Social media. What's all the fuss about?

Sarah MayerMarketing Strategy, Social media

If you’re not using social media for your company right now, maybe you have a reason.  Possibly it’s because you haven’t had the time. Maybe you just don’t see how social media can impact your company. Maybe you haven’t been wowed by the results.  In this article, we will show you some extreme examples that hopefully will ‘wow’ you with the possibilities of what social media can offer.

We realize that the companies we are about to cite have built a large following. They have sizable teams of people working for them to grow and keep followers. They have brand recognition. But, they also have quick-thinking social media teams that react (literally within minutes) to current events taking place. And, they use social media to get a message out to the masses for FREE.  The last two pieces are things any business can do.

How social media can be great for your company’s image

During the Super Bowl, an event witnessed by 108.7 million viewers according to this Huffington post article, you probably know that the lights went out in part of the Superdome. The game was suspended for 34 minutes. The post, 6 Brands That Moved Fast During Super Bowl Blackout, highlights some of the big brands’ sharp moves to address the situation.

The power went out at 5:38 pm PT (8:38 pm ET).  The two most successful tweets posted during the blackout that the above post highlights are Audi and Oreo’s. At 8:40pm ET, Audi posted the following tweet:

Audi-Superbowl-Tweet

This one tweet yielded 9710 retweets and 3218 favorites. At 8:48pm ET, Oreo posted the below tweet and gained 16,067 retweets and 6,159 favorites on Twitter.

Oreo-Superbowl-Tweet

Let that sink in for a moment. Those two individual tweets combined had a total of over 25,000 posts and over 9,000 favorites. And that doesn’t count the number of manual retweets (those in which a Twitter user RTs a post with their own comments before or after, usually with the original post either in quotation marks or marked with RT somewhere) that the post received. Nor does it count the people that talked about the tweets without directly quoting or linking to the post.

A little bit of math

According to this study from beevolve.com, the average twitter user has 208 followers. The combined total of followers from Oreo and Audi notwithstanding, the potential reach of those two tweets would be 25,777 x 208=5,361,616. Audi has 314,085 followers and Oreo has 75,168 = a total of 389,253 (stats as of 2/13/2013). Their posts reached more than a potential of 13 times their (already large) existing following base. Now, we realize that some of these followers overlap, and that not every person that follows each of these accounts would have seen it, but those numbers are still pretty staggering.

Imagine you’re a small business that is starting up your social media. Let’s say you have 50 followers so far.  In comparison, it would be like your tweet being seen by potentially over 650 people. Audi’s post didn’t involve any setup, any props, any cameras. Oreo’s was a very simply put together tweet that probably didn’t cost a lot to set up or create.

How not using social media can reflect negatively on your company

Folks on social media are very much in search of instant gratification. This is a large part of the reason why those Super Bowl tweets were so hugely successful. Users grab on to things as they’re happening and ride them out. Fast forward to the State of the Union address (#SOTU), there was a moment during the Republican rebuttal address given by Marco Rubio (@MarcoRubio) in which Marco paused to take a sip of Poland Spring water. Sounds inane enough, right?

The amount of social media attention this drew was far beyond anything anyone would have expected.  According to this Huffington Post article, “Within the hour, #watergate was trending, a Lil’ John remix was in the works, and Rubio himself had even tweeted out a photo of the bottle.” There were fake Twitter accounts being created pretending to be the bottle that Marco drank from, and those fake accounts were tweeting and getting retweeted.

What was Poland Springs’ response? They didn’t even seem to know anything had happened. It took more than 14 hours for them to post an official response on their Facebook page. There are two Twitter accounts that appear to be in their name, one of which hasn’t been used since 2011, the other since 2010. While the posted response was appropriate, it was not timed appropriately to really cash in on the momentum that social media could have given it.

And then there’s this:

BuzzFeed-Andrew-Poland-Springs

The fact that Poland Spring didn’t have a timely response drew negative publicity, despite the fact they had no way of knowing it was going to happen. Andrew has close to 70,000 followers.  And he’s not the only one to react in this way. Many articles and blog posts (not to mention tweets) address the fact that Poland Spring missed the boat. In fact, this article from Brand Channel goes on to point out the volume of the tweets going out during the course of the evening (9200 tweets per minute at the point of the now infamous water bottle sipping) from which Poland Spring could have easily thrived.

What’s your next step

So – we’ve told you why being active in social media can potentially be great, and we’ve told you why not being active in social media can potentially be detrimental. How do you think current events could make an impact in your organization’s social media feed?