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Are You Using Social Media Effectively?

You’ve got your Facebook page set up, you are on Twitter, and you have a company LinkedIn profile. Now comes the big question: are you getting the most out of all your social media efforts? If you feel like you could use a hand in fully taking advantage of social media, then you’re not alone. According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, 43% of those surveyed feel that their organization could use some help with getting the most out of their social media efforts. (Tweet this)

With eight out of ten U.S. companies now present on Facebook, 48% present on LinkedIn, 45% present on Twitter, and 31% on YouTube having a social media presence is no longer a competitive advantage. In fact, today it’s now expected for a company to have some type of social presence. Yet, just because a company might be active on the most popular social sites doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. According to an interview conducted with assistant professor of marketing at Brigham Young University, Jeff Larson, many business owners are still unsure of how to use social media “The parameters are up in the air…You have to attract customers to the Facebook page and then ask, ‘What do we do with it? It’s very ill defined.”

“I would differentiate between being on Facebook and using it,” says Larson. “I would wager that 50 percent of companies are merely on Facebook and not posting on it. It requires a lot of resources. It’s a very difficult endeavor.” So if so many companies are ineffective social media users, then who is doing it right? Well I’ve dug up several companies that are doing social media right, and why.

  • Ford – Ford has become known as a large social media advocate. For example, in 2011 Ford unveiled their new Ford Explorer to the world first via Facebook. Ford also teamed up with the social gaming giant, Zynga, to host the world’s largest Words With Friends game to promote its 2013 Escape. For their Fiesta, the car company launched “Fiestagram”, a six-week contest in which users could submit photos and win prizes. Lastly on the Ford Google + page, they have hosted various “Hangouts”. One example was they held one to update their fans on the latest happenings at the Daytona 500.
  • Zappos – Zappos is known for their “like-like” relationships with their fans and customers. Their view is if they treat their potential fans as equals, they solidify their relationships even more. Zappos engages with their fans on Facbook first, before having them signup for their mailing list or offer deals. They have “fan only” deals, granting their Facebook fans instant access to exclusive videos and special promotions. Lastly, what’s cooler than having a Facebook “fan of the week”?
  • Taco Bell – The fast food company has had a huge success on Twitter with over 200,000 followers. Their unique voice and style has helped connect the brand to a young demographic. It doesn’t stop with just their Twitter handle. When they launched their new Cantina Bowl, Taco Bell ran a campaign offering the product with a QR code made up of lemons and avocados instead of pixels!
  • Coca – Coal – Sure everyone knows Coke. The difference between branding and what Coca-Cola has done is that the soft drink company has transformed into a way of life. “Live on the Coke side of life.” Coke is concerned with customer engagement, relying on the community to help curate its communications and wow are they successful. Fans from all over the world check-in on opening happiness.

There you have it. Four companies you should try to model your social strategy after. Remember you’re not alone, a lot of companies struggle with social media. I hope that by checking out some of these social media masters you can learn a thing or two and maximize your own social media efficiency.

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