Feb 23, 2011

Brand Engagement in Social Media

Oreos, in all forms. What's not to "like" ?

I like Oreo cookies. I don’t mean that in the Facebook sense of the word like, but rather in real life. I like the originals and the double stuff. I like the white frosted ones that come out during the Holidays. I like any ice cream anywhere that features Oreos. I even like those “golden” Oreos. (Try them. They’re good.) Oreos have been a staple of my sweet tooth for as long as I can remember. And I’m sure I’m not alone on this. Still, I had no idea – until recently – of Oreo’s successful social media campaigns.

But I should have known, cause it turns out the makers of everyone’s favorite tuxedo cookie treat (sorry, Hydrox) has positioned themselves as major players in the social media space. For example, Oreo is the third largest brand on Facebook. They have well over 16 million fans. And you may have recently heard about how they set the Guinness world record for most likes on a single Facebook post in a 24 hour period. You may have also heard that rap star Lil Wayne beat that record a day later. How did Oreo respond? They sent him some Oreo cookies to celebrate. Talk about keeping their name in the story!

But sending delicious Oreo cookies to Lil’ Wayne surely isn’t enough to build a social media strategy around. (Or is it?) (It’s not.) Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to representatives from Oreo and other brands discuss what’s worked for them at the Content and Conversations panel at Social Media Week New York. One of the main things Oreo has done is move themselves to where their customers are. Put another way, they went to where the conversation was happening, rather than trying to bring the conversation to them. For example, a year ago, Oreo’s website was their main web hub. Today their Facebook page is. And on that Facebook page they disseminate product and promotional information in three languages 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They encourage their followers to share photos. They award ‘fan of the week.’ They host polls. They post recipes. Oreo not only engages their fans. They keep them engaged.

Representatives from Nokia, who also spoke at this panel, have found recent success in engaging their fans during a cross promotional campaign with the film “Tron.” They cashed in what they called the ‘nostalgic currency’ for the original “Tron” film and parlayed that into promoting the new film. Nokia released free content, two games, a screensave and wallpapers all tied into “Tron.” They offered code-breaking puzzles, complete with binary and assembly codes.  The Nokia N8 phone even came with Tron content already uploaded in it. As they said, “You can’t just blatantly advertise to people using these sorts of channels. A lot of the readers are already owners and fans, for one thing. And in any case, their purpose is to engage with customers, establish more personal relationships and have a little fun sometimes.”

The Nokia team also outlined six basic principles for engagement:

– Keep it in real time
– Take the party to the people
– Reward participation and collaboration
– Add something for everyone
– Understand how your audience wants to be engaged
– Build relationships with new audiences

People Magazine has also seen recent success in social media. Recently, they let their Facebook fans vote on their annual Sexiest Man Alive contest. In order to vote, however, fans had to like People’s Facebook page. In the first two weeks after the polls opened, People added more than 240,000 additional fans. They learned that not only do Facebook users love to vote in polls, but that engaged users will keep coming back.

Keeping consumers engaged is in every brand’s interest. It’s great to sell something to someone once, but to build a trusted and reciprocal relationship can pay way more dividends.

Authored by Tom Hynes, manager, blogger relations, PR Newswire.

It’s tough to engage if you’re not listening.  Do you know if your fans and followers connecting with your messages? PRN Media Monitoring enables you to listen to your social networks and track traditional media mentions, giving you a holistic view of the conversations central to your business.

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