When Brands Miss The “Social” Part of Social Media: Tips to Stay on Your Game

When Brands Miss The “Social” Part of Social Media: Tips to Stay on Your Game

In the award-winning film, “The Truman Show,” there is a moment where Jim Carrey’s character is having a revelation bordering on a breakdown. In the middle of his crisis, his wife stops him, smiles sweetly and proceeds to interrupt his authentic conversation with a plug for cocoa. If you are unfamiliar, “The Truman Show” is a film based on a man’s life that he doesn’t know is a reality TV show. Of course, the sponsors of the fictional show keep it bankrolled largely through product placement. How is this relevant to your brand’s social media presence?

Well, it’s a prime example of a brand taking the “social dialogue” out of context. Many brands push so hard to plug their products and services that they forget to appeal to simple human interaction, the primary purpose of social media. Through case studies, monitoring the evolution of trends and becoming a proxy for your demographic, any brand can maximize the opportunity not only to grow customers, but build loyal fans.

Case Study One: Interact, Don’t Blast

The top 35 brands on social media report an average of 35 posts per week, contingent on their product, service or brand persona, reports The Social Examiner. The behemoth, yet wonderful brand, iTunes posts an average of more than 60 pieces of content on their Facebook page per week, while Subway posts only around nine. iTunes then experienced a slow growth of fanship by only around 0.04 percent, while Subway boasted a growth of 0.10 percent. Those may seem like small numbers, but that’s a huge difference for brands with such a heavy international reach.

What made this staggering difference? Although there are a number of factors, the boldest difference seems to lay in Subway’s devotion to answering poster’s questions. Subway responded to 61 percent of all inquiries, while iTunes responded to zero. Instead of playing it like a numbers game and blasting fans with constant updates, Subway took a more targeted and personal approach, making social media a two way street.

Case Study Two: It Doesn’t Matter Who You are or What You Do, There’s a Niche Waiting for You

Social Media today has written about the importance of befriending and embracing local communities before, and the importance of this extends to any brand, no matter the size or industry. Embracing local communities and interacting with them positively is a wonderful way to build brand loyalty and demonstrate attentiveness. However, this can quickly backfire with insensitivity.

For example, the culinary powerhouse, Epicurious, embarked on an unintentionally offensive social media campaign to show local support for the tragedy of the Boston marathon bombing. However, instead of appearing as empathic and sincere, their tweets backfired because they used them to promote their own products. One tweet read “In honor of Boston and New England: may we suggest whole-grain cranberry scones (with a link to their page)?” Instead of generating traffic to their scone section, all they did was create an uproar of offended former-fans eager to point out how self-serving the tweet was.

Meanwhile, even law firms can create local engagement through looping in both local and national trends. Take Neblett, Beard & Arsenault, based in Louisiana for example. Their ability to make their Facebook page relevant and informative has helped expand their reach and secure their reputation as more than a group of stuffy lawyers, but people who are interactive and keep their finger on the pulse of pertinent happenings.


Whether or not your brand is a Law Firm, a sandwich company, or you just want to peddle some cocoa on the big screen, the impact of tailoring your social media to speak with your demographic, instead of “at” them, can make a world of difference.