Here are some good insights from Headstream Consulting's recently published Social Brands 100 ranking of the top social media brands. While the rankings will likely ebb and flow, just like social media conversations, I found Headstream's insights into the traits of truly social brands to be instructive and useful.
Ten key insights from Social Brands 100:
Social brands don’t just send messages, they create value for people and communities.
Social brands are happy to exchange rigid control of their brand for greater involvement with people.
Social brands manage their brands in a more human context. It is less about the word of the brand guidelines and more about the spirit of the brand, often replacing formality around tone of voice in favour of expressing brand character, values, purpose and cause.
The types of content that social brands create can be categorised as providing information, utility, entertainment, reward, incentive or something that reflects a person’s character and what they value. Brands are still totems to what we believe, reflecting our personality.
Timeliness of response is a critical indicator of social enablement. Social brands are agile and responsive to the needs of people, relishing opportunities as they arise.
Being appropriate in social doesn’t mean using a lot of brand outposts. The use of brand outposts is driven by what is most relevant for the community.
Negative and positive sentiment is acknowledged and accepted by social brands
Social brands create, develop and encourage behaviours that mirror community or individual behaviours. They meet and exceed expectations, often delighting people in doing so.
Social brands are true, compelling, authentic and transparent.
Social brands simplify their intent and continually act against it. They have established what they want to achieve and ensure everything builds towards this commitment. To be a social brand you have to be a good brand, a good employer, make good products, provide good customer service and have a moral centre to your purpose by those that represent you.