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Picked by the masses: Favourite examples of social media done right

We asked those from the corporate world for their favourite examples of social media done right – and the lessons that can be gleaned from them.
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Krispy Kreme’s latest Facebook endeavour shows how easy it is to get social media wrong. Now available through UberEats, the company celebrated by partnering with the delivery app to hand out 36,000 sweet treats free of charge. Avid followers were hampered by tech problems though – apart from one person, it seems, who horribly tweeted the received goodies.

To make matters worse, the launch coincided with World Diabetes Day, and all complaints were issued the same copy and pasted response. Chaos, of course, ensued. Brits were depraved of a sugar rush, ready to punch screens and brandish pitchforks. 

The incident offers numerous lessons on how not to anger customers. It would be easier, however, to focus on which campaigns get full stars from the outset. So we asked those from the corporate world for their favourite examples of social media done right – and the lessons that can be gleaned from them.

Cats Protection – Facebook

Jenny Bernarde, social lead at Bozboz, opined: “Cats Protection’s National Black Cat Day campaign raised awareness of how black cats take longer to be re-homed compared to other cats. It portrayed black cats as superheroes and the competition gave black cat owners the chance to show off their own heroes.

“The campaign’s video content was themed as a graphic novel and the whole campaign came to shape on National Black Cat Day where its hashtag trended all day. It used a variety of media across platforms to drive awareness and engagement. It is a great example of how SMEs can integrate competitions, video content and social content across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to raise awareness of a product, service or charitable campaign.”

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Hello Fresh – Facebook

Another of Bernarde’s Facebook favourites is Hello Fresh. She explains: “Facebook is a pay to play platform and relying on organic content just won’t work by itself anymore. Where Hello Fresh excel is through eye-catching graphics and quick re-marketing to encourage purchases from warm leads.

“It uses brilliant paid tactics across social media, targeting anyone who has browsed their page and website or started their purchase journey with them. We advise SMEs to learn from this and invest in Facebook’s paid platform to build your audience and direct more conversions from social media by re-marketing.”

Amazon – Facebook

Taking a different spin on a company doing Facebook well is Tom Green, senior account director at PHA Media. Amazon, he believes, is an example in keeping customers happy. He explained: “In September a guy called Connor Mac returned from work devastated to find his pre-ordered FIFA 18 copy ruined after his dog Sam chewed it as it came through the letter box. He promptly uploaded a picture of his damaged disc alongside a guilty-looking pup appealing to Amazon to ‘help a guy out’.

“Amazon reacted quickly and a new copy was with him in two working days. It’s likely that their social and PR teams were closely aligned and decided to release the story to the media which generated lots of positive coverage, proving Amazon as the ‘customer obsessed’ company it really is.

Using examples of happy customers gives you another way to talk about your product and humanise your brand, and your social channels can be a great source to help identify those customers.”  

The Great British Bake Off – Twitter

Bernarde added: “While The Great British Bake Off may only air for a few months a year, its social content is witty, creative and exciting. Each week’s live tweeting activity engages users with tongue in cheek jokes, direct conversations with other viewers and content from the show itself with a comedic twist.

“What SMEs can take from this is tone of voice and brand personality for social media content. Whether brands choose a ‘comedian’, or ‘the regular guy/gal’ tone of voice, It provides a great example of engaging content and tone of voice on social media platforms.”

Oreo – Twitter

Daniel Bailey, digital account lead at Whiteoaks, has one specific tweet in mind: “One great example of ‘social media done right’ is Oreo’s ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ tweet which was posted during the power outage at the Super Bowl in 2013. It may seem old… but it sums up how a perfectly timed tweet during a key event can generate so much engagement and positive sentiment towards a brand.

“Twitter is in the process of positioning itself as a ‘What’s happening’ social network, which ties perfectly into the approach that Oreo took back in 2013. SME bosses need to realise the benefits of Twitter by utilising the network as a tool, which enables them to react to their stakeholders in real-time. It’s also ideal for engaging with key industry influencers and building up brand awareness and sentiment with potential customers who could become brand advocates.”

Tesco – Twitter

“One of the UK’s largest supermarkets, Tesco, should be praised for its brilliant customer service through social channels,” said Bernarde. “As an SME, we recommend using social media for customer service, not only to resolve any potential issues, but to comment and thank users who are using your products.

“This creates a direct conversation between retailer and consumer which builds brand loyalty and trust. Like Tesco, we advise injecting personality into your replies and responding as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Heineken – YouTube

Sarah Alonze, associate director of Babel, suggests those on YouTube look to Heineken as an example: “Heineken not only promotes its products but highlights issues in society today, which is clever, timely and relevant. You’re likely to have seen the ‘Worlds Apart’ social experiment. Encapsulated in a video, the company paired people with differing views, got them to bond, and then brought them together with one question – can you overlook your differing views and instead discuss them constructively over a beer?

“What started as a piece of advertising quickly became a social media sensation. The video reportedly generated 13m views on YouTube in just over a month. The video was also accompanied by a Facebook chatbot that aimed to replicate the video in real-life. The beauty of this campaign is that it took a simple idea and translated it into something that anyone, from any walk of life, can relate to.

“This is something SMEs can easily imitate or take inspiration from. While smaller businesses are unlikely to have the same marketing budgets, looking beyond your product at issues your target audience can relate to, whilst still being genuine, authentic and aligned to your brand values, can help businesses to achieve much more on social than a self-serving call to action or product discount. At the end of the day, consumers want to be moved; they want to feel and understand the ethos behind a brand.”

The Dollar Shave Club and Blend Tec – YouTube

According to Paul MacKenzie Cummins, managing director at ClearlyPR: “The Dollar Shave Club set the benchmark for what makes an effective advert, unleashing a YouTube video lasting only 90 seconds. It was quirky, fast paced, energetic and really funny. It used expletives in a genuinely entertaining and none offensive way.

“The company made the product seem remarkable in the minds of potential customers by creating an emotional attachment to it and because the social media campaign was so infectious by default. To get noticed brands need to speak to the audience rather than sell to them, which is what advertising would have done, but to be heard, there needs to be a hook.

“With the Dollar Shave Club, the name itself creates intrigue, everyone wants to be part of a club and they add value to a cheap product, typically mundane product. It threw out the role book and went against the norm for advertising, doing something different that stood out and engaged with the audience. Eventually consumers will become accustomed to a particular advertising style and it will lose its impact. Companies must alternate in order to stand out from the competition.”

FaceTec – YouTube

“Cyber security start-up FaceTec created the below video this month to raise awareness of the dangers of iPhone X users falling asleep, near to someone they don’t trust,” Green said. “In it, they place paper cut outs, pizza toppings and bottle tops over a sleeping subject’s eye lids to successfully fool his iPhone X’s facial recognition into unlocking his phone.”

“FaceTec’s own ZoOm Login software provides ultra-secure face authentication by verifying 3D liveness via AI, effectively rendering it fool-proof. Shot on a shoestring budget, the video was picked up by news outlets and within a week had 15,000+ views.

“It shows that reacting to what others in your industry are doing gives you an opportunity to raise your company’s profile. There’s often a small window of opportunity while the news is still topical so speed of delivery is important. The launch of Apple’s iPhone X allowed FaceTec join the broader conversation around facial recognition, a topic they can credibly own, and add value to.”

Addict Aide – Instagram

Another social media pick by Green came from Instagram: “Last year a chic 25 year-old Parisian woman going under the name Louise Delage created a profile on Instagram. Her photos depicted a glamorous lifestyle full of parties, boats and dinners and she quickly amassed over 50,000 likes, 12,000 followers and hundreds of positive comments.

“However it was later revealed to be a clever social stunt by Addict Aide. Looking back over Louise’s seemingly real photos they pointed out that she was holding a drink in every single one of them – the message was simple ‘it’s easy to miss the addiction of someone close’.

“So if your business has a clear message, running a social experiment on your social channels can be an effective way of reinforcing that message. If you can do it in a clever, creative way like this, then it’s more likely to get picked up by the media, or even win an award (as is the case with this example).”

Innocent Drinks – Various platforms

Innocent Drinks is the star of the social media world, according to Laura Hampton, marketing manager at Impression. “My favourite brand on social media by far is Innocent Drinks. Its use of language, imagery and a consistent style creates an image that is very positive, friendly and engaging. This is evident in the number of like, shares and comments they receive on every post.

“What SMEs can learn from this is that having a clear personality and the ability to respond to things happening in the real world are essential for social media success. Consider creating a brand ‘persona’ for your own business; ask yourself ‘if my brand was a person, what would it be like?’. By creating this fictional person for your brand, you, and your team, are much better placed to communicate on social media in a way that is consistent and appropriate for the image you want to portray.

“Further to this, Innocent rarely posts promotional messages (and when it does, it’s in a humorous way). Learn from Innocent by keeping abreast of the topics beyond your own product range or industry that still interest your audience, and tap into those with your social content. For example, Innocent has done some great work with National Penguin Awareness Day and similar, which aligns with their brands environmental concerns but is nothing to do, directly, with fruit smoothies.

“Social media is a conversation. Success lies in knowing who you are, what you want to say and, most important, who you want to say it to.”

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About Author

Shané Schutte

Shané Schutte is a senior reporter at Real Business, with a particular specialism in employment and business law, human resources, information technology and sales/marketing.

Real Business