Monday, August 06, 2012

Innovative Social Engagement

There's a lot of talk about how companies and brands should engage their fans & followers on social media. In the title I use the work "Innovative", but let's face it, social media is so new and ever changing that everything could be considered innovative.

But I have seen a good deal of movement away from the stale model of posting brand specific content on a regular/set schedule. I see two aspects of the move away from this model to something which is much more fluid and also not quite as specific to the brand itself. In my mind, the moves broaden the usefulness of the facebook page (or twitter presence) for both the company/brand as well as the fans & followers.

The first simple part of this is the frequency of updates. People check facebook and twitter at different times of the day and for different reasons throughout the day. Mornings might be all about sending birthday wishes. Afternoons might be to see how the day has been going and plans to make for the evening. Nighttime might be for a quick update before heading off to sleep. Each check can be a valuable time for brands to be on the timeline.

This post from PostRocket goes into much more detail and after reading it through, it's obvious that a single daily post isn't really that useful (via @maneesh1):
4 BIG Reasons You Should Be Posting to Your Facebook Page MORE Than 1x Per Day

So it's clear that posting more often is a good thing, but what if the company doesn't have much unique content about their brand to post so frequently? A software or service provider could post tips to make their service more useful (eg, how can Evernote be used while landing on Mars?!), but what I've started to see is something way more interesting than simply "more posts, more often"

I'll call it expanding the relevance of the brand and I'll provide two examples. Essentially, it's all about finding things that brand followers & fans would be interested in. Call it playing to their sense and sensibility.

The first brand who's doing a great job with this is Oreo. They are finding significant news events and tying them back to the simple Oreo cookie. Read more about it here:
Oreo’s Facebook Salute to the Mars Landing Will Make You Hungry

They obviously have a big budget for this, but they've expanded the relevance of the simple cookie by tying it to things that their followers are probably interested in anyways. Whether it be the Olympics, Batman, or Air Conditioning; they've found a way to remind their followers about Oreo cookies (and hopefully go buy some!). I'd consider Oreo's social media brand work to be cutting edge. Finding interesting & relevant news events, creating a cool message about that news event, and inserting Oreo cookies as the key ingredient for the message. With thousands of likes and hundreds of comments for each post, it's obviously getting the attention of Oreo lovers everywhere.

Another simple example is by a company that my friend Maneesh runs, MightyText. The company provides a service for Android phone owners to enable SMS texting from anywhere. You'd think the brand page should focus on texting and the Android OS, but as you can see from their facebook page, there's a good deal of content that's just slightly related to texting or not at all related. But the commonality across those posts is that they are things which MightyText fans are probably interested in.  As you skim through their facebook page, each post has a dozen or so comments and many dozens of likes. So they're getting increased engaged by NOT JUST posting about their service or even just Android phones. As a startup, they don't have a huge budget to create brand new content, but they're finding content which their followers find interesting and running with it.

I'm looking forward to a lot more interesting and engaging ways that brands get their message out. Have you seen other cool social media from brands that keep you engaged with them? Let me know!

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