Once thought of as a fad, social networking is here to stay. Social media usage by all Internet users has grown from 8 percent in 2005 to almost 80 percent today. Social media has also changed the way direct sales is conducted. But you may still not be sure the best way to market and sell using your products using social media platforms.

Nobody wants to be that guy or girl on everyone’s newsfeed who constantly publishes self-serving posts that say, “Hey, you should buy this amazing new juice I just learned about. It will clear up your teenage acne, reverse your male pattern baldness and give you the optimism and enthusiasm of your senior year in high school – minus the fear of not going to prom with your favorite crush.”

Don’t worry. There are lots of creative ways to use social media without annoying people. Here are several examples of top brands and the innovative ways they utilize social marketing. You’ll get ideas on how to promote your business, and ultimately sell your product, on social channels.

1. Denny’s

Silly, fun and irreverent are the watchwords for Denny’s use of social media. Whether it is a video of a kid wearing shoes made out of pancakes, or their wacky tweets about an endless variety of subjects, Denny’s avoids any semblance of staid corporate messaging. Instead, they embrace a fun attitude in order to communicate better with young audiences who don’t respond to boring posts.

2. Ikea

If you’ve ever been to an IKEA store, you know how overwhelming it can be as you meander through endless displays in a cavernous building. IKEA has successfully leveraged Pinterest to emphasize the wide variety of crafty ways you can use their home products. As a result, they have successfully given their brand a personable, creative personality that resonates with their customer base. They focus on providing decorating shortcuts called hacks that give people short, useful tips they can use right away, further deepening the loyalty of their audience without any overt selling.

3. Cree Lighting

An energy efficient, industrial LED lighting provider in the B2B space, Cree uses humor and customer interaction to set themselves apart in social media. For example, they asked companies to share examples of terrible lighting. This is an inexpensive way to create buzz as participants will spread the word in their own organizations and on social media about their contribution. Think of innovative, entertaining ways you can get potential customers to interact with your brand and products.

4. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

You couldn’t open any of your social media applications in 2014 without seeing post after post of your friends and family dumping buckets of ice water on their heads. We won’t complain here about the people that wimped out and poured glasses of water on their noggin without any ice at all. The Ice Bucket Challenge, an amazing grassroots social media phenomena from the ALS Association, was designed to raise money to battle against Lou Gehrig’s disease. It successfully raised over $100 million for the cause.

It’s unlikely you will be able to re-create the vast popularity of this promotion that spread around the world. However, it gives you clues on how to generate a smaller concept built around your product — fun, viral and visual are keys to the success of this kind of idea.

With the rise of social media, you have the opportunity to sell your products to potential customers around the globe. You run into problems on social media when you forget that it is, well, social. Avoid talking about you — instead, delight people and get them excited about your opportunity. Make friends, build relationships and use these examples to inspire you to create your own ideas that will take you to the next level.

Sources:

  • https://www.yahoo.com/tech/why-the-ice-bucket-challenge-proved-such-a-runaway-100262238434.html
  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/9-companies-doing-social-media-right-and-why/
  • http://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/social-media-to-grow-brand
  • http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/michael-patterson-10-brands-amazing-social-media/624169
  • http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/