How Social Media is Changing the Way Brands Communicate

July 27, 2017

How Social Media is Changing the Way Brands Communicate

How big brands are using social media
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Have you ever heard of Carter Wilkerson? Before a couple months ago, neither had I. Carter tweeted Wendy’s back in April asking how many retweets it would take to get a year of free chicken nuggets. Wendy’s replied to his tweet giving him the seemingly impossible feat of 18 million retweets. Carter then went on a Twitter campaign that was referred to as #NuggsforCarter, asking anyone and everyone to retweet him and he quickly broke the world record for the most retweets with more than 3.6 million. Wendy’s ended up giving him the nuggets, but Wendy’s is the one who came out winning because they have made a place for themselves on social media.

Brands have quickly realized that in order to stay relevant to today’s generation, they have to be active on social media. Some brands are doing better than others, but I’m not here to tell you who is falling behind because they’re not even on the radar. I’m just here to tell you how brands are killing it on social media.

1. Talking like Average Joes

As a society, we are all about relatability. Our Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with memes that people comment “This is my life” or “YES, so true!” We want to see content that is relatable and brands have realized this. They are tweeting like they are our friends, instead of robots saying “Buy this product.” Taco Bell has done a great job of capitalizing on the “relatable” trend. The brand is good at selling their product while being fresh and funny.

They have also started a hilarious youtube video campaign called “Taco Tales,” which is aimed at their teenage/young adult audience. (If you check out one of our latest blogs and see how well Taco Bell knows their audience.) They also respond to a lot of followers with funny gifs and taco emojis. They have cultivated a good following who want to interact with the brand because they feel more like a friend than a big brand and people have major love for the brand because of it! Need more proof? Have you seen the high school student that took his senior photos at his local Taco Bell? Or the girl who had her 21st birthday party at Taco Bell’s headquarters? Yeah, those things happened and the internet (and Taco Bell) loved them.

2. Interacting with followers

Brands have seen how important engagement is and interaction is the way to get engagement up. Brands are actively listening to and watching what followers are saying about them and they respond in friendly or funny ways. One of the greatest examples of this is McDonald’s on Twitter. They are always lurking around Twitter for people talking about their restaurant and food. They respond to a lot of users each day, either thanking them for the nice things that are being said or telling them to come into a store and get some fries.

It is clearly them trying to sell their products, but their responses aren’t pushy. They are just friendly suggestions and they have over 3.4 million followers, so I’d say it’s working pretty well for them. Also, people feel special when a brand of that size responds to them and it makes them more willing to follow the brand back or purchase their products.

3. Providing customer service

Customer service has changed so much over the past few years. We used to have to sit on the phone for hours to get an issue resolved, but now we can go online and chat with a representative directly. Some brands have taken online chats to the next level by taking care of customer issues’ on social media. JetBlue is a brand that does this successfully. Let’s face it, people always have issues when it comes to flying and JetBlue knows that. They are constantly responding to customers complaining about delayed or canceled flights.

Many times JetBlue will give the customers updates and reasons for delays or cancellations. They will direct message followers who have run into big issues and they are quick to apologize for problems.

People have become increasingly aware of their online presence and are constantly tweeting them because they know someone will respond. They are now known for their fast and effective customer service, which has been beneficial for their brand.

4. Interacting with competitors

What is the best way to be a true competitor? Roast your competition, of course. Okay, that isn’t always the case, but it does give brands a little more street cred if they can reply to a competitor with a witty comeback about how they are much better they are. For example, Wendy’s famously destroyed McDonald’s a few months ago regarding the freshness of their beef. Just take a look at the interaction between the two. McDonald’s has yet to respond…

Now, not all brands set out to bash their competitors, but merely interact. Recently, two NBA teams, the Charlotte Hornets and the Atlanta Hawks made a social media trade while the teams were in talks of trading actual players. They jokingly traded things like tweets and Instagram posts. The LA Clippers jumped in on the fun to make sure the “trade” was possible. (Check out the whole thread because it only gets better.)

Both of these examples got a lot all those brands a good amount of attention and made them accounts people wanted to follow.



Brands that have realized that these methods are effective have seen online growth. Wendy’s saw a 1.6 percent increase in same-store sales in the first quarter this year, an increase from last quarter’s 0.8 percent increase. I’m not saying that it’s just because of their increased popularity on social media, but I don’t think it hurt them.

If you are a brand and are interested in getting into the social game, you need a social listening tool to help you find people who are talking about your brand. NUVI is a great tool to do just that, showing you who is talking about you and whether their comment, tweet, or post is positive or negative. Request a demo here and see how we can help you. 

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