A little Q&A with the office family is always fun, especially when we’re talking about social media. We share funny pictures with each other that we’ve seen on Facebook, attempt to get #GimmeDemTacos trending on Twitter (Austin will get you up to speed on that story), but more importantly, talk about the distinctive ways other businesses stand out.

Here’s what we had to say when asked this question: What are some of your brand passions on social media (meaning, what brands have you created an emotional attachment to) and how do those brands connect to you and others?

Rachel: As a blogger, I connect with other bloggers all the time via social media. Though not your typical “brand,” most of the bloggers I have come in contact with do have a specific brand voice, story, etc. that I feel emotionally connected to (sometimes without ever even meeting them in person…creepy?!). A good example is Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere. I totally resonate with her brand and because of that I look forward to her posts and social media updates every day. She has connected me with other bloggers and brands simply by mentioning them or interacting with them.

In a more traditional “brand” sense, I connect with Zappos wholeheartedly (shoes…hollaaa!) because of its awesome customer service. Zappos even has a Twitter account only for service that is monitored by customer service reps 24/7. Can’t beat that! Because of the brand’s awesome-ness, I am definitely emotionally connected and could never say anything bad about them on social media or elsewhere!

Also, any brand that can be witty, have fun with their social media updates, and not try to sell me something all day is A-okay in my book!

zappos twitter

Jenna: After thinking long and hard about this, really what makes me passionate about a brand on social is when they do social right. What does that mean? In my opinion, a brand doesn’t have to post a certain number of times per day, but what it does need to do is be there for the people who might buy its product or service. Answer questions. Respond to complaints. Be the voice of the brand that is available to the fingertips of millions of people all over the world.

Brands that have been more than accommodating to me on social, to name a few, are: EarHoox; Cold-Eeze; Zappos; Fitbit; and Heinen’s.

A recent conversation I had with the ever-so-sexy brand of Cold-Eeze opened my eyes to more products the brand offered. I complained (in the nicest way possible) about the taste of the “great tasting” zinc lozenges and Cold-Eeze quickly responded that it’s constantly working on the zinc aftertaste and recommended I try another one of its products that has a better flavor. I never even KNEW Cold-Eeze had other products! Not only did I appreciate the acknowledgement on the brand’s end of a sub-par taste of a pretty legit product, but I will definitely go out and buy the QuickMelts next time I feel a cold coming on!

Melissa: I think the overall thing that will connect me to a brand is when it shows personality and really engages with its followers—the brand just doesn’t just push out content, but looks for its own brand mentions and interacts through them. Also, a big plus in my book is a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously — it’s social media. It should be fun! I think Zappos is fantastic at this but on a local level, I think the Cleveland Clinic does a great job too. Shinola, a Detroit-based company, does an amazing job using its customers’ images on Instagram to promote its goods. And last but not least, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon dominates Twitter — I want to click on nearly everything they put out.

shinola instagram

Dave Simon: So, I don’t really shop, and I don’t follow brands on social media. I’m the worst nightmare for social media strategists. Yes, there are brands I like, but that’s based on personal discovery and use, and not on their social media presence. But, there is one category of social media that inspires me to passion, and that’s the blogs/Twitter feeds of certain authors. When authors I’m fond of are good at social media (and to me that means giving me a peek into their inner lives, a window on their writing process, unique information I can’t get anywhere else), it really adds to their “brand.” Writers like Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow, and Clive Barker are very good at this.

However, this can also backfire. Orson Scott Card (he wrote Ender’s Game) is one of my favorite authors, but his inner life, which he expresses online, is filled with vile rightwing politics and homophobia, and now his “brand” is sullied for me. I haven’t picked up one of his books in quite a while. So I guess the lesson here is, if a brand is sharing a part of itself through social media, that thing being shared better be worthy of passion.

Jessa: The “brand” that I think does an amazing job engaging fans on Twitter is Scandal, the TV show on ABC. What the Scandal cast, writers, and producers do by live-tweeting during airtime, using the #gladiators hashtag and the episode-focused hashtags like #MamaPope, encourages fans to not only tweet about the show, introducing it to a wider audience, but encourages people to watch the show in real-time, creating benefits for ABC advertisers, ABC as a network itself, and for the television show. When Scandal is on, so is my husband’s favorite show, which does less real-time marketing. My argument always is, we HAVE to watch Scandal when it airs because watching TV is not about just watching a show anymore; it’s about having an interactive viewing party with other fans of the show, the show’s writers and actors using Twitter for that. Live-tweeting, to me, is the ultimate form of event-based marketing. It gives your event-based audience an opportunity to spread your message out to their network in real time, making people not involved want to know what’s going on and ultimately driving traffic to whatever it is you’re promoting. It’s a no-brainer.

I love the way Better Homes and Gardens uses Facebook to create a following and give its followers a voice – take this post for example.

better homes and gardens

First and most importantly: The image’s corresponding text offers the followers an opportunity to give their opinion by commenting on the post – P.S. did you know the more comments you get on a post, the more people Facebook allows to see it? #ProTip: Encouraging people to comment is an amazing way to get people outside of your network to see the posts you’re pushing out. Always ask questions (when applicable), because one thing your social media page does that a magazine doesn’t do, is validate audience opinion in a more social way than websites.

The post gives credit where credit is due by giving a shout-out to the blogger who put the look together. This is something brands (and people) REALLY need to do more of on social media. Why is everyone so convinced that the only thing we should do on social media is self-promote? If you met someone at a party and all he or she did was talk about his or herself, you’d have a self-absorbed narcissist on your hands. Secondly, you wouldn’t keep talking to that person! In real life, people love people who give other people credit; why should it be any different on social media?

THIS PART is crucial: The post links back to the company’s website and offers the viewer even more if they click on it. BOOM. Need I say more?

Kara: The brand I love to follow on Facebook is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. I like how it engages its followers with informal, fun contests like “Caption This Photo” and #CLEZooWhatIsIt (where a cropped image of an animal is shown and you have to guess what it is). The Zoo does a great job of teasing upcoming events and sharing relevant news stories. Plus, who doesn’t love to see pics of cute animals?! The other brand I really love to follow is J Crew. This is my favorite clothing brand and it does a great job of showing new arrivals and outfit ideas. I especially like that it gives sneak peeks of photo shoots in exotic locations. 🙂

lion

Cortnie: The brand that I relate to most on social media is Free People. It is constantly tweeting and Facebook posting about its new styles and always asking interactive questions or putting a call-to-action up which makes me click on the website or go check out their new arrivals, etc. The way that I have become connected with the brand is that I have developed a relationship through social media with the local store here in Northeast Ohio, so that they will actually call me when new pieces come in that they think I would like. It’s a fabulous thing and makes me feel very connected and important.

Austin: To be honest, I do not feel attached to any brands on social media (unless I am getting something for free, which is never the case) However, one brand that I enjoy is Genuine Scooter Company. I love how it showcases the products it sells, through the customers. Twitter and Facebook are full of fun and beautiful photography from customers. Honestly I don’t think there is a better way to reinforce a brand and products than by having the customers do the “talking.” Genuine Scooter even has a newlywed couple blogging about life with their brand new scooter. The couple is fun an adventurous and takes excellent photography. Everything the brand does romanticizes owning a scooter.

Nellie: It’s no secret to anyone that knows me, that I love Oreos. As a cookie standing alone, it is impressive, but then go follow the brand on social media, and your mind will be blown. What I love about Oreo is that every image it shares is created internally—oh, and the images almost always make me laugh. Here’s one of my favorites that came out during St. Patrick’s Day:

oreo promo

It is timely, entertaining, still relates to the brand, and is totally share-worthy. The content it shares is second-to-none. But then, one day, Melissa and I were tweeting back and forth about the cookie we both love and Oreo CHIMED IN with a witty tweet back. I felt incredibly special as a customer but was also blown away by the fact that a brand with nearly 350,000 followers was able to take the time to interact with someone who wasn’t asking for anything or addressing an issue. I think it’s about time for some Oreos now, huh?