Social Success Stories: 5 Best Practices from the Market Leaders in Sports, Retail and Services


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Large brands may have a natural advantage when it comes to social marketing, but a vibrant social community that generates ROI still requires intelligent strategy and hard work. As social marketers from brands large and small strive to improve their social presence, there’s always something to learn from the best.

Recently, we at Awareness, Inc., analyzed the social performance of top brands in retail, services, and sports, using information from The Fan Page List, the official list of Facebook and Twitter brand pages, to uncover their secrets to success on Twitter and Facebook. In our new eBook, Social Success Stories: Marketing Lessons from Industry Leaders, we share our findings from leading brands including NBA, ESPN, Whole Foods, Converse, Farmers Insurance, and American Express to equip marketers with a new arsenal of best practices –regardless of your industry – to help you achieve and sustain meaningful relationships with your audience.

Here are five key takeaways to get you started today:

  1. Know Your Audience! – This is first and foremost. Converse, the leading retail brand on Facebook, excels at this. Converse’s chief marketing officer, Geoff Cottrill, says their success can be attributed to letting the fans lead and “acting like a party guest.” Allow followers to provide content and share the best submissions. Capitalize on opportunities that align your brand with your customers’ interests. Converse’s flexibility and relevance to fans has brought them tremendous success.
  2. Tell Your Brand Story with Photos – Bring your brand to life through photos. Create albums and photo-sharing contests that motivate your users to showcase their usage of your product or service.
  3. Create a Consistent Brand IdentityESPN, the second leading sports brand on Twitter after the NBA, requires employees to use Twitter only in a business capacity, to discuss sports. Curbing personal branding may seem counter-intuitive for social media, but by branding all of their writers as ESPN writers, ESPN creates continuity, strengthened by fostering a professional social media approach. No bloopers here!
  4. Excel at Customer Service – Many large companies struggle with customer service. Complaints may be frequent, complicated, and pressing at all hours of the day. American Express, the third most-followed services brand on Twitter, has done a great job of using Twitter to alleviate those complaints.A negative customer situation can easily be turned in to a positive one with a quick Twitter reply.
  5. Listen to Your Fans – We turn to Farmers Insurance, second largest services brand on Facebook, for this piece of advice. Farmers added a picture from a softball field that asks parents to keep their cool, a message that resonated with over 15,000 followers. The lesson? Pay attention to what your audience likes and which posts receive attention. These can lead to great opportunities to keep the social momentum going. If a posts receives a lot of likes, what else can you do to add to the conversation?

For a more detailed analysis of each brand, and more best practices, download our free whitepaper Social Success Stories: Marketing Lessons from Industry Leaders.

We want to hear from you! Do you follow these best practices? What has been successful for your brand? Share your stories with our Twitter community.

Mike Lewis
Mike is an entrepreneur and marketing executive with a 14-year track record of success as a senior manager at early-stage technology companies. He is currently the vice president of marketing and sales for Awareness Inc., an enterprise social media management platform


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