Social Media Leaders

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What is your favorite brand to follow on social media? Today, more and more companies are taking their business social by creating an online presence solely dedicated to the consumers of their products or services. Due to the vast advantages of using social media, companies have begun taking online communications and social media marketing very serious. Some companies have even begun running special promotions and campaigns strictly for social media audiences. Throughout this post, I will discuss a few companies that have successfully mastered the importance of social media, the benefits of social media to the consumer and social media downfalls that can ruin a company.

Within the last few years of constant status updates, shared photos, hash tags and tweets, there have been a few accounts that have truly reigned supreme. In my opinion, there are a few business social media accounts that have paved the way for others with their unique, ever-changing and welcoming online presence. The companies that I currently believe are the social media leaders are: Starbucks, Nike and Chipotle. Each of these companies has various reasons why I personally believe they are the best.

Starbucks dominating role goes without question. Not only is Starbucks the leader offline, but their online presence is pretty impeccable. With two apps, two websites and an impressive social media follower count Starbucks is running the online business world by storm. One of the websites is the general Starbucks website which lists everything from products to career opportunities. The other website is a place for customers to voice their opinion of current Starbucks products and list any ideas they may have for current or new products. Personally, I believe this is a great method of finding out exactly what your avid customers want. I am almost certain this method is cheaper and easier than conducting rigorous, lengthy research or sending out millions of surveys. By finding out customer preferences, you are able to provide the items they want the most. The internet and social media is also a great way to test new items or run promotions.

Using online and social media promotional strategies, a company is able to advertise a new product or maybe a product that they would like to increase sales on. By advertising the product online the company easily reaches millions of people instantly with the click of a button. Most of the time, these promotions offer a free sample of a small or regular size of the product. Both Starbucks and Chipotle have done online promotions and they have proven to be a successful. Starbucks gave away free pastries and Chipotle gave away free burritos. Chris Bruzzo, Vice President of Brand Content and Online for Starbucks reflected on the free pastries promotional day in an Ad Age article stating:

“The first time Mr. Bruzzo noticed this intersection was on Starbucks’ “Free Pastry Day” last summer, when consumers could visit the company website or its Facebook page and download a voucher for a free pastry. Mr. Bruzzo, who visited multiple stores that day, said he was amazed at the number of people standing in line holding coupons they’d printed out. He said the impetus for free pastries was the volume of faithful online followers asking to be included on new products or other company news” (http://adage.com/article/special-report-digital-alist-2010/digital-a-list-2010-starbucks-brewing-social-media/142202/)

Chipotle ran a similar promotion in January 2015 on their new Sofritas. With the Chipotle promotion, if the customer purchased a Sofrita they would be able to come back anytime within the next month and redeem a free burrito of any kind simply for trying the new product. Chipotle ran numerous ads online and through social media which gained thousands of shares, likes and tweets. I remember seeing the post on Facebook the first time, I said to myself “This is too good to be true”. Later on, I found out it was indeed true! It sounded like a great deal to me, unfortunately I missed out on the promotion due to a busy work day and errands, but I sure hope they run this again! According to writer Alison Griswold on Slate.com, the promotion was very successful, minus the fact that some locations were so busy they ran out Alison stated:

“Monday was Chipotle’s big Sofritas promotion. To get customers to try its new and somewhat weird-looking vegan entrée, the chain had promised that anyone who came in and purchased a Sofritas item would be able to redeem his receipt over the next month for a free burrito of any kind. As it turned out, the offer was so popular (who doesn’t want a free burrito?!) that a bunch of Chipotle locations completely sold out of Sofritas. People weren’t thrilled.” (http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/01/27/chipotle_sofritas_promotion_company_split_on_whether_to_honor_free_burritos.html)

Like Starbucks, Chipotle and Nike have also mastered the importance of social media. Chipotle, constantly engages their audience with food images, quotes and company updates. Chipotle allows authors the opportunity to write and share mentally engaging content with customers through a series called Cultivating Thought. The messages are placed on Chipotle cups, bags and social media channels.  Often times, I find myself taking a few minutes out of my chewing to read and analyze the message found on Chipotle merchandise and online postings. When I am scrolling online through my social media feeds, I thoroughly enjoy seeing the Cultivating Thought posts which stand out like a ruby amongst mere rocks. These posts regularly get shared by customers from around the world. In my opinion, like Starbucks and Chipotle, Nike has also been crowned a leader of social media world.

Nike, (like most companies) uses social media to promote new products and events. What makes Nike’s social media so intriguing is because it inspires you to get up and get moving. Nike’s online advertisements and social media posts use their products to encourage users to get up, get out and look good doing it. It also helps that a lot of their posts are endorsed by celebrities. Nike’s attention to detail, quality and their esteemed reputation all are evident in their social media stats. With multiple workout apps, the main website and various social media platforms Nike is definitely victorious compared to other brands. I have used the Nike workout apps and even shared my results with friends on my social media. These three companies have shown us why social media is important for the success of their business, but why is it important to the customers?

A great social media and online presence is beneficial to the customers for a few reasons. Mainly, having a full online aspect to your business gives customers all the information they need with the click of a few buttons. Nothing is more frustrating that needing information and not being able to find it. In addition to this, social media allows customers to experience a brand to the fullest and that’s what customers love. Companies must be social media savvy or this could go haywire. A few downfalls for companies are not refuting issues quick enough, not posting enough or originating new content and posting controversial material. These are things that all companies should take heed to and avoid at all costs possible.

Feature Image Found at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/insider/2014/11/10/social-media-for-attorneys-good-business-or-ethical-minefield

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