Magazine article Marketing

Social Brands 100

Magazine article Marketing

Social Brands 100

Article excerpt

During 2012, brands became more adept at using social media for both marketing and customer service and have achieved far greater levels of engagement as a result, writes Gordon MacMillan.

Just over 300 brands were nominated for Social Brands 100 in 2012. This year, that figure rose to 715. The increase illustrates not only that more brands are engaged in social media, but also that social media has become a vital component in how many brands now do business.

'It feels like a far greater proportion (of brands) are getting to grips with engagement compared with a year ago,' says Steve Sponder, managing director of specialist social-media agency Headstream, which compiles Social Brands 100. 'They are getting their customer service right and creating content that, in some cases, is becoming as valuable as the products or services they are selling.'

Multiplatform activity

The 2013 Social Brands 100 rankings benchmarked brand engagement across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The best-performing brands engage in social-media activity across multiple platforms. All are active on Facebook, while 99% are present on Twitter and 94% on YouTube. These 'essential' social networks are followed by Google+ and Pinterest, which are used by 60% of brands. Social networks such as Instagram and Foursquare are used by fewer brands.

Last year, Innocent was named the number-one brand in the survey. While it still ranks in the top 10, thanks to its engaging brand personality, Electronic Arts' smash-hit video game Battlefield 3 has come out top this year, in a very closely fought contest.

With a highly engaged and active community, Electronic Arts has demonstrated how it has become a brand that enters into a two-way conversation with its customers across social media, producing impressive results.

Yet only 20 points separated Battlefield 3 from the brand that ranked 100th.

The top half of the table is dominated by service brands - particularly those in the retail and travel sectors - including American Airlines, Thomas Cook UK, Thomson Holidays, Argos, Tesco, Aldi and Waitrose.

The presence of so many brands from these sectors highlights the step change that has taken place in customer service, which represents one half of the social-media equation, alongside brands' marketing activity.

Many brands regard social media as vital to their customer-service teams. While the number of staff with direct responsibility for social media among brand marketing and communications teams remains relatively small, the number in customer-service teams trained in social media is growing rapidly.

Argos, the top-placed retail brand in the 2013 list, has a 14-strong customer-service team trained in social media. Social-media manager Emily Lewis says a large part of what social is about is recognising that it is a customer-service channel and that customers now expect a real-time response.

'Customers appreciate a quick reply. If customers write a letter it can take time to get a response. Email can be the same, but in social media, a response can be almost immediate. Even if the team is not sure of the answer there and then, at least they can pick a query up, acknowledge it and get back to them. Customers really appreciate an instant response and they know that you are engaging,' says Lewis.

24/7 service

It's a similar story at American Airlines. Social communications director Jonathan Pierce says the company has expanded its team in response to an increased demand from customers for a 24/7 service on Twitter.

Like many brands, the airline might not always be able to provide an instant solution, but its ability to respond quickly to customer questions and complaints via social-media channels pays dividends.

'An empathetic response can go a long way in social media. We may not always have the answer immediately, but our customers see our commitment to finding it, and that's very important to us. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.