Social media is all about being “social” — of course. Socializing in social media is really not all that different from doing it in person. Being social boils down to engaging in conversation — online or face-to-face.
For businesses, social media is an opportunity to engage in conversation with customers. It’s this kind of personal interaction that generates loyal customers.
In a recent blog Stephanie Marcus of Mashable pulled together a list of the 5 Most Engaged Brands in Social Media. Looking at the big name brands and the extent they go to to reach out to their customers and build their brands using social media, I thought a few things could be learned (and adapted) for small businesses.
Here’s the list of top 5 from Mashable and some input on what smaller sized businesses can do to use social media to grow their businesses. (note — for this post, I decided to focus on the efforts of the top 5 brands to use Facebook to engage customers.)
You’ll note the majority of messages posted on Starbucks wall are not from Starbucks. Instead, most comments are from customers. With 19 million “Likes”, it’s no wonder the traffic and comments they get from customers. Looking at Starbucks’ posts you’ll see they far more than just plug their products and shout out specials of the day. Asking simple questions, like “what’s brewing this weekend” generated almost 9,000 Likes and 1,224 comments. Posting photos and videos regularly also results in lots of activity.
Lesson Learned: Think beyond product postings & shout outs for specials of the day.
With 22 million Likes it’s easy for Coke to get 20,000 Likes to a post. One thing Coke does on its Facebook page, too, is ask simple questions to prompt conversation. Take a recent question asked to Coca-cola’s Fans — Straw or no straw? It doesn’t get much simplier. That question gathered 3,379 people to Like it and 5,973 to comment on it.
Coke’s photo page is very popular, with almost 12,000 pictures posted by fans — and every one of them showcasing Coke products and people engaged with it.
Lesson Learned: Ask simple questions!
The third most engaged brand, according to Famecount, has more than 16 million fans on its Facebook page. Recently the cookie was awarded by the Guiness Book of World Records for the most Likes on a Facebook post within 24 hours — making Oreo the most “Liked” cookie on record, as reported on its Facebook page.
Oreo’s profile image is one of the best ways the brand engages with its customers. A fan of the week is showcased eating an Oreo in a customer-sent photo. How’s that for enticing customers to send photos. And, if you consider the viral opportunity of such a feature … if you were picked as fan of the week would you post it to your Facebook page to share with your friends? Bet you would!
They also capitalize on holidays in call for photos. Just last week Oreo posted a request to share with them an “Oreo Moment” photo showing fans eating Oreo with their dad with possibility Oreo might share it on Facebook on Father’s Day. In three days since this was posted, 705 people Liked it and 116 commented.
Lesson Learned: Enlist fans to share photos using your product.
Skittles has successfully leveraged it 15 million Likes to bring fans together to do big things. Mob the Rainbow launched last year with a suggestion to send some love on Valentine’s Day to someone who doesn’t typically get much – parking enforcement officer. Following Skittles request, fans sent 43,037 cards to the officer. Mob the Rainbow’s current effort involves crashing an 85 year-old grandma’s birthday party. They’re shooting for 9 million Skittle fans to attend the event just by clicking an icon on their Facebook page.
Lesson Learned: Give your fans a chance to come together and do something big.
The wildly popular energy drink gives its 10 million-plus Facebook fans the opportunity to participate in fun, off-the-wall contests — all revolving around the product. They hosted a contest in 2009 called “Red Bull Stash” where they hid energy shots across the country and posted clues to find them on their Facebook wall. More recently, they’re sponsoring a scavenger hunt with the San Francisco Giants and tying Facebook Places into the contest. Photos of autographed baseballs were hidden throughout San Francisco.
Lesson Learned: Get creative! Offer chance for fans to participate in a contests, games, scavenger hunts.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Facebook activities of the 5 biggest brands in social media. Do you know of other brands doing big things with Facebook to successfully engage with fans?