Best Social Media Campaigns of 2016

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Each year, it gets harder to look back on the past 12 months and identify just a handful of digital campaigns that I thought were "the best." As time passes, the creativity and reach we see on social media increases tremendously. Folks, we work in a very exciting industry! Here are some of my favorites from 2016:

Disney's #ShareYourEars Campaign
This campaign asked social media users to use the hashtag #ShareYourEars with photos of them in the famous Mickey ears to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When the campaign began, Disney said it would donate $5 for every picture posted to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #ShareYourEars, with a cap of $1 million. It gained more momentum than Disney and Make-A-Wish could have ever anticipated. Disney and Make-A-Wish responded to participants via Twitter, thanking them for helping the cause, raising even more awareness and engagement around the hashtag. While their goal was 100,000 uses, they more than doubled that amount. Disney was so excited that they donated $2 million to The Make-A-Wish Foundation!

GoPro's "Spherical" Viral Video Campaigns
GoPro's "Spherical Video" campaign was a great example of how strong content can expand brand awareness just through social media promotion. The campaign let audiences ride one of the biggest tubes in the world, go through a motocross course, ski down a huge mountain, and cook with a world-class chef, all while interacting with a 360-degree video. By generating 25 million social views and engagements, GoPro's campaign reinforced their identity as a brand that uses creative content to drive conversations.

Microsoft's #MakeWhatsNext Campaign
To celebrate International Women's Day, Microsoft started the #MakeWhatsNext campaign to highlight women's innovation and impact around the world. In the launch video, when young girls are asked about the famous inventors who contributed to science and technology, they only named men. By showcasing the achievements of female inventors through this campaign, Microsoft encouraged young women to transform their dreams into reality. The #MakeWhatsNext hashtag boasted inspirational stories, tips, and information about a Patent Program - a great example of how to use a timely event to impact real change.

Reese's #MarchMadness Campaign
In 2016, Reese's partnered with the NCAA to become the official sponsor of #MarchMadness for the fourth straight year. Content strategy has always been a strength for Reese's, but this year they curated incredible pieces with beautiful visuals that celebrated both the basketball tournament and the Reese's brand. They shared seasonal recipes, witty memes, and short videos - increasing its engagement by 416 percent from the 2015 NCAA tournament. They used the hashtag #MarchMood in posts that generated 73 percent of its total engagement on Facebook and Twitter. We've talked about how using live events can help spark engagement - but wow!

What were your favorite moments on social media this year? I have no doubt that in 2017 we'll see even more creative campaigns. Here's to an awesome digital future!