Social media has taken over the way brands market their products. Companies now have a direct line of communication to the public. These outlets give people the chance to express their concerns or positively praise a brand or company. This also gives brands the freedom to interact with their customers and gain constructive feedback.
There are many different ways that brands can use social media for their benefit, and the benefit of others. We listed four of them below:
1. Interact with customers
Before social media, if a customer had an issue, they would have to contact customer service and explain to someone over the phone or in person what their issue was. Now, brands and companies have a direct line of communication to the public. Some might say this is just an easier way for people to complain, and it is. But this creates happier customers and the company receives much more feedback from their customers. Instead of submitting a complaint on a website and never hearing back, the public can simply tweet at the brand or company and expect a response. Under both circumstances, it helps to be very personal when replying to a customer. Treat them as individuals.
2. Interact with other brands on social media
Not only does interacting with fans provide a way for people to express their concerns and interact with their favorite, or least favorite brands, but interacting with other brands really gets people’s attention as well. For example, Taco Bell and Old Spice exchanged a few tweets joking about each others brand names. If these are planned out ahead of time, it’s a smart move. People were retweeting the exchange and providing brand marketing for both companies without even realizing it.
3. Host competitions through social media
If there is a reward of any type, people will participate. The Auburn University Bookstore hosts regular Instagram competitions around campus. They tweet out a picture of a product at a random location on campus and say the first person to figure out the location and find them wins.
While competitions are fun, it’s more fun when everyone who participates is guaranteed to win. A perfect example of this is Chick Fil A’s "Cow Appreciation Day." One day a year, If you go to Chick Fil A dressed up like a cow, you get a free meal. Many people tweet these pictures or post them on instagram. To the public, they’re posting a funny picture of them trying to get free food. To Chick Fil A, it is spreading their brand awareness.
4. Philanthropy Opportunities
Using Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to promote philanthropy causes has transformed the way people participate. Similar to “Cow Appreciation Day,” every year on Halloween, Chipotle hosts “boo-rita” day. If people dress up like a farm animal and submit a picture on their website, they get a $2 burrito. This two dollars then goes to a non-profit organization called FarmAid. This might seem like a lot of work to get a $2 burrito, but people will do many things for cheap or free food.
The ALS Ice bucket challenge, one of the most successful social media campaigns, raised $115 million from one campaign. One of their main goals was to spread awareness. The challenge was to dump a giant bucket of ice water on your head, record it and post it on social media, and tag four friends to do the same thing.
This campaign was spread so wide that even celebrity couples such as Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, and John Krasinski and Emily Blunt donated to the cause and made videos that went viral. This campaign was so amazing because the public did not actually receive anything for participating. It was just a challenge. And everyone loves a challenge.
If you are looking to learn more about ways brands can use social media and Inbound Marketing, download our FREE ebook below!