After our look at seven embarrassing social media fails, it’s time to turn to companies who are getting it right.

These are business who’ve proved themselves agile enough to respond with grace and humour, often in tricky situations or with the clock ticking. Whether you’re a solo-preneur or a social media manager for a big company, these all serve as great examples of how to get social media right:

#1:  Bodyform Telling the Truth About Periods

After a humorous comment on the Bodyform Facebook page gathered nearly 40,000 likes in under a day, prompting a Mashable post, Bodyform responded with a great video that went viral (it currently has almost 3 million views on YouTube).

Bodyform - Richard's post on Facebook

Image from Man’s Strange Maxipad Rant Captivates Facebook,  Mashable.

Lessons learned:

  • Take “viral” seriously. With the original comment gaining so much attention, it made perfect sense for Bodyform to invest significant time and resources into creating this video.
  • Have a sense of humour. This turns up again and again in social media … companies who can take a joke (especially one aimed at themselves) come out looking great.

#2: Oreo Supporting Pride Day

Oreo created an eye-catching rainbow Oreo Cookie image to show their support for Pride day on June 25th – gaining a lot of attention, and a generally very positive response.

Oreo cookies supporting Pride day

Image from 10 Social Media Risks MOST Companies Are Too Afraid to Take, HubSpot. 

Lessons learned:

  • Sometimes, it’s worth taking a stand. Yes, some people will disagree with your stance … but did you really want them as your customers in the first place? (Plus, those who agree will become much more loyal.)
  • Eye-catching images work. Whether or not you’re courting controversy, it’s worth investing time in creating or finding an image that people will want to share.

 

#3: Red Cross Turning Potential Social Media Crisis Around

As we saw in the social media fails, it’s all too easy for employees to accidentally tweet from a company account rather than a personal one … and this can cause a lot of embarrassment all round.

When a Red Cross social media specialist accidentally sent a tweet from the wrong account, Red Cross responded admirably:

Red Cross rogue tweet about drinking

Red Cross humorous response to rogue tweet

Images from Red Cross Does PR Disaster Recovery on Rogue Tweet, Mashable. 

Lessons learned:

  • Humour works well on social media. Everyone makes mistakes – and if you can laugh about it, you can turn around a potential crisis.
  • However, do be very careful with social media tools like Hootsuite (especially if you’ve had a beer or two…) If you manage a company account as well as a personal one, try using two completely separate applications to avoid any possibility of accidentally tweeting from the wrong one.

 

#4: General Electric Using Pinterest Brilliantly

With the Pinterest description “#pinning things that inspire us to build, power, move, and cure the world,” General Electric’s account emphasises humour as well as their humanitarian aims.  It’s a world away from the “boring engineer” stereotype that potential customers might have had.

General Electric pinterest board

Image from 4 Brands Defying Pinterest Stereotypes to Their Advantage, Business2Community.

Lessons learned:

  • Even if your product isn’t all that exciting, you can use social media to engage with an audience. Humour is, again, a key force here – but so are inspirational messages that emphases social good.
  • Images get attention (not just on Pinterest!) If you have intangible or uninteresting-looking products, then graphics, memes and great photos can all be ways to connect to your potential customers.

#5: Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign Urges Women to “Touch Yourself”

In an attention-grabbing campaign, F Cancer, Women’s Health and Men’s Health magazines combined to encourage women to check their breasts for lumps. As well as a provocative slogan, they produced pre-written postcards for women and men to share.

Breast cancer "Touch Yourself" campaign

Image from Cancer Campaign Tells Women: ‘Touch Yourself’, Mashable. 

Lessons learned:

  • It takes a fresh approach to get a familiar message across. The humour, slight risqué nature, and creativity of this approach led to a lot of attention.
  • Interactivity plays a big role in social media. By producing a Facebook app, where women could pledge to check their breasts, and by creating virtual postcards to be shared, this campaign got widespread attention.

 

#6: Starbucks Facebook Game Promotes Pumpkin Spice Latte

The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is an eagerly-awaited autumn treat for many coffee fans in the US … and Starbucks have capitalised on this with a Facebook game / competition to determine which city will get the drink first.

Starbucks - pumpkin spice latte game / competition

Image from Earn the Most Points to Get the First Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, The Gamification Corporation.

Lessons learned:

  • Games and competitions create engagement. You might not have the resources of Starbucks – but you could still run a simple competition through your company’s Facebook account or Twitter feed.
  • Take advantage of what people are already excited about. If your customers show particular affection for a certain product, then capitalise on that through social media.

It’s great to see companies getting it right … and if you’re looking to take your own social media strategy further, why not take inspiration from one of the examples above?