Welcome to our first deep-dive analysis: Social Media Winners and Losers for April and May of 2012. Since April 1, 2012 the team at Awareness has been monitoring the most socially engaged companies in the most socially active industries to answer one simple question: Who won the weekly social media battle? Think of it as a weekly report card where a brand is graded on the number of new fans (Facebook 'Likes', Twitter followers, etc.) it acquires or loses. We took the results from over eight weeks to bring you updates on which brands are winning and losing social battles.
Social Media Winners for April and May, 2012
Oreo - Those addicting little cookies with the cream-filled centers are crushing their social media marketing effort. Oreo's 100th birthday celebration is generating a lot of buzz on Facebook. 'Liking' their page will give you access to the "Oreo Moments Gallery", a series of photos and videos submitted by fans all over the world. It's impossible not to be at least a little intrigued by their approach - and with over 26 million 'Likes', it seems that many agree.
Monster Energy - What would you be willing to do for an opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in music, movies, and sports? Monster Energy is hoping that you would at least be willing to log on to Facebook and submit a one-minute video explaining why you would be a killer intern. It explains why the company's Twitter followers increased by 2.6% (5,535) in one week alone. About.me, Old Spice, and Inc. have all experimented with large social contests like Monster's with varying degrees of success.
Southwest Airlines - Southwest Airlines is well known for their energetic and engaging crewmembers, and that energy and engagement are kept alive on their social media channels. Business travel expert Lets Fly Cheaper has gone so far as to name Southwest the "undisputed ruler of the social atmosphere".
Take a look at Southwest's Facebook profile and Twitter feed to see how good they are at managing a community of loyal customers. They expertly combine behind-the-scenes photos and stories from employees and fans with travel promotions and giveaways without ever feeling pushy.
The Comic Book Category: Both Marvel and DC Comics show strong social fan growth. Whether it is directly related to a comic story line, such as when DC revealed a major character as gay, or caused by the buildup and release of a movie such as the Avengers, or a specific social initiative such as Social Media Fan Appreciation Day, the comic book properties have prioritized social media fan growth.
Wendy's - Wendy's trails its other category leaders by nearly 3 million followers - and they don't look to be catching up quickly. Week-over-week growth was a mere .2% in the beginning of June. Our advice to Wendy's? Spice it up! Consider the strategies executed by the winners above and apply those learnings to your social media channels.
Pepsi - For the first 3 weeks of the Social Scorecard compilation, Pepsi was the only company to have a decrease in the number of Twitter followers. Their current "Live for Now" campaign has reversed this, though some critics say it has caused them to lose control of the conversation.
Lessons for Marketers
The most important takeaway from our Social Media Winners and Losers analysis is that brands need to think through their social marketing strategy. Outline your marketing objectives, and find top talent to help grow your business through well-executed campaigns. Do it right and you can build a group of diehard supporters around your brand. Do it incorrectly and watch helplessly at the fallout (isn't that right, Kenneth Cole?). Think your strategy through and listen to what your fans are telling you - that's the beauty of social media.
Another interesting takeaway: in most cases, winning brands are those that can easily point to a successful marketing initiative that ties to their social channels. Some week-over-week fan growth is easy to achieve for these big brands, but brands need something more noteworthy in order to really move the needle on growth. For example, those with a newsworthy announcement, product release or fan contest are more likely than others to see weekly growth over 1%.
Who do follow or consider a leader in social marketing? Share your favorites in the comments below!