Social Tactics of the Web 100

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Social media has been among the hottest topics in tech for a few years now, with marketers continuously working to improve their strategy and foster better relationships with their customers.

Since every business is unique, there are many different approaches for implementing a successful social strategy. Skittles, for example, keeps its audience amused with light-hearted and quirky status updates, while Chase uses its Facebook Page to promote giving back to the community. Moreover, some social networks are better suited for specific industries, such as the relationship connection between Pinterest and retail.

The point is that there is not a one-size-fits-all social media strategy. Instead, every company’s social strategy should be tailored to meet the goals of the business and needs of its audience. This doesn’t mean brands cannot inspire brands (particularly within the same industry) – after all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Look below to gain some insights into the social strategies of some of the hottest companies, as named by Web100:

Financial – E*Trade

The social managers of financial companies have a tricky job, because they need to keep content professional and compliant to ensure security and keep consumer confidence intact, while still being engaging. Furthermore, posting content onto visual social networks, like Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube can be challenging. 

That said, E*Trade does a good job at reaching its customers through a variety of social networks, all of which are featured on the site’s landing page. These social networks include Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn. While most of its postings are informative, the company also takes an interactive approach by asking its audience questions. For example, the company posts a “Question of the Week” every Monday to Facebook and Twitter, which even has its own hashtag #QOTW. This week’s question also took a timely approach, by asking an Oscar-related question in response to the Academy Awards that aired on Sunday night.

It is also important to note that E*Trade keeps up with content on its YouTube channel, which can be difficult for a financial company to do. While it helps that E*Trade’s baby commercials tend to go viral, the company complements that type of video content with educational videos.

Lifestyle – Seventh Generation

Lifestyle sites thrive on community interaction, which makes it no surprise that a site like Seventh Generation features the company’s presence on five social networks under the “Our Community” section of its landing page.

The company’s featured social networks are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. However, it is important to note that Seventh Generation also has a presence on Google+ and LinkedIn, despite the link to those social profile being absent on the company’s landing page. The company has a very robust posting strategy, which includes a little bit of every type of content – informative, promotional and interactive. Moreover, Seventh Generation cross-promotes its content from YouTube onto Facebook and Twitter, so that its videos reach a larger audience across the social Web.

Overall, Seventh Generation does a good job of promoting its own content and products along with relevant content from other companies. This makes the brand trustworthy as it is truly providing information, regardless of where it comes from, that reflects the company’s ultimate goal – helping people achieve greener lifestyles.

Retail – Home Depot

Retailers love social media, because it provides them with free word-of-mouth advertising as well as a way to foster better relationships with customers in order to achieve better lifetime values. Moreover, social networks like Pinterest and Instagram are a perfect place for these companies to promote their products.

Although the Home Depot landing page only features links to the company’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube profiles, the home improvement store also maintains a presence on Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+. The most noticeable takeaway from Home Depot’s social strategy is the company’s consistency across networks. For example, the company uses the same icon for every network’s profile picture, as well as very similar background images. This strategy reinforces the company’s branding and makes the company’s verified profiles easy for consumers to identify across the social Web.

It is also important to note the company’s posting strategy, which uses a combination of promotional, local and interactive content to encourage interactions. For example, the company posted a Facebook update targeting Alabama residents last weekend, informing them to take advantage of the state’s 2013 Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. Moreover, the company posts a lot of questions on its Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts, which is a strategy that can improve engagement rates. Lastly, the company takes advantage of the popular DIY trend by providing tutorial project videos on its YouTube channel and home improvement tips on its Pinterest page.

Service Providers – Fandango

Service providers help connect society with unique services that help make life easier, and customers nowadays have the ability to learn more about these companies and their offerings via social media.

Fandango, for example, is a widely used service that provides consumers with the ability to search for movies at a variety of theaters and purchase tickets prior to the movie’s showtime. The company features links to its profiles on two of the Web’s largest social networks, Facebook and Twitter, directly on its landing page. That said, Fandango’s social presence also extends to some of the Web’s other popular social networks, including Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest, however, most of these profiles have little activity.

Fandango has no shortage of visual content (the company is promoting movies after all), so it combines a visually driven social approach with an interactive one. This is done be asking its audience questions, administrating polls and posting fill-in-the-blank status updates. Furthermore, the company frequently cross-promotes its YouTube content onto Twitter, which entices consumers to click play, watch the trailer and then go to to purchase some tickets.

News & Media – TMZ

News and media companies cannot survive today without a social strategy. In fact, many people discover important and breaking news on social sites in our digital age. This is why entertainment news site TMZ features a link to every social profile on the company’s landing page, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube and StumbleUpon.

Not only does TMZ display links to these social profiles on its website, but also cross-promotes its content across social networks. For example, the media outlet posts its YouTube videos to social networks like Twitter, Facebook and StumbleUpon, as well as displays links to its social networks in the background of its Twitter page and Tumblr page, and features a Facebook app that takes users to its YouTube page.

Since TMZ certainly doesn’t have a shortage of content, the company’s real challenge is to deliver content to the social Web in a way that entices its audience to click on its posts. Luckily, the company’s social media managers have found a good way to combine witty captions with straightforward facts to give each piece of content the best chance at receiving high-engagement metrics.

Technology – Microsoft

Technology companies are no strangers to social networks, after all, social has become an integral part of many products and services within the tech industry. Furthermore, tech companies know the value in the reach of social, and often times leverage these networks to promote their products and services.

Microsoft, for instance, features links to its Facebook and Twitter profiles under a “Follow Us” section on While the company also has a presence on YouTube and LinkedIn, most of its social activity is found on Facebook and Twitter. This activity includes a combination of promotional, informative and visual content regarding its products. The company even makes its trivia questions visual, by creating and uploading an image with large text that asks a question, instead of simply typing it out in the status field. This strategy better grabs attention from its audience, which leads to more likes, comments and shares.

It is also important to note Microsoft’s Twitter strategy, which updates followers with the latest news for Microsoft products. This is done not only through Microsoft posts, but also through retweets of other user’s tweets regarding Microsoft products. This strategy makes it easy for Microsoft users to stay up-to-date with all of the information concerning their favorite products.

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Seattle 02-27-2013 3:16 PM

TMZ definitely has the easiest job when it comes to social networking... I get lots of likes when I post embarrassing photos of people too ;)

JamesS 02-27-2013 4:24 PM

If you are serving women, in any way, then Pinterest is definitely the way to go.  

This is not a plug, just our experience: Over the course of a few weeks, we helped a friend's company, go from ~10k followers to over 70k -- nearly 1,000 new followers per day -- with an hour or two of daily pinning on their behalf.  And they say their traffic is skyrocketing (Alexa says their traffic is up 69%, leapfrogging 22k other sites in popularity).  

tl;dr?  Pinterest works.  Pin like the wind, cowboy!

DanC 02-27-2013 10:39 PM

JamesS, was there any specific type of content that worked well for your pinning strategy (images, links to articles etc)? Any other tips to share?

Web Design Quote 03-01-2013 5:13 AM

Putting a lot of money, time, and effort into social media is a good idea for a lot of companies but not all. Some will not see the ROI like others will.

KevinA 03-02-2013 4:35 AM

what would be the future i say

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