via social media channels, since they are so public. “If you are going to do something for one person be prepared to do it for everyone, whether they have a lot of followers or not,” he said."

10 Social Media stars includes JetBlue 

American Airlines engages via social media in sincere authentic way

Tweeting without fear with examples from @SouthwestAir


Alcohol Brands and Social Media

Please Tweet Responsibly: The Future Of Alcohol Brands On Twitter

How spirits producer Beam uses digital & social to extend customer experience 

Nicely done Jack Daniels with your cease/desist letter

Valuable PR lessons from Heineken's bizarre dog-fighting crisis 

How one small company is using QR codes: Sacre Bleu wines


Banking and Social Media

The 13 most interesting investment banks on Twitter right now

Social business and banking: transforming banking with social media

WSJ article about Banks going social: Wouldn't it be more social to ditch fees & really listen to customers?

3 Financial Services Companies online, doing content & social

Role of social media in financial services marketing: insights including from @FrankEliason when he was with Citi

Example of Social Media + Financial Planning: what's your story?

First Look: BankSimple's iPhone App Aims To Reimagine Your Money

Big Banks struggle to help customers on Twitter

10 Social Media stars includes Capital 1 


Beauty & Personal Product Brands and Social Media

#LONGREAD: Is Twitter Still Relevant For Fashion Brands?

L'Oreal advises men on perfect facebook profile picture.

L'Oreal leverages social media for customer service, brand loyalty 

How Orabrush went from YouTube to 3500 Walmart stores using social media

Here's the YouTube video from Orabrush: 

Thought-provoking brand examples re: how to use Pinterest creatively 

Kotex, one of 3 brands bridging online + offline 


Big Business and Social Media

19 Best Examples of How Top Brands Use Twitter

Real people vs. stock photos. G'by IBM happy man! Love this story

FastCo describes 7 reasons for embracing social business with IBM as example 

Social and digital case study: Adobe

Insight on GE's digital strategy:

How Xerox integrates Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube selectively

J&J's priorities for 2012: social, mobile:

Did you know Caterpillar uses social media to capture customer preferences for products 

McKinsey perspective on how social media could add $1.3T to economy.

10 Social Media stars includes Google Here's a Google newspaper ad giggle: to demonstrate ads don't work. Or do they?

Harnessing Power of Social Media: interview with Barry Libert: Important to focus outward  


Car Brands and Social Media

A Look At How Car Brands Are Effectively Using Social Media

What do you think re: introducing new car via social media game? Ford + Zynga for Escape

Thought-provoking brand examples re: how to use Pinterest creatively [Peugeot]

3 brands bridging online + offline, Honda [Pinterest] 

Ferrari uses social media to drive visitors to microsite  

Very cool: travel for free across country using social media. Audi experiment:

Great examples: how car dealerships use social media to reach customers

Perspective on Big Brands [i.e GM] & Facebook ads


Casinos and Social Media

Become the Scorsese of Social Media Video: 12 Tips for Casinos

Did you know? social media pays off for casinos, customers 


Dentists and Social Media

Dentists using social media, online marketing to get found, connect with customers


Design and Social Media

Social Media for Designers: Instagram

Reinventing Design + social media: @Modenus BOB Magazine 


Disaster Communications and Social Media


CROWDSOURCING DISASTER RELIEF: Leveraging Big Data to Coordinate Disaster Response and Recovery


How different social media tools fit into disaster communication plans. From FastCo 

Using social to match blood donors and recipients. Wow! 

Stay tuned: disaster relief in social media age, including fr FEMA


Education/Museum and Social Media

Please Turn On Your Phone in the Museum

Social Media Marketing Lessons: The Met's Sree Sreenivasan #BRITEConf

Google+ as means to opening social networking to K-12 schools. Wow! 

Social media case study: Brooklyn Museum. Lesson: don't spread too thin. Great discussion in comments 

Download the Content Marketing Guide!  

Entertainment and Social Media

Making businesses “fan”-centric requires functional transformation.

What brands can learn from Lady Gaga from @deniseleeyohn

Disney Interactive VP speaks re future of #Mobile Advertising. 

Inside Disney's Social strategy

10 SoMe stars Disney 

What Lionsgate did differently creating pre-Hunger Games buzz: 

Great #practicalmktr perspective on Cirque du Soleil's social strategy:

Marvelous scientific + social media experiment: live tweeting National Zoo Panda artificial insemination

Reference resource: 5 all time best Facebook Campaigns via @FastCo  -A&E


Fashion and Social Media

How fashion brands are taking Instagram from gimmick to strategic

How social media adds value to Fashion's Night Out; savvy retailers use it to build relationships

Did you catch live streaming of Fashion Week? Making fashion more immediate, accessible


Food Brands and Social Media

5 Food & Beverage Brands That Lead in Social Media Marketing

Connecting With Customers In A World of Demand: Doritos At #BRITEconf 2015

3 brands bridging online + offline: Red Bull [FB] 

How Conagra's brands build online communities 

How Beef industry in Australia uses social media for promotion

9 social media crisis questions Dole failed to answer 

Using Twitter to sell ice cream treats

Cadbury turns to Google+ to launch Bubbly bar and Searching For A Social Edge: One Brand’s Google+ Story

Food Outlets and Social Media

How Naked Pizza uses Twitter: Genuine #practicalmktr humor!

10 Social Media stars include Starbucks, McDonalds 

Brand marketing interview: how Starbucks transformed coffee from commodity to brand

The Starbucks Card makes transactions social from @TheBeanCast 

How California Tortilla handles customer feedback online. Notice consistent, co-wide approach 

Reference resource: 5 all time best Facebook Campaigns via @FastCo includes Burger King

KFC Twitter account has fun with @NYTChicken aka Sexy Chicken 

Love this success story of social media + traditional PR for @cupcakestop

From SXSW: What food truck owners can teach you about social media

Using social media to build internal teams: Red Robin

How Chuck E. Cheese uses social media to engage with diff audiences

Domino's posts online order comments on NYC Times Square billboard 


Government and Social Media

Social Media in Government: Benefits, Challenges, and How it’s Used

I love crowd-sourced concepts. This one funded by US Dept of Defense to crowdsource military tactics 

The Army’s social media handbook. Updated and with commentary

Marines have released social media handbook. Now actively use tools of social media 

Love CDC's use of social media and humor to help peeps prepare for [zombie] apocalypse 

Marvelous how social media contributed to Mars Curiosity Rover

Brilliantly real and real-time: NATO and Taliban slug it out on Twitter 

Using social media to rebut government extremists' messages.

UN Global Pulse monitors data for real-time signals re: food, economy, jobs 19 min video 

Using Twitter to track epidemics

Hospitality and Social Media

Social Hospitality: How 8 Hotels Engage Guests On & Offline

Starwood leverage social media for customer service, brand loyalty 

Four Seasons Hotel leans on social to act local. Details: 


Insurance and Social Media

How Zurich Insurance Uses Social Media, with Keith Lewis

Case study: Farmers Insurance helps agents use Facebook for ROI


Law Enforcement and Social Media

Digital Threats: How Law Enforcement Uses Social Media to Fight Crime

And how social media can help track the bad guys 

How social media can help FBI solve crimes 

Fascinating use of Google+: police present portrait of crime

How Boston Police uses Twitter, texting for crime tips:

Different perspective on 'getting found online': search, future of crime 

Social media in action with police: 


Libraries and Social Media

How Libraries Are Using Social Media Expanding online toolkits to promote advocacy

AUSTRIAN CITY BECOMES A LIBRARY WITH QR CODES AND NFC STICKERS INSTEAD OF BOOKS - Klagenfurt created a new project putting scannable stickers around relevant locations allowing users to download digital content.

The Bookless Library - Don’t deny the change. Direct it wisely. The first is the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the main branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL). The second is an iPhone. Yet despite their obvious differences, for many people today they serve the same purpose: to read books. And in a development that even just thirty years ago would have seemed like the most absurd science fiction, there are now far more books available, far more quickly, on the iPhone than in the New York Public Library.


Luxury Brands and Social Media

Luxury Brands and Social Media Marketing - Dos and Don'ts

Top 10 social media luxury marketers of Q3 

Luxury e-retailers trounce manufacturers in engaging online shoppers

How customized QR codes can drive CRM

FastCo re: Facebook for the Famous gets at social network terms of service & who owns what 

Thought-provoking brand examples re: H2 use Pinterest creatively 

Learn about Oscar de la Renta, role of social media. Great job @OscarPRGirl 

Have you read this FastCo story about Ralph Lauren's digital evolution? Fascinating #retailexp

Brooks Brothers Plays It Cool in Social Marketing - In social media marketing, Brooks Brothers is like an aloof bon vivant wearing a cool seersucker sports jacket on a humid summer day. The 194-year-old brand isn't frantically chasing friends and followers on social networks. Brooks Brothers is playing it cool. Instead, it's investing in tools and testing to improve the online shopping experience for customers and prospects - and increase sales.

Neiman Marcus is getting social and Neiman Marcus debuts first Foursquare challenge

How Burberry uses social networking for fashion catwalk show: 

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Manufacturers and Social Media

8 companies doing social media right and what marketers can learn from them

BlendTec shows how to measure the effects of a social marketing strategy. The blender manufacturer uses coupon codes and analytics to track shoppers.

Small surf shop plans to overtake competitors with technology

Reference resource: 5 all time best Facebook Campaigns via @FastCo - Intel

How Oxygenics used Facebook content to increase fan base: case study


Media Brands and Social Media

From Social Fresh a crowdsourced Facebook Marketing Book 


News Organizations and Social Media

How the Press Use Social Media

Innovation lessons from Washington Post: via FastCo

Time Magazine Google+ case study:

How Forbes uses social media. Fascinating! 

How NPR media strategist Andy Carvin tweets revolutions. Fascinating

Reimagining newspaper reading as inherently social experience: WSJ on Facebook


Philanthropy and Social Media


How philanthropists can make use of social media: 


Politics and Social Media

The Political Environment on Social Media

Social media and politics. Here, the Republican perspective 

How political campaigns capitalize on Facebook

Fascinating use of social networking to monitor political, global sentiment.

Politicians and social media. Newt Gingrich & Facebook 

Love social media + politics: why social media couldn't predict Iowa race

A digital perspective on politics and election related communications


Religion and Social Media

How social media is changing the church

Case study example: religion on Facebook, more specifically Jesus Daily 

Creative use of internet & social to connect with 'customers': Maine Convent recruits nuns:

In Sweden, Taking File Sharing To Heart and To Church

Bishops urged to embrace social media to evangelize effectively


Retail - Big Box and Social Media

Worth watching: Walmart intends to reshape future of shopping #retailexp by mapping social genome 

How to beat Walmart on Facebook

Lowe's introduces revolutionary customer #retailexp: "MyLowes" 

Retailers discover useful in-store apps keep shoppers from escaping [Gap, Walmart, Target…]

Update on @HomeDepot's social media strategy 

PayPal Test Program Will Let Home Depot Shoppers Pay at Checkout

Home Depot Innovates Customer Checkouts. The Home Depot deploys an array of creative checkout options designed to hustle customers out the door faster.

Lowe's: Pinterest + Facebook increases engagement

10 SoMe stars Walmart, Home Depot, Nike 

Walgreens Enlists Paid Social-Media Warriors in Battle With Express Scripts 

Target, Walmart Get Digital For BTS - For stores, back-to-school kicks off the important fourth quarter, and is the second-most-important sales event of the year, after the winter holidays. But Walmart says that for parents, it may even be more symbolic, with 76% of the moms it surveyed regarding it as more of a fresh start than January 1. Nine out of 10 even make school-year resolutions, it reports, with 78% vowing they will be more organized this school year, 75% hoping to save more money, and 61% making healthy eating a higher priority.

IKEA, one of 5 all time best Facebook Campaigns via @FastCo 

Where Art & Science Meet - BJ’s Wholesale Club's CEO Laura Sen

Interesting how Michaels is using mobile apps to drive traffic in-store 

Tweeting without fear with examples from @bestbuy 


Retail - Department Stores and Social Media

Lord & Taylor focusing on hi-tech customer engagement tools. Check out comment about fitting rooms! and Lord & Taylor Can Help Make Sure No One Else Is Wearing Your Prom Dress

Kohl's Broadens Its Cause-Related Efforts To TED

Nordstrom in Fashion with Social Media, Mobile TechSelected by U.S. News as one of America's Most Connected Companies for its use of technology to expand shopping options, Nordstrom has been aggressive about snapping up promising Internet ventures to diversify its business and experiment with new retail platforms. Its social media strategy extends well beyond Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to an array of buzz-generating fashion and photo-sharing sites. Recognizing that its customers always want to stay connected, the company introduced complimentary Wi-Fi in its high-end department stores in 2010."

Using Pinterest for niche marketing: Bloomingdales 

JC Penney Introducing Foursquare, QR Promos for Holiday Angels programs

Macy's creates lifestyle hub with launch of mBLOG and Macy's Herald Square Awarded Best Holiday Windows in New York

Has your brand tested a Google+ hangout yet? Dell, Macy's have. 

HauteLook wants chattier live chat agents. When consumers shop for a Getaways travel deal, live chat leads to more conversions. [division of Nordstrom]

Battle of the Digital Brands: JCPenney vs. Kohl’s - Overall, JCP is winning in social media. Although, the numbers would say otherwise, from a social media standpoint, JCP’s social strategy follows all of the best practices for engagement. Its posts are well-thought out and do a good job of delighting consumers and addressing their needs. From a mobile perspective, it’s a tie. Both retailers are doing different things on mobile, but each is doing them equally well. Both experiences are user friendly.

Harrods builds loyalists through royalty-themed Pinterest contest

Download Inbound Marketing 101 to get Found Online!  

Retail - Specialty Stores and Social Media

This is interesting: Urban Outfitters makes fall catalog available via Facebook:

More about Zara as it expands its #retailexp online and been wondering about this: Zara play catch-up with online shoppers 

Patagonia promotes used clothing on eBay. Environmental benefit + extends customer base and Patagonia’s 2012 Social Media Priorities

Gap's social media policy a guide for other companies. The clothier gives its 134,000 employees a no-nonsense policy. Here are some highlights you might want to adopt.

6 lessons from Gap’s mobile journey to date

Michael Kors pushes wearability via real-woman digital campaign. Love it!

UNIQLO HIRES GRAMMY NOMINEE TO WAKE CUSTOMERS UP WITH A DAILY SONG [VIDEO] - The Japanese clothing brand engages consumers with a free social alarm app that sings about the weather of the day.

UNIQLO TAKES OVER PINTEREST CREATING ANIMATED MOSAICS - The clothing brand choreographed a sequence of mass-pinning on Pinterest to create a giant images promoting their new line of mesh clothing.

Pandora Operating Outside the Luxury Box - Customizable, affordable jewelry fuels Pandora’s growth

Four retailers who translated social media into revenue - Several retailers are getting the combo right, including DressBarn, Swisa, a high-end beauty retailer, Gymboree Play & Music, an offshoot of the children's clothing line, and Tretorn, a Swedish outdoor retailer. They each found a way to use social media to drive sales and traffic.

How Zappos uses/mines Facebook insights 

Etsy seeks scale w/o losing aesthetic: case study

C. Wonder Retail Concept Store Debuts in New York

Express CMO Lisa Gavales shares how to turn “likes” in to sales

How REI created a local social media strategy

GUESS deploying iPads to better serve shoppers

H&M has the most-followed brand page on Google+

The Shopping Science Behind Lucky's Revamp

Battle of the Digital Brands: Tiffany vs. Zales

Battle of the Digital Brands: H&M vs. American Apparel

WebThriftStore Streamlines Charitable Giving

Thought-provoking brand examples re: H2 use Pinterest creatively 

Most Customer Service Tweets Go Unanswered Within 24 Hours - But two retailers – and – replied to 100% of daily customer service questions posted to Twitter by STELLAService analysts in a recent 45-day study of the top 25 online retailers. It’s an impressive accomplishment considering the average for replies within 24 hours was just 44% across the top 25 online retailers.

Leveraging Loyalty: How Amazon In Fashion Creates Opportunities For Brands And Retailers -- Part 3 of 4 and Kindle-wielding Amazon dips toes into physical world

Ace hardware captures brand awareness via CAPTCHA Ads


Retail - Grocery Stores and Social Media

Tweeting without fear with examples from @wholefoods 

Pinterest case study: whole foods

Virtual Trip To 'Local' Food Market Can't Beat The Real Thing Yet

Sainsbury's using QR codes to educate shoppers about Fairtrade products

How one shopping-addict transformed retail into a story-telling experience

Supermarkets and the social Web - “So much of social media is simply the basics of human interaction." 


Retailers Go Mobile and Social Media

How 6 retailers are using mobile to enhance the #retailexp

Quick, Find a Parking Space. Shoppers Too Busy (or Lazy) To Walk From a Far-Away Spot Try Tricks, Tech to Get Closer; Even Valet Gets Swifter

How to integrate mobile into the retail experience: The Smartphone Shopping Experience Needs to Come Inside the Store

How spreading the ‘local love’ can help small retailers capture consumers’ attention

Smart retailers survive and thrive on smartphones and social networks

Square rethinks the register

Digital World Now Coaxing Shoppers Back to Stores - “But at the same time, more consumers have their mobile phones in hand so retailers who recognize that and take advantage of the phone as an information conduit to direct people to the right stores, or to find what they’re looking for at any moment in time, will be better served to succeed.”

Social networking applied to retail inventory control

What Retailers Want From In-Store Technology - Brick-and-mortar stores look to bridge the gap between online, mobile and in-store experiences. According to the Motorola Solutions data, 51% of retailers were investing in technology to improve customer service in stores. Moreover, 22% were doing so to keep up with the competition, and 18% aimed to increase inventory choices. Out of all the technology investments, in-store Wi-Fi bubbled up as a clear imperative for many retailers.


Sports and Social Media

MLB Fan Cave integrates social media with content & art 

So how will social media affect 2012 Olympics? infographics

How social media can help keep Olympians visible in b/n events:


Transportation and Social Media

Old services meet new media: a tweeting cabbie's growing business

NJ Transit Starts Tap-And-Pay Smartphone Option With Google


Tourism and Social Media

Lovely! Obermutten Goes Social via Facebook. Watch video to see how online/offline R integrated 


How will you use these 200+ social media and content marketing examples and case studies? I'd love to hear.

If you come across interesting case studies, let me know in the comments and I will add them to this listing.

Download Getting Started with Social Media Guide


This article was originally published on 9/4/2012 and has been updated.

Image Credit: Great Serbian Brand on Flickr which uses social media.

Topics: B2B Social Media, case studies, Digital Marketing

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