It’s time for another round-up of the best brands in social media. Along with old favorites Facebook and Twitter, this time I’m looking at Pinterest, now the third-most popular social network in America, and Google+, which is finally gaining traction among brands. Who’s the best – and why? Read on.
Pinterest – Michael Kors
With 23 boards and more than 750 pins, Michael Kors’ Pinterest gives his fans a lot to look at. But only about half his boards are about the products themselves, such as watches and shoes. One board is “Style Tips,” a great resource for fashion enthusaists, while others like “Travel Diary” offer a sneak peak into the designer’s glamorous lifestyle. “Michael’s Milestones” feature photos of Michael’s past, including his child-modeling work in the 60s. “On Broadway” presents Michael’s favorite shows, while “Eat Up” presents his favorite foods. It’s clear taht Michael Kors is using Pinterest not just to sell his products but also to connect with fans and give them an inside look at his life.
Twitter – Whole Foods
Named one of the Top Ten Twitter Brands of 2011 by Social Fresh, Whole Foods boasts more than 2.6 million followers. What makes them so popular? Their profile description includes this promise: “Ready to answer you questions Mon-Fri 9am-5pm CST!” I constantly remind clients that social media is a two-way conversation, and Whole Foods has embraced that idea by inviting questions (and, most likely, complaints). Whole Foods also tweets plenty of cooking tips and recipes, and dozens of images – not only of food but also of branded events, like its “Ring of Fire” ski tour of Pacific Northwest volcanoes. And the chain makes good on its guarantee, responding to comments and questions throughout the day. It’s a fun, enthusiastic, helpful channel, which is what every brand should aim for.
Facebook – Starbucks
Starbucks is one of the brands most engaged with its audience, according to social marketing firm SocialBakers. Their Timeline is filled with responses to fans’ posts, ranging from “Is your decaf coffee decaffeinated through the Swiss Water Process?” to a complaint about a rewards card that hadn’t arrived. In some cases, Starbucks takes a day to reply; in other cases, just minutes. The brand keeps things simple on Facebook, with no apps or games except for a tab that allows fans to send Starbucks Card eGifts to friends. There are plenty of photos and videos, though, featuring employees, music, and Starbucks’ scrumptious products. Best of all, the brand devotes one of its eight tabs to job-seekers, with a job search Facebook app that’s intuitive and easy. The result is more than 30 million likes, making Starbucks the second-biggest brand Facebook Page in the world.
Google Plus – BMW
Brands are still finding their way on Google+, but BMW sets a great example.
For one thing, BMW has constructed a photo of its new i8 Spyder concept car through a clever use of its four profile images – which some brands are still struggling with. The carmaker post lots of photos and videos of its products in action. Like Whole Foods, the brand is rewarded for engaging fans; its simple question of what rims to put on the new Gran Coupé elicited 433 answers. There are user-submitted photos, too. And while BMW may be a luxury brand, it never talks down to its fans on Google Plus, covering racing along with its high-end cars. Such compelling content and breezy conversations have garnered BMW 491,000 +1’s, and the brand is in 490,000 people’s Circles.