With so many ads bombarding us online, it is refreshing to see an ad that makes us smile and resonates with us personally. Today, brands are challenged with figuring out how to make money from their online community. Most of the time we don’t want to be interrupted while we are trying to get our social groove on, so how do you wiggle your way into your customers’ browsing experience in a way that doesn’t make them annoyed? You can start by creating tailor made content that your fans will naturally like. Just ask the online strategists from some social savvy brands that figured out how to do this – Gatorade, Whole Foods, Samsung, Oreo, and Coke.
1. Gatorade – Gatorade is a brand that has a lot of sport and celebrity relationships and lots of opportunity in the social space. So how did they take advantage of this to create content that their users will like and share? They had PR, media, and brand managers listening and learning from their followers online. They didn’t just look at the number of fan increases every month, but instead really listened to what their fans were saying. They also analyzed their web traffic to see how their consumers were finding the website.
One of the things they learned was that people were mentioning on Twitter that Gatorade was a hangover cure. They then created campaigns that identify with this and engaged with their consumers. They also started a #winfromwithin campaign that encouraged followers to share how they emit strength using that hashtag. They created images that inspire that included their logo. Their fans associate Gatorade as a drink for the workout warriors and a brand that implies through imagery – Drink Gatorade and you can be like Dwyane Wade! In this case, they didn’t ask fans to sign up for something for “a chance” to win free product. They created content that people wanted to share – without being asked to.
2. Whole Foods
At this year’s Online Marketing Summit, I heard an innovative case study from Michael Aaron Bepko, the community manager for Whole Foods. He explained how important it is to really listen to your fans and give them what they want. By doing this, they decided instead of just having 1 Facebook and 1 Twitter account that they needed to segment out different topics and create more brand accounts by topic.
For example, they noticed a lot of site traffic came from Pinterest based on people searching for recipes. So not only did that encourage more pins, but also a Whole Foods Twitter account just for recipes. They also segmented out their meat posts into a whole new Whole Foods meat account – to please their vegetarian fans who were complaining on the main brand’s feed. They also started a Twitter account just about cheese. I would even suggest doing a Google Plus hangout with their cheese enthusiasts and talk about their cheese selection and how to cook with them.
They also noticed that users in different parts of the country have different needs and topics that concern them. So, different Whole Foods stores’ around the country made their own Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts. This created a sense of community for the followers and also sparked competition between the different stores to get the most amount of likes and engagement. For this strategy to work well, they closely monitor and regulate who is posting on behalf of the brand and what is being posted.
By extracting data from the social space and segmenting out their user activity to figure out what people are actually saying, Whole Foods discovers what their followers are passionate about, and learns more about what is important to them. They then create engaging content that their users enjoy. This creates an emotional bond and relationship with their customers, one that might make them loyal to Whole Foods instead of another grocery chain. Again, here they are not creating sweepstakes or giving away free products, but ultimately getting to know their fans.
3. Samsung – “The Next Big Thing is Already Here”
Samsung did something out of the box and it resulted in a huge profit and growth for the brand. Instead of wasting millions of dollars on a boring and flashy TV commercial, they paid attention to what consumers were saying online before even releasing their product.
They closely monitored what people were saying in real-time about their competitor’s product, the Apple iPhone5 on Twitter. Then, they shared that feedback with their product development team. The result was The Samsung Galaxy S III, a product that fixed some of the issues that people complained the iPhone 5 didn’t have. In this case – taking the time to listen to people online and give them what they wanted had a massive impact on their success. Samsung then translated this into a TV commercial that showcased what they learned from listening to people on Twitter and Facebook. Below is a commercial that not only did great on TV, but also went viral on the web – with over 17 million YouTube views.
Notice the actors in this commercial are mimicking what people were saying online about the iPhone5. This contextual advertising is the direction more brands need to take to reach their customers. If you are creative enough to come up with a great TV commercial, people will share it and talk about you online.
However, they won’t necessarily buy your product unless it is a great product that does what they need. For example – would you buy a Dodge Ram based off on an entertaining commercial they made about farmers? See the engaging Superbowl commercial – So God Made A Farmer. This commercial has over 14 million views on YouTube and many rip off videos – but not many that are associating the Dodge brand and truck with the content.
Speaking of Superbowl advertising, a highly engaging and relevant ad was done in the spur of the moment that fans went wild for online. Marketers were sitting in a room watching the Superbowl during the black out and came up with: “You can still dunk in the dark”.
This was a simple yet effective way to engage with people as they waited around for the lights to come back on. They were able to do this because they got approvals quickly and thought on their feet. As the web changes, marketers need to change how they reach their audiences. In this case, Oreo seized the day and capitalized on an opportunity that their competitors did not, and got over 16,000 re-tweets from it.
Coke has been around the block for awhile –so engaging with their audience is not their first rodeo. From creating the image of the modern day Santa, to dancing polar bears – they are masters of creating great content. So what are they doing online? They have content that is created by full time employees, over 40 freelance writers and photographers, many people throughout the Coke system, marketing, and public relations teams coming up with engaging content.
This is a collaborative internet marketing strategy that all brands can learn from. Don’t just have one stressed out person come up with all your advertising collateral. Instead, utilize the minds of different people to get ideas of what will work. As one of the fastest growing agencies in the country, we have access to diverse teams and the best tools that strategize for you. We also work with you to create engaging content.
An example of a great Tweet by Coke was done by a creative writer: “When you open a Coke, 12,352 bubbles are born. Happy Birthday bubbles.” Another great piece of content I found was a video they made for Valentine’s Day and posted on Twitter saying, “Our #Valentine to you. Love, @CocaCola”. The video below called, “Love is in the Air – a Coca-Cola Valentine” creates an emotional bond with viewers. It shows happy couples getting a balloon magically at their feet arriving with a fresh can of Coke.
So how should you spend your marketing dollars online? Start by really getting to know your audience and building relationships with them. Figure out your organic brand advocates and utilize them for ideas, product development, and content. Reward your online customers for their loyalty by letting them be the first to know about new products. Whether you are promoting your Instagram pictures on Twitter or sharing your TV commercials on YouTube, being contextual, collaborative, and creative is the path to success. We know you might not have the mega marketing budgets that these 5 brands do, but we can help you grow with our integrated SEO and social media marketing campaigns.