7 Lessons on Social Media From the Oscars

We'd like to thank the Academy for these business tips.

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By Carly Okyle • Feb 2, 2016 Originally published Feb 2, 2016


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

While plenty of people debated the best and worst moments of last night's Academy Awards, brands tried to stand out with clever tweets and commercials. Some of the posts were savvy, and others were subpar, but all of them illustrated lessons that businesses should keep in mind. Here are some of the lessons we picked up.

1. Make your message clear.

While the intention makes sense -- Special K connected its brand to the Oscars in a way that refreshingly avoided talking about slimming down for dresses -- this still misses the mark. Though the intention of the ad is to suggest that breakfast is there to support you, the customer, the message is a bit muddled.

One could, for example, think that the company is suggesting that breakfast, which its product is most associated with, is secondary to having a good morning rather than the lead. What happened to breakfast being the most important meal of the day?

There should be no confusion about the message of your company. Make it clear enough for everyone to easily understand.

2. Capitalize on opportunities quickly.

Chris Rock won the World's Greatest Dad award last night when he sold Girl Scout cookies on live television to help his daughters beat their troup nemesis for the top seller's spot. The social-media squad at Girl Scouts HQ should have been publicizing that immediately. Instead, the company waited more than 20 minutes before it mentioned the moment on its Twitter feed. If it's not possible to grab an image immediately, at least reference the moment in text.

Golden opportunities don't come around often, so take advantage when you get one.

Related: 3 Signs Your Social Strategy Needs Help -- and the Solutions

3. Show, don't tell.

Actions speak louder than words, they say. So when you want customers to know that your product solves a problem or what features and capabilities it has, show them. Demonstrate, as IBM did in its "robot support group" commercial, the qualities you want your brand to be known for, whether that's superior technology or a commitment to innovation.

4. Find the practices and tools that work best for you.

The Oscars are dedicated to celebrating film, yes, but the show is also a major night for fashion. Knowing this, fashion powerhouse Dolce & Gabbana put pictures of stars wearing its label on its Twitter feed. The best advertisement for a fashion brand is a picture of an A-lister in its designs, which D&G knew how to pull off.

Versace, on the other hand, didn't show photos on their feed until early this morning. The night of the show, the brand merely tweeted text about which star was wearing looks from which collection with the hashtag #VersaceCelebreties.

Related: The Key to Startup Visibility: Let Customers Do the Work for You

5. Stay relevant.

When Ellen DeGeneres snapped a selfie with the Oscars crowd last year on her Samsung phone, it became an iconic moment. The image went viral. At this year's ceremony, the company struggled to make an impact, to the point where a blog referencing its current commercial mentioned the no-longer-new photo. One touchstone moment is great for a company, but it's no excuse for the business to rest on its laurels and coast. Rather, look for the next big moment and keep the brand relevant.

6. Flip the script.

To illustrate its "Be together. Not the same" motto, Android used animated Rock, Paper and Scissors characters. The objects go together in the classic children's game, but are clearly different. What's impressive here is that they've updated Apple's old "Think different" campaign. Apple is no longer the underdog, and the Android platform is able to portray itself as the new counter-culture company. The slogan beats Apple at its own game.

Related: 3 Signs Your Social Strategy Needs Help -- and the Solutions

7. Make your message timeless, but your delivery timely.

Dunkin Donuts created a gold cup statue for commercial last night. In doing so, it portrayed a timeless message: Dunkin Donuts coffee, much like the Oscar statue, is what everyone wants -- it's the best there is. On social media, the company did the same when it advertised a red carpet geofilter that made its customers into winners. It uniquely conveyed that its customers are winners because they drink Dunkin coffee.

Carly Okyle

Assistant Editor, Contributed Content

Carly Okyle is an assistant editor for contributed content at Entrepreneur.com.

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