Follow the Leader: Learning from Big Brands on Social Media


Global and national brands have the benefit of large social media budgets to invest in content creation and management teams. Rather than view this as a road block preventing smaller businesses from competing in the social sphere, use it to your advantage! Take what’s working for big brands and apply it to your business. Here are some lessons we’ve learned from some of our favorite brands to follow.

Lessons Learned from the Leaders

  • Consistency is Key:

    We’ve been teaching this lesson for some time now, but it’s great to see that big brands are following it as well. Consistency across your platforms is essential for maintaining your branding and messaging. For instance, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter all allow you to upload a cover photo, and these photos should all match. Target and Starbucks both follow this rule.

  • Photos Are a Must:

    Imagery is becoming increasingly important on social media. Brands like Oreo, Target, Amazon, and Starbucks know just how important including a photo with each possible post is. Additionally, the majority of the photos these brands post are original and branded, meaning that when the photos are shared, the branding is extremely visible.

  • Be Responsive:

    Social media is just as much of a customer service platform as it is a promotional outlet. Each customer inquiry and comment must be answered. The Starbucks Facebook page is a perfect example of this best practice. Under each comment it clearly shows that Starbucks replied, both positive and negative.

  • Tie Into Current Events:

    Big brands know that people are more apt to pay attention to posts that relate to current events or seasonal items. Some of such posts can be planned ahead of time by reviewing the calendar. For instance, Amazon has recently been posting both about their Geek Boutique to tie into Comic-Con and about school supplies to capture the attention of those with back-to-school shopping on the brain. However, other posts require more up-to-the-minute response to big events. The greatest example of this type of post is Oreo’s reaction to the blackout during the 2013 Super Bowl, cleverly posting an ad on Twitter stating, “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark.”

  • Post Discounts:

    Users want to know that they will be getting some sort of value by following you on social media. Posting information about sales and other deals certainly meets this need. Target shares items from their weekly circular, as well as the current savings from their Cartwheel app, on their Twitter. Amazon regularly posts their daily deals. Starbucks reminds their followers about their Treat Receipt promotions. If you are currently offer discounts or other promotions, be sure to follow suit!

  • Use Humor:

    Social media is used during leisure time – or at least when people are looking for a little leisure. Thus, humor really resonates and tends to engage users more than other types of posts. The best example of this principle is the Game of Thrones #RoastJoffrey campaign. During the last season, they introduced this hashtag and invited viewers to join in in the ridicule of one of the show’s most hated characters.

Follow the Leader: Learning from Big Brands on Social Media
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Follow the Leader: Learning from Big Brands on Social Media
Take advantage of the investment big brands have made in social media by following their strategies that work!

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