Tuesday, April 9, 2013

From Venti Updates to the McTweet, big companies are using social media to their advantage

Posted by Dino Anagnostopoulos

Companies are reaching out to tens of millions of people daily by using social media outlets. It is a cost efficient and simple way to get in touch with consumers, investors, and job applicants. Organizations across the world are using Facebook and Twitter to promote themselves but how are they doing it?

When is the last time you saw a Starbucks commercial on T.V.? I don’t think I ever have. With nearly 38 million “likes” and followers on Facebook and Twitter combined, they don’t need to pay for very many T.V. spots. They subtly reach out to consumers using social media. They utilize Twitter, Facebook and YouTube effectively to get customers through their doors. The Starbucks Facebook timeline has photos of their coffee drinks and sandwiches. They post updates on promotions and advertise new products. Click on the Locations button and you will see a map with pin-points on all of the Starbucks locations near you.

The Starbucks Twitter feed doesn’t just showcase tinyurls of Grande Caramel Macchiatos and current promotions. Their Twitter feed also displays their many volunteer organizations and how the average Joe can get involved to give back to their communities.

Starbucks is constantly engaging on Twitter with everyday people.  They have several Twitter handles for different countries around the globe. They also have a handle called @starbucksjobs where they post Job openings, which is a resourceful way to reach out to a vast array of applicants. One of the more unique Starbucks Twitter accounts is @MyStarbucksIdea. This account is linked to a Starbucks website that gives people a chance to contact the coffee giant and offer them ideas for items that they would like to see on their menu. A person might leave the comment “Low Carb Frappuccino” along with a recipe for it. Starbucks (and its customers) can leave comments and feedback on the idea which could possibly be implemented as a menu item. A revolutionary way to keep their customers interested and engaged.

McDonald’s is also keeping up with the social media trend. McDonalds updates Facebook and Twitter constantly. They more or less stick to the basics, Tweeting pictures of their Premium Wraps, Dollar Menu Items and current promotions. The McDonalds Facebook page has Job Openings, Locations, and has new Menu Items on it. Although their social media campaign has recently drawn criticism for their social media strategy on Twitter, McDonalds’ won’t miss a beat. I mean, come on. It’s McDonald’s. They are still reaching out their golden arches to a combined 30 million people just by sending out simple Tweets and status updates.

So, is social media effective for companies? Absolutely. Within a half hour of waking up everyday, I check my Facebook account and my Twitter feed. With large numbers of people using social media outlets, I am not alone. When I casually scroll through my Twitter feed, I may see a Tweet from Starbucks and I’ll be in the mood for a venti cup of Pike’s Place. A status update from McDonald’s might get those golden french fries in my head and I know where I’ll be going for lunch before I even eat breakfast. It is marketing brilliance and big companies know it.

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