Facebook! Twitter! Instagram! Pinterest! Where should a business owner start if they want to launch a digital marketing campaign? The right platform will vary according to your unique business but the strategy is the same. Produce unique content that speaks to your ideal customer. Here are 15 companies that are using social media the right way.
1. Ushuaia Hotel
Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel is located on the famous European island of Ibiza. They combined technology with social media and got a huge payoff going from 4,000 Facebook fans to close to 70,000 in one summer. The idea was simple: guests were given an RFID tech-based wristband which was synchronized to their Facebook profile. Sensors were installed throughout the hotel so users could swipe their wristband to upload pictures, have their status updated automatically, and check-in using Facebook Places.
Blendtec, known as The World's Most Advanced Blender, was created by a lifetime inventor and entrepreneur, Tom Dickson. He started the video campaign “Will it blend?” and it quickly went viral. Everything from hockey pucks to rake handles were shoved into a blender and pureed. The “Will it blend” campaign gained millions of views on YouTube where the brand currently has 878k fans.
3. Dollar Shave Club
Shaving is boring, right? Well Dollar Shave Club’s legendary launch video let viewers know that they aren’t just another razor distributor. They’ve continued to use YouTube to share humorous content like “Is It Bad to Pluck Nose Hairs with My Fingers?” and “Do I Really Need to Wash My Hands After I Pee?”
Today, Dollar Shave Club has over a million subscribers and its promotional video has been viewed over 26 million times. Recently acquired for $1 billion by Unilever, the Dollar Shave Club has kept its humorous voice and tone across all social media platforms.
Jala is a SmartBiz customer that distributes high performance, eco-friendly yoga clothing along with everyday casual wear. Jala's founder, Kelly Kolterman, launched the business from her home in California in 2010. The brand has a strong social media presence on Instagram with 32.5k followers and a robust feed featuring their clothing, yoga poses and inspirational content. Every Jala purchase supports YogaGivesBack.org, a non-profit dedicated to empowering women and children in India to build sustainable livelihoods. They use hashtags and special promotions to support the organization, attracting more followers to their Instagram page.
5. Roshambo Baby
Roshambo Baby is a SmartBiz customer that makes durable and fashionable sunglasses sized for babies and children. The business was started by Scott Morris and his wife, who had a career working on large social media campaigns. The couple wanted to try Facebook ads but didn’t have the budget. They got traction from a simple video Scott made with his phone on the grass in their backyard. The video was targeted on Facebook to women age 25 – 40 on Facebook. “The moment we put up the video it went nuts,” he reports. “It’s been viewed well over a million times on Facebook and shared all over the place. It’s our most popular video…simple, organic. People related to it.”
The Roshambo Baby Facebook page has continued to be a big driver for product sales and awareness and the company now has 40,000+ followers. “You have to know what your product is and how to sell it to the right audience. Facebook is perfect for us and we’ve dedicated most of our advertising budget there.”
6. Fun Bowl
Steve Brown is another smart entrepreneur and SmartBiz customer. He owns Fun Bowl, a family entertainment center in Georgia that features bowling, billiards, video games, mini-golf, and laser tag. Operations of the 7-acre facility have gotten much easier due to modern technology and Fun Bowl has kept up. One of the ways he’s promoting his business is through social media.
“Marketing today is really less costly than what I was spending on print,” he says. “In fact, 98% of what we do is social media. If I want to do something on Friday night, we can blast out an announcement for $500 and cover it. We can reach more people quickly, it’s amazing.”
7. Infinity Strap
Amir Zaki is a SmartBiz customer and the inventor of the Infinity Strap, a unique yoga prop used by yogis and studios across America. The company turned a profit with minimal advertising and marketing costs. “We tried Google paid ads and advertising in magazines,” Amir reports. “The thing that has really taken off for us is Instagram. It’s a unique community of positive people who trust each other. We have over 35,000 followers and my wife has become our social media guru.” These days, Instagram drives 80% of the sales completely organically, without any paid advertising. They have over 54k followers.
8. American Express
Credit card giant American Express is well known among social media marketing experts for making excellent use of influencer marketing campaigns. Through its #AmexAmbassadors programs, AmEx has teamed up with influencers to create social media content that showcases fashionable people in beautiful places.
The key to it all? Following the influencer’s original caption is the #AmexAmbassadors hashtag and a mention of AmEx’s Instagram account. By tying the lives of influencers with a lavish lifestyle to its brand, AmEx links itself to extravagance in ways that can encourage people to get an Amex card.
Banking app Mint is also among the many companies that use social media marketing effectively on Instagram. Mint’s Instagram feed is full of images, colors, and typefaces that are connected to the brand’s identity and instantly catch users’ attention on their feeds.
Standout posts include a budgeting pie chart that looks like a donut and icon-plastered tips for being simultaneously sustainable and economical. These posts best speak to Mint’s ability to catch one’s eye and follow that first impression with meaningful information. Mint also cross-posts its Instagram content to Twitter for extra engagement.
Airbnb is known for deftly folding user-generated content into its Instagram marketing campaigns. Much of the vacation rental company’s social media strategy comprises beautiful, professional-quality photos that users have taken of their temporary homes away from home.
Additionally, Airbnb regularly responds to customer complaints on Twitter within minutes of posting. Among companies that use social media marketing effectively, Airbnb is high on the list of those who simultaneously leverage several social networks to their advantage.
Since Slack is a workplace chat tool, it follows that the company could effectively market itself by chatting directly with its customers. Indeed, if you look at Slack’s Twitter replies section, you’ll see frequent responses to customer suggestions and questions.
This approach to Twitter use comprises both social media management and marketing. It’s a “two birds, one stone” approach of simultaneously replying to Slack users and showing a commitment to customer success.
GoPro is perhaps the master of using all three major social media platforms to its advantage. Its Instagram shows what you can do with a GoPro: Take beautiful pictures on the go without the need for a giant camera. Its Twitter is its hub for announcements and customer service, and its Facebook is more overtly promotional. In dividing its responsibilities among several social media channels, it reaches countless people in all kinds of different ways.
If you spend lots of time looking at your friends’ Instagram stories, then you’ve probably seen Spotify’s social media campaigns. Every time your friends post those Spotify-generated social media graphics detailing their yearly listening, that’s Spotify putting itself out there as the best way to listen to music. The streaming giant’s recent Only You feature, which resembles a horoscope, flooded Instagram immediately upon its release.
Spotify’s social media content marketing approach works so well because nearly everyone listens to music. It’s something that moves us all and makes us feel something, so when we’re given the opportunity to share content about it, we will. And when we share Spotify’s content, the company finds itself in front of new eyes.
As social media goes, Wendy’s is perhaps best known for its tweets, which often land somewhere between classy promotional content and millennial-style jokes. Wendy’s often uses Twitter’s polls feature for the latter as well.
Wendy’s approach to Twitter has given it a second life as a brand with a winkingly dark sense of humor. Nothing about its feed resembles explicit marketing campaigns, but its bizarre content stays on the mind, so as people drive by the Wendy’s nearest them, they might feel an urge to stop in and get some food.
British smoothie and juice company Innocent is known for its humor-filled social media presence. Its supremely meta tweets and video ads establish it as a fun, quirky, and ultimately relatable company. This personality makes Innocent appealing to the many customers out there tired of excessive ads. The twist is, the brand’s entire presence is an effective social media marketing tool.
How to Design a Social Media Strategy for Your Business
To design an effective social media strategy for your business, take a cue from these leading companies and try implementing the following in your content:
- Cross-channel marketing . As the GoPro example above shows, using different channels for different needs can be key to social media marketing success. Figure out which of your marketing goals best corresponds to which platform, then use solely that channel for that goal.
- Humor . Wendy’s and Innocent have mastered the art of using humor in their social media strategies. Doing so can be highly effective, but only if your content comes off genuine and not forced. This line is tricky to walk, but with practice and tact, you might pull it off.
- User-generated content . Posting user-generated content doesn’t just elevate your current customers and signal to people that they too could be similarly highlighted. It also checks the box of content creation. When posting something user-generated, you don’t have to make anything new of your own. It also signals to followers that real people are using and enjoying your products.
- Visuals . Pretty much all the examples above rely heavily on quality visuals. Given how cluttered social media feeds often get, a striking image is perhaps the best way to stand out among the information overload. And if you can’t say everything you want to with your visuals, you can always add captions.
There’s a lot to learn if you’re just starting down the social media path. Fortunately, the SmartBiz Small Business Blog has articles to help you get started. Check out How to Quickly Master Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses. You’ll learn how to make use of existing content, how to be “follow-worthy” and how you can use tools to automate and measure results. If you don’t have the bandwidth, consider hiring a contractor who can handle the details. To find a good fit, review How to Hire a Social Media Strategist.