Friends of BRANDEMiX,
While typically BRANDEblog writes original content, I thought this was a great article about the 5 most engaged brands in Social Media.
That and it’s Halloween and candy is calling.
Before you read further, see if you can guess the top 5 social brands. I was surprised by at least 1 who made the list.
————— Happy Reading ———————-
Engaging in social media is about being extremely open, creative and flexible. To stay competitive online, brands need to be investing in social media as a way to extend themselves to their customers.
While advertising and cultivating an image are still important, it’s interaction that creates loyal customers. Using social media to show customers that your business is connected to what they say, think and feel about your products can amplify your brand’s message.
We’ve compiled a list of five big brands that are most engaged in social media, and that go to extensive lengths to connect with consumers. Add your own thoughts on which brands are ahead of the curve in the comments below.
Take a quick look at the coffee giant’s Twitter page, and you’ll see the company has just more than 1 million followers. The next thing you’ll notice is that there’s a lot of conversation going on. Starbucks is keeping busy responding to mentions, apologizing for bad experiences, and just carrying on some interesting conversations with its followers.
Meanwhile on Facebook, more than 15 million people “Like” the brand. And Starbucks is trying to make buying its product as integrated and seamless as possible. Take, for example, the Starbucks Card Facebook application it introduced this past April, which allows customers to manage their Starbucks Card accounts from within the social network. The company also recently announced that customers could now “Give a Gift” and credit their friends’ cards via Facebook, too.
That feature is an idea born out of their community site, My Starbucks Idea. The Seattle-based caffeine king wants to know what you want from Starbucks, and the company is listening. The site enables consumers to share their ideas and critique others’ ideas as well. Discussions are encouraged, and the community votes to see which ideas become reality. The “Give a Gift” idea was suggested back in 2008, and drew more than 42,000 votes. It may have taken some time for the idea to become a reality, but it shows that Starbucks is listening to its customers.
On Facebook, it’s somewhat astounding that 15 million people “Like” the soft drink empire, but the company has done a good job of keeping things interesting and interactive. The Page is a hub of all sorts of activity, including posting fan photos, videos and social good initiatives like Live Positively, where fans voted for America’s favorite park to receive a $100,000 grant.
On Coca-Cola’s YouTube channel, the soda company launched “Unlock The Secret,” a viral video campaign featuring Coke’s inventor, Doc Pemberton. By clicking on bottle links in the videos, viewers are taken to the @docpemberton Twitter page, Coke’s Ahh Giver app on Facebook (which allows users to send a message to a friend delivered in video format by the Coke polar bear), and Coke’s Smilezier, a novel feature that allows users to record their laughter and listen to other people’s as well.
All of these efforts tie together Coca-Cola’s brand of happiness, and it’s created an interesting and original experience while engaging with consumers online.
For Kraft, makers of the delicious black and white cookie, Facebook outreach has been the main strategy. While other brands are engaged across the board, Oreo hasn’t leveraged Twitter at all yet.
The Oreo Facebook Page is a place to find recipes, videos, photos of fans enjoying the cookie, and games like Twist To Win for a chance to meet the Double Stuf Racing League (Shaquille O’Neal, Apolo Ohno, Eli Manning and Venus Williams).
The DSRL’s videos are the main focus on Oreo’s YouTube channel, including interviews with the athletes, commercials, and behind-the-scenes footage.
Check out Kraft Foods’ digital and social marketing lead Beth Reilly speaking on “how Oreo learned to fish where the fish are” in the video below.
While Skittles hasn’t quite figured out how to leverage Twitter, logging little more than 6,000 followers and producing some really weird tweets, more than 12 million “Likes” show they managed to figured out how to make use of Facebook.
The “Mob The Rainbow” feature was an innovative effort that strove to bring fans together to create something big. The first mob was a massive outpouring of Valentine’s Day greetings to a person who doesn’t get much love: a parking enforcement officer. Fans were asked to either make a card on the site or get the address and send one on their own — 43,037 cards were sent. Since the launch of Mob The Rainbow last year, fans have completed three mobs, with plans for a fourth one to “crash” an 85-year-old grandmother’s birthday party. It’s a brilliant way to engage the company’s audience with social good and keep its quirky image alive.
With social media, though, the Austrian company has something more to offer than salvation from long work days and early morning grumpiness. With more than 10 million “Likes” on Facebook, it offers a really cool and interactive Facebook Page that appeals to the brand’s core consumer.
The Procrastination Station, featured on its Games page, offers high quality, engaging and interactive options for procrastinators, including a soapbox car racing game, a rock, paper, scissors game, and “Drunkish Dials” recordings — recordings of Red Bull drinkers who called the company’s toll free number, leaving “drunkish” messages. Yep, that’s what happens if you leave them a ridiculous drunken message — they’ll put it online.
Plus, they’ve run creative contests like 2009’s Red Bull Stash, where the company hid Energy Shots all over the country and posted clues on its Facebook wall. It was the company’s way of thanking fans when it hit the 1 million fan mark. Currently, the company has teamed up with San Francisco Giants player Tim Lincecum to create an ongoing scavenger hunt for 11 autographed baseballs hidden on the streets of San Fran. A picture of each baseball has been uploaded at a specific location and the first fan to arrive and check in with Facebook Places and the password “San Francisco’s Got Wings” wins the coveted ball.
The company has also done an impressive job on the mobile front with the Red Bull X-Fighters app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, the Red Bull TV app, and the Red Bull BPM app that turns your iPhone into a complete DJ setup. All these apps are great extensions of the brand’s core product, and complementing the consumer’s lifestyle goes a long way.
Every company wants brand loyal customers, but this level of commitment requires the same degree of loyalty in return. Consumers value interactive experiences, one “Like” on a corporate Facebook Page can spread as virally among users as trending Twitter topics.
This was certainly the case when Gap recently unveiled its modern logo re-design. The sudden appearance of the new logo on the company’s website caused virtual uproar among graphic designers and Gap-loyal customers alike. Social media sites especially fueled the debate, giving outraged consumers a place to rant about the company’s unsophisticated, cheap new look. The innuendo of the former blue box, now a small gradient in the upper right-hand corner, arguably lacked the power, boldness, and tradition of Gap’s original look, and many felt the logo resembled the recently redesigned Price WaterHouse Coopers’ new look.
In fact, Gap got so much pressure from the community that they quickly reverted back to the old one with this notice on Facebook:
and more: “At Gap brand, our customers have always come first.”
The Gap presents a great case study of cultivating relationships through social media. Companies who value their employees can learn a great lesson from this example. The social contract is a 2-way street, and companies who listen and act on customer or employee feedback across any channel will build a concrete brand and an unbreakable bond within their target communities.
Trendwatching.com was kind enough to provide some tips for trend-tracking this month and some of the tidbits have great applications for HR as well.
1. Don’t apply all trends to all people.
“One massive mistake both trend watchers and brands make all the time, is to assume or pretend that a certain consumer trend will affect or be embraced by all consumers. ” Replace the word “consumers” with “job seekers” and you’ll get the hidden message. Can we all stop tweeting yet?
2. Be (very) curious.
“while we’re all set in our own ways, and we have our strict beliefs about what is right and what is wrong, closely observing instead of judging the world around you is tantamount to success.” Launch research, do surveys, have focus groups. Knowledge is power and if you don’t believe in “post & pray” methodology, find out what’s working in your market, in your industry and around your world.
3. “Let others do some of the work for you in 2011”
“YOU DO NOT HAVE TIME TO DO ALL OF THE ABOVE YOURSELF. .. let professionals do part of the work for you, even if it’s just to help you hit the ground running. We couldn’t agree more. As long as there exists great partners to help you plan strategies, facilitate research and implement campaigns, you should take advantage of their talents on your behalf.
So what about the pigs?
A last bit of advice- If you can’t tell difference between fads and trends, we know a purr-fect partner.