(Below is a re-post from ProActive Communications’ President Mark Serrano’s blog, PowerTrip)

What do a couple of old birds and a pro football player have in common? Not much as it relates to their success with social media campaigns, evidently.

The first case study was the challenge made by New York Giant Osi Emenyiora to reach 500,000 Twitter followers in order to prompt him to buy the Super Bowl ring of former Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor through an auction (see: Lawrence Taylor’s Super Bowl ring sold for $230K; Osi Umenyiora was not the buyer).

Emenyiora increased his followers from 20,000 to 55,000. While this is an impressive increase, it fell far short of the original challenge to go to 500,000, so he did not bid for the ring.

Though it may be easy to blame the result on the context – after all, Taylor was last in the news when he was charged with statutory rape for hiring an under aged prostitute – the social media strategy was flawed altogether. The target was arbitrary and it was a one-off play. There was no ongoing motivation for football fans to join Emenyiora online. Followers need to have a reason to come back time and time again.

Thus enters the next case study involving Frankie and Dottie. These delightful octogenarians have been eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese since the first box was packaged 75 years ago.

These old birds are the real-life stars of Kraft’s social media strategy that has increased their Facebook “likes” from 570,000 to 1,000,000 in just a few months, for an astounding 75% increase!

It all began with the company turning their Facebook and Twitter accounts over to Frankie and Dottie for three days. These old birds didn’t even use computers before their social media debut. Now they are Kraft Mac and Cheese stars who are being cheered on by a growing legion of consumer fans.

It is important to note that the Kraft strategy isn’t as free as a few tweets – they are clearly investing in a series of video productions featuring Frankie and Dottie, but this is a manageable investment with big returns.

Also, #OldBirdsNewTweets is not the only social media campaign that Kraft is conducting (see: How Kraft Mac & Cheese grew its fanbase 75 percent—in just 4 months) – and that is the point.

Not only have their accounts grown by dramatic numbers, but they are gaining a lot of visibility from observers about how to develop and manage a sustained campaign with multiple layers of engagement that will keep followers coming back for more and more.

Perhaps a football player with high offline visibility can learn about building a real online strategy from a couple of old birds.

Continue the conversation on Facebook and on Twitter with @ProActiveComm and @MarkVSerrano.

Photo credit: ADWEEK