Just about every company, from age-old corporations that got going before the lightbulb was common to brand new organizations that are online-only, want to use social media to get more visitors to their websites. How exactly can these companies accomplish this, though? It takes more than just opening up a Facebook page and waiting for friends. Some companies have done an incredible job leveraging the power of social media to improve their traffic and make the new word-of-mouth work for them. Let’s look at a few of the most successful cases from the recent past to see what makes for a great social media strategy.
Samsung and the Staged Selfie
Mobile technology giant Samsung has to count its social media followers in the millions — or in some cases tens of millions. It’s not just because there’s practically a 50 percent chance that a smartphone user is going to have a Samsung phone in their hands. The South Korean company has always had a penchant for creative, even guerilla-style, marketing. When it’s not muscling in on Apple’s billboard territory, Samsung is taking the global pulse on how people use smartphone technology.
Case in point, Samsung’s incredibly convincing but nonetheless staged “selfie” photographs. A number of high-profile, self-taken smartphone pics in the past year have actually been carefully orchestrated by Samsung as a quiet promotional effort. The company got Ellen DeGeneres to take a selfie with an impressive gaggle of Oscar-winning celebrities at the most recent Academy Awards, but even more stunning was the staged selfie Samsung snuck past the Secret Service. Baseball star David Ortiz took a selfie recently with none other than President Barack Obama at Samsung’s behest, giving the world something to share millions of times on multiple social media platforms and keeping Samsung in the spotlight.
It doesn’t take a mega-corporation or the leader of the free world to make this strategy work. Giving people something fun, highly visual, and a little weird to share is a great way to covertly promote a brand. All it takes is sneaking the brand into the photo and waiting for the hashtags to do the heavy lifting.
Starbucks Does Promotions Right
Seattle’s hometown coffee heroes know a thing or two about social media. No one does promotions better and the company does it by being conscious of how people interact with their product. First and foremost, Starbucks has a great and deceptively simple method for using Facebook to get people to their stores. Coffee is an everyday product, an essential for people at the start and middle of the workday, a staple on dates and at business meetings, and the second most important fuel on a road trip. That’s why Starbucks sends promotional offers to its Facebook friends and gives them access to the discounts by ‘Liking’ the message, ensuring that it goes out to everyone else on that user’s news feed.
Beyond online coupons, Starbucks also maintains partner pages for its other brands, like Tazo Tea, and even platforms for people to interact with Starbucks employees. In short, the company keeps a human face on their brand and always listens to its customers, giving them something valuable and always offering a good reason to stay connected. Even if you’re not slinging coffee, making your social media connections feel valued and even part of a special club is the latest, greatest way to ensure brand loyalty.
Video Variety with VICE
If you even dip a toe in news media today, you’ve probably noticed that VICE has expanded far beyond its roots as a magazine. These days, VICE has a highly trafficked website, an HBO documentary show, and a growing online empire that shows off the investigative reporting chops of CEO Shane Smith and his global staff of reporters. Smith and VICE have jumped into some of most hard-to-access places in the world, from notoriously closed-off North Korea to the radically shifting streets of contested territory in Ukraine. All the while, VICE is doing it with Web-ready video.
VICE has done a great job of mixing highly sharable short-form video content with more meaty, long-form videos. Both varieties are valuable to any organization that thrives on content, using the short-form videos to get people interested in today’s attention-deficient atmosphere and then giving them something to really sink their teeth into with the long-form videos.
Not everyone has to go to the other side of the world into the shadowy regimes to make this model work for their company. The key to making video that’ll drive site traffic is to aim for quality over quantity and use the short-and-long combination to grab viewers, keep them interested, and give them a reason to share your content with others.
Content Curation Care of HuffPo
How did one woman’s blog evolve into one of the biggest sources of news and opinion on the Internet? Selecting the right stories and making sure the headlines pop. The Huffington Post practically invented this particular game. The publication goes for a highly effective mix of great guest bloggers, conversation-starting topics, and provocative headlines to give social media users something they can’t help sharing. The right names combined with topics that get people riled up ensure that HuffPo stays popular in an age when more and more people are getting their news entirely online.
Even outside the news world, proper content curation drives traffic better than any ad can hope. By knowing what your audience finds interesting and giving them quick, concise content to learn from and share, you’ll bring something of value to the table and associate your organization’s brand with being in the know.
As every example above demonstrates, content continues to be king on the Internet. People use social media to connect with one another, but they also use it as a streamlined way to find interesting content without having to dig around too much on their own. Using a content-based strategy for social media engagement will bring users to your virtual doorstep and keep them coming back because they trust your organization to give them something worthwhile without necessarily asking anything in return.
Teddy Hunt is a freelance content writer with a focus on technology. When not behind a computer, Teddy spends the majority of his free time outdoors and resides in Tampa, Florida.