Social Media Helps Build Brands

What is a brand? According to Forbes Magazine, a “brand” is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your “brand name.”  It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s romantic).  Your “brand name” exists objectively; people can see it.  It’s fixed.  But your “brand” exists only in someone’s mind. It is easy to confuse your “brand name” and your “brand.” To simplify the concept, think if your “brand” as a perceived impression or feeling that supports your “brand name”.

To help explain how a brand can grow your business, we’ve compiled 6 examples of companies that are doing it all right. Learn from some of the top companies using Social Media to build their brands. Take notes and try to apply examples to your own business as you read through. Who knows, you may even learn something new!

Shake Shack

Shake Shack, once a small stand selling burgers, just had a successful IPO [Initial Public Offering – first sale of public stock]. They now have 70 restaurants across the world and there success can be widely attributed to their well-executed branding and engagement on social media platforms.

Shake Shack’s success has been built using carefully curated social channels and very little traditional marketing. Shake Shack relies mainly on customer generated content that their fans post. Most of Shake Shack’s user content comes in from Instagram and because Shake Shack values that content so much they will repost with permission, geo-tag it and link it while also thanking the individual for the content.  Shake Shack gives shout outs throughout the day to both recognize both customers and staff which creates a great platform for fans to engage with their content.

So what can you learn?

Take the time to build strong relationships with your fans. Boost and support the cool stuff they do online. Recognize them for their efforts. Give credit where credit is due. Meet your fans where they are. Make an effort to give your customers a strong offline as well as online experience.

Take advantage of the “free” content your fans are sharing. Every time a customer posts about an experience with your business you have an opportunity to share that content on your social media accounts, making that customer feel valued and showing your community that you care. It’s FREE content. Should we reiterate one more time? Free. Engaging. Content.

Maes Beer

In order to increase their share of the marketplace and also get public name recognition Maes Beer ran a quirky Social Media promotion. They offered a free barrel of their beer to everyone with the last name ‘Maes’ – on one condition – they had to share with 20 of their closest friends.

What happened? “More than 7,000 people changed their last names to Maes on Facebook.  Maes Beer received over 75,000 Facebook likes in a single day…and 500,000 visits to their Facebook page in six weeks.” – Small Business Journal

So what is the take away for you?

Run a quirky promotion. How about give away a free dessert to anyone with a shirt the color of your logo. All they have to do is check in at your restaurant on Facebook and FourSquare holding a fun “photo booth prop” style sign with your businesses name and share with their friends that they got free dessert. You’ll see customers start rolling in because once something “Free” is involved, people will do pretty much anything. For example: 900,000 people dressed up like cows for a free sandwich.


Social influence is Sevenly’s secret weapon. To raise awareness for charities and nonprofits Sevenly asks people to donate to a cause by sharing on social media. In doing this they also raise awareness for the brand.

Sevenly promotes a charity for seven days by designing a t-shirt around the charity and selling it online for seven days giving $7.00 to the charity for every shirt sold.

The takeaway for you:

Find a charity that aligns with your business vision and mission statement and cross promote the charity alongside your brand message as a partner. Another option is to donate a percentage of profits to a charity for example; for every $25.00 in profits you donate 5% or $1.25 to the charity. People love to feel good. By purchasing an item that gives back, people feel like they’re actually helping a charity and forget about the money they’re spending on the physical product.


“Plated gives its customers chef quality recipes and delivers the ingredients that make them.  Plated uses its YouTube channel to show customers and other viewers how to make mouth watering recipes that inspire them to have “Plated” deliver the ingredients. “Plated aspires to be utilitarian – and that almost always gets attention from social media.” –Small Business Journal

Follow their Twitter account and you’ll quickly learn about everything from creating a five star meal, to how to photograph the meals from different angles.

The takeaway here:

Give your customers and followers many ways they can use your product or service. Share utility. This concept is great because it not only supplies the recipes but all of the ingredients as well. How many times have you wanted to make something but couldn’t find one of the elements in the directions, recipes, or such. Take this example from “Plated” and make sure you serve your customers everything they need to enjoy the experience you are offering.

Burger Revolution

The Ontario based burger joint,”Burger Revolution,” keeps fans informed on the remaining burgers of the day. Sort of like counting down the beers on the wall. 99 burgers are cooking today, 98 burgers are left…etc. A simple but effective tactic that highlights their burgers and delivers a sense of urgency.

What you can do?

Do you have a special for the day and you only have enough ingredients to make say, 35, of the said special? Well, go ahead and try out the countdown approach on social. Post comments about the special, share the recipe once the special is sold out, and offer the ingredients for those that might want to make the recipe at home.

If you are a retail store and you’re carrying (or finally re-stocked) the hottest item of the season you too could try the countdown approach on social media. If your customers feel a sense of urgency to make the purchase you just might find yourself, well,  Sold Out!


Online jewelry store BaubleBar has a special interactive retail environment that uses special display cases and social media to educate and entertain the customer.

“Shoppers can interact with any piece of jewelry they choose from BaubleBar’s unique display cases.  When a customer chooses a piece of jewelry, the display case offers information from the website such as how to wear the jewelry and more.”Small Business Journal” By pulling images from Instagram using special hashtags shoppers can see the jewelry they are admiring on other women/customers and see how they are wearing the jewelry as well.

What can you do?

With each item on your menu, or in your store, or a particular service you offer- use a special hashtag on each item you want to promote on social media and link it on Instagram, or Twitter. That way when the customer pulls up the hashtag, others that are using that service, or product, can also see who else has used the product or service.
While you may not have the special display cases, you could link the item to a special landing page that shows different ways to wear the garment, or different ways of using the service. Have an educational page to go with each product you sell or the products you want to promote.



Socially Bold is a digital marketing firm located in Jacksonville, Florida providing marketing services to small to mid-sized local businesses.  Specializing in social media and content marketing, Socially Bold focuses on aligning with clients, the ‘Socially Bold Community’, to deliver innovative ideas and translate those into refreshing results.  For more information about Socially Bold, visit  Join the #SociallyBold conversation on Twitter @sociallyboldjax, Facebook @sociallybold, Instagram @sociallybold, Pinterest @sociallybold or Google+ @sociallybold.

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