Social Media Beyond the Buzz

By Dan Bergeron It’s getting to be that time of year when many folks are becoming very eager for the arrival of spring. Besides looking forward to the warmer sunny weather, spring is an exciting time to follow new brand strategies and campaigns. Many brands will unveil new products and campaigns. This spring, we can also look forward to brands taking social media beyond the basics. Brands have adapted and changed the ways that they interact and engage with customers - both online and offline. More and more, brands are using niche networks to interact with customers and find ways to take social media beyond the buzz.

The spring season is a very exciting time for Likeable as well. We are in the process of planning our annual conference, LikeableU. Our theme this year, "Beyond the Buzz," will focus on how brands are using social media beyond its basics. By now, most household name brands have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, but it isn't enough. Your company has a Facebook page - so what? What incentive do your customers have for liking your brand page or following you on Twitter?

With many new applications and niche networks popping up, we've seen many brands adopt new social media practices very early. Here are a few great examples of brands taking their social media Beyond the Buzz.

Chobani –  This natural Greek yogurt company has already done a great job adopting new social platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. In addition to the brand's strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, Chobani has engaged with their consumers on a deeper level by pinning/posting creative photos and ideas. Something as simple as eating a cup of Greek yogurt can now be transformed into a social experience. Fans can now share their favorite yogurt with their entire social circle.

Warby Parker - This eyewear company has fantastic customer service. They have taken a very unique approach to responding to customer service issues. Warby Parker shares personal video responses on their YouTube channel.  This creates an intimate experience where customers experience an actual person responding to them, rather than just faceless and voiceless tweet.

Vail Resorts - This ski resort company has gone above and beyond traditional social media practices.  EpicMix, Vail Resorts application, allows users to share their skiing activity. Users are also able to share photos, and compete for points and exclusive badges. EpicMix connects the skiing experience with the social sharing experience, creating a fun and friendly social competition.

These 3 brands go beyond the buzz of social media. Each brand has its own unique approach, allowing the brand to engage and interact with its dedicated fans and consumers. At Likeable's upcoming conference, LikeableU on May 15 in New York City, brands will be sharing how they have found new ways to engage with customers on social media.

If you - or your brand - has a great experience to share, a new product on which you would like to gain industry feedback on, or are simply interested in sponsoring or becoming more involved in "LikeableU Class of 2012: Beyond the Buzz," please send an email to dan@likeable.com.

What are your favorite examples of brands going beyond the buzz of social media?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!