When considering the best ways to approach social media branding for your company, organization or product, there are numerous strategies to make a splash in the digital domain. A recent conference about harnessing the power of social media hosted by Columbia Business School’s Center for Global Brand Leadership highlighted top social strategies to make your brand shine.
Here are five ways to position your brand in social media:
» Brand Maintenance: With this reactive approach, brands play a limited role in social media just for the sake of having a presence. They monitor the social space and reply to those who mention them. This passive method is more the domain of brands late to adopt social media, as well as companies in highly regulated industries like healthcare and financial services.
» Community Building: In this case the brand is involved in creating communities of like-minded customers or groups who share a passion for the category. The forums foster interaction between these brand ambassadors. Harley Davidson exemplifies this activity, as it mobilizes its hardcore motorcycle enthusiast fan base. Tribeca Film Festival is another brand that keeps film buffs informed all year long.
» Influencer Marketing: With this option, which Dragon jokingly nicknamed “professional stalking”, companies identify key influencers that impact their category or brand, then monitor and follow their social media activities and engage with them. It’s actually more flattering than the stalking term suggests. In fact, it is the M.O. of key social media platforms, namely LinkedIn and Twitter.
» Thought Leadership: Here brands proactively create and share content to reinforce their reputations and minimize the impact of crises if they occur. This approach places companies in a favorable light by enhancing their credibility and expertise. Tech companies IBM and SAP have effectively employed this strategy by having a voice in pressing technology issues.
» Big Splash: With this method, companies create programs designed to garner widespread attention and a spike in social connections. While many brands seek to be viral sensations, it’s far easier said than done. Examples here include companies who have mastered the art of creative social media, such as Virgin Atlantic Airways, as well as Oreo’s popular tweet during the Super Bowl.
Early adopter brands tapping into snapchat
Burger King is the latest brand to take a bite of Snapchat, seven months after rival McDonald’s joined the platform. The fast food giant made the announcement in a snappy promoted tweet last week, accompanied by an illustration of the Snapchat mascot with a burger.
It is no surprise that brands are increasingly turning toward Snapchat, with comScore reporting an increase of nearly 170 percent in the number of multiplatform unique visitors between June 2013 and June 2014 — from more than 10 million to nearly 27 million. The introduction last year of the stories feature, which lets users stitch together a narrative of photos or videos that lasts 24 hours, and, most recently, the geo-tag feature has made it all the more attractive.
The content of these photo and video snaps as well as snap stories ranges from promotion deals to new-product announcements, behind-the-scenes campaign peeks and even brand stories, quizzes and trivia. Brands also don’t shy away from getting very visual and creative, thanks to the various fonts and filters that the platform offers, and the fact that pictures can also be used as a canvas and painted on.
As this newbie tries to harness this latest social sensation, here is a lowdown of how five brands and publishers are using Snapchat:
» Taco Bell: One of the earliest kids on the block, Taco Bell took to the platform in May 2013 as a means to promote a new item on its menu: the beefy crunchy burrito. From then on, it continued to evolve on the platform — even engaging in some real-time marketing by producing a four-minute video at the MTV Movie Awards this year to introduce another new item: the Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco. Taco Bell sends out individual snaps to its followers and churns out stories routinely; the number of snaps in a story usually fluctuates. Last Friday, it even experimented with a Snapchat story in the form of a witty quiz titled “What Fast Food Restaurant Are You?”, with a series of snaps following each other in order and the last snap obviously being Taco Bell.
» NPR: NPR has been on the platform since October last year, when it sent out its first snap celebrating the 75th birthday of the copy machine. Nowadays, it brings its followers an offbeat fact from one of its reporters in a short and fleeting 12-second video snap, sending one a day on average.
» GrubHub: GrubHub joined the Snapchat brigade in August 2013, seeing an opportunity to continue its brand positioning as a hip option for food delivery. It prioritizes engagement and vouches for the personalized nature of engaging with its users on Snapchat — often offering them surprise deals. Recently, it even tried to recruit using the platform, asking potential interns to doodle back at it in May. On most other days, one can expect snaps of — surprise! — yummy food, which are sent out several times a day. This past weekend, it brought on board 25-year-old Snapchat artist Michael Platco on board again to “test a new feature,” during which he was shown getting stuck in the virtual world of GrubHub on Snapchat.
» Audi: After Audi’s Super Bowl campaign with Huge on Snapchat was a huge success (pun-intended), it decided to stick with the platform. According to Huge, the campaign received 100,000 total views on Snapchat and generated 2,400 mentions on Twitter. Most recently, Audi has partnered with ABC Family’s popular show, “Pretty Little Liars.” As the show’s official social media sponsor, Audi snapchats not only exclusive bonus content from it, but also snippets of its stars in real time. Other times, Audi routinely comes up with fun stories, such as one last week featuring one of its snazzy car models, a Jay-Z song and a Brooklyn geo-tag. In general, it leverages Snapchat in some capacity once or twice a week, but the number of snaps varies depending on the initiative. It also engages with followers, sending them personal snaps.
» Karmaloop: As one of the leading e-commerce brands, Karmaloop also launched its Snapchat account early — in July 2013. It made the announcement on its blog and other social feeds, and promised exclusive deals, besides behind-the-scenes looks and fresh product drops. It is known to routinely use the platform to send out racy pictures of its models flaunting its collection as well as funny and ephemeral sneak-peeks and selfies of its office and staff. It tends to send snaps out daily, mixing it up.
Obama’s non-press conference on ISIS
Here’s a bit of PR advice for President Obama – don’t hold a press conference to announce that you don’t have a plan, solution or strategy. But that’s exactly what the president did in addressing the simmering ISIS situation in the White House Briefing Room recently. His stunning admission that “we don’t have a strategy yet” – perhaps better than any other sentence in his tenure – encapsulates President Obama’s feckless foreign policy. His admission that “we don’t have a strategy yet” made the whole media briefing a non-affair. For that, Mr. President, you get a disconnected, Tarnished Mic.
Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!
» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at email@example.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.