Social sharing refers to the content posted by businesses and organizations across different social media platforms to generate user engagement and drive brand-visibility. In the digital world, where content-sharing can sometimes feel like content-overload, some brands just do it better. Below, I will review three companies that demonstrate “doing it better.”
According to their website, “The Everygirl is a comprehensive online resource for every woman out there to experience her life better lived.” It’s a place where women can go to find inspiration and career advice, financial resources, fashion tips, travel recommendations, the latest health information, and more. This brand is successful at engaging users on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube by providing relevant content in the form of blogs, narratives, videos, and more.
The first – and possibly best – reason that The Everygirl outshines others with respect to social sharing is that they consistently produce content with a reach beyond their current customers. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen content posted on The Everygirl and thought to myself, “Wow, I was just talking to [Friend] about this,” or “[Friend] just told me she was having a problem with this.” Those thoughts always lead me to share that content with that particular friend, and that share typically results in another Everygirl subscriber. I have no qualms about staking the claim that every piece of content they share appeals to a woman somewhere, even if it doesn’t apply directly to me. The Everygirl’s reach is incredibly far.
They also do an outstanding job of keeping users actively engaged by using visually appealing content but tailoring it to each unique social network, and using creative and attention-capturing headlines. For example, the marketing team at The Everygirl may post an article with a photo attached across Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook; however, they change the content across each platform. They might change it up by rewording the headline from one network to another. They will also share an article on Twitter using fewer characters and a short link to expanded content, whereas a Facebook share would include more characters and longer captions, as well as appropriate source-tags, and a similar post on Instagram is likely to contain different wording and more hashtags. I often find myself click on and sharing content that is presented with unique photos and headlines that appeal to my current situation.
Starbucks does an incredible job of sharing content and engaging users across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. They appeal to all types of consumers by posting funny and sweet anecdotes from customers, product information, relevant news, and articles and links that promote brand equity by demonstrating the philanthropic causes for which they advocate.
This brand does a better job than most at engaging in simple conversation with customers online. Not only does their marketing team respond to inquires and complaints, as most brands with a decent online presence do, but Starbucks does an equally wonderful job of respond to seemingly “insignificant” comments and suggestions. Please see below for a few examples from Starbucks’ Instagram and Twitter pages:
They also excel in the art of turning “negativity” into great customer service opportunities, and they are able to tastefully poke-fun at internet “trolls” – see below for Starbucks’ tongue-in-cheek response to someone who wasn’t happy about Pumpkin Spice season.
Interactions like this one aren’t likely to optimize negatively, and, in fact, customers might even get a good laugh at Starbucks’ response. This marketing team demonstrates a clear understanding of when to respond and when to let it be.
Starbucks also uses each social network in ways that are tailored specifically to users of each network. For example, their Twitter presence is large, and they have numerous accounts for different types of media. Starbucks Coffee tweets feel-good stories and provides product information; Starbucks News is rather self-explanatory – they post company news and updates. Starbucks even has a specific Twitter page for Frappuccino, “where the clouds are made of whipped cream and the unicorns are also made of whipped cream.” On Instagram, visually-appealing content presents beautifully hand-crafted beverages, and oftentimes they are in equally beautiful locations. Finally, their Facebook page is dedicated to videos of beverage-creation, information on charitable causes, and links to and articles about the company and their products.
Ultimately, Starbucks engages consumers on social media by appealing to their emotions and their senses – especially sight and taste. I frequently engage with their content that presents mesmerizing videos of drinks being made, the blog posts about their causes, and even the content that appeals to my sense of humor.
The marketing team at Strand shares content across many social networks, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Strand is superior to others in engaging with their audience(s) and specifically tailoring content to audiences within a specific platform. While most organizations with a good marketing team do not cross-post, they often share the same content across networks, but they change up the language of their post based on the platform. Strand, on the other hand, rarely engages in any form of this practice; their content differs completely from platform to platform. For example, Strand’s YouTube contains videos of book reviews and discussions with authors; on their Pinterest page, one will find boards full of product pins, book recommendations, lists and questions for book clubs, literary quotes, gift ideas, and more; the company’s Facebook page is inundated with photo albums documenting book signings and events, posts that serve as reminders for upcoming happenings, and sponsored articles and pages. Still yet, Strand’s Twitter is abuzz with interactions with followers and news/event reminders, and their Instagram is filled with unique and eye-catching photos and videos.
The examples above demonstrate that Strand has a rich understanding of the differences in audiences across social media platforms and that they take pride in providing consumers the content that they desire. In addition to an exceptional understanding of social media platforms, Strand’s marketing team exhibits a clear astuteness for the type of clientele that they attract – or want to attract. This understanding is made clear when Strand posts content that most businesses would shy away from, such as strong political statements and obvious stances on social issues.
This brand’s dedication to their values and comprehensive understanding of their customers and audiences drives them to excel in the world of social-sharing. I am inclined to click on and scroll through their posts that relate to my favorite novels, or “like” their visually appealing Instagram photos that depict the stores’ “miles of books,” and I am likely to engage with content that makes a strong political statement.
These three brands have a deep understanding of their customers, and they capitalize upon differences in audiences from one social media site to the next. By tailoring content to specific audiences, these companies are able to create content that generates high levels of user engagement across multiple channels, and it is likely that they are expanding their reach by generating earned media as well. As I stated earlier, some brands just do it better.