5 Examples of Brands that Exceed Social Media Expectations


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Do you engage with brands on social media?

If you do, what are your expectations?

Now that everyone – and every brand – is expected to be a player in the social media game, which brands really surprise and exceed expectations?

The brands that take make the extra effort to surprise their fans are the brands that we remember most. And usually ROI will follow.

Here are 5 examples of brands I follow and why I think they’re doing social media right:

 1. JetBlue

Responding positively to negative feedback is a great way to exceed expectations.

Between security checkpoints, delays, cancellations, and the guy next to you hogging the armrest, air travel can be a nightmare. So when it comes to handling these customer service issues, many airlines are providing incredible customer service via social media, and Jetblue is among the best at exceeding expectations with their interactions.

Here’s an example:

Responding to both positive and negative conversations is important for brands to build legitimacy.

In the example above, Kristina probably wasn’t expecting Jetblue to comment on her unsolicited criticism of BBQ Terra Blue chips (I’m a fan of the original blues as well…),  but instead went above and beyond by exceeding expectations and answered a criticism with an honest, human response and drove home a marketing message for extra points.

Kristina favorited the tweet and most likely left with a reaffirmed strength in her loyalty for JetBlue.

2. KRAFT Mac & Cheese

A social media manager’s job can be really fun because we get to inject personality into often lifeless and sometimes intangible things.

In this example, the team at Kraft does an excellent  job at giving an ordinary noodle some sass and charisma:

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 10.54.01 AM

Having genuine human characteristics is essential for brands participating in social media.

In a recent article about brand identity, Digiday argues that brands need to loosen up and act more human instead of focusing on expertly tailored mass market messages.

After all, social media is, well, social!

Before brands jumped on board, social platforms were used by regular people to connect and share perspectives on the human experience. If brands are going to exceed social expectations, they need to learn from Bank of America’s mistake and act like a human and not a bot.

3. Whole Foods 

Actively engaging with an audience really elevates a brand’s social presence. By engagement I don’t mean just asking for likes, shares, and retweets.

A brand that engages in conversations with its audience demonstrates that it doesn’t just want engagement from them, but rather wants to engage with them.

When users receive a mention from a brand, there’s typically an OMG moment where they feel special for being noticed. This, of course, reaps rewards in brand loyalty and satisfaction.

Whole Foods does a great job at welcoming users who check into their stores and encouraging engagement beyond retweets, likes, and shares.

In this example, the social media team engages a user, and they really exceed expectations and make him feel special for purchasing a salad at their location.

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 10.43.21 AM

4. Starbucks – Follow Back

Starbucks has a well known social presence, but one thing they excel at is follow-backs.

Opinions vary about whether it’s important for brands to follow users who follow them. One argument is that it’s an important gesture in forging relationships and encourages engagement. However, as a brand gains many thousands of followers, it is impossible to follow everyone. Concerns also arise about whether following endorses that particular user.

I’m of the opinion that follow-backs are good when done in moderation. Now that Twitter has disabled auto follow, it would be impossible for someone at Starbucks to manually follow over 4 million users. But even if a brand follows several thousand users, making an effort to follow a brand’s most engaging and influential users is a valuable symbolic gesture and a great way to build a community.

Screen shot 2013-07-29 at 6.40.14 PM

Numbers as of July 29, 2013

5. Xbox – Solve Problems 

From airlines to rental services to credit cards, brands that actively manage their social reputations have taken to social media to provide customer service, and and many are doing a great job at exceeding expectations.

Anyone who’s owned a gaming system knows they can be buggy at times, and with over 1 million tweets, Xbox Support is very active at engaging users and responding to concerns on social media.

What makes them stand out is that they’re not just an intermediary between the user and the call center; they actually troubleshoot and solve problems on Twitter when possible. No waiting on hold. Instant customer service. Expectations exceeded!

Your turn!

Which brands exceed your social media expectations? Leave a comment and let me know who’s impressed you and why!


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