Three Reasons Why Happy Brands Win in Social Media

Chris Dessi
Chris Dessi CEO, Author, Television Commentator , Silverback Social

Posted on May 10th 2012

Three Reasons Why Happy Brands Win in Social Media

In social media, there is a distinct advantage for brands that are happy vs. those that are not.  

Social media, it has been said can be the ultimate BS meter. You can "fake" happiness for a short period of time, but it is highly difficult to fake it in the long term. This tends to trip up companies that don't take social media seriously, don't have a social media strategy, and have a weak corporate culture. Let me explain:

ImageFor the past five years or so, I've been working with major brands on their social media strategy and execution. Ultimately the brands that don't take themselves too seriously, and have a culture of "fun" are the ones who win in social media.  They don't necessary have to have a fun product however. I've worked with GEICO, and their social community is a bustling ecosystem of fun! 

I believe that this is true for a few reasons: 

1. In social media you can't always push content. In order to be successful, you must create content that pulls engagement.  There are only so many ways you can do this and keep it centered around your business goals and objectives. So inevitably your corporate personality must shine through. What's going on around the office? What are your employees interested in? What's got them talking. If you have a strong corporate culture, then these topics will flow like a river. If everyone is at their desk looking for another job, well then you'll have a difficult time thinking of fun things to post on your Facebook page. But if you're just about to update the corporate Facebook page, and you're hyperventilating from hilarity that ensued with your colleague, then the content you post will ooze fun.  I promise. 

2. People can read between the lines. There's no faking enthusiasm. When a company writes content from the heart, it's easy to sense when reading the content.  I see so many times when you can tell that a brand has a weak company culture. You start to see posts that only push corporate drivel, or they inevitably start like this: Check out ...whatever.  When a company culture is filled with happy people you can see that they're willing to "share" content via their social places. They operate from a place void of fear. They're not driving the user to the website and only the website. They want their customers to reap benefits from following them in social media. So they figure out what the audience wants, or is interested in, and they share that type of content. This type of interaction feeds into itself, creating a fun environment in the social space, and ensuring full engagement. You can tell the companies that do this, you start to hear language that indicates true happiness. They lack bombast and are easy to give thanks and praise to other companies, and other individuals. 

3. Angry employees make for awkward customer service interactions.  I worked extensively with retailer Littlemissmatched. They're a fun, wonderful brand with a really cool corporate culture. It's baked into everything they do and it permeates all of their content. But sometimes there are serious customer service inquires on their Facebook page. Their customer service team is amazing. Really. When they interact with customers you can feel their joy in helping. So when I would interact with customers on their Facebook page, I became an extension of this joy. I felt it, the customers felt it. It was an impressive dance.  Joyful customer service, who knew? 

At any given time I can be reading, or listening to the audio-book for up to three books, which is the number of books I'm currently in the midst of digesting.  Yesterday I started a new audio-book called "The Happiness Advantage" by Shawn Anchor, which helped to inspire this post.  I was familiar with Shawn because of this amazing TED talk .  But I was convinced to buy his book by a dynamic speaker I met last week by the name of Dennis Budinich.  During Dennis's speech he held up Shawn's book and told the audience that they NEED to read it.  I was sold. And I'm thrilled Dennis shared the book because after listening to the audio-book for only a short time, I'm bursting with ideas. Shawn discusses his years of studying and working at Harvard, and the compelling work that he's done regarding happiness. I won't get into the details of the book here, I can only encourage you to purchase it and read it on your own. Have a wonderful day!

Image: Rafal Olechowski/Shutterstock



Chris Dessi

Chris Dessi

CEO, Author, Television Commentator , Silverback Social

An award winning digital thinker, author, television & radio commentator, public speaker and educator, Chris Dessi is the CEO and Founder of Silverback Social. Silverback is the world's leading social media agency, enables top brands and advertisers, to connect with more than a billion customers through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, Youtube, and more.

Throughout his career in London and New York, Chris has worked with a wide array of businesses ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, as well as notable personalities, products and brands.

Chris’ savvy marketing acumen combined with his passion for psychology, sociology and cultural studies, all reside at the fulcrum of his unique manifesto; he believes that social media is much more of a spiritual awakening rather than a technological one. This revolutionary perspective has propelled his personality into the national media landscape. In addition to being a regular social media expert contributor on Fox Business' Shappard Smith Show, CNBC, Fox Evening News, Good Day New York, WPIX, and Fox Business’ Varney & Co., Chris has appeared on Inside Edition, The Steve Adubato Show, One to One, and has participated in radio segments on WOR’s The John Gambling Show in Manhattan, and WBAL’s Marybeth Marsden show in Baltimore.

Chris applied his fresh and innovative outlook on social media to the pages of his first book, “Your World is Exploding: How Social Media is Changing Everything and How You Need to Change With It,” which shot to #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in its first two weeks of publication.

As an educator, Chris recognizes that the manner in which we, as a culture, aggregate and disseminate information has changed, and he is devoted to sharing his effective techniques for mastering engagement in social media to the world. Chris has lectured on social media to sales executives of Fortune 200 companies and he consistently travels the country coaching college students how to leverage social media to benefit their personal brand message and their career.

In 2012, Chris was selected by the Business Council of Westchester’s 40 Under 40 for exemplifying leadership, foresight and a vision for the future of Westchester County, where he currently resides with his wife and two daughters.

Consistent with the passion he holds for his professional career is the devotion he has to his family. Having never been a runner, Chris trained to run the New York City Marathon last year to raise money for the ALS Association after his father was diagnosed with the disease. When the Marathon was cancelled after Sandy hit, Chris took it upon himself to run his own 26.2 mile marathon route in Westchester to honor his father.

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Loraine Antrim
Posted on May 10th 2012 at 5:49PM

The key to social media (besides the obvious social/sharing element) is communication. But as you aptly point out, Chris, a certain kind of communication is more effective. Brands that communicate an attitude; who have spunk; who can poke fun at themselves, and who engage in witty interactions with customers/clients clearly have the edge. Great post. Loraine Antrim

Loraine Antrim
Posted on May 10th 2012 at 5:49PM

The key to social media (besides the obvious social/sharing element) is communication. But as you aptly point out, Chris, a certain kind of communication is more effective. Brands that communicate an attitude; who have spunk; who can poke fun at themselves, and who engage in witty interactions with customers/clients clearly have the edge. Great post. Loraine Antrim

Chris Dessi
Posted on May 10th 2012 at 7:54PM

Thank you Loraine! 

Posted on May 11th 2012 at 9:44AM

A good point well raised, however, the needs of the user are always key.

I manage the social media for a large commercial auction house. And those that choose to like the page wish for weekly updates to their fb/twitter feed on what stock we have in and where it is located (all linked back to corporate website as vast majority of bidding is online & full preview details are always linked).

So whilst I would love to get in to the nitty gritty of interactive social media that shows more of the human element & celebrates personality, I don't think this is what my users want (as a priority). They want to know what stock is of interest to them and want to be informed in the shortest amount of time possible (usually via short summary & lots of key images with option to click link for corporate website). 

This of course generally creates a low viral reach but I don't want to alienate the users who (the page gets an average of one unlike a month), if fb stats are correct a good percentage of which view updates & images on a weekly basis (the page gets an average of one unlike a month).

So ultimately, the growth rate of likes is slow and largely led from corporate website & printed material (currently no budget assigned to sm), but loyalty is strong. I believe their primary interest is for an updating service rather than a witty interaction. When I get the opportunity to combine the two I happily do so however, but this is very much led by nature of stock.

The happy company approach is great and is excellent for Advertising/Design/PR Agencies and indeed could be for many many more industries, however as already expressed, I don't believe it to be the only way, and is very much industry dependant.

I'd be interested to hear others thoughts on this.