Whether you’re a business growing your social media presence in order to connect with other businesses, or you’re doing it to connect with customers, your ultimate goal should be the same.
That goal is to create a human connection.
In a world where nearly everything is automated, the one thing that some brands are doing incredibly well and using to rapidly grow their business is cleverly leveraging people’s need for personal connection online.
In this article, we’ll discuss 3 ways in which big brands like Optus, Apple, Wendy’s and more are excelling when it comes to connecting with their audience through their social media presence.
Ultimately, these are the exact tips which you can implement in your business to help you build a solid community of dedicated fans and followers on your own social media accounts.
1) Leverage the power of emotions in your brand awareness campaigns.
Whether your business is well established or just starting out, there is great power in brand awareness done right.
Ensuring your brand shines through on social media comes down to one thing – emotion.
People want to know what makes your business different from the 20 other businesses who perform the same services or have the same products. It’s no longer enough to give people a big list of features and benefits. Consumers are now exposed to more daily media messages than ever before – so they now need to know not just what the business is, but why it matters to them personally.
This is largely due to our overexposure to the ‘feature and benefit’ marketing campaigns. Only some people will be swayed by the practical argument. Instead, a brand’s ability to tap into the emotions of their consumers will likely determine the success of their campaign.
Take Cheerios for example. They have a quality, popular cereal but as there are 20 other companies with similar features stocking their products on the same shelf, Cheerios decided to step up their game.
Along with the creatives at 72andSunny, Cheerios launched a campaign which would donate 10 meals to Feeding America for every photo or video someone sent in.
These images and videos had to creatively display the letter ‘o’, using the hashtag #goodgoesround. The result was this catchy video featuring some of the footage people had sent in. You’ll notice that although the cereal itself is featured in the clips, it’s certainly not the primary focus of the campaign.
This is a brilliant example of what modern day brand awareness is all about. It’s no longer just about telling people what your product is and why it’s perfect for them. Brands now need to make an effort to tap into what will make people feel great about the company itself outside of the products they make or the services they provide.
You may have also heard about one of the most profitable awareness campaigns of 2014 that was done by the ALS Association – the ice bucket challenge. It raised over $100 million in the span of 30 days and funded significant research which led to a scientific breakthrough in 2016. Thousands of people got involved even though most of them likely had no association or even prior knowledge of ALS. The reason this was so successful was because it gave people a sense of community with others who have completed the challenge, and it gave them the opportunity to challenge their friends to do the same.
However, the ice bucket challenge did one more thing extremely well, it allowed people to show off their charitable nature in an organic way. The reason charitable organizations sometimes struggle is that it can often be difficult to do something good for someone and be rewarded for it without being accused of doing it for purposes of public perception.
This challenge, however, made the activity the primary focus, with the donation to the cause becoming a secondary factor. This allowed people to participate, share and challenge others all the while displaying their altruism without feeling uneasy about how it would be received.
It essentially allowed people to feel good about doing something good.
Hopefully, you’ve taken away a few key points from these two examples of the significant role emotions can play in brand awareness campaigns and ultimately in reinvigorating your brand’s social media presence. Find out which emotions you want your brand to evoke and then work that into your marketing.
Now let’s move onto another component of how your brand is perceived by present and potential customers on social media – customer service.
2) Provide excellent customer service on social media.
Let’s now dive straight into some cases of social media customer support that have won over millions with their creative approach.
First let’s talk about Dan from Optus. Several years ago, Optus launched a series of campaigns featuring different languages with the purpose of embracing their multicultural community.
One ad in particular, written in Arabic, spurred quite a large volume of negative responses on social media. These responses were largely ignorant and hateful in nature. This is the beginning of the story that took Dan from Optus from being a customer service representative to hero. There were several elements that made this a customer service success story.
Personal: Dan from Optus made each response incredibly personal to every single person’s concern. He addressed them by name, told them he was happy to discuss it with them and then addressed their concern. This is so key to creating a great brand social media presence.
Calm: Dan was clearly dealing with an extremely high-pressure situation and the whole of Australia was following his every move. With each negative comment he kept his responses level-headed, professional and let his intelligence shine through.
On brand: He also defended Optus and their decision to embrace multiculturalism and made this very clear in his responses. It’s important that customer service remains with the brand in mind and that personal emotions and opinions stay out of it.
Quick: One of the biggest things people complain about with customer support is the time it takes to get a response. This is important for positive comments, but especially crucial in cases like this where the situation needed to be handled professionally and with impeccable speed to mitigate any further issues.
Optus may have lost a few small-minded customers over these campaigns, but they gained a mass following of dedicated customers who supported their cause.
Moving onto American fast-food chain Wendy’s. If Wendy’s proved anything this past year, it’s that good customer service isn’t always the right way to go.
Wendy’s has made a name for themselves by providing ruthless customer service to their Twitter followers.
Their decision to insult their competitors and their fans through social media was a brave one. However, they’ve done their research and know what works for their audience and this was a gamble that definitely paid off.
Even their company bio on Twitter now reads:
“We like our tweets the same way we like to make hamburgers: better than anyone expects from a fast food joint.”
The key takeaway from this case study is to know who your ideal customers are and make sure your social media presence speaks to them in a way that forms a connection.
Wendy’s is also quite clever at ensuring that their messaging on Twitter reflects the overall use of the platform itself. The same type of insulting and witty responses might not have been as well received on Facebook for example.
Don’t underestimate the power of excellent customer service that is catered to the needs and desires of the customers.
This is especially crucial on social media as there’s complete transparency in how you and your team handle requests, complaints and general interactions.
Which brings us to the final way you can uniquely empower the social media presence of your brand.
3) Make your customers feel like they’re an integral part of your journey.
One brand that has done this incredibly well time and time again is Apple. Most recently, they’ve done this by allowing people to use the hashtag #ShotOniPhone to get a chance at being featured on their Instagram account which currently has a whopping 4.9 million followers.
This is the perfect win-win in so many different ways.
Firstly, Apple is building their social proof and it means they don’t have to spend big bucks on creating new content from scratch.
Secondly, it’s tapping into potential customer’s emotions by making them want an iPhone so they can take photos like the ones on their feed.
Finally, it’s the perfect example of making their existing customers feel special – like they’re a genuine part of Apple’s business and giving them an opportunity to grow their own social media presence by featuring them.
It just goes to show that you don’t always need a large budget in order to bring that ‘special factor’ into your social media presence.
Of course, Apple has already built a global reputation for itself as a provider of quality products with a cool factor. So let’s now look at a business that doesn’t share the same lofty reputation and the global reach of Apple, but is also in an industry that is notoriously tough to market – charity.
The ‘social swipe’ campaign by MISEREOR is both an example of amazing brand awareness, and equally of making customers feel like they’re a part of the brand’s journey. This campaign features interactive posters that gives people the opportunity to see exactly where their money is going when they donate.
As someone swipes their card to automatically donate €2, the motion trigger makes it seem as if the card has cut through the chains of a child prisoner in the Philippines or a slice of bread for a family in Peru.
This is a one-off donation, however, on their bank statement, the contributor will get a link to set up recurring payments to the charity if they wish. This approach is so different from the one charitable organisations often take. They’re tapping into the intrigue of wondering what will happen if the card is swiped, and giving people an instant sense of gratification.
MISEREOR changed the face of charity with this campaign, almost eliminating preconceived notions people might have about donating by overpowering these with a sense of curiosity and playfulness.
American Express also recently leveraged the power of playfulness in their recent Everyday Congrats campaign presented by comedian and actress Tina Fey. This campaign was a huge success because it was based on the needs of the one demographic that banks like AMEX never seem to target with their marketing – millennials. Coincidentally, it’s also the same part of the population that’s most likely to interact with content on social media and make it go viral.
Although on the surface, the videos seem to be designed for pure entertainment, they got over 30 million views and resulted in a 20% lift in brand consideration for American Express. Again, this was simply because it made millennials feel like their needs were being heard and that they were an important part of the business.
There are so many different ways you can creatively involve your customers in your journey, both with and without a huge budget. Sometimes it’s as simple as sending a personalised video to everyone who buys your product or service or joins your email list. Of course, the power of personal touch be time-consuming, but if done right it can make a gigantic impact.
In summary, the easiest way to start revamping your brand’s social media presence is to always keep the human factor in mind.
The ways in which you can implement this in your business which we talked about in this post included the power of emotion in brand awareness efforts and the impact excellent customer service can make. Finally, we also looked at how making your customers feel like they’re an integral part of your business can drive some big results for your brand’s social media presence.
Your customers want to know why your brand is special, how it will help elevate their life and they want to feel like they’re a valued part of your business right from the start.