December 17, 2018 | Article | by Ben Stanton | Public Relations, Social Media
How Social Media Gives a Voice to Brands
Today, it’s hard to find a company without a social media presence. Companies and public figures are expected to communicate and show an interest in engaging with their followers. It’s almost as if there is an unspoken rule that audiences need to be updated on a consistent basis, in real-time.
What makes us want to follow a corporate profile or an individual in the first place? Consistency and a likable personality are two of the most important factors. Followers don’t want to see only rudimentary updates or product launches, but a genuine voice behind the account — a human touch. Whether it’s an emotional or humorous tone, people are attracted to the relatability of content.
If used effectively, social media can be a important channel for a company or individual as they establish or maintain their brand. Here are some of my favorite examples of companies utilizing social media for those very reasons.
Have you seen Old Spice’s heavily promoted social media and advertising campaigns within the past 10 years? You may have sat there either laughing hilariously or scratching your head thinking how weird some of the commercials are – but guess what – it left an impression. It either reminds you about the identity of the brand or reminds you of the company’s presence. Whether their social posts were hilarious or confusing to you, Old Spice managed to drastically increase their sales and their following on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. After the company realized the amount of exposure they were receiving, they began to respond to their audience in real-time, and develop new content to drive more engagement through personalization. As they continued to create new content and consistently engage with their audience, Old Spice’s tweets and videos were everywhere. Consumers now see Old Spice as the hilarious and “manly” product of choice.
Jimmy’s Famous Seafood
Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, a Baltimore native crab shack and seafood restaurant, is known for their great food, family feel, and their social media presence and engagement online. Jimmy’s does a great job of promoting their business through their social channels with regular updates on restaurant news, humorous posts, and involvement with their community partners. The restaurant is active in promoting their partnerships with charitable organizations and public figures such as Make-A-Wish Foundation, Toys For Tots, Eric Reed (past Baltimore Ravens player), and Roman Reigns (WWE wrestler). They are also most notable for their humorous content controlled by an unidentified author. Jimmy’s recently was in the news for their public response via Twitter to PETA’s attempts to influence the neighboring area about the conditions crabs are suffering because of too much human consumption. Jimmy’s response prompted PETA to once again respond, causing a humorous public debate. Jimmy’s continues to tweet and post jokes to antagonize PETA and those who respond in support of the organization. John Minadakis, the main person in charge of the restaurant stated,“if you go through our old tweets, we’re not changing anything. This is our tone — it’s not traditional: Don’t cross the line. Don’t cuss. But have a little fun.” Their witty nature has increased their sales and Twitterfollowing since their call-out of PETA in August of this year and has continued to increase their brand recognition on a national level.
Wendy’s is well known for their social media presence and interaction over the past few years. Similarly to the other examples above, consistency, humor, and engagement were the key factors for Wendy’s success on social media. Wendy’s humorous tone illustrates the brand’s quick wit as they constantly provide references to popular culture. Wendy’s original social media manager stated, “authenticity goes a long way.” Consumers love storytelling and interaction, even if it consists of comical public debate. Wendy’s engagement with consumers brought even more attention to the company as their direct conversation with a customer regarding a lifetime supply of chicken nuggets led to the most retweeted tweet of all time. The company’s style for promotional deals and engagement has helped to shape Wendy’s brand for the future. Wendy’s experienced a 49.7% growth in profit from $129.6 million to $194 million in 2017 and has continued to rise through 2018.
Of course, every company differs in their style of communication. A traditional company or corporation is less likely to publicly debate or promote their products/services with as much light-hearted banter. Though, more brands may move in this direction in the future. Sprout Social, a social media management and optimization platform, released a study that showed honesty and humor are some of the top behaviors consumers want from brands on social if done right.
Social media will not be disappearing anytime soon and will continue to connect people globally. Companies and public figures need to continually be aware that their audience is always watching them. Your public image is your brand. If you are looking to build an effective social media platform, there are a few takeaways to consider from the above brands. To start, make sure you have dependable and responsive employees that have access to your handles and are ready to engage in a timely manner. Be consistent. This shows that you are invested and engaged in your social channels. The last takeaway, and the main point of this message – decide on a company tone that is engaging to your audience and matches your company culture. Humor won’t be the best tone to employ at a traditional company but could be extremely effective for those appealing to a specific audience.