Communicating on social media is about relaxing the brand’s tone for the informal mood of the medium. Marketing on social media is about creating ideas that are simply irresistible to the audience. Here are five that work a treat.
1. Twitter: BTCare
Twitter and customer service are a match made in heaven and BT are getting both right. Not only does Twitter allow brands to handle customer problems much more quickly than over the phone, it gives big brands the chance to show a bit of personality.
Take these two tweets. In the first, BT maintains a friendly tone of voice without being too cutesy, letting the satisfied customer know they are there should any more problems arise. That conversational tone can really help diffuse customer anger and humanise a brand.
In this next tweet, BT really goes the extra mile, checking back in - unprompted - with a customer who was having difficulties the previous day. Here they maintain a personable, yet professional tone. After all, the last thing you want when experiencing technical difficulties is twee optimism.
2. Instagram: Airbnb
Instagram works so well for Airbnb because they post stylish pictures of their holiday rentals in a way that looks more like a tastemaking blog than a sales catalogue. Imagine consumers browsing your sales brochure for their own enjoyment? Madness. Then they add suitably conversational captions talking about ‘food comas’ and how we should ‘just roll with it’ – perfect for their social media-savvy millennial target audience.
That’s almost 30,000 likes. But where Airbnb really gets it right on Instagram is the content mix. They produce travel guides for exciting cities that are perfect for their cosmopolitan audience. And their recent #weaccept campaign, accompanied by stunning close-up photography, communicates their brand values of diversity, internationalism and cooperation.
3. Facebook: Boohoo.com
In 2016, online fashion retailer Boohoo.com topped the list for the most views of a single Facebook Live post, with almost 400,000 users tuning in to the real-time video. At number two was The Body Coach, with just over 20,000 interactions. So how did Boohoo do it so well?
It’s simple. They made their live video truly interactive, inviting users to answer questions in real-time, giving away prizes (Boohoo products, of course) every minute for correct answers. Users were glued to the video, meaning hundreds of thousands of people stared at a brand name and its products for 60 minutes, non-stop. How else could you achieve that kind of exposure? People don’t stare at the same billboard for an hour, no matter how delayed their train is.
4. Snapchat: Oak
From one hour videos to split-second marketing - let's take a look at Snapchat. A big chunk of the temporary content platform’s 150 million daily users are teenagers.
Flavoured milk brand, Oak saw an opportunity, running a campaign where followers had one second each day to screenshot a coupon for a free drink. It was devilishly tricky, playing into the love of mobile gaming common among Snapchat’s millennial user base, inviting repeat visits and driving user subscriptions as friends competed to bag a freebie.
But if that’s got you thinking it’s just for kids, think again. As teens grow up and late-to-the-party adults download the app, Snapchat’s potential for marketing has skyrocketed. The temporary content platform now reaches 41 percent of all 18 to 34 year-olds in the United States, every day, meaning we’ll see more and more brands turning to the app to reach younger audiences. Audi, McDonald’s and World Wildlife Fund have all enjoyed successful Snapchat campaigns.
5. WhatsApp: Heineken
Still texting? You might be one of the few left. WhatsApp is a messaging platform that lets users form group conversations and share media. It’s perfect for brands: WhatsApp boasts a 70% open rate for all messages – and over a billion monthly users. In the UK, marketers can only dream of stats like that, with email open rates for SMEs hovering around the 20% mark.
Beverage giant Heineken invited audiences to WhatsApp (yep, it’s so popular it’s become a verb) a number listed on a beer bottle. Users then had to answer five football trivia questions correctly to be in with a chance to win tickets to the Champions League final. It had the feeling of a pub quiz or a bantering exchange with a friend over a text message, with friends competing to outsmart one another with their trivia knowledge.
Participants were totally absorbed throughout, opening not just one but five marketing communications from the brand.
Getting social media branding and marketing right isn’t easy, but the reach - and the rewards - can be huge for brands enough to take on social.