Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The rise of social media has not only changed the way we communicate with our friends and family, but also the way brands communicate with consumers. It is not enough for companies to simply make and then publicize an ad anymore. Companies now see that to be successful, they must meaningfully engage with consumers. They need to find a way to tell a story without overtly pushing a message.
In other words, brands need to become publishers of their own content.
According to Percolate founder Noah Brier, in the next few years brands should expect to post 40 to 60 pieces of meaningful — not just promotional — content a day.
And “meaningful” is increasingly being defined by consumers, not advertisers. Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm, for instance, actively discriminates against spammy posts but promotes interesting ones — as defined by fan engagement with them.
Branded content publishing can be tough to get right, but we’ve found eight companies that have successfully established their brands as publishers.
Facebook 'likes': over 900K
Twitter: over 117K followers and over 58K tweets
This Connecticut-based conglomerate has multiple Facebook accounts for its different industrial products as well as numerous Twitter accounts, such as for their Healthy Imagination campaign, GE Lighting, and GE careers.
GE recently posted a video and infographics on their Twitter and Facebook pages about the Tropicana 'Juice Train' for those interested in how juice gets from the orchard to their glass.
The company has also created 'The GE Show,' with has eight episodes so far. The web series helps viewers understand technologies that are changing our lives, such as solar power.
Facebook 'likes': over 1 million
Twitter: over 89K followers and over 5K tweets
This Japanese car company has separate country and car-specific Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. One of its Twitter accounts, Nissan Racing, posts information and pictures about the FIA GT1 World Championship race.
Facebook 'likes': over 2.1 million
Twitter: over 31K followers and 26K tweets
Sears has separate auto centre and portrait centre Facebook pages, as well as specific Twitter accounts for customers to find Sears discounts.
It also created FitStudio, a website dedicated to teaching simple ways to get in shape. The site lets users post workout programs that have proven successful so that others can try them out as well. There is also a forum for users to chat about getting in shape.
Facebook 'likes': over 2.6 million
Twitter: over 500K followers and over 16K tweets
American Express has over 10 separate Facebook pages, most of them being country-specific (Canada, Australia, Russia, Thailand, India, etc). The finance giant also has separate Twitter accounts for customer inquiries, their UK sector, and their travel sector.
Amex uses its Facebook and Twitter platforms to advertise, but also to post videos and pictures from events they host, such as the 2012 Women's Conference. Their LinkedIn page offers forums for people to exchange career advice.
In addition to these social media outlets, AmEx also owns American Express Publishing which distributes five magazines, including 'Travel + Leisure' and 'Departures.'
Facebook 'likes': over 4.4 million
Twitter: over 166K followers and over 5K tweets
This California-based online shopping company, like Amazon, has corresponding Facebook and Twitter accounts for different sectors -- such as eBay motors, eBay electronics, and eBay fashion.
eBay engages customers by posting fill-in-the-blank statements on its Facebook page, such as 'You know that the holidays are just around the corner when ___________!' The company's followers then interact with each other by commenting back and forth. In this way, eBay is attempting to keep its brand on consumers' minds during the holiday season -- for when they may need the online retailer's services.
Facebook 'likes': over 14.1 million
Twitter: over 378K followers and over 1K tweets
Amazon has separate Facebook pages for its Kindle, marketplace, and books, among other things, with similar Twitter accounts as well.
Although it's in the book business, Amazon has only taken advantage of that fact since 2009, when it started its own publishing sector. It published 122 books last fall. Amazon publishing has ruffled the feathers of book retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, by signing some authors and publishers to deals that made their books available only to Amazon customers.
Facebook 'likes': over 25.7 million
Twitter: over 279K followers and 62K tweets
Walmart has created different Facebook accounts for thousands of its stores, such as the Brooklyn centre, Minnesota and Stockton, California locations.
The company interacts with consumers by asking them to post photos of their favourite holiday trimming onto their Facebook page, and posting questions like 'What have you done for someone else this week?' on their Twitter account on World Kindness Day.
Walmart also created 'Family Movie Night,' which encourages families to spend time together by watching a movie as a group.
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