Let's see... Website. Check. Twitter account. Check. Facebook Page. Check. LinkedIn Profile. Check. Now I can sit back and watch the waves of new leads from social networks come in and buy my stuff, right? Not quite. You see there's social, and then there's social. Here's how some well known brands get it right and others that just don't get it.
Kubota - Grade F
I'm going to pick on Kubota because I live in the country and I love tractors. I own a Kubota tractor. I would love to jump on their website and/or social media sites to chat it up with other owners and support people, maybe even the CEO and find out what's going on at Kubota. I think a social network for tractor operators would be cool and popular. Well, forget about it. There's not a trace of anything interactive on their website (kubota.com). No blog, no social media links, nada. In fact it looks like their site is about 10 years old and hasn't been touched since 2000, except for maybe a product update or two and a news release here and there. Kubota is missing a huge opportunity to connect with owners like me, build a community, and increase sales directly from potential buyers online. Maybe they have something in the works, but come on guys. The clock is ticking.
J. P. Morgan Chase - Grade D
Yes, I'm a customer of J. P. Morgan Chase, so I have searched for a social media presence for the same reasons as Kubota. OK, there's a Facebook Page that says "Our goal is to make this Community Page the best collection of shared knowledge on this topic." What topic? There are only six "likes" and no sign of any updates by the company. In fact there are quite a few negative comments in the Related Posts area and no one from Chase commenting in return. There are no links from the main website, which helps to explain the lack of interest. There is a Chase Community Giving (Facebook) Page with over 1.9 million likes, so that's impressive, but again, no link from the corporate home page and no updates since January 2010. It's now the end of April. There has been quite a bit of negative reaction to the Community Giving campaign, and again, a company has missed the opportunity to answer the negative publicity and reinforce its brand reputation via social media.
Nissan USA - Grade C
Sticking with companies who have a bunch of my money, let's look at Nissan. Now Nissan has a nice Facebook page with over 42,000 likes. Cool graphics and lots of recent updates. They engage commenters regularly and really show off their products with lots of photos and videos. Having said that, there's almost no mention of it on the corporate website. It's as if Nissan management is skeptical of social media and ashamed to link to it from their home page. Strange social media marketing strategy. You would think that engaging all ages in all places would be the way to go, especially with all of the negative publicity for automotive companies. Weird.
Starbucks - Grade A
Starbucks gets it. They're everywhere in social media and they brag about it. With nearly 7 million Facebook likes and 850,000+ followers on Twitter, these guys are all over it. They interact constantly from the C-Suite down to the lowliest of Baristas. They create great content on a regular schedule and run all kinds of popular promotions. They even have their own social network called My Starbucks Idea. Brilliant. You could argue that social media was made for Starbucks, but the truth is, anyone could have the same success with a good strategy and a commitment to using social media the right way.
What's the right way? That's up to you, but brands that commit to social media and make it part of their culture are running away with the prize money. Many are exploring it, trying to figure out what to do and say. Meanwhile, early adopters are building a loyal following and making a killing at the same time.
How is your company embracing and profiting from social media?