The 10 most social advertisers of 2014

See which brands connected with Canadians on social media in 2014

Who were the most social advertisers of 2014? Marketing had Engagement Labs crunch the numbers using its eValue social ranking system for brands to see which companies connected best with Canadians last year.

Here’s a look at the rankings – and what the brands did right to make it into the top 10.

1. NHL

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The NHL has it easier than a lot of other brands. Though Canadians are rabid fans of hockey, the organization isn’t resting on its laurels. It publishes a constant stream of bite-size clips, longer reviews of big games and behind-the-scenes content.

It has also figured out ways to work brand partners into its feed, like this well-produced video of player Brendan Gallagher sponsored by L’Oreal Men Expert Canada.

2. Molson Canadian

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It’s no surprise that Molson is near the top of this list. The beer brand is constantly pumping out fresh social content, much of which is linked to hockey. Pre-season, it started sharing hockey-related photos and it’s continued straight through the Winter Classic and the most recent regular season games.

Molson’s content works because it’s high quality, but still feels social. The photos the brand shares are clearly art directed, but they match the style of user-generated content.

3. Kraft Canada

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Kraft Canada is the only food brand that made the top 10. According to Engagement Labs, the food-maker has increased its engagement by linking its social profile in Canada to its “What’s Cooking” initiative. The brand’s Facebook page, for example, is presented as What’s Cooking by Kraft, rather than Kraft with What’s Cooking content. This puts its recipe-driven content at the front of Kraft’s pitch to its fans and followers, offering them something useful rather than a brand sell.

4. BMW Canada

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BMW has a mix of content that appeals to casual car lovers and hardcore gear heads. Its posts on social range from design sketches of new models to real-time content around events and holidays and a peek into a factory to show consumers how BMW materials are made.

5. Walmart Canada

On Facebook, Walmart Canada has skewed heavily towards lifestyle content, sharing loads of recipes, style tips and ideas on how to host parties.

On Twitter, the retailer has found success both with talking about its community-driven initiatives and with product-related content like the store’s flyer and specific product offers.

6. Target Canada

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While 2014 was a tough year for Target Canada, one place it is connecting with Canadians is on social media. The retailer is neck in neck with its chief competitors, Walmart and Hudson’s Bay, according to Engagement Labs’ numbers.

It kept up its popularity throughout 2014 by creating original content, like the dozens of illustrations it posted on Facebook in recent weeks. Target also linked its social to real-world events, like its fashion show for Toronto Fashion Week. The retailer invited a mom blogger to the show and gave her the VIP treatment, plus reproduced looks from the show on Vine.

7. Hudson’s Bay

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Hudson’s Bay knows exactly what’s in its arsenal of brand tools and how to deliver them on social. From Canadian landscape shots to cutesy stop-motion animations featuring its now iconic Olympic mittens, Hudson’s Bay knows how to use Canadians’ nostalgia-dipped view of the brand to its advantage.

The retailer has also wisely turned one of its most powerful brand assets – the classic Hudson’s Bay strips – into a way to communicate with consumers about their love for the brand with #stripespotting, the hashtag consumers use to share photos of their Bay-striped products.

8. Cineplex

Movie content is highly viral, which helped Cineplex’s social scores, according to Engagement Labs. However, the movie theatre chain under indexed on engagement scores, which means it has room for growth in driving actual dialogue among film fans.

Where the brand succeeded: content like trailers, special offers and video interviews with celebrities.

9. TD Canada

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TD had the highest number of administrator comments of all the brands that made the top 10. That means TD’s community managers are active and responsive to the consumers who try to reach the brand via social media, which led to high impact and responsiveness scores. According to Engagement Labs, this shows the bank has made a strong effort addressing customers’ questions, comments and needs.

10. Home Hardware

Coming in at the tail end of the list is yet another retailer, Home Hardware. Like Walmart, Home Hardware has leaned into the lifestyle side of its business on social media, sharing videos on how to pack lunches, uncorking wine bottles and even recipes.

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