As advertisers are investing more and more each year into their Digital Marketing efforts on things such as Pay Per Click (PPC), Amazon Advertising or SEO, a few clever brands are reaching new audiences online completely for free.
How? I hear you ask. Well, let’s look at the current times we live in.
It’s safe to say that the times where you would go for a coffee with your mate and not feel some abnormal pressure to publish the slice of carrot cake and insanely average flat white online, are gone.
A recent study showed that the average social media user spends 142 minutes per day posting, scrolling and consuming content on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Therefore, due to the mass of information each individual will scroll through daily, it is vital that brands make a memorable impression.
But this is all stuff we know. What about the emerging trend of brands battling it out with other brands on social media in order to make an impression?
How has social media changed how brands interact online?
Let’s start with the best of the best.
The so-called, ‘Twitter Wars’.
The two supermarkets who both claim to offer the cheapest food around, Aldi and Lidl, engaged in a battle of gif’s after a woman tweeted asking which supermarket was better.
This thread of gif’s continued for over an hour until all hell broke loose when Marks and Spencer’s jumped on the bandwagon with this game-changing retaliation.
The thread went viral.
Each supermarket gained completely free marketing through comments, likes and retweets. M&S took home the gold, getting a grand total of 14,656 likes.
Not bad for a Thursday afternoon.
But likes are just likes… right? Wrong. One user went on to actually say “I’ll pop out to do a big shop at each of your stores soon!”.
Combative Ad Campaigns
Alongside spontaneous brand battles on Twitter, there are also pre-meditated campaigns.
The rivalry between Pepsi and Coca-Cola is well documented, and Pepsi’s Halloween ad campaign last year made no exception. They published an image of a can of Pepsi in a Coca-Cola cape titled ‘We wish you a scary Halloween!’.
Luckily, the Coca-Cola marketing team were quick to respond with their own version of the campaign. In their version, they adjusted the slogan to read ‘Everybody wants to be a hero!’.
Similar to the previous brand battle, the two campaigns went viral with thousands of Facebook users sharing them onto their feed.
However, the more positive response was directed towards Coca-Cola’s quick-witted re-bound campaign, ironically making Pepsi look like the campaign villains. This further proves the importance of brands ensuring their presence on social media is successful.
Is using Social Media essential for brands?
Whilst these social media battles provide a humorous conversation starter at work, the real question is is it necessary for brands to engage in this type of communication?
Most recent research and dialogue surrounding this area suggests that it is, in fact, necessary for brands to be seen as fun, agile and aware of the times.
During the Lidl vs Aldi vs M&S Twitter battle, many users on the platform were calling out Waitrose, who refrained from contributing to the jokes and gifs. With M&S Food being the main financial competitor against Waitrose, the decision not to cooperate could harm the company, with people favouring the brand engagement from M&S over the radio silence of Waitrose.
If you are interested in this topic then head over to this recent study which discusses the impact of a brand’s attack and defence on social media.