Those of you who follow IPWatchdog, know that my passion is Brand Development, Brand Building, and Online Marketing using social media. I try to educate our readers on how they can use social media for their businesses regardless of size. However, I decided to take a different approach and compare the social media campaigns of Apple, Inc, Coca Cola, Nike and Dell Computers. Let’s take a look at how these four industry giants use social media today and how you can incorporate similar tactics into your social media strategies.
Let’s begin with LinkedIn. As you can see by the profile screen shots below, all four of these industry giants have LinkedIn Company Profiles Pages. All four companies have tens of thousands of followers and include a list of employees currently featuring their individual profiles on LinkedIn.
As shown in the screenshots above, all four companies have completed the “Overview” tab of their company pages by adding a brief description of the company and by providing a synopsis of specialties their company is known for. All four companies have also completed the “Careers” tab of their company profile allowing potential hires to see what positions are currently open and available. Only two of the four though, Dell Computers and Coca Cola, have opted to complete the “Products” tab of their profiles as well. You may think that industry giants such as Coca Cola and Dell do not need to list their products because everyone already knows what products they offer. However, utilizing the products (& services) tab of their profiles serves several functions to both their company and their potential customers.
First, having the products (& services) tab complete allows these companies to Educate potential customers on other products they may not have otherwise known the company carried. For example, did you know that Coca Cola owns and distributes Georgia Coffee and Del Valle products? I did not. Second, this tab allows companies to continue to Grow and Maintain Their Brand by showing all “sides” of what their companies have to offer. Finally, it serves the purpose of Word of Mouth Marketing by giving users of their products the opportunity to post recommendations of the company’s products and services they like and would recommend to others.
As a small business, brand development is key particularly in the beginning stages of a business. But even if your business is well established, regardless of size, sharing information on your products and services will enhance your brand recognition, especially if you have products and services that are not as well known by the masses as others.
All Four of these companies have Facebook Company Pages. Apple and Nike have one profile page for the company as a whole. Nike seems to be quite active in posting information to their wall. Apple however, does not show any activity on their FB Wall. And although Nike does not allow anyone outside of their company to post on their wall, they do allow others to comment on that which they post themselves.
You will notice in the screenshots below that when you search for Coca Cola or Dell, there are multiple profile pages available for each brand. With Coca Cola, the company is broken down to the main company page and two sub categories. With Dell, there is not only a main Dell page, but also close to a dozen sub categories including divisions of Dell in other countries.
This is really quite brilliant. For companies as large as these, having everything in one location could be quite overwhelming to the reader and the company, especially when there are different divisions in different languages all over the world. Most companies of this size have different divisions within their organization, most of which are handled by different people and often they are in different locations across the globe. Rather than having their many different divisions posting content to one wall, each division is able to have their own “following” of clients. This allows each division to post content specific to their market audience that is less likely to get lost within the noise of the corporation as a whole. It also increases the likelihood of long term “likes” because the information followers get from the company is focused on the area that interests them most.
For your business, even if you have only one main product or services, having a FB page gives you both a voice but also gives your audience a voice as well. Not only can you educate your followers on things pertinent to your products, services, business or industry, you also have the means of asking questions on your wall and allowing your followers to add input and give you their thoughts. Really listen and use this information to continue where you have strengths and to grow where there are weaknesses.
When searching for these four companies on Twitter, I was not surprised to see multiple Twitter accounts for each. When you find multiple accounts for the same business how do you know which accounts truly do belong to the company itself? Luckily Twitter has already dealt with this issue. Accounts that typically deal with identity confusion are often chosen and verified by Twitter to establish authenticity so users can trust that a legitimate source is authoring the company’s tweets. In the screenshots below, you will notice that not all of the accounts display the little blue circled check mark. It is not uncommon to see dozens of accounts claiming to be Dell, or Coca Cola or Apple or Nike, or any large company you may be looking for. Although not all accounts put out by companies have been verified as of yet, you can feel confident that those followed by “Verified Badges” are in fact the real deal.
If you have a multi faceted organization, perhaps you should consider having a separate twitter account per each division. Keep in mind that as of yet, there is no self-verification process available on Twitter. However, the best way to verify to your audience that your Twitter account is the real deal is by featuring a link on your website or blog that will take your readers directly to your Twitter (or LinkedIn or Facebook) account.
If multi-million dollar industry giants find value in social media, shouldn’t you? Even though these companies have well established brands that are known throughout the world, they continue to reinforce their brand by using social media along with traditional means of advertising. Social media is a fantastic way to get your brand in front of people all around the world, even if you do not necessarily sell to a global marketplace. Social media will allow you to extend your market reach far beyond the realm of traditional advertising, not only selling your company, your products and services but by reinforcing your brand.