There’s lots of amazing brands doing great things on social media. But have you ever wondered who the best social media brands are and why they’re doing so well?
Social media is a great way to communicate with friends and family (especially during a global pandemic) but it’s also a great marketing tool. And these days, any business wanting to present a genuine and professional online presence, needs to be using social media.
And using it well.
Let’s take a look at why social media is so vital to a modern business, what companies are currently doing great things on social media and what’s making these social media brands so successful.
Why is social media so important for business?
Any good digital marketer or social media manager will tell you social media has always been important to business. With around 35 percent of consumers citing trust in a brand as a major influence in where they spend their money, a company’s social media presence can prove a crucial part of its success.
When the world went into lockdown in early 2020, more people than ever turned to the internet for distraction, entertainment and to shop. With the choice of wandering in and out of stores deciding what you want to buy suddenly taken away, a brand’s online presence became even more important.
As we move slowly into a post-pandemic world, it doesn’t matter if you’re a small online store operating from a spare bedroom or you’re the biggest, coolest company in the world, your social media brands matter.
Some (mind blowing) social media stats
It’s hard to imagine a world with social media, so you might be surprised to learn it’s only been a part of our world since 1996. That’s just 25 years. But in that 25 years, social media has become a daily part of the lives of 4.48 billion people (that’s double the number from 2015) around the world.
And if that doesn’t impress you, here’s some other mind blowing stats:
The average social media user engages with an average of 6.6 various social media platforms
- By region, social media growth in 2019-2020 is led by:
- Asia +16.98%
- Africa +13.92%
- South America +8.00%
- North America +6.96%
- Europe +4.32%, and;
- Australasia +4.9%
- 93.33% of internet users are on social media
That’s a lot of people logging in every day, many of them looking for somewhere to spend their dollars.
Any business or company ignoring their social media presence does so at their peril.
How do we define a ‘best social media brand’ or ‘best social media account’?
For our purposes, which is trying to see what goes into the best social media branding, we’ll be focusing on accounts that inspire, educate and make us think. And we’ll be looking at them across four of the most popular social media platforms:
However, despite their millions of followers, we won’t be showcasing any celebrity or influencer accounts. Because let’s face it, a celebrity new to any platform picks up millions of followers within hours by just ….showing up.
If only it were that easy.
So, who are the best social media companies in the world? Which social media brands are hitting it out of the park when it comes to content, numbers, and (the most important element), engagement?
Nat Geo (National Geographic)
Instagram – 189 million
Facebook – 46.8 million
Twitter – 26.4 million
YouTube – 18.6 million
The National Geographic Society was founded in 1888 and ever since, has been an important educational cornerstone for people the world over. Our parents and grandparents learned about the world through this magazine and today, kids are seeing their world on their screens. So, if any company understands the need to be where their customers are in the most beautiful (and financially viable) way, it’s NatGeo.
Even their rebranding to NatGeo was a marketing strategy.
With a combined 280 million strong audience, NatGeo is without doubt one of the best social media brands in the world today.
Instagram – 178 million
Facebook – 36.3 million
Twitter – 8.8 million
Previously known for their whoosh/tick logo (and arguments over how to actually pronounce Nike), in recent years, the brand has focused on strength, hope, youth and adhering to their strong brand values of diversity and inclusivity.
With a following of over 280 million people, Nike knows who their audience are and what they want to see. Images of strong, healthy and active people from across the globe, peppered with those of their well paid but inspirational brand ambassadors, Nike are always their authentic selves.
And they always live up to the iconic ‘Just do it’ tagline.
Instagram – 4.9 million
Facebook – 16.1 million
Twitter – 736,000
YouTube – 262,000
It’s fair to say that the enormously successful Airbnb is one business that took a massive pandemic hit. But while the world was in lockdown, they knew what their travel starved followers wanted…. lots and lots of beautiful photos of stunning, faraway homes and places they could dream about visiting once it was safe to travel internationally.
And they continued to use their brand to feature Airbnb hosts and their homes. They never let the world forget that this too shall pass. That we would soon be able to reboard planes and go on adventures in unknown cities and towns. And of course, stay with wonderful Airbnb hosts across the world.
Instagram – 28.5 million
Facebook – 78.4 million
Twitter – 13.6 million
YouTube – 21.8 million
Another brand that knows exactly where their social media audience is, so that’s where they focus their energies. For Netflix, that’s Facebook.
Netflix doesn’t focus on any movie or show or actor or genre. In fact, most of their own productions don’t have their own social media accounts. Because they don’t have to. The main Netflix account will push out all the marketing material and let their audience do the rest. They focus on their Next Big Thing and get you to share their Next Big Thing. And where do most people go to talk about or recommend something to watch?
You got it. Facebook.
I mean, we all knew about Squid Game, even if we had no intention of watching it. The point is everyone was talking about it. Netflix didn’t have to do very much at all.
The opening lines on the Dove website say it all:
Welcome to Dove…the home of real beauty. For over a decade, we’ve been working to make beauty a source of confidence, not anxiety, and here’s where the journey continues.
Dove has worked hard to become a brand aligned with women feeling beautiful and proud of who they are. No matter what they look like. They’ve released some truly empowering videos, designed to open discussions between women and, most importantly, with young women.
They’re a brand with strong values and their content and images reflect this across all their social media channels.
Instagram – 17.8 million
Facebook – 36.1 million
Twitter – 10.9 million
YouTube – 345,000
Starbucks are about more than just coffee and after 50 years in the business, they should be. Their distinctive Starbucks brand colour green perfectly aligns with their green, sustainable brand focus. Sure, it’s still about the coffee blends and their famous pumpkin spice lattes, but the Starbucks brand has evolved into something much more.
They’re a fun brand who delight in their coffee, celebrate the diversity of their customers but continue to have one eye firmly on their sustainable, green message. They understand what makes them different from other coffee chains and what will carry them into the future.
What makes a great social media account?
Create content for the platform
The best social media brands work with the platform they’re posting to. They post stunning photos to Instagram, bite sized facts or information on Twitter, long form social media content to Facebook and educational or helpful content to their YouTube channel.
Not always the same content across all platforms
It’s easy enough to set up social media scheduling, drop in the same content across all platforms and click save. And while this may work for some businesses, it’s not going to work for all brands. If a business isn’t in a position to hire a social media manager, then some content is better than nothing. But this is where a social media manager with a clear content strategy can take a business from ‘so what’ to ‘WOW’.
The best social media accounts encourage, and then allow for, engagement. They interact and react with their followers. They understand what their audience wants, and they give it to them. If they make a mistake, they address it, fix it, apologise and learn from it.
Their goal isn’t to ‘go viral’, it’s to be real and authentic.
(Although any good social media manager will tell you going viral for the right reasons is a very good thing. It’s just not the endgame)
Build your own ‘best social media’ branding
It’s great to look to other successful social media accounts for inspiration but you should do you. Find out who you are as a brand, find out who your customers are, and go from there.
The key to successful social media branding is to create some digital marketing strategy and, if you can, work with a digital marketer who can create a strong strategy for you and help you build your all-important brand awareness.
This in turn builds trust with your customers who’ll then want to buy whatever it is you’re selling.
Digital marketing courses for digital marketing jobs
If you’re thinking of a career in digital marketing or you’re already in the industry but want to sharpen your skills, Monarch offers quality certifications and short courses giving you valuable skills employers want.
With self-paced online learning, you can get your qualification while balancing the rest of your commitments. Plus you get supported learning, with trainers ready to help you, 7 days a week.
Get in touch with a Monarch Consultant to discuss which certification or course is the right one for you today.