Social media isn’t an easy thing to nail. Getting your creative content bang on, while also at the same time making sure that nothing you write can be misconstrued is actually really challenging. And that’s without mentioning understanding social algorithms and getting posting times exactly right.
If you’re in charge of a large social account then you’re going to have a lot riding on your shoulders. With so much responsibility, it can be easy to wrap yourself in a social comfort blanket. Too many companies play it too safe with social media, only sharing very diplomatic content that is sure not to get them in trouble. However, if all social media was that way – then it would be a boring affair indeed. The best content is that which is daring, bold and a little unorthodox. Being all of these things doesn’t mean that you have to offend anybody, or tarnish your brand image, it just means having a little fun with your approach.
Not only are the best social media accounts the most unique and alternative, but they’re also those who – as Marcel quite rightly put it in last Wednesday’s #PowerAndInfluence chat – take a more humanistic approach. ‘Cause at the end of the day – it’s nice to feel as though you’re talking to a peer and not a ‘brand’ right?
So, in a world of rules and regulations – accompanied with a number of competitors who are all trying to do the same thing, it takes a real social media whizz to stand out from the crowd. Sounds almost impossible right? Social media is saturated and trying to manage one account amid millions can seem like a futile task at times. However, it can be – and often is – got very, very right. Here’s some of my top social-savvy companies that are well ahead of the game.
Give Blood NHS
If one twitter account can make me want to stick a needle in my arm and lose a pint of blood, it’s this one.
I’m a regular donator, and have always been passionate about giving blood. However, I think even if i wasn’t, then I could be convinced to through the impressive marketing tactics of Give Blood NHS, who effortlessly make social media look super easy. With celebrity endorsements, constant interactions and let’s not forget their creative use of Twitter threads, it’s safe to say that the social media team over at Give Blood NHS have truly got it sussed. I’m a big fan!
While we’re on the subject of Give Blood NHS, can I just say that not only do they have their social media regime totally figured out, but in fact, their whole business is just simply A+. With their friendly donor centre atmosphere, the text updates to inform you as to where your donation has been issued and the letters of thanks for recurring donors that come through the door – they seem to know just how to get through to people.
PR with a cause is my favourite kind. If you’ve never given blood, and are considering it then I can’t recommend registering enough. It takes less than 10 minutes to donate and the aftercare is second to none (oh and not to mention, they’re pretty amusing on social media too). I promise you won’t regret it.
Ben and Jerry’s
I mentioned last Wednesday’s #PowerAndInfluence chat – and more so Marcel’s comments – above. Ben & Jerry’s was a name that sprung up in the discussion. When talking about brands taking a humanistic approach to their social content, Ben & Jerry’s have this tactic on lock.
I mean, who doesn’t love a brand who uses the word ‘snickerdoodle’?
Alongside their human-like tone and relatable tweets, Ben & Jerry’s also use their social media platforms to go above and beyond the ice cream. They’ve been known to use it to comment on political affairs and current issues, such as the topical concern of ‘fake news’.
So there you go, an ice cream brand that gives you more. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?
And over on Facebook – which by the way, you can still be totally creative with (why do we place so much emphasis on Twitter?) – Domino’s is executing a great strategy.
Introducing… DOM the pizza bot, who in layman’s terms, pretty much just tells you that you’re hungry for pizza. (And is he wrong?)
This innovative and irreverent feature was set up by Domino’s to help people decide which pizza to order.
They’ve boldly gone straight in and addressed a common consumer pain point, which is ‘I want pizza, but what kind of pizza do I want?” (because how many times have you had that conversation with yourself? Be honest!) with a quirky little feature that’s incredibly accessible and easy to use. Plus, like mentioned above, people like to resonate with a brand… to be able to talk to them. What does that better than a chatbot that you can actually converse with?
Another from the #PowerAndInfluence discussion, but certainly one that I was going to include in this series anyway is Orkney Library. As far as creativity goes, these guys are the experts and I need to know who manages their social media accounts! They use their platform to be inventive, be informative and most importantly – be incredibly funny.
And isn’t that what social media is all about? Who needs to be serious all the time? If you ask me, everyone should be taking a leaf out of Orkney Library’s approach – their social content gets them noticed and talked about. They literally generate PR just through being humorous, and I love that.
I mean just look at the engagement on that latter post. That’s the kind of audience you can reach with your content so long as you’re being different and even slightly whimsical at times.
Ah Poundland, one of my favourite Christmas names next to the Grinch and George Bailey of course. Who remembers their infamous elf on the shelf tweets last year?
The whole facade was slammed by some angry Twitter users, and was even investigated by the ASA after a number of complaints. Poundland were unfased by this of course and simply referred to the backlash as a ‘storm in a teacup’, they then went on to boast that they were proud of their £25 PR campaign.
And, to be honest, i’d be proud too. Okay some of the tweets were a little audacious, but for the most part – they were just funny. I mean, if you can’t lighten up at Christmas, when can you?
Whether you rated the campaign or not, you can’t deny that it did its job. While other Christmas campaigns were soon forgotten about, this one cemented itself in the minds of many for months and months after. Here I am still talking about it in September the following year! I’m often a mixed debater for the ‘all publicity is good publicity’ discussion but in this case, I can definitely agree that it is.
Poundland were daring and creative with their social media and that’s the precise mantra that you need to adopt if you really want to make it on this noisy platform – so kudos to them!
Proving that paid campaigns can be successful is McDonalds.
McDonalds are big fans of a promoted tweet, but I can’t lie and say that their content hasn’t drawn my eye. Most paid-for content often escapes my attention, so if you’re going to use it – you need to be different. I’m always impressed by the imagination that’s channelled from McDonalds’ social media team.
And, not only do McDonalds have a laugh with their social media. They can also be found tweeting about important issues and how they plan to tackle them – such as young person’s unemployment. And – most importantly – they also have a great response rate to consumers, which is fundamentally important when managing a social media account. Ignoring angry customers is only going to make them angrier, but a polite and fair approach may just convince them to converse with you instead of complaining. (Lets face it, in a company as ample as McDonalds – you’re likely to face a lot of twitter complaints, acknowledging them is a big step in the right direction).
McDonalds prove that no matter what your product or service, there’s always a way to market it on social media. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box.
And last, but not least. Another one of my favourites on social media is Innocent. In fact, they should be expecting to see their name crop up on here following a twitter conversation the other day.
I’ve always been a big fan of Innocent’s social accounts – especially Twitter and Instagram. When a brand can make you laugh out loud, that’s when you know they’re doing it right.
Not only do Innocent have a great social media tone (the perfect mix of promotional and funny) but their whole business model is just ace. When I think about memorable campaigns, they’re always one of the first brands to spring to mind. And I bet they would be with you too. Who can forget their adorable year-on-year ‘big knit’ campaign, or their ingenious ‘get the kids in the garden‘ idea?
I’m not a foodie blogger, but I can certainly conjure up the perfect recipe for brand success. 1/2 bowl of creativity, stirred in with a cup of awareness and sprinkled with humour makes for a great innovative campaign. Just remember to grab yourself a PR, marketer or social media exec to bang it in the oven 😉.
I think it’s clear to see that Innocent are one of my all-time favourites (noooo… Really!?) so I guess all that’s left to say is… Can I join your marketing team?
Lets debate… What about Wetherspoons?
Okay I said that Innocent was my last brand in the spotlight. So, why am I finding myself writing about another? Well, this is one that I wanted to talk about too – and more importantly, get your opinions on.
When talking about those who have cracked the social media code, where do we place companies such as Wetherspoons? Who, earlier this year, pulled the plug on every single one of their social accounts. Contending that in a world of social media – they were choosing to opt out of it.
“It’s becoming increasingly obvious that people spend too much time on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and struggle to control the compulsion.”
Wetherspoons’ boss, Tim Martin, purged all 900 so of his pubs from social media after failing to see its worth. While most companies are aptly leaping on the bandwagon, Martin has chosen to leap off – believing that no social presence will not affect his trade. What do you think about this?
On one side of the argument, the social savvy amongst us may be internally screaming at this decision. “What 21st century business doesn’t have a Twitter?!”. I mean, it’s barely a nascent marketing tactic and there’s no denying that social media is important for not only growing your brand, but maintaining your reputation too.
Plus, since Wetherspoons bid goodbye to social media, the number of it’s parody accounts has grown vastly – which, frankly, isn’t doing their repute any favours.
I mean, I don’t doubt that Wetherspoons is doing great at the moment, but while stuff like this is going on behind the scenes – their reputation is arguably being tarnished and they probably aren’t even aware.
I wrote a post when Wetherspoons first made their announcement, and though many months have now gone by, my opinions are still cemented. For now, I truly do believe that their decision to eradicate social media isn’t actually a terrible one. In the future, maybe they will need to re-think their strategies, but for the moment – Wetherspoons’ main selling point is it’s availability (there’s like a spoons in every town i’m sure) and it’s value for money. If they weren’t seeing an increase in footfalls from their social media, then why not ditch it? It’s certainly going to save them some pennies.
In the same breath however, the decision of Wetherspoons shouldn’t undermine brands that do use social media, and that use it well. Just because something works for one company, does not mean it’ll work for the next. Orkney Library, for example, has almost certainly raised its brand visibility via its social media, whereas Wetherspoons raise theirs through building more pubs in relevant areas. It’s each to their own.
Social presence will always be important, and just because one or two companies are doing well without it, this shouldn’t thwart the whole practice. Also, for now Wetherspoons may be doing fine without social, but who’s to say that in a few years the industry won’t leave them behind? Ensuring that you’re nailing your social brand and presence means you’re always going to be moving with the times – and to me, that’s one of the best ways to ensure business survival and thrival (is that a word?!) in this ever-evolving world.
Social media for the win!
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