If you’re looking to craft the perfect Facebook strategy, you wouldn’t be the first person to try and take inspiration from big brands. Of course, these guys have the budget to employ marketing strategists, graphic designers and social media managers and they millions of fans, surely they do a great job on social media. The truth is, however, a lot of them aren’t. That’s why it’s important that we highlight examples of good Facebook strategy by big brands so you know what good content looks like.
For some good examples, we’re going to look at the 2013 Facebook awards where brands were awarded for their creative use of the platform. We’re going to look at the top three brands to find our what makes their Facebook strategies so good. Why are their pages so likeable and how can we emulate their success? It’s worth noting, however, that social media strategies are very different between large and smaller brands, something we explored in this post.
Big brands on Facebook
For each of the brands we’ll highlight a few features of their Facebook approach that will help you. Remember that these brands have HUGE followings so anything they share is going to get a lot of engagement and attention. Naturally, your posts are unlikely to achieve this level of reach but we’re going to highlight the important principles in their techniques that you can use.
Let’s start with the best!
Unsurprisingly, Oreo were the winners of Facebook’s top creative award. Oreo is a brand that has consistently come up with new and interesting ways of presenting their brand and engaging with their target audience. You’ve probably come across their famous Superbowl blackout tweet which was one of the first examples of a so-called ‘real-time’ tweet go viral. [Everything correct as of 2013!]
Oreo’s Facebook tactics
Every Friday, the Oreo page hosts an #oreofilmfriday where they post images of Oreos that represent a film, allowing their audience to interact with them and guess the film. Interaction with fans shows that the company is aware of the people that read their posts and are keen to involve them in the brand. This type of engagement really demonstrates the value Oreo places on its target audience. Your current and potential customers must always feel valued – remember; they are!
Pay a visit to Oreo’s page. On it you will see little text; their presence is very image-led. Images are a great way to drive your audience’s attention and encourage them to engage. People are far less likely to stop and read a chunk of text; you’ll find that they want to quickly scan their timeline instead. Humans are visual creatures! This means that fans will engage with what you are posting, without getting bored or scrolling past. Remember – it’s easy to scroll past text and ignore it but it takes only a second for the brain to see and understand the message of an image!
Oreo are not afraid to comment on current affairs, but ensure that this is all done in the brand’s recognisable voice. This shows personality whilst bringing people’s attention to their product. It also shows compassion on behalf of the brand. If you can tie in current and interesting issue with your brand; go for it!
These are all great tips for any Facebook page. Another is to maintain a consistent posting schedule; Oreo post approximately every other day and utilise a mixture of videos and images to keep content fresh and interesting. We can’t guarantee you 40 million fans but at least you’ll be better engaging with the ones you have who will be far more inclined to share your good work.
Learn how to adopt the perfect voice for your brand with this great example:
Being sponsors of the Champions League regularly places Heineken at the forefront of men’s minds (and fridges!). Heineken plays on its ‘laddy’ stereotype but remain lighthearted in its approach and never anywhere near offensive.
How can Heineken help your brand?
Adopting a voice and tone for your brand is crucial. Find it and stick to it – consistency is key in building trust and a rapport with your fans. They want to feel like they know your brand inside-out, like an old friend. Heineken markets itself as a ‘lad’s’ beer – it is the official sponsor of the Champion’s League (yes, football). So how does Heineken make the most of it without being offensive or chauvinistic?
Heineken are fully aware of the stereotypes that surround their target audience who expect a degree of this so show through the brand. Heineken cleverly play on this by being very light-hearted in its approach and completely inoffensive. Showing that you are aware of your target audience and playing to that strength will result in gaining the type of audience you want. Of course, always remember you are in the public domain and think before you post anything. A good tip is to ask yourself “who is the last person I want want to see this?” and then “would they be offended if they saw it?”. If the answer to the second question is “no” then you’re fine!
Within the page there are a number of links to other sources of news or information; all relevant to the brand. This is a very useful trick if the message you’re trying to get across requires more than two sentences. Although the character limit on Facebook is 63,206, unlike the 140 imposed by Twitter, it is not the place to write anything of length. Briefly sum up the story or point you want to make and post the longer piece in a link. This gives your audience the choice oer whether they want to read it or not but at least they won’t ignore it all together!
Top tip: posting links on your Facebook page that direct to your website improves search engine optimisation (SEO) by getting your site much needed traffic!
Heineken also frequently upload images to their photo albums, showcasing events held, which allows them to show the sociable side of the brand. This plays up to their reputation outlined above but also names the faces within the company. Putting a face and personality to the brand demonstrates human qualities and a degree of trustworthiness.
Heineken are another visual brand and post plenty of pictures, including snaps of members of their staff at social events, highlighting their personable approach to marketing.
Nike use an array of techniques to engage with their target audience including ‘real time’ discussions which act as a customer service provision but also an advert for their expertise and interest in their industry. Nike maintains a firm focus on adding value to it’s fans by posting updates about sports events and relevant current affairs. This demonstrates a great understanding of its target audience which its fans will greatly appreciate.
Nike on social media
It won’t come as a surprise that the key theme amongst the winning brands was ‘engagement’. This is the crucial buzzword for Facebook and social media as a whole. Individuals are letting brands into their social networks; not because they want to be sold to and hear how great that particular brand is, but because they find the brand interesting and want to engage with it. so how do the pros do it?
Nike host live one to one ‘real time’ discussions with their fans, answering any queries, questions or concerns they may have. Not only does this provide a fantastic alternative to other methods of providing customer service but it shows off a very personal side to the brand – there are actually people, like you and me, working there!
The brand instantly becomes interactive and personable, great for building a caring and responsible reputation amongst fans. Engaging with fans and sharing your knowledge is a great way to demonstrate how knowledgeable you are about your industry. Think about how you can show your fans you are the experts in your field.
They discuss events that fans of the page may be interested in, such as races and fitness events. Understand the needs and interest of their target audience, is crucial is demonstrating just how valuable you regard your target market. It also shows how you don’t need to be self-promotional in your content; Nike is adding genuine value to its fans – exactly why they ‘liked’ the brand in the first place.
They comment on current affairs that are linked to the brand. This is a great way to encourage relevant discussion on your page and sharing of your content. Being aware of what is going on in the world and, in particular, in your area of interest shows that Nike are adaptive and reactive to their environment. This is another great way to add value to your network and hopefully generate shares, discussions and, ultimately, influence and engagement. Yes, it’s that buzzword again.
What can we learn?
The brands’ success in these awards stemmed from their creative use of their actual Facebook page, rather than their application of ads. Whilst using adverts to promote your brand is a useful way of getting your brand known, a page where users can come and interact should be your top priority. Facebook is a social media tool; therefore you need to ensure you are being sociable and not just using it as another platform to promote your brand.
Consumers want to feel like they are interacting with a person, not a company; you need to show some personality. Feeds that are full of brand promotion, with no personality or a lack of interaction will be less likely to attract new fans. Adopting a strong tone of voice is paramount to building a rapport with your audience.
Each of the brands mentioned ensured that they are engaging in communication with their fans in numerous ways. Some of these include:
– Weekly games (#oreofilmfriday)
– One to one advice and discussion
The brands mentioned all had references to current events within their page. This shows that they are aware the world doesn’t start nor end with them, which brings personality to the page. Fans want to see that the brand cares about the fans and not just themselves.
Unlike on Twitter, where numerous posts throughout the day are ok, Facebook should not be updated every couple of hours. Most of these brands appear to be on an every other day schedule which is great for keeping your audience updated and engaged without monopolising their feed, which will more than likely lead to an un-like.
Why not check out our Facebook strategy page?
Gaining thousands and even millions of followers is much harder for smaller brands wo do not have the ‘offline’ following that these marketing giants have. Take a look at our blog on how big brands get away with shabby social media. However, these brands, in particular, far from rest on their laurels and strive to provide an interesting and engaging social media presence for their fan base.