b2bSocial media erupted as a new way for brands to interact with their consumers, and to increase brand loyalty and visibility. But what about brands interacting with other brands on social media? It’s not something that is happening frequently, but the trend is starting to catch on.

While Twitter rants and disses are popular among celebrities, we don’t think that’s the type of interaction brands should be having on social media. So when (if ever) is it appropriate to target another brand in your social media campaigns? 

Maybe you target competitors, or a member of the same product family, or two complementary brands that you think pair well together. If there are no connections between the brands or no benefit to be gained, then the interaction just wouldn’t make sense. If you do want to chat with another brand on social media in front of the entire world, it should make sense for your brand. A totally unrelated conversation won’t add any benefit to either party involved. 

In a recent article, Advertising Age highlights examples of interactions that have caused a notable stir on Twitter. They range from humorous and nice to harsh and unpleasant. How you handle the interaction could greatly impact the integrity of your brand and how consumers and fans view it. One of those examples is KFC vs. Cap’n Crunch, which reveals how an unnecessary insult only made KFC look small to readers, and gave Cap’n Crunch the power in the conversation. Cap’n Crunch came out on top by responding with force, yet in a tasteful manner.

A key tip from the article is to make sure you have seen the whole conversation before chiming in. Adding a comment after only seeing a portion of the thread might not make sense in the grand scheme of the conversation. In a world where tweets are seen instantly by millions, interactions need to be spot-on to garner the ideal reaction. Whether or not those interactions include consumers and other brands is up to you as you consider your brand identity.

Before jumping into a brand-to-brand conversation, it’s important to evaluate the process as a whole and think about all aspects of your brand as well as theirs and what you hope to get out of this conversation. I’ve established these 5 quick checks to think about before embarking on this public conversation:

The 5 W’s of Brand-to-Brand Interaction:

Who: Who are you reaching out to? Obviously you need to think about who you are going to be speaking to before you reach out to them. And a big part of "who" relies on the next W. 

Why: Why are you reaching out to them? Make sure you think about your intentions and your goals prior to beginning the conversation, that way success can be measured and evaluated later. There has to be some common ground and some logical reason these two brands would interact, otherwise it would just be confusing. Ask yourself, “Does it make sense for both brands involved?”

What: What are you going to say to them? If you are initiating this conversation you need to have clear intentions, as the whole world will see how you started things off. There’s a big difference between if you start out attacking them, or if they turn a pleasant conversation into something else. Be weary that sometimes sarcasm or humor doesn’t translate well without a human voice, and you have a limited number of characters to get your message across. 

Worth: Is this conversation going to add value to your brand? Will it increase your social media following and increase your brand awareness? If not, then it probably isn’t worth doing.

Work: Did it work? Evaluate the conversation. Did you achieve the results you hoped for? If not, think about what you could do differently next time.

Like all campaigns, whether social media or traditional, they take careful planning and all aspects of these online conversations need to be measured. Here at Aloft Group, we are pros at producing the right balance of consumer interaction and self-promotion. Not sure if brand-to-brand interaction is right for your brand? Let us help you decide.

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