7 Surprising Ways Companies are Winning on Social Media

I recently spoke at the ASCEND Summit put together by Aweber in Philadelphia.  It was a great conference and I was honored to share the stage with some great people!

My presentation was the 7 Surprising Ways Companies are Winning on Social Media and I am going to share the examples with you.

Is this the only thing working?

Grumpy Cat    Dog falling down stairs

We all know the news, Facebook Reach is declining, Google+ is breaking apart, Twitter is breaking the rules by talking about longer tweets – is there nothing we can depend on?

What is working now?

Yes, cats, dogs, and babies rule the internet.  17 million people watched this dog fall down the stairs. But there are other things working for companies.  Companies of all niches and all sizes are winning.  And yes, humor does work so make sure you share some on social media.

#1 Maersk Line

Maersk is a B2B shipping company that you wouldn’t think would even be on social media let alone have these impressive numbers:

  • 1.1 M Facebook Likes
  • 124K LinkedIn Followers
  • 118K Twitter Followers
  • 37.6K Instagram Followers
  • 1.8K Google+ Followers
  • 1.3K Pinterest Followers

They dove into social media in late 2011 just 4 years ago and have consistently used social media to just tell stories.

I love their Pinterest board titled Container Living – which tells the story of what it’s like to live in a container – who doesn’t want to know that?

Maersk Line Pinterest

7,000 of Maersk’s 25,000 employees are seafarers and social media has become an important way for those employees to stay connected.  So Maersk is also able to stay more connected with their employees through their social sites.

Early on Maersk’s philosophy with every post was will our audience find this interesting?  Would they share it?  If the answer was no then they wouldn’t post it.

Maersk also does a great job with their beautiful images.  Great visuals are so important so make sure you take some time to have a visual content strategy.


7 Surprising Ways Companies are Winning on Social Media


#2 Townsville Barra Fun Park

The second example is from down under – my friend Tracy Raiteri is an advisor to this site.  Barra Fun Park is a small amusement park in a town with a population of 180,000 people.

Townsville Barra Fun Park

When she started working with them a few years ago they had 100 Facebook fans and a list of 100 e-mails.  But they systematically used contests and special offers to grow their presence on social media but also being very mindful of growing their e-mail list at the same time.  They regularly have great engagement on their sites.

They also show what’s happening behind the scenes – your audience loves this.  This short video of moms or mums as they are known in Australian, riding a big banana has 2,500 views and lots of engagement.

Townsville video

Videos uploaded directly to Facebook are getting much better reach and engagement then videos with a YouTube link.  So you have to upload your video in both places – YouTube for search and directly to Facebook for Facebook engagement.

But Barra Fun Park is not completely relying on Facebook’s crazy ever-changing algorithm to build their business – they are transferring their fans to their list – smart!  Here is what they did:

  • Used Contests and incentives for optins
  • Offer specials through social media
  • Grew from 100 to 10,000 Fans
  • 100 to 2000 e-mails


7 Surprising Ways Companies are Winning on Social Media


#3 Damsel in Defense

Damsel in Defense

Gena Shingle Jaffe is the Damsel in Defense – Lawyer with Sparkles.  She has an online legal course for entrepreneurs on what they need to protect their business.

Facebook ads were a big part of her strategy but she approached it from a very smart perspective focusing most of her ad budget on the prelaunch list building using several freebies to get people onto her list.

She did webinars, a video course, and downloads.  We did a variety of split testing on her ads to determine which image appealed to the audiences, which demographics and keywords converted best.

Outline of strategy:

  • Pre-launch involved several types of free materials
    • Free webinars
    • 3-part video course
  • Use Facebook Ads to build awareness around free material
  • Sold to warm market through retargeted Facebook Ads and through e-mail follow-up
  • Used Affiliates to get in front of new, targeted audiences
  • 6-Figure launch of the course

7 Surprising Ways Companies are Winning on Social Media


#4 Goorin Brothers

Goorin Brothers, a premium hat maker, launched a new hat and decided to involve their audience by giving away the “name” of the hat to one lucky winner.

In addition they would give away 5 custom hats to the runners up.  They spent $70 on Facebook ads and $30 on the Heyo app.  The contest got 8,404 emails entries.

Goorin bros contest

They didn’t have to spend a lot of money to get all of those e-mail optins – they just gave their audience something that they valued.


7 Surprising Ways Companies are Winning on Social Media


#5 The Chicken Chick

I’ve followed the Chicken Chick for years and love her site.  She gives tips about chickens, backyard chicken coops, fun jokes and more.

She has grown her social sites so well that she has been approached by major sponsors for her website and is working on a book deal.

She holds a contest each week where she gives away a chicken-related prize (provided by sponsors) and regularly gets a LOT of interaction on her contest posts.

One thing that she does extremely well is ask questions that involve her audience.  “Have you hugged your chicken today?”

The Chicken Chick
Tell me about the work you do got close to 1000 comments, 3,100 Likes, and 151 shares in less than one day.  Who says Facebook Organic Reach is dead?  You just have to ask the right questions.

Chicken Chick

Notice also that she follows up in her comments.  That is important so that your audience knows it is heard.  It’s not hard – if you are going to be on social media, you have to be social.

7 Surprising Ways Companies are Winning on Social Media


#6 Prudential – Bring Your Challenges

Prudential does a great job not only with their content but in their hashtag strategy.  They have a variety of types of content they share and customize it to that platform, uploading their video directly to Facebook or Instagram.  They have people sharing picture of their grandmothers in the comments – make it about your audience!


They also had 61 people retweet this time lapse video of their headquarters being built. The hashtag helped reveal that it was a Time Lapse Video and then reach the people who like to see those types of videos.

Prudential time lapse

Use hashtags the right way.  Do a little research about who else is using them and monitor the conversation with tools like:

7 Surprising Ways Companies are Winning on Social Media


#7 The Streaming Lawyer

My last example is about new technology.  I love Blab and may be a blabaholic. But it’s easy to get caught up in the shiny new thing and not have a strategy for how it’s going to bring you new business.

Mitch Jackson is the Streaming Lawyer and he tells you exactly what he’s going to deliver on each of the new platforms.

Streaming Lawyer

He has brought his practice into the 7 figure realm and he credits that to social media.  He feels that by addressing the elephant in the room that people don’t trust lawyers and being very accessible with streaming video that he is allowing people to get to know him. (Great podcast interview with Tyler Anderson and Mitch Jackson)

He shares things about his family and is very personal on his social sites.  Now I know that sharing these things isn’t for everyone.  But it’s a great way to connect with people online and is usually how you would show up when you talk to them in person.


7 Surprising Ways Companies are Winning on Social Media


You can also see all my slides from the #ASCEND Summit here:


How about you? What examples have you seen of companies doing well on social media? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Winning on Social Media