There are many brands out there that may think they can’t gain a following on social media – the boring, the weird, and the unsexy. Whether you’re selling software, nails, period products, or office supplies, it may be difficult for your brand to engage with its audience on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks. However, plenty of boring, weird, and unsexy brands are rocking it on social media, and you can, too. With these 10 examples of brands you wouldn’t expect to have a social following and 16 tips to help you out, your boring, weird, or unsexy brand can thrive on social media.
10 Brands Doing it Right
While it may be a big boring brand, GE is seriously killing it on social media. First, GE has taken on the full range of social networks – they provide education on Facebook, offer visual content on Pinterest and Instagram, and show their sillier side on Twitter. Second, GE takes visual engagement by storm. They offer compelling, high quality images in addition to YouTube videos and infographics. Check out their Pinterest page above, which catches the user’s attention with engaging headlines such as “Badass Machines.”
A giant in the field of networking, you might not expect Cisco to be able to engage their audience on social media. Despite the complex technology their brand focuses on, Cisco has managed to succeed on social media by posting useful information, eye-catching images, and user-friendly stats. Take a look at their YouTube channel above, which has over 70,000 subscribers and more than 11 million views.
A brokerage firm, Aon PLC manages to make their boring field exciting on social media through personal branding. They bring the focus to their team, showing pictures of them taking part in community projects and charitable events. The screenshot above of their Facebook page is an example of this, showing team members taking part in a company fundraiser for the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.
In business since 1848, Maze Nails is perhaps the last brand you’d expect to see on Facebook. However, as their Facebook page states in the photo above, “Who ever said nails are boring!!” They engage their audience by showcasing their customers, posting plenty of photos, and focusing on the historical component of their company.
While there may not be a way to make cleaning products sexy, Mr. Clean at least knows how to make them fun. They post hilarious tweets such as the two above, with an incredibly entertaining self-mocking tone.
For companies that sell period products, creating engaging social media content is no easy feat. Bodyform managed to gain a record number of views on YouTube after posting two videos in response to a complaint from a male user on their Facebook page that advertisements for feminine products are a lie – periods aren’t actually that much fun! While the first video focusing on his Facebook post gained over 740,000 views alone, the CEO of Bodyform created a hilariously sarcastic response video that was viewed over 5.4 million times.
Another period product company, Hello Flo created a YouTube following in the same way as Bodyform: being funny. Their viral video, Camp Gyno, focuses on a young girl getting her period for the first time at summer camp. She uses frank language rather than the euphemisms that typically dominate period ads, making this commercial funny and refreshing. The video gained over 6.7 million views.
Yet another brand focused on period products, Tampax takes social media by storm by hosting contests and drawing user participation. The screenshot above of their Facebook page shows a recent contest to win Demi Lovato tickets, promoting their new Radiant Collection with Always. In the past, they’ve also hosted The Awesomely Active Girl Challenge on Facebook and Twitter, a contest in which women submitted photos of themselves being active to win $500 and a year’s worth of tampons.
Similarly to Mr. Clean, Staples thrives on Twitter by posting funny, conversational tweets that focus less on their products and more on their audience. For example, the tweets above show their hashtag, #officelife, which they use to tweet about funny and relatable office situations.
How can you make markers fun? Draw with them! Sharpie showcases what their brand is all about by posting captivating images on Instagram of their products in action. The screenshot above shows some of the incredible images that Sharpie is sharing.
Tips for Your Social Media Strategy
Shift your mindset: The first step in making sure your boring, weird, or unsexy brand survives on social media is to shift your own mindset – if you think your brand is boring, everyone else will, too! Un-box your brand and resolve to showcase the ways it can be fun and exciting on social media.
Choose the right network: Choose a social network that works for your brand – don’t try to make your brand work for a certain social network. Can you post amazing visuals? Try Instagram. Want to show your humorous side? Get snarky on Twitter. Offering video tutorials to your audience? Use YouTube.
Make sharing easy: Once you’ve created content, ensure that people can share it. Add social share buttons to blogs and even products if it works for your brand. The easier it is to share, the more engaged the audience will be.
Follow the 80/20 rule: When posting on social media, it’s important to follow the 80/20 rule – only post about your brand 20% of the time, and 80% of content should be about something else. Showcase your community, share relevant articles for your audience, and promote other content that shows you care about the audience, not only about your brand’s success.
Use humor: As we’ve seen in the brand examples above, one of the best ways to market any brand is to use humor. Hello Flo and Bodyform created hilarious period videos that went viral, and Staples and Mr. Clean use Twitter to show off their silly side. Find a way to make your brand funny, and capitalize on it.
Be a real person: To build a relationship with your audience on social media, be a real person. Ensure that your audience knows there’s a real person, not only a brand or corporation, behind every post.
Find related topics: Consider what other types of information are relevant to your audience through related topics. For example, pharmacies can post about wellness, software companies can discuss new tech products, and those that sell period products can talk about women’s health.
Create useful content: Another way to draw an audience in is to share content that is useful to them. Even if you’re selling a boring product, customers still need to know how to use it – offer how-to posts, product guides, and other informational content that’s sharable on social media.
Show off your team: In the examples above, Aon PLC stands out by showcasing photos of their team getting involved in the community. Showing of your team and illustrating the ways your company is involved in the community humanizes your brand.
Share customer experiences: Social media is all about connecting with customers. Encourage them to post on your social media page with photos of themselves using your products and reviews of your company. Giving customers a voice will provide them with a sense of loyalty to your brand.
Create contests: Tampax makes period products exciting by hosting contests on social media. Whether the prize is a year’s supply of tampons or Demi Lovato tickets, your audience will love the chance to participate and win prizes.
Host live events: Hosting live events on social media will bring your boring, weird, or unsexy brand to life. Try holding a live Q&A using Google+ Hangouts and let your audience get to know your brand on a personal level.
Post high quality images: Many of the brands discussed above stand out on social media by posting high quality images that captivate their audience. Need inspiration? Check out this list of 25 boring companies that have amazing cover photos on various social networks.
Try podcasts & videos: Take your social media strategy a step further by posting even more interactive content: podcasts and videos. You can try a weekly podcast that focuses on key industry topics or a series of instructional videos for your most popular products.
Appeal to the nerds: Even the most boring brands have dedicated followers – the industry nerds. Appeal to the nerds in your industry by learning what types of content really draws them in, be it crazy stats or an inside look at how your products are manufactured.
Start a conversation: Last but not least, remember that social media is about starting a conversation. Be conversational in your social posts, and invite the audience to lend their voice to the topic at hand.
How has your boring, weird, or unsexy brand stepped up its social media strategy?
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