Monday, May 6, 2013

Surprise Me! The Power of Spontaneity in Social Media

The following transpired on March 11th and is hilarious and brilliant: 

This wasn't the first time that Oreo showed it's Twitter response time prowess. The following was posted right in the midst of the now infamous Super Bowl Blackout: 

So what's the lesson here (other than we all need to eat Oreos every single day)? It is of course, to make sure that your brand is as spontaneous as it can be on social media (any social network really).

Will Oremus over at Slate published a piece in which he noted that there's nothing really special about that ad outside of its timeliness and the only reason that we found it so incredible is because the bar for brands activity on social media is quite low (good article, give it a read).

While I am probably a little more pleased with this ad than Mr. Oremus is, I do think he makes an important point in calling out the low bar for brands on social media. We're so accustomed to either their dullness or their screw ups that when they actually act how they're supposed to act on social media, we're amazed.

And I think Oreo has made an important point with these two interactions even if they should've been obvious from the start. That being: Social media is not a tool that was made for brands, it was made for people. And, unfortunately, brands often lose sight of that.

If you were a real live person watching the Super Bowl, you were of course tweeting about the blackout, joking about it, reacting to it, retweeting, etc. Most brands think that just because they're not a person that they don't have to act like it and that's where they're missing out. Social media was created to connect people and ultimately build more emotional connections. When Oreo tweets like a person and makes a joke like a person about the blackout, that emotional connection is strengthened because at that point it has stopped being a brand and become, simply, Oreo.

So the next time you think the simple scheduled Facebook post or tweet will suffice, think about what your consumers want out of following your social media channel. You don't schedule posts for your personal Facebook or Twitter feeds, so why would you do it for your brand when your brand on social media is supposed to be the product personified?

Sites like Facebook and Twitter don't exist to help brands make money. They exist for people. And to fully utilize their potential, you have to act like a person no matter what you're representing.

Go have some fun and surprise people.