Here’s a conversation that’s never happened in any American household:
“Honey, I found Jenny Reynolds online! Remember her from high school? I just followed her on Facebook, and while I was at it, I also followed my five favorite consumer brands.”
Consumers typically do not want to follow brands on social media unless a brand somehow transcends traditional marketing barriers and positions itself as a lifestyle that creates real interest for consumers.
GoPro, for example, has over 10 million+ likes on their Facebook page because they not only embody the adrenaline rush that so many people crave but also provide a way for consumers and professionals alike to share their best video footage online.
But even GoPro gets dwarfed by other brands. According to Statista, the most popular Facebook brands as of February 2016 were:
Inc. Magazine explains about Oreo: the biggest reasons Oreo has won Facebook? It creates special content for social media, and it doesn’t compromise on quality. It does good stuff, and that’s always the best choice.
The article also explains that in 2012: the brand celebrated its centenary with a 100-day campaign it called Daily Twist. Each day of the campaign, the company posted a picture that illustrated current news and events with a cookie and a glass of milk. Every morning the brand’s marketing team would look at trending topics, choose a subject that was right for the brand, and spend six to seven hours preparing the post. Images marked shark week, Elvis week, and the landing of the Mars Rover.
Does this mean that only certain brands can attract followers? Not at all, but it does mean you have to think beyond the “advertising product benefits” mindset. Instead, you must think of ways to engage individuals around values and activities that matter to them.
Starbucks recently demonstrated its social media – and product innovation – savvy by introducing (for just April 19 to 23) the Unicorn Frappuccino, a sparkly frozen beverage. The color-changing drink was made of “pink powder, blended into a crème Frappuccino with mango syrup and layered with a pleasantly sour blue drizzle,” as Starbucks described it.
Mashable reported that “The look of the beverage was an important part of its creation,” a Starbucks spokesperson said of its conception in an email. “Our inspiration came from the fun, spirited and colorful unicorn-themed food and drinks that have been trending on social media.”
In other words, the drink wasn’t necessary introduced to taste good; it was designed to engage unicorn-crazed social media users.
To come anywhere near this level of success, your brand needs to be thinking equally out of the box. How are you going to develop social media-specific strategies to engage your audience, rather than just talk at them? To gain their interest and loyalty, the first order of business is to engage them.