Welcome to Sprout’s Social Spotlight, where each week we’re diving deep into what we love about a brand’s approach to a specific social campaign. From strategy through execution and results, we’ll examine what makes the best brands on social tick — and leave you with some key takeaways to consider for your own brand’s social strategy.
It could easily be argued that e-commerce has taken a lot of the fun out of shopping. In this Social Spotlight, we take a look at how discount retailer Marshalls is reviving the feeling of running across a surprise find in a physical store for the social era and turning a potential brand negative into a powerful brand asset.
Netflix uses social to create a brand experience
The same savvy that’s served Netflix well on the product side extends to marketing, especially social. There the brand has leaned hard into a “fan’s fan” persona by hiring movie and TV buffs to man its accounts. The resulting brand voice is approachable, clever without trying and authentic to the reason Netflix is beloved in the first place: people love to talk about what they’re watching.
Air Jordan or A/R Jordan
How do you make a living legend come to life for an audience too young to remember what made him legendary? If you’re Jordan Brand, you augment the present with one of the most extraordinary moments from the past. Meet A/R Jordan.
A lesson in social storytelling from The New York Times
The New York Times adjusted to the demands of social storytelling by identifying the disconnects between their distribution model and the expectations of a digitally engaged audience. The Gray Lady has come into her own in part by redefining the role of social media in compelling and accessible journalism.
How GoPro fuels brand loyalty with UGC
Few brands have as successfully embraced UGC as GoPro, and with good reason; when your product makes great images and video possible for your consumers, showing is better than telling. Making it easy for fans to share (and be rewarded for sharing) via social has been key to expanding the brand’s reach and generating loyalty.
#FreshXIngridNilsen: A social influencer success story
Getting influencer marketing right can be tricky. Finding an influencer your audience will identify with, find aspirational and take at face value – all at the right, mutually-beneficial price – is a challenging process without a guarantee. Fresh Beauty is one brand that got it right when it partnered with beauty vlogger Ingrid Nilsen to create an authentic, relevant connection between the brand and its target audience.
Everlane and the Impact of Zero Impact
More than ever, consumers want to put their money where their values are, but social media is riddled with brands that have attempted purpose-driven marketing and failed due to presenting only a surface-level PR commitment that rings hollow. But when a brand builds purpose into the very fiber of its business, the marketing is the easy part. Take fashion brand Everlane, which uses social not for flashy content meant solely to sell, but for deep and authentic storytelling about the purpose-driven business it’s built.
How the ASPCA uses social to inspire action
We all know social is a powerful platform for great storytelling, but the real secret sauce is when that great storytelling is paired with the immediate connection social offers. This is especially true for nonprofits like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or the ASPCA, which uses social to tie the stories of the animals it helps (and the humans who love them) to actions of support: donations, adoptions, lobbying and awareness.
Square and The Power of Focus
Square has found B2B social success through a laser focus on its primary buyers, which allows the brand to go deep with the stories it finds and champions. Making payments processing more human is no easy task, but Square has found a way to create connection by using beautiful photography, videography and custom illustrations to reveal the people behind the business and tell stories with maximum relevance to their target audience.
Adobe and How to Borrow from B2C
B2B social marketing comes with a set of unique challenges as you market to an audience comprised of businesses and not consumers. It’s certainly not as straightforward, but taking cues from proven B2C tricks to build your B2B strategy is possible and can be very effective. Adobe highlighted what its products enabled its users to create, achieve and celebrate.
Four brands that shine through dark times
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many brands are pausing more traditional advertising, closing retail locations and scrambling to put new infrastructure in place to support working from home. This means supporting customers and audiences falls more and more in the digital space. Here are four examples of brands excelling at holding true to the fabric of the brand they’ve built and adapting them for the current situation.
Adjusting and adapting during a global pandemic
As the COVID-19 crisis enters its second month on U.S. soil, both brands and their audiences are adapting to the new paradigm of interacting with one another. Different industries have different challenges, and in this Social Spotlight, we’re sharing examples of how brands in the B2B, B2C, non-profit and higher education spaces have used social to keep their customers and audiences aware, supported and engaged as we all ride this out together.
Michigan State University and creating community in this ‘new normal’
Michigan State University is using their social strategy to tackle the challenges of creating a sense of community when faculty and students are dispersed and using e-learning as their primary shared experience over the traditional college experience of shared spaces and community events. MSU is connecting students and alumni as a larger community around the school’s shared mission.
Talkspace and how to build a community of support
The idea of what “community” means for brands on social media has shifted more in 2020 than it has in a decade. A primary example of how brands are helping build a new kind of community online is Talkspace, the asynchronous, chat-based therapeutic and mental health app. Talkspace has helped destigmatize discussion of mental health and therapy by turning its channels into a platform of togetherness, belonging and a mutual desire to be healthier and happier.
Visa and how to pivot with empathy during a crisis
During the COVID-19 pandemic, brands are being challenged to determine how to best support customers while also ensuring that their businesses can survive a global economic threat. The world’s biggest brands also have the added scrutiny of public opinion about how they conduct themselves. Visa has been able to demonstrate both empathy and optimism by making quick, thoughtful and appropriate adjustments to its social strategy.
The Trevor Project and how to establish, evolve and empower your community
Like many organizations have in 2020, the Trevor Project has had to be agile in its messaging and digital programming to make up for loss of in-person touchpoints with its audience during the global pandemic. The isolation many LGBTQ+ feel has been exacerbated by mandated quarantine, but the Trevor Project has found even more effective ways to connect with the individuals and groups most in need of its services through social media.
Ben & Jerry’s and how to take an actionable stand on social
For years companies have faced increasing pressure to take a stand on social and political issues. And while some have succeeded in rising to this challenge, recent events indicate that brands still have a ways to go. One brand succeeding with authentic messaging is Ben & Jerry’s, which has proven that it’s willing to lose money in order to gain ground in the fight against injustice.
Nike and how to outpace the competition on social
The competition for attention is fierce for brands on social. On top of that, consumers are also more informed, more selective, less trusting and less patient than ever before. At the time of writing, Nike is the most followed brand on Instagram and boasts global name recognition. So what’s their secret? Consumers and social marketers agree that a brand’s social media presence stands out from the competition when it’s creative, memorable and impactful.