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For the next 10 days, many U.S. consumers will forgo visions of sugar plums in favor of Thanksgiving, that delicious kick off to the holiday season’s biggest shopping events — Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Both in stores and online, social media is proving to be Santa’s preferred little helper, with smart brands promoting coupons, incentives and sales via Facebook and Twitter. According to a recent study by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research, 58% of Fortune 500 companies have an active Facebook presence and 62% are utilizing Twitter. Still, some surprising brands are turning to social media to promote both their name and the spirit of the season. John Deere, long associated with farming and, in recent years, trucker caps sporting their iconic green and gold logo, has used social media to launch Project Can Do, a food drive of sorts in which 300,000 cans of food will be used to construct a model of a John Deere tractor before turning to stock a food bank in Illinois. The campaign — designed to raise awareness of the role farmers and ranchers play in producing healthy food for the growing population — largely uses Facebook to engage both consumers and the agriculture businesses it celebrates. The brand’s Facebook page features a “design a can app” and other features such as live streaming, photos and forums to engage farmers, who John Deere notes, are eager to engage consumers in new ways. That “can-do” attitude inspired my Vertical Marketing Network coworkers and me to consider other social media platforms that celebrate the season’s most social holiday.
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems like the potential of social media is as diverse as the brands the consumers who use them. A greater number of platforms can only mean more ways to inspire and engage.
Below, 5 social media platforms worthy of your Thanksgiving and marketing consideration:
1. The Ever-Expanding Twitter-sphere — Social media’s equivalent of a chat room has reached more than 100 million global active followers, with an additional 400 million unique monthly browsers, up 70% since the beginning of the year. Just as impressive, 55% of Twitter’s active users rely on cell phones to engage.
2. Tumblr, minus the “e” — The micro-blogging site is said to be the best thing since WordPress, and millions of users agree. Brands are starting to jump on board, too.
3. Sonar Power — Our favorite new mobile app shows hidden connections we share with strangers nearby. Whether they be friends, friends of friends or like-minded strangers, Sonar connects consumers using shared connections, such as mutual Facebook friends and fan pages, common Twitter interests and more.
4. The Plus-side of Google+ — Social media’s NBT hasn’t proved to be quite that, logging 40 million users to Facebook’s 800 million. Still, Google+ and its +1 feature are maintaining interest and redefining the ways consumers talk about media contact. No wonder experts say the battle’s not over.
5. Vimeo, for other video — Just like Google+ is no Facebook, Vimeo is no YouTube. Last week, the video-sharing website reported 150,000 paid subscribers, making it the 13th online video destination according to comScore. Still, the platform continues to draw a highbrow creative audience who share an interest in both video making and community.
Now that’s something marketers should be thankful for.