By now it is no secret that businesses would do well to try and leverage the power of social media to boost their reach and awareness. If I had to count up the number of articles I myself have written on the ways in which businesses can use various platforms to their benefit then, well, it would be about ten, but then I haven’t been blogging for very long.
Businesses use social media in many ways to promote their products and services whether it be through a simple Facebook fan page, or something a little more outside of the box such as using Tinder to promote a video game. Social media can be instrumental in the success or failure of a business.
For every story of success, there seems to be one of absolute failure. Whether it be posting inappropriate content on your business account, getting into slanging matches with unsatisfied customers or completely misinterpreting a hashtag, there is definitely a right way and a wrong way for companies to use social media.
However, we are here today, not to look at those companies that got it so very very wrong (that may be a post for another day), but rather to check out a few of the brands that absolutely nailed it in terms of how to operate their social media campaigns. Some companies, either through expert design or management, or by being thoughtful and original have played the social media instrument like an absolute pro.
With that in mind, let’s take a good look at three of the brands out there that have achieved social media enlightenment.
Starbucks has a massive online presence. I’m sure that you’re probably thinking that of course they do, they are one of the biggest coffee companies in the world and they must have an absolute truck load of cash to throw at marketing? Well, that is true of course, but that is not all that there is to it.
Starbucks maintains a high level of engagement online and have a bunch of social media pages that they use to connect with their customers. By maintaining their ethos of honesty, sincerity and communication, they are one of the masters of how to manage an engaging online brand.
Starbucks on Facebook
At the time of writing, Starbucks’ Facebook page has reached just shy of 36 million fans and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. It is the third most popular retail food page (sitting behind McDonalds and KFC), the third fastest growing page in the same category and sits at number 33 of most popular Facebook pages across all categories.
So, how did Starbucks manage to acquire all of this Facebook success? Well, a quick look at the page will tell you everything that you need to know.
The left hand side of the page is packed with useful information and links that are designed to benefit the customer. There are tabs for finding your nearest coffee shop wherever in the world you happen to be at the time. There are links to applications that can help you connect with the brand in other ways, such as Pinterest and even an app for if you are looking for employment opportunities with the company.
On the timeline itself, there are obviously posts advertising Starbucks products, but these aren’t in-yer-face or pushy and they mix it up with posts that, amongst other things, teach you how to make their drinks at home for yourself. I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you how a company that will help their customers create their products at home comes across…
On top of this you will notice that the page replies to almost every single comment that they receive. Whether it be a compliment or a complaint, they always respond in a polite and respectful manner. This creates a feeling amongst customers that the company actually cares for and values their opinions – good or bad.
Starbucks on Twitter
Starbucks’ Twitter page follows much the same formula. With nearly 10 million followers, Starbucks interacts on a daily basis. By prioritising reaching out and connecting with their customers over simply spamming them with advertisements, they enjoy the best of both worlds – an engaged community who will then be far more receptive to the promotional posts.
It is easy to see what makes Starbucks a successful social media brand. By concentrating on fostering an online community of loyal and appreciative customers first and worrying about promotion second, they enjoy great results. So many businesses simply use their social media accounts to spam advertisements and then just sit back and hope for the customers to come rolling in, but this simply doesn’t work.
You should instead be engaging with your fans every day. After all, that is why it is called social media.
Ok, so from a huge beverage powerhouse like Starbucks, to a company that’s a little more down to earth. Eloquii is a fashion brand catering exclusively to women of size 14 and over. With much plus-sized clothing falling by the wayside in terms of market prominence, with some stores relegating larger sizes to their own corner of the store instead of having them in with all of the others, retailers are only just starting to realise the huge void in the market for these sorts of clothes.
The company was originally a part of a larger organisation and was closed down in 2013, but an outcry of support online and on social media saw it relaunched as an independent company the following year. However, social media is not just responsible for saving the brand, it is also a core component of their marketing strategy.
Eloquii on Facebook
Eloquii’s Facebook page does not boast quite the large numbers that Starbucks’ enjoys – clocking in at around 150,000 likes. However engagement is high, with hundreds of likes, shares and comments.
Much like Starbucks, Eloquii is also very active, taking a lot of time to respond to their customers’ comments – again, good or bad. The left hand side is filled with useful pictures, videos, apps and customer posts. Similarly to Starbucks, the Eloquii team responds to pretty much all of these.
Again we see that the key to social media success is unsurprisingly, being social. Let your customers know that you want to talk and that you are paying attention to them and they will love you for it.
Eloquii on Instagram
Where Eloquii really shines, however, is on their Instagram page. Too many companies think that their business’ Instagram is there for a non-stop relentless barrage of adverts and promotion. It is not.
It is true that you Instagram needs to be focused on your area of the market and avoid anything irrelevant, but you should be sharing more than just your own promotional material. Thankfully, in being a part of the fashion industry, Eloquii can consider anything that looks visually appealing as relevant.
A quick look at the page will show you what we mean. It is really rare throughout to see more than one promotional post side by side. Instead they are interwoven with pictures of landscapes, architecture, festivals, flowers and more. This helps to maintain the sense that this is a company devoted to helping people to look good, without a constant torrent of self-promotion.
Combine all of this with Eloquii’s #XOQ hashtag. Customers are encouraged to use the hashtag when they take pictures of themselves wearing Eloquii’s clothing. These are then populated on Eloquii’s homepage so that shoppers can see real customers and not just models wearing the clothing. This creates a feeling amongst the customers that they are the models and will make them feel even more valued and appreciated.
By coming up with unique ways to promote themselves on social media and getting their customers to participate, Eloquii was not only resurrected by social media, but has become its master as well.
Absolutely no discussion on brands who own social media would be complete without mentioning American cookie makers Oreo. In recent years Oreo have demonstrated time and time again why they know exactly what they are doing when it comes to social media.
We are not going to break down Oreo into its separate platforms and discuss why each is used in the right way like we have with Starbucks and Eloquii. This is because Oreos successes on social media all come down to one simple concept – agile marketing.
Agile marketing means that your strategy is not set in stone, but you have a team of talented and fast acting professionals who are able to come with relevant and often hilarious content on the fly. What this allows you to do is create your social media content to fit with anything that is presently going on in the world.
The most famous example of this was during the 2013 Super Bowl showdown between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens when, in an unprecedented event, the power went out.
Let me just say that again – ten minutes later. That is what we mean when we talk about agile marketing and Oreo is the absolute master of it. Whether on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or anything else, Oreo is keeping up a constant stream of fun and amusement. There are just too many examples to go into here so please go check them out to see what I mean. The Pinterest account is almost entirely dedicated to recipes for Oreo based desserts, so definitely check that one out.
So, there are three brands who have mastered social media. Do you know of any others? Maybe your favourite brand has come up with a really unique and imaginative way in which to leverage this power? Or you could tell us your favourite business/social media horror story?
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