A social media presence is critical for brands’ success. Each day users scroll through 300 feet of content, according to SmartInsights. If your company’s name isn’t in those users’ feeds, you’re missing an opportunity.
However, just posting on social media isn’t enough. You have to actually engage with your customers by listening to what they want. Then, respond in meaningful ways.
“Social media is really about having a conversation,” said Keith Gutierrez, VP of Inbound Growth at Modgility, a marketing agency. “A lot of people get social media wrong because they just broadcast their business. But to be effective, you have to engage in conversations with people.”
These seven companies do an excellent job of using social media as a way to develop relationships with their customers. Read on to learn from their methods.
1. Adobe’s Instagram
Adobe Software’s Instagram account is only interactions with customers. That’s because the computer software company, beloved by visual artists, only posts its own customers’ work.
Adobe, which makes Illustrator, Photoshop, Premier, InDesign, and more, has come to be known as the creator of high-quality art tools. Professional illustrators and videographers use Adobe’s products every day. That talent is what makes Adobe’s customer base unique.
By highlighting the best images its users make, Adobe helps individual members of its community grow. It also encourages customers to share their designs. These reasons may be why Adobe’s Instagram account has 693,000 followers.
2. Sephora’s Snapchat
Sephora, a luxury beauty brand with over 2,300 locations, is just as marketing-savvy as it is fashion-savvy. Its Snapchat strategy demonstrates how dedicated the company is to its customers.
Makeup and beauty products are visual, so Sephora uses most of the popular social media platforms (like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) to share images of new eyeshadows or lipsticks. Many companies have ignored Snapchat, but not Sephora. The beauty company uses the video-sharing platform for fast, intimate connection with customers.
Deborah Yeh, senior vice president of Sephora’s marketing and branding, said in an interview that “Everything we do in social is reflective of the brand, mission and purpose: ‘Let’s beauty together.’ We’re believers in authentic two-way conversations with customers.”
Sephora’s Snapchat account makes the luxury beauty company seem approachable and down-to-earth.
3. Wendy’s Twitter
Fast food restaurant chain Wendy’s has developed a reputation as one of the sassiest, most surprising social media users. Specifically, the company’s Twitter demonstrates an unconventional way to interact with customers.
Since 2017, Wendy’s employee Amy Brown and her community response team have been responding to the funniest, most random, and most provocative direct tweets they receive. You never know what Wendy’s will respond to next. That’s why plenty of Twitter users tweet at the burger chain, hoping to get a witty response from Brown and her team.
For the last year and a half or so, Wendy’s tweets have frequently gone viral. Its unpredictable, hilarious messages have earned the company the unofficial title of Most Savage Brand on Social Media.
4. BarkBox’s Facebook
BarkBox is a monthly pet supplies subscription service. The company routinely creates videos posted to Facebook and YouTube that show they’re listening to what their customers care about. The company’s marketing team knows that BarkBox subscribers are wild about their dogs, so it’s made touching, funny videos meant to be shared.
Starting in 2015, BarkBox began making Dog’s Best Day videos. The clips show deserving pets getting a day of pampering on BarkBox’s dollar. Some of the pups who got VIP treatment include Bretagne, the last living search-and-rescue dog to serve at Ground Zero; and Cherry, a pit bull rescued from Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring.
The Dog’s Best Day videos have done well on YouTube, but they rack up millions of views and thousands of comments on Facebook.
In 2017, BarkBox started putting out original songs, complete with music videos. The first, Dog Mom Rap, came out near Mother’s Day. The song features two BarkBox employees dropping lines about holding their dogs’ poop baggies during walks and throwing dog birthday parties. Dog Mom Rap was so relatable that it got 51 million views, 207,000 likes, and nearly 200,000 comments.
5. Spotify’s Customer Service Twitter
For any technology-based company, customer service is key. Users often struggle to navigate apps and devices, even if they have intuitive designs. Music streaming service Spotify has a Twitter account specifically dedicated to customer service, though. The account responds within minutes to users’ questions.
Take this exchange. A Twitter user asked Spotify to make the soundtracks to the movies Shrek and Shrek 2 available. About 15 minutes later, Spotify’s customer service account answered with a link to the albums.
The Spotify team didn’t make the customer feel dumb for failing to locate the albums. Instead, they used emojis, a casual tone, and Shrek references to keep the conversation light. You can see this dynamic at play in most of Spotify’s exchanges.
6. Denny’s Tumblr
Tumblr is popular with younger users and fandom culture, which makes it more esoteric than Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Few companies have tried to connect with customers on Tumblr, which revolves around sharing ‘notes’ (images, gifs, or snippets of text). Diner chain Denny’s Diner, though, has developed a cult following for its bizarre Tumblr account.
The company alternates between answering questions, which Tumblr users can submit in the Denny’s profile’s Ask Box, and posting original images or memes. The images showcase a wacky, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, as in the post below.
Like Wendy’s Twitter, the Denny’s Tumblr routinely attracts media attention. It’s been called “the weirdest place on the Internet”. That’s probably fine with Denny’s, as its Tumblr account is attracting a young, engaged set of customers who might not otherwise go to a diner chain.
7. Hamburger Helper’s SoundCloud
You might not think of music sharing service SoundCloud as social media, but the company itself would disagree. “Do not think of us [just] as a streaming service. Yes, we’re a streaming service, but first and foremost we’re a form of social media,” said Julia Killer, SoundCloud’s director of label relations.
That may be why Hamburger Helper, a packaged food brand owned by General Mills, turned to SoundCloud to release a mixtape.
Yes, you read that right. Hamburger Helper released a mixtape in 2016, and by all accounts, it is fire. “Watch The Stove” has five tracks, each of which features Minneapolis-based rappers who crafted beats about using, eating, and loving Hamburger Helper.
The Hamburger Helper’s in-house agency decided to create “Watch The Stove” to reach out to its college-age customers. Many college students like Hamburger Helper because it’s easy, and they also like rap. By paying attention to what many of its customers care about, Hamburger Helper racked up 4 million listens on SoundCloud in 2 days.
The idea behind “Watch The Stove?” Customers’ requests, according to Liana Miller, the marketing communications planner at Hamburger Helper. The brand’s Twitter managers, who are also rap fans, often tweeted about local hip-hop. Twitter followers kept asking the brand when it was going to make music, not just comment on it – so Hamburger Helper delivered.
How’s that for being in tune with your customers?
Social media is about quality, not quantity.
These examples show that you can blast Twitter all you want with links to your company, but you won’t get anywhere. Instead, you’re much more likely to attract and keep customers by engaging them in thoughtful, funny, or creative interactions.
Author: Elizabeth Ballou is a content developer with Clutch, a B2B ratings, reviews, and research company, where she writes about digital marketing. You can also catch her reviewing theater and video games on culture sites, or listening to too many podcasts.
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7 Times Brands Used Social Media to Make Customers Happy