With more than a billion people connected via the Web, many brands are struggling to get their content noticed amidst the growing noise of person-to-person communication. 5-most-important-parts-teaser

Even companies that can break through the clutter must learn to share content in a way that reflects positively on their brand. No longer is it about just being on social media, but rather being valuable on social media.

Here are 5 behaviors exhibited by brands that are successful in truly interacting with their audience on social.

1. Loosen the tie

Finally, big brands are rolling up their sleeves, loosening their ties and bringing their personalities to the forefront.

Social media is about being–well, social. It’s not all about business. Nobody wants to read only about how “great” you are, what new products you have out and why they should buy from you–all the time.

They want something that will make them smile. They want something they can personally relate to. Allowing this “transparency” can be a positive step forward to having more brand equity and customer engagement.


Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” commercial:


Or Delta Airlines’ cheeky tweet:

2. The “Share” Factor

The beauty of going viral or gaining popularity quickly is that it creates a micro-universe – one where thousands (or millions) of people share in enjoying, mocking or commenting on one single piece of content. But what causes that to happen?

I call it the “share” factor. It’s the blend of perfect timing with the right audience on the right channel. When the content is irresistible, it causes the masses to spread the word.

These things are usually something we can all relate to, have never seen before, are knee slapping hilarious, or tear-jerking like a Sarah McLachlan commercial. The key here is to be bold in creating content that sparks an “Aha!” or a “Ha ha!” But never lose sight of your marketing message.


Oreo’s “Superbowl Blackout” tweet:

And Pantene’s Philippines #ShineStrong Ad:


3. Add Value

Seriously–nobody wants to hear an ad anymore. People want content that adds value to their life. Brands are using social media and creativity to generate content that is meaningful or useful right here, right now.

Pinterest, a great example, has given brands elasticity in how they reach their audience and gives them a free and easy way to share their new products and inspire their customers.

YouTube is another. With millions of viewers and vloggers, the possibilities of creating interactive and sharable content are virtually endless. By endorsing vloggers, brands are allowing others to advocate for their products, rather than just themselves.

4. Empower the people

Many brands are positioning their employees to be, in a sense, brand ambassadors on social media. This is a powerful tool that can help your content be found easier. It also unveils an internal personality and culture of the brand, which before may have been faceless or unknown.

Some brands are even empowering the consumers themselves. Lay’s Do Us a Flavor makes it fun, interactive and productive to allow the customer’s voice to be heard. Who wouldn’t want Spaghetti Lays? Right?

The key here is to treat social media as a conversation rather than just a broadcast.

Last, but not least:

5. Consistency

Having a consistent brand is critical both online and offline. Consistency in style, voice and values sets a level of expectation for you and your customers. It can create an immediate trigger for us to recognize the brand and what it represents.

Nothing’s worse than looking at something and saying, “What happened?” or “That doesn’t look right.”

A bad example of this is when Target.com rolled out its new site in fall 2013. By embracing a more “retro” approach, they did away with the sleek, modern and confident design they spent years building and replaced it with one that was cluttered and inconsistent with their social media presence.

Here’s an example of great brand consistency on social media (and yes, I like Oreos):



I’ll leave you with a quote of inspiration:

“A brand must use consumer participation to shape the fundamentals of what it offers people, and constantly keep up with changing needs. It’s the game of relevance, and brand and consumer must be on the same side.

– Tracey Follows, Planning Partner, VCCP (warc.com)