Does your business have a Facebook marketing plan?
Do you need inspiration for Facebook updates that excite your fans?
Do you treat each and every update as an opportunity for engagement?
In this article we'll take a look at 26 brands, an A-Z guide, that use Facebook status updates that combine visual content and brand messages to create buzz, excitement and interaction.
#1: Audi USA
When Drive (a TV network that celebrates the culture of cars and is geared toward car enthusiasts) highlighted Audi USA on their YouTube channel, Audi ran with it.
In the status update below, Audi USA shared that media recognition for their brand's history and culture, but made sure to show appreciation by including a social link to the brand that drew attention to them.
The result was win-win-win: Audi shared their industry recognition, fans were introduced to a relevant company and Drive got some exposure and traffic for their YouTube channel.
Sometimes keeping the message simple allows your product to speak for itself (but it doesn't hurt if a celebrity is holding that product).
Blackberry got a lot of mileage out of this Facebook update showing Leonardo DiCaprio using the Blackberry Q10 during a photo op for 2014 Oscar nominees.
While Blackberry linked to an Oscar-related photo and news story, they chose not to do any further promotion of the Blackberry Q10 in the update and let the picture do the talking for them.
Coca-Cola released a TV commercial on February 8, 2014, and then shared it with Facebook fans on Valentine's Day.
The commercial had a subtle romantic theme that worked well leading up to and on Valentine's Day. The company's light touch made sharing the video with their Facebook audience seem less like an advertisement.
Coca-Cola does a great job of creating campaigns that tell short stories and have subtle messaging.
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Dove uses Facebook's hashtag option with their #beautyis campaign. The campaign is branded, but relies on user-generated content like selfies to tap into a younger demographic.
Dove's approach is to focus on customer input to help generate traffic and engagement without the hard sell.
eBay uses multiple Facebook tactics in the update below. Hashtags, tagging, an eye-catching photo and a DIY gift idea right before Valentine's Day all add up to engagement and click-throughs—and attention for their Style blog.
Sometimes timing is everything!
How does Facebook use Facebook status updates? In this wonderful post, the company that “wants to keep us connected” gave fans a special gift to celebrate their 10th anniversary, a look back on our own moments over the years.
This proved to be a great tactic for keeping folks on Facebook and it encouraged viral sharing.
Gap gives their fans what they want: a heads-up on sales or discounts.
Fans love to see this kind of information on Facebook. According to a Syncapse study, 42% of respondents said they like a brand on Facebook to get “a coupon or discount.”
Hershey‘s uses their Facebook page to bring “happy chocolate moments” to everyday and special events. This update posted before Super Bowl Sunday gave a shout-out to a recipe shared by a Hershey's fan.
This post did two things: showed appreciation for a fan and promoted the company's products with an appetizing image without a blatant sales pitch.
#9: Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer uses a popular Facebook status update approach. They ask fans a thought-provoking question to stimulate conversation.
When asked to share their vision of the future, fans had fun sharing their thoughts and others used the Q&A as a way to voice their opinions on IE's products.
Questions definitely get fans talking, and if engagement is what you're after, a thought-provoking question is a safe bet.
Got some great company news to share? Jeep wasn't shy when the 2014 Jeep Patriot won a Kelley Blue Book 5-year cost to own award. They announced the award on Facebook. It was a great way to share good news and promote a product without overtly selling.
#11: Kit Kat
Not all of your company's posts should be brand-centric, but that doesn't mean they can't be branded. Kit Kat posts fun facts and takes advantage of popular topics, but also includes their tagline, “Break Time. Anytime.” on the images they share.
In the update above, Kit Kat tapped into a trending topic, Chinese New Year (Year of the Horse). They reinforced their brand with a horse made out of Kit Kats and included their tagline.
Lay's Facebook page taps into the creative mindset of fans by crowdsourcing flavor ideas with the hashtag #DoUsAFlavor. The company throws in a little incentive with the chance to win a million dollars.
Fans like to be asked for their ideas; and besides, they're a built-in focus group for your market research.
#13: MAC Cosmetics
It's a no-brainer for MAC Cosmetics to use great images in Facebook updates. To up the game, though, the company invited fans to be part of an “interactive image experience” by uploading photos to a gallery.
MAC played to their audience's interests, got tons of user-generated content and lots of shares (the gold standard in Facebook engagement). Best of all, they reinforced how much they value their community.
#14: Nitto Tire
Nitto Tire recently posted about the Griffin King of the Hammers off-road race and included a picture of “The King” (their sponsored driver, Loren Healy, who won). The update played to their audience's interests, related to their niche and reinforced their brand (and their win!).
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#15: Olive Garden Italian Restaurant
Olive Garden showcases their food with “Yum!”-inducing photos to draw attention to their Facebook page. That's to be expected of a restaurant.
What's more impressive, though, is that Olive Garden uses their page as a gateway to customer service. They encourage customers to chat with their guest relations team about experiences at their restaurant.
How serious are they about this? Olive Garden responds to an impressive number (more than 95%) of comments/questions people write on their wall, whether positive or negative.
When something is negative, they apologize, thank the person for the feedback and in many cases ask the person to privately message and include their email address so they can contact the customer directly.
Pepsi sponsored the Super Bowl's halftime show; what many have called the “best halftime show ever.” If that were your company, wouldn't you want to keep the buzz going? The update below was liked by almost 43,000 fans!
Quiksilver‘s page plays to their audience with stunning images of ocean waves and surfers and acknowledges sponsors and events. All of their content reflects their mission to “inspire people to seek new adventures.”
In one update, they posted an image from a video of professional surfer Matt Banting. It would have been easy enough to just post the video on their page, but they chose to help drive traffic to a website they thought their users would like. The link takes users to Stab, a print and online magazine for surfing enthusiasts that promotes the culture of surfing.
Redbox uses their Facebook page to promote movie and game rentals and announce what's new. They're also trying to grow their lists.
To encourage fans to sign up for texts to receive special discount codes, Redbox updates include a chance to win a weekly giveaway. When users enter the giveaway, they have the option to sign up for text updates and/or the email newsletter.
Sephora leverages their Facebook fans to bring attention to their other social identities.
In the update below, Sephora used a one-two punch when they asked fans to contribute images, and then followed up a few days later with the link to their Pinterest board where they shared fan photos.
#20: Tiffany & Co.
There aren't too many women who wouldn't love to get a little blue box, so you probably aren't surprised that Tiffany & Co. has a high level of engagement on Facebook.
How to do they get it? Well, reputation is certainly part of it. But the company also takes advantage of the visual nature of Facebook: 95% of their updates include a photo and the other 5% include a video.
That kind of savvy posting paid off. In August 2013, the brand made it to a list of top 10 engaging retailers on Facebook.
Tiffany & Co. stays top of mind by offering related products and links to their fans. For example, fans can send customized cards, download a smartphone app to find an engagement ring or click over to a wedding inspiration and idea section on their website.
#21: United Colors of Benetton
United Colors of Benetton, an international brand known for their use of color, isn't the kind of company that waits to be noticed.
Like Tiffany & Co., United Colors of Benetton creates product-related offers to keep fans engaged even when they're not shopping the Benetton brand.
In this update, they introduced a free app, Sadly by your side, created by Fabrica, where Benetton's Colors Magazine and other artistic projects are created.
Like all pages on Facebook, Vans uses their page to introduce new products, share video, talk about upcoming events and grow their owned lists (e.g., email lists and fan base).
In an effort to build their email subscription list, Vans created a photo album to promote a new collection, The Beatles Yellow Submarine by Vans.
If fans want to be reminded when the shoes will be available (since it's a few months away), they can sign up for an email alert. Voilà! A nice seamless way to engage fans and move them through the sales funnel.
Williams-Sonoma, a brand with a full-featured online store and over 250 brick-and-mortar locations in the U.S., invites Facebook fans to in-store events. Not only will this help spread the word; it's also a good way to entice in-person shoppers, who may have happened upon the event, to stay in-the-know by becoming Facebook fans, too.
Xfinity has a lot to talk about on Facebook. Their page gives updates about what people are currently watching on TV, streaming live and may be planning to watch (e.g., the Grammys or Jimmy Fallon).
In January, Xfinity incorporated Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday into their niche updates by inviting fans to share how Dr. King's legacy has affected them, watch other stories and download a free ebook, His Dreams, Our Stories.
#25: (NY) Yankees
This winter, many of the New York Yankees‘ Facebook updates focused on spring training and welcoming Masahiro Tanaka. But they mixed it up a little when the team reached out to fans to promote a free game app called Home Run Derby.
Promoting a brand-related product that's tailor-made for your audience is a great way to change it up and reengage fans.
Zillow uses Facebook to share real estate in specific regions of the U.S., but that's not all. Zillow leverages their access to 850,000 fans to capture a lot of information about preferences for room styles and settings.
The brand uses questions to crowdsource those opinions. On their page, you'll notice that they use both open-ended and multiple-choice questions for market research.
An engaged Facebook audience can serve as an ongoing, cost-effective way to discover what fans like. Wrapping the information up in a quarterly report or more impromptu sharing of information could also help keep fans engaged.
Over to You
In this article, we've explored a multitude of creative ways brands use Facebook status updates. The key takeaway is to know your audience and what they're most likely to respond to. Give them more of that!
It's OK to promote your company and products, but do it in a way that capitalizes on your audience's deepest interests and connects with them on a personal level.
What do you think? What kinds of Facebook updates have worked well for your company? What other status update approaches can you share? Please leave your comments below.
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