After many months of planning and analysing, we are excited to announce that the first Social Brands 100 ranking on Youth Brands, is officially live. You can download the white paper report and infographic from www.socialbrands100.com ; we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed creating it. Also feel free to tweet us with any questions @socialbrands100.
2014 is the 4th year that we’ve benchmarked how top brands perform in social spaces – and this year we’ve focused on specialist rankings instead of one big list, which means that the launch of The Youth Ranking, is just the first part of the Social Brands 100 of 2014.
We had two partners for this report: Voxburners, an insight company who provided us with the source list of the 100 Youth Brands from their research into this market, and Socialbakers who provided the data that enabled us to rank the brand’s engagement. We examined three social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Google+. These platforms were chosen as they are the ones that generate the most engagement. We looked at data from a four week period in order to rank the brands. For more on the methodology please click here.
The #1 brand was Pizza Hut UK, who scored particularly highly on Twitter and Google +. They also came top out of the 11 other hospitality brands in the ranking. Next were Greggs, followed by Play.com and Waterstones. Other brands who featured in the top ten and scored highly on Twitter were Warburton’s (8), Play.com (3) and Pepsi Max (6).
Facebook remains the biggest platform for brands, even though some consumers are turning to other platforms in order to engage. The brands that performed best on Facebook were Pepsi Max, Comic Relief, Movember and Cancer Research UK. Content is a key factor in developing and maintaining a Facebook page, where successful engagement relies on creating relevant and timely content for the community.
The need for brands to create successful content strategies across all three platforms and not just Facebook is important. Never more, have brands needed to be flexible in their approach to social, to remain on top of trends.
The ranking showed us that Twitter is a tool used successfully by brands for engagement, whilst Facebook is more content driven. Google+ remains in the shadow of Facebook with only 53% of brands having a Google+ page.
A selection of the top five brands very kindly spoke to us about their winning social strategies, and how they manage to deliver engaging content on social channels.
For our no. 1 brand Pizza Hut, it’s not surprising that social media is extremely important to them. Amy Mahalla, the brand’s digital marketing manager says ‘it is a means for communicating and listening to consumers, testing new product ideas and offering consumers added value.’ Pizza Hut tries to keep their platforms, as social as the pastime of ordering pizza with friends. They say that ‘people get together to share their pizza and their stories with friends and family. Pizza Hut wants to ensure that we are creating memorable happy pizza moments for our customers.’
Pizza hut have an ‘integrated approach to social media’ and they understand the rate that social is growing, and have adapted their channels to keep in line with evolving social trends to market their products to consumers. Amy explains how they have ‘explored new areas of social, developing even richer, more valuable campaigns for our customers.’
Greggs, who may be better known for their pasties, are becoming increasingly popular on social media. Coming in at #2 in the Social Brands 100 Youth ranking, we spoke to Neil Knowles who is Greggs Digital Brand Manager, who said “it’s definitely a main factor, in anything we do as it one of, if not the most important channels we have in reaching out to our customers. We want to make sure our content is as engaging as possible, that’s probably the first step for our audience.” Using a friendly informal tone of voice, Greggs have managed to capture the youth audience with humour and banter with their responses to customers. Creative campaigns such as #PastySanta have also captured the youth’s attention, turning Greggs into must follow platform. Their low cost value and friendly approach, means that social has worked wonder for brand awareness for Greggs. We also spoke to Play.com who ranked #3 in our top 100, Carol Dray, marketing director said they ‘make posts visual and exciting; funny photos or videos are much more likely to be shared amongst their wider network than content that is just a sales plug. We make sure all content is worthy of sharing and don’t post if it’s not”. From the ranking and speaking to the top brands, it’s easy to see that engaging content isn’t always content that is 100% relevant to your brand; it’s about getting your brand out there and being approachable to customers. You can read more from the in-depth case studies from top brands, in the report which you can download from http://www.socialbrands100.com.
Overall, it’s not as complicated as you may think to attract a youth audience to your brand. Whilst Facebook may still be the overall primary social platform, its growth is slowing, showing that fans may be turning to other platforms to connect with their favourite brands. Successful Facebook pages boast engagement with their fans, replying to customers and joining in with positive and negative conversations. But the key is posting relevant engaging content, that is structured but also has the ability to be flexible and on trend, something which is a must for capturing the attention of a youth audience.
Twitter is a tool that is growing for consumer communication, with many brands using the platform as a chance to communicate with customers and engage in conversation. Adapting the right tone of voice is essential and something that the top youth brands have managed successfully.
Google+ is a growing platform and something that we predict will grow with time, from this ranking we also predict that other platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine are also platforms where youth users are heading, and are a place where brands can jump on board.
Ultimately, content is the winning element for any successful social network, and at Headstream, we firmly believe in carefully planned content strategies that can also be agile and flexible. We work with a content marketing strategy framework, which helps brands create bespoke user journeys to simulate each customer phase. This enables us to work out what content is relevant for each phase of the journey and tailor our strategies accordingly.
If you’d like any more information on the content marketing strategy framework or how Headstream could help your brand, don’t hesitate to contact Tom.firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 02380 828 525. For any more questions or info about the Youth Brands 100, you can either see our report, methodology or give us a tweet on @socialbrands100.