Here's How These 3 Huge Brands Kill It on Social Some brands that mastered advertising long ago are among the businesses that have best adapted social media marketing.

By Eric Samson

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In 2015, eMarketer predicted brands would spend as much as $24 billion on advertising through social media. By 2017, eMarketer estimates that figure will reach $36 billion. A more recent report by Duke University's Fuqua School of Business found CMOs are indeed increasing their investment in social media. Currently, brands are spending roughly 11 percent of their marketing budgets on social. Over the next 12 months, the study anticipates social media will command a 14 percent share of the overall marketing budget. By 2020, that number may even grow to 24 percent. But to spend that money wisely, brands must think carefully about the content they produce, the platform with which to distribute it, and their overall goals for social media.

Below, I've listed three of the most popular brands on social media that consumers everywhere have fallen in love with. To craft smarter social media campaigns follow these brand accounts and emulate some of their more successful fan and follower engagement tactics.

1. Coca-Cola

According to the social media analytics firm Socialbakers, Coca-Cola is the #1 brand on Facebook with more than 96 million total fans. On Twitter, @CocaCola has nearly 3.2 million followers. But the team behind Coke realizes there is more to social media than likes, follows and reshares. Coca-Cola's Wendy Clark, senior vice president of integrated marketing communications and capabilities, knows, "No single medium is as strong as the combination of media. We see this first-hand in our campaigns that integrate TV and social. We know our target consumers -- teens and young adults -- are consuming media on multiple screens in single sessions. This means the TV is on, a laptop is open and a smartphone is in hand. For marketers, this requires having a single, integrated conversation across those screens. When we do this well, we create significantly higher impact than any of those screens could do on their own."

Coca-Cola is a brilliant example of how brands should use social media -- not as a siloed marketing channel but one that's integrated with other marketing initiatives to improve the overall impact of their marketing messages.

Related: How to Craft Your Social Media Marketing Plan

2. Denny's

On Twitter, @DennysDiner is popular for dishing out a daily dose of snark, and while being too quirky has often backfired for brands, Denny's has developed a voice and personality customers, fans and followers actually engage with. For Entrepreneur, Kate Taylor reports, "[Denny's] sometimes bizarre social-media strategy has been amazingly successful for the brand." She also writes, "Since July 2013, when [marketing agency] Erwin Penland started handling Denny's social media, the brand has increased follow and fan growth by 150 percent, with 1,800-plus average engagements per post. That brings Denny's to a total of more than 900 million social impressions and 15 million engagements in the last two years."

Denny's CMO John Dillon attributes part of the brand's social media success to Erwin Penland's strategic decision to recruit team members with experience in film, writing and other creative industries making the content more natural, genuine and spontaneous.

Related: Social-Media Marketing Is Not Dead: 10 Companies That Are Still Rocking It

3. UFC

A few years back, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) created financial incentives for its most followed fighters. Known as the "Twitter bonus," fighters with either the largest number of followers, fastest follower growth rate or most creative tweets were eligible to earn extra cash. But the UFC didn't just send its fighters out into the social media ring alone. Sports analyst Emmet Ryan notes, "The [UFC] brought in professionals to help the 200 fighters on the roster learn how to use Twitter to engage with their fans." With proper training and the right incentives, UFC fighters became active, vocal advocates of the brand who strategically used Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to build their own audience while growing the overall UFC fan base.

Related: How to Save at Least 2 Hours Per Week on Social-Media Marketing

Other businesses can mimic this approach by encouraging employee advocacy. Team members can share company content as a way to expand brand reach and improve their personal brand.

Eric Samson

Founder of Group8A

Eric Samson is the founder of Group8A, a boutique consulting firm focused on developing and executing integrated marketing and digital solutions for companies of all sizes.


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