Social media advertising examples

As brands strategize about how best to use social media to talk to consumers, they're also increasingly talking to each other. The hope - whether the banter is friendly or catty - is to capture some recognition for being clever and quick, all the better to get attention and followers on platforms like Twitter.

360i's Sarah Hofstetter 360i's Sarah Hofstetter

The practice is not yet widespread, largely because of concerns from marketers' legal departments. But some are finding ways to navigate that challenge. Charmin, for example, tweets primarily at other Procter & Gamble brands to keep things in the family.

And instances of un-orchestrated, organic social media exchanges have been increasing in the last year or two, 360i President Sarah Hofstetter said. In the case of client Oreo's exchange with Kit-Kat, the chocolate bar brand started things and Oreo chose to respond.

"A lot of it is about striking the right match, " she said. "The more that brands see others doing it well, the more comfortable they are."

Some marketers are most at ease responding after another brand initiates contact. That's been the case with Cap'n Crunch, and the strategy has helped it avoid coming off as grasping and trying to ride on someone else's coattails, according to community manager Andrew Cunningham at digital agency Huge. "'Only respond when approached' has worked to their benefit because we never look desperate, " he said.

Another important tip is to do some homework before jumping into a conversation. It's unwise to respond to one tweet without looking to see if it was part of a bigger thread that alters the meaning of it, Mr. Cunningham pointed out. In that case, a brand might come off as too aggressive. "One tweet might not be reflective of what you're replying to, " he said.

Check out our list of brands that engage in banter below.

1. KFC and Cap'n Crunch. Colonel Sanders and Cap'n Crunch acted the parts of grumpy old men when KFC responded to a Twitter user and called the captain a "has been." Cap'n Crunch took umbrage at that.

Huge's Mr. Cunningham expanded on the strategy: "KFC came at us pretty hard, and at that point we had full license to zing them back."

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The users' latest complaint included the addition of allegations concerning Google's plan, "Emerald Sea," which was unveiled as early as May 2010 with the apparent objective to reinvent Google as a social media advertising company. "The plan's ..

The MIT Press New Digital Media and Learning as an Emerging Area and "Worked Examples" as One Way Forward (The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning)
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