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Lessons from Brands Who Won at Social Media in 2013
By: Nandini Trivedi
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2013 has seen some epic triumphs and a few cringe-worthy disasters when it came to how brands used social media.
 
Most brands that did well had one thing in common: They used the inherent traits of social media (interactivity & immediacy) to their advantage.
 
So here are four valuable lessons we can learn from the brands that did it right.
 
1) Think like a brand, act like a person.
 
Social media was made for people; brands just followed them there. That means you should be using social media to tell your fans what your brand believes in, not what it does.
 
The trick here is to personify your brand. First realize your brand’s personality, then imagine what this person would post on his/her social site.
 
Take for example the travel website Kayak (Webby Winner-Travel). It regularly posts photos and articles that promote the lifestyle of traveling rather than their cold, hard deals (Webby Social Media Report 2013).
 
2) Make friends with other brands.
 
When two brands interact with one another via social media like two regular friends would, it not only humanizes the brands but also helps them tap into a brand new market.
 
Take for example the Kit Kat and Oreo Twitter exchange that happened when a follower tweeted, “Can tell I like chocolate a bit too much when I’m following Kit Kat and Oreo.”
 
The friendly Twitter match for one follower’s affection went viral and even made it on the news, earning both many new followers.
 
3) Don’t be afraid of being spontaneous.
 
One of the biggest social media successes of 2013 was completely spontaneous. When the lights at the Super Bowl went out, Oreo tweeted "No power? No problem." and an image of an Oreo with the text "You can still dunk in the dark."
 
Also, when someone vandalized a GAP ad featuring a Sikh model, GAP immediately responded and showed its support to the Sikh community by using that ad as a cover photo on its Twitter account. They also asked people to identify the location of the vandalized ad so it could be replaced.
 
Not only did the quick response avert any backlash, but by joining in the outrage GAP acted on its brand value of equality and gained a lot more supporters.
 
4) Your product may be boring, but your tweets don’t have to be.
 
Many companies who have technical products or services either believe that they don’t need to be on social media or don’t utilize it well.
 
Brands should take a cue from NASA’s Curiosity Rover Twitter page.  There’s nothing more technical than the most complex spacecraft ever sent to another planet’s surface, yet its Twitter posts are fun, sassy, and exciting (Webby Social Media Report 2013).
 
Thanks to a consistent tone and creativity, the Curiosity Rover stays relevant to popular culture while delivering the science. 


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About the Author
Nandini Trivedi is a Copywriter with a Masters in Advertising from Boston University (2012). She believes that great creative comes from solid research, good old hard work, and a little bit of mischief. Find her online here.
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