How Your Favorite Brands Tweet their Human Side

How-Your-Favorite-Brands-Tweet-their-Human-Side

Brands benefit from reminding their fans that they’re people, too. Here’s how some of the best brands project their human side on social media.

The great thing about social media is that it serves as a powerful vehicle for a brands self-expression.

It’s a tool for communication that even the most casual internet user can grasp and master with ease. At the same time, it’s a great branding and marketing avenue that many modern businesses have been smart enough to capitalise on.

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter serve as a direct line of communication between brands and their target market. Instead of adopting a general shotgun approach to communication — in the same vein as loud, one-way advertising from brand to consumer — brands are now given the freedom to directly communicate with their audience, getting a better idea of who they are, what they want, and what they need.

This is also why a lot of thought is given when it comes to making a social media marketing strategy. The process of strategising (from identifying the audience to setting SMART goals to developing a solid action plan) takes a considerable amount of time to complete; it’s not just a matter of posting whatever comes to mind, in the hopes that it’ll bring you your desired results.

The best thing about this is that brands get to show their human side to their audience as well. Many brands have mastered this, simply by knowing the right steps to take (oh, and if you’re interested, come check out this infographic about how brands humanise themselves on social media).

Indeed, the days of the faceless corporation are just about as good as gone now, as every business worth their salt has taken to social media, using it as a marketing vehicle, community-building tool, and communication platform, all in one.

For the purposes of this blog, let’s focus on one social media platform, arguably the one that serves as the best venue for instantaneous, direct communication. Twitter’s 140-character limit has been less of a hindrance and more of a catalyst for its users to think creatively — to say what they need to say, or even to stand out from everyone else, given such a restriction.

Here’s what’s funny: Brands aren’t just interacting with their customers now ; they engage with their competitors now, too. Maybe it all just began when one bored social media manager who decided to chat it up with a rival company, I don’t know. 

The fact of the matter is that the friendly (or sometimes not-so-friendly) back-and-fourths between brands manage to capture the attention of consumers, providing both entertainment and free advertising for the brands.

In fact, the more natural and “real” the conversations between brands feel, the better — a study from Episerver says that 30% of brands reported higher levels of customer loyalty after they became more active on social media.

Here are some of the most memorable exchanges I’ve seen online. These brands — or at the very least, the ideas behind their exchanges — are brilliant!

Oreo completely knocks social media interaction out of the park, repeatedly.

One of my favourite brands on social media is Oreo. The folks handling their Twitter account are great at handling communication with other brands, and are always on top of the Twitter game.

  • On one occasion, Oreo asked its followers if they ever brought their own cookies inside a movie theatre. Hilariously, this “got” them into a little spot of trouble with AMC Theatres, who didn’t take too well to the idea that their audiences were bringing the cookie sandwiches into their theatres. The faux outrage from AMC, as well as the ensuing Twitter drama, made for great entertainment.

  • There was also that one time when the equally delightful folks manning Kit-Kat’s Twitter challenged Oreo to what I’d like to call a “cookie-off” — a fun little game of tic-tac-toe with both chocolate snacks vying for a fan’s attention.

  • Honda and Oreo have had a couple of cute exchanges across platforms over the past year, too. When Honda first unveiled a minivan with a built-in vacuum cleaner in 2014, the automobile brand engaged with other brands for a bit of Twitter fun.

Oreo jumped into the fray with an image of a Double Stuf Oreo managing to get lodged into the vacuum cleaner — a hilarious challenge for Honda to pick on someone their own size, so to speak.

Apple added a touch of color to their iPhones… and Nokia took the credit for it.

Apple and Microsoft (which acquired Nokia) have some of the most vocal fans. This is why whenever Apple comes up with a new product, fans from both sides show up to either promote it or sling mud at it.

A particularly brilliant move from Nokia was when Apple announced its line of brightly coloured iPhones. As Nokia had already been offering phones in interesting colour selections for the longest time, it came up with a Tweet thanking Apple and implying that the latter simply copied the former’s design style.

An added touch was that Nokia hijacked the #Apple hashtag in the process, gaining even more traction and, ultimately, over 37,000 retweets and 10,000 favourites.

Newcastle shows the world how Super Bowl ads would look

The annual Super Bowl usually serves as a great showcase of clever advertisements from top brands. Instead of competing with these,  Newcastle Ale came up with a creative idea to stand out - create storyboards that show their own takes on the night’s best commercials, upload the videos on YouTube, and post them on Twitter. It was a witty, cheeky move that resulted in quite a bit of cross-brand promotion.

These are just a few examples of brands that are doing a fantastic job on Twitter. The world of social media marketing is full of jokesters, pundits, and witty comedians  who come up with quick and quirky responses — and businesses and brands that recognise this fact and capitalise on it succeed in showing a side of them that their consumers can love and trust.

Of course, the primary reason for brands to use social media is to gain a strong following and, eventually, leads. Humanising your brand is but one way to do it — it’s about time you made sure that you’re doing it properly. 

A Startup’s Best Tool for Branding

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It’s never too early to start thinking about what social media can do for your startup business’s branding. Make the most of it with these tips.

The world of business can be quite intimidating, especially for first-timers. It’s no big surprise that it’s challenging for those who are just starting out to become really successful right out of the gate.

After all, they’re competing against tons of other entrepreneurs who just happened to get there first.

Naturally, these businesses need to set themselves apart from the competition. That’s why we have what we call personal branding — it’s essentially what makes you, well, you. It’s creating an image of yourself that you want others to see and think about when they look at you or hear your name. Take care of your personal brand, and people will be much more likely to trust you, or at the very least listen to what you have to say.

There are many effective — albeit costly — ways for a startup brand to make itself known to its audience. Marketing and advertising play a vital role in getting the word out about a new business; however, a business at the startup stage understandably won’t have enough funds to compete with their industry’s old-timers.

Fortunately, social media has leveled the playing field when it comes to marketing. Nowadays, whether you’re a small-scale startup or a large-scale enterprise, all you really need to have are a basic knowledge of what makes social media and the internet tick, a willingness to try a new method of marketing, and the patience to wait for long-term (and definitely significant) gains.

With a decent social media presence, you can build a pool of leads and partners, become well-known for your specific niche, and be known as a trusted figure in the community.

I’ve compiled some best practices for using social media to create a positive brand image for yourself, even during your startup phase:

1. Take the plunge — but only if your target market already has.

Let’s face it: with all of the social media platforms out there, it’s hard to be everywhere at the same time. Spreading yourself too thinly won’t do your brand any good in the long run; it’s better to concentrate and focus your time and efforts on a handful of social media platforms  where you are absolutely certain that you’ll find your target audience.

Find out what they’re into — their interests, their hobbies, their behaviors and their preferences — and get into that, too. If you happen to chance upon a soon-to-be-trend that hasn’t become a trend yet, go ahead and embrace it. With any luck, you might be the first brand to have recognized it, which means you will certainly attract attention from the crowd that’s right for your brand. This is something you can use to build your community of fans.

You’ve probably already heard the saying “jack of all trades, master of none.” Well, that’s true — while you might be able to impress a handful of people by showing them that you can do everything, your branding will suffer in the long run, for the simple reason that you’ll end up having nary a single specific thing that your potential consumers will know you for.

Develop a reputation as an expert in three fields at most, and concentrate on one “main” discipline which you will focus all your attention on growing and developing. It certainly helps to have something you’re well-known for if you want to stand out. Don’t choose to be a generalist — think about what it is you really want to do, what you would willingly do even if you didn’t get paid, and by that time, you would have already found where you truly belong.

Part of the point of branding is in recognizability, and what better way is there to be recognizable to your fans than to establish a signature design for all of your social media pages, original content, and publicity materials?

On Instragram, for example, you can use a specific, consistent filter for all your pictures; on Twitter, you can come up with a hashtag that only you or your company will use.Hire someone to design a professional-looking logo for you, and work on making sure that your creative output, no matter how eye-catching, still remains aligned with your company’s intended guidelines.

Now that the world is aware of your existence, it’s time for you to mingle! Be active on social media — answer questions, commend fellow users for a job well done, sit back and tell them about your day, and other social media management things.Use a scheduling tool for your social media posts to make your lives a lot easier. If you’re still not sure about how often you should post updates in a day depending on social media platform, these figures should be helpful.

  • Post on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook 5 times per day.
  • Post on Google+ 2 times per day.
  • Post on LinkedIn and Instagram once a day.

Make sure that the content you create and share is worth following and anticipating, as far as your target audience is concerned. Stick to content that’s useful and at the same time has the potential to go viral and therefore let the rest of the world know that you exist.

Visual content is great too, as it has been proven that online articles with images are nearly a hundred percent more likely to be viewed than an all-text update. If it helps, think of social media for your brand as a nice pizza and your content as the toppings.

Social media platforms are arguably your greatest assets in establishing your brand and imprinting it in the consciousness of a lot of potential buyers. No matter which social media platform you’re on, it’s still a handy tool for your marketing strategy.