We’ve all heard about the importance of social media and how every company needs to have a social presence on the Web. We’ve seen hundreds of blog posts on why your company can’t miss out on the social media party. But what if your company isn’t the most interesting on the block? How do you create a social media marketing strategy around an everyday product such as the permanent marker? (Looking at you Sharpie).
As the six examples below show, any company can become a social superstar. But it takes thought, creativity, and a whole lot of effort.
Companies can no longer pay for a sponsored tweet or throw some money into a Facebook Ad and expect major results. Brands now need to have well thought out and creative social media marketing campaigns that will catch people’s eyes. For companies with “less sexy” products it can be more of a struggle. Below I have put together a list of companies who have all turned their everyday products and services into ingenious social media marketing campaigns that every company can learn from.
Social Media Marketing for Dull Companies: 6 Surprising Examples
1) Sharpie & Twitter
We’ve all dabbled with a Sharpie marker in our days. It’s permanent, it’s awesome and it gets the job done. So how do you go about marketing a Sharpie marker? It’s tough to get an audience jazzed about a product that isn’t coming out with any new features and that everybody in the world is familiar with.
The creative and intelligent people at Sharpie took to Twitter and launched a highly engaging account. Sharpie’s Twitter embraces creativity and showcases art drawn by artists that only use Sharpie markers. Sharpie engages with its followers quite often by tweeting back at them or retweeting any Sharpie art that comes through. The result is a highly effective Twitter account for a not-so-glamorous product.
2) GE & Pinterest
One of the biggest companies in the United States, GE takes their motto Imagination at Work and translates that concept into their social media campaigns. Imaginative, creative, and thought provoking are just some of the adjectives that can used to describe GE’s Pinterest page. With boards entitled “Badass Machines,” “6 Second Science Fair,” and “Mind = Blown” you can only imagine what interesting content there is to sift through on their boards.
Of course, GE is always on the various Forbes and Fortune 500 lists, but today I’d like to applaud the company for having a rockstar Pinterest page.
3) Allstate & Facebook
In 2010, Allstate launched the marketing campaign “Mayhem”. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the commercials that personify mayhem in everyday life. This was extremely successful, especially since it appealed to a younger demographic — something insurance companies have struggled with.
With the success of their Mayhem TV commercials, Allstate took to social media with the campaign, specifically Facebook. On Facebook they used the timeline feature to create humorous events depicting mayhem throughout history. With over 300,000 likes on Facebook, Allstate has become a social media model for companies who don’t sell the most fabulous products. Allstate has won over 80 industry awards for the campaign. Bravo.
4) Cisco & YouTube
With over 100 Twitter handles, 26 Facebook pages, and 300 YouTube channels, Cisco is the king of B2B social. The struggle that a primarily business-to-business brand faces on social media is real. So, how does a company like Cisco become so successful in the social sphere?
LaSandra Brill, manager of social media at Cisco places heavy emphasis on YouTube. Producing a couple corporate videos a day highlighting their B2B products is how LaSandra manages to keep social interaction up amongst its fans and subscribers. Cisco’s YouTube Channel is a global video mecca of knowledge with about 50,000 subscribers.
5) Lowes & Vine
We’ve all been bored out of our minds at a hardware store at least once in our lives. Staring at light fixtures for hours or even walking through endless aisles of lumber are not the most entertaining ways to spend one’s time unless your Bob the Builder. Lowes’ marketing team asked one another “Can we build a social media campaign?” and Vine answered “Yes we can”.
The result was a batch of “How to” 6 second videos cleverly called #lowesfixin6 which help with everyday projects around the house. The one below shows how to unscrew a stripped screw with the help of a rubber band.
— Lowe's (@Lowes) April 21, 2013
6) Boston Celtics & Instagram
Sports organizations all tend to have the same social media strategy, mainly consisting of spotlighting players and sharing team news. The Boston Celtics are redefining the social sphere for sports teams everywhere with their brilliant networks, specifically Instagram. The Celtics blend team, community, and fans into their Instagram photos, creating for an unconventional and highly interesting account. I’ve shared some of their greatest photos below: