As social media use continues to grow, brands and advertisers continue to experiment in the space- but have they learned what followers want from them? The Spring issue of OMMA discusses social standouts, first identifying the path all social media campaigns seem to follow. Step one is typically a collection phase, gaining followers to grow the audience. But then what? Fans are often left waiting for relevant content about their favorite brands. In fact, 49% of consumers polled in a CMO Council study said the top reason they liked a brand on Facebook was because they were “loyal customers”. In the same study, when marketers were then asked why consumers liked their brands on Facebook, the “loyal customer” response ranked sixth out of eight.

While many marketers are missing the mark, some are hitting it out of the park. Many companies use social media as a CRM and customer retention tool, but few are doing it as well as King Arthur Flour. The brand has over 60,000 fans on Facebook and nearly 13,000 followers on Twitter. How does an employee-owned flour company put up such impressive statistics? Listening. Their personable accounts respond to customer comments and inquiries with “honest, personal answers”. The company’s employees, including bakers, are able to respond with a personal touch as they interact with the product on a daily basis. The consumer feedback is also used to develop content and products which reflect customer ideas and needs.

Brands can also activate their social fans by offering perks and rewards to followers, most effectively through promotions which allow consumers to further declare their brand loyalty and share with others. Heinz recently did just that with their “Get Well Soup” Facebook campaign in the UK. Cold and flu season led to many sending get well wishes to sick friends and family. Instead of buying a greeting card and soup at the store, the Heinz Facebook app enabled followers to send personalized cans of soup to their ailing friends through the social network for about the same cost as a greeting card.

The campaign enabled Heinz to double its follower count to more than 32,000, and the app logged over 40,000 in-app interactions. At the end of the campaign, 2,127 cans of personalized tomato and chicken soup were ordered and delivered. Heinz viewed the campaign as a creative, engaging branding campaign as opposed to a revenue-driving activity. The brand views Facebook as, “a tool where we can reward our most loyal fans and receive feedback and ideas. It’s ideal for building excitement and for fostering brand advocacy." Heinz was able to find success through targeting a unique offering to those who are most likely to be receptive.

Have you seen brands execute creative and successful social campaigns? Share your thoughts in the comments.