The Best Brands on Social Media in 2023
Need some guidance managing your business social channels? Here are some of the best brands on social media, and what makes their strategies effective.
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Want to learn more about how businesses use social media for marketing? We have some of the best examples! Here are some of the best brands on social media media to provide you ideas for your own social media strategy!
Why is social media marketing important nowadays? The simple answer is that there is no substitute for social media.
An overwhelming majority of people expect businesses to have a social media presence, and 90% of them will buy from brands they follow on social media. Over 91% of marketers use social media, and 90% of them think it’s a very important part of their overall marketing strategy.
But since you’re here, there’s no need to keep talking about “why is social media important”. Instead, let’s give you some ideas on how to use social media examples
With 184 million followers on their Instagram account, 35 million on Facebook, 8.8 million on Twitter and 4.3 million TikTok followers, Nike is obviously one of top brands on social media. Their out-of-the-box strategy doesn’t directly promote their products, but the athletes using them. This has drawn both loyal consumers and sports fans to their social media channels.
Nike is positioned as a brand that both celebrates champions and supports the underdog. This reinforces their humanization and drives consumers and fans to connect with the brand on a more emotional level.
Interestingly, Nike’s Facebook page has been quiet since January 2018. This is probably Nike’s reaction to Facebook’s reduced organic reach in order to force brands to pay for their visibility.
GoPro has attracted 18.6 million followers on Instagram, 10.9 million on Facebook, 2.1 million followers on Twitter, and 2.6 million on TikTok with their visually appealing content. The hashtag #GoPro has become so popular that it’s been used not only by the brand itself but also by its audience. It has become a synonym for action sports and adventure.
Most of the content they publish is videos with outstanding quality and user-generated content that showcase their products. The main platform they use is, understandably, Instagram. Here, GoPro often engages with their audience through competitions and “Photo of the Day” series.
How do businesses use social media for marketing effectively? User-generated content is one of the best tactics, and GoPro is certainly one of the top brands on social media embracing this approach.
User-generated content has numerous benefits. It's free and it helps you build stronger relationships with your audience. Next, it can help to show your product in action, and it builds brand trust. Did you know that 78% of consumers trust product reviews over just 19% that trust social media ads?
GoPro certainly does, as you can see utilize user-generated content in their social media ads!
When the world went under lockdown, this brand came to the surface. Over the last couple of years, it has become the go-to app for audio-video meetings.
When you take a look at their Facebook page, followed by half a million fans, you can notice, they take their social community management very seriously. The brand is actively listening to its followers and those insights are a great inspiration for their content and social media marketing.
If you’re wondering “why is social media marketing important”, this company illustrates it well. Zoom has two-way communication with its followers, actively answering their questions and reacting to their comments. This gives them a human touch, crucial for tech companies who want to establish a connection with their customers.
Additionally, the brand posts engaging content that their fans on Facebook simply love. By far, their most successful campaign is "Virtual Background Contest", a UGC (User Generated Content) that has increased the brand’s awareness throughout their target audience.
On Twitter, the brand has the highest growth on social media. Their fanbase is greater than 1 million followers. Here, the content is a mix of short videos, gifs, news on updates and articles that support the brand’s marketing strategy.
Zoom understands that people want to have fun at the end of the day! Since the pandemic, the brand has been present on Tiktok, where they adapted to the fun groove of the platform and continuously post engaging content such as funny tips and tricks on how to use the platform and funny memes showing the silly side of online meetings.
When compared to Zoom’s TikTok account, we can’t help but notice that on Instagram the brand takes on a more professional approach.
Their regular “Pro Tip” posts are helping users with some technical solutions for problems that might occur when using the platform.
So, an important takeaway you can steal for your own social media marketing is to adapt your strategy for each channel. Zoom is used by people of different generations: university students, as well as older generations that sometimes struggle with tech (the lawyer that couldn’t turn off the cat face filter is still one of my favorite things on the Internet).
The best brand marketing on social entails adapting your strategy for each individual platform. While Zoom’s Instagram is more informative and professional, their TikTok profile is sillier and more playful, catering to a majority of younger people that use this platform.
Chipotle was one of the first brands to rush into TikTok, and it paid off. The brand’s lighthearted social media strategy relies on meme-like content that has resonated in a very positive way with its followers.
Contests are big on TikTok, and Chipotle is utilizing this in a very effective way. Their first challenge, the #ChipotleLidFlip generated 240M video views and their second challenge #GuacDance went even further, with 430 million video views in just six days.
Chipotle knows their fanbase appreciates fun more than anything, so by creating amusing and unique content they were able to connect with their followers on TikTok and Twitter on a very personal level.
“Currently, we use memes in our day-to-day content as well as paid social media. We think about memes as a way to both relate to our customers and tap into specific insights, sometimes even trolling ourselves. We also use memes for social listening as a way to unlock new insights.” - Candice Beck, senior manager of social and digital at Chipotle says.
But, they didn’t limit themselves to just content creation. Their community management is focused on humor as well. When the brand got a complaint on social media, from a dissatisfied customer for the sold-out guacamole, their response was: “We apologize, we didn’t mean to guac in and out of your life like that.”
With this lighthearted response, they were able to apologize in a very likable way, and in the process, they humanized the brand.
If you ever considered traveling somewhere, chances are you’ve heard of Booking. They are one of the most recognizable brands in the travel industry with an impressive growth over the years. So, why do you think they need a strong, if any, social media strategy?
So, why is social media marketing important, even for a brand like this?
The answer is “added value”. Instead of focusing on what Booking.com has to offer (an easy-to-use platform, competitive rates, special loyalty programs), they usually focus on their users. On their website, they regularly publish travel articles with helpful information for travelers and those planning their vacations.
The reason why they have one of the best brand marketing on social media, is because they focus on what users want to see.
With more than 15 million followers, Booking is one of the best brands on Facebook. Here they regularly post content promoting the destinations with images, short videos and articles.Have you ever seen Booking ads with attractive holiday homes and couldn’t help scrolling through? We’ve all been there.
You might not think of it, but this brand also has a great YouTube presence. One of the most interesting playlists on the channel, called City Guides by Booking.com tells stories and experiences about different cities, narrated by the cities themselves.
Through this personification of the cities, they are able to tell a more personal story and give character to all different destinations. That way, travelers can make a more personal connection with their offerings, and indirectly, with the brand itself.
"Booking.com Local Guides" series on their YouTube channel feature local citizens that present the best places to visit in the town they live in. Again, storytelling and human touch are the most important ingredients in their strategy.
Booking.com has more than 15 million followers on Facebook, by far the largest social media channel owned by the brand. Here they regularly post content promoting the destinations with images, short videos and articles, you guessed it, in the form of storytelling.
Their community management is also spot on! They never miss answering or reacting to their followers' comments.
The brand understands that fun is part of their business, so a small portion of their content is in the form of memes and engaging challenges, such as this one, below
On Twitter, their strategy is similar to what they do on other platforms, with one significant difference—here they regularly post polls to start conversations and “feel the pulse” of the audience.
6. National Geographic
With close to 280 million followers, National Geographic is hands down one of the best brands on Instagram. And I’m somewhat sorry to tell you that the reason for that is dead-simple: fantastic content.
Most of their giant social media following are not aspiring photographers, or even wildlife enthusiasts and anthropologists. And yet, there are few things in the social media landscape that are as visually impressive as National Geographic’s photos.
But aside from original content, they are also one of the best brands on social media to utilize user-generated content.
So, what can you learn from this example? Well, one of the greatest benefits of social media is brand recognition. While only a small percentage of those millions of Instagram followers probably have a NatGeo subscription, the excitement around the brand is worth a lot more.
In a world oversaturated with visual stimuli, National Geographic still manages to amaze people and stay relevant, which greatly increases their brand equity (the perceived value of the brand).
There’s no way this list of companies with good social media would be complete without the Twitter legend that is Wendy’s.
The two main ingredients of this brand’s social media success are authenticity and humor. It can be difficult to come up with visually striking content, and even market your product no matter how great it is (after all, Wendy’s just another fast food chain and not even the most famous or popular one).
However, even if some of the competitors have a bigger market share, when it comes to Twitter, Wendy’s is the absolute champion: with 3.8 million followers, it’s way ahead of the market leader McDonald’s that has just 175 thousand.
So, along with being funny and genuine, there is another lesson to be learned here, and it’s a bit of a bitter pill. The best brand on social media doesn’t always make the market leader. And yet, since launching its revolutionary Twitter strategy, Wendy’s has seen a growth of almost 50%!
Investing in paid ad campaigns has its benefits. But, building a powerful social media brand can also have a positive impact on your income.
We’ve talked a lot about how to build a relationship with your customers on social media. But what makes the best employer branding on social media?
Starbucks is an iconic brand for many reasons, but one of them is definitely their friendly and knowledgeable baristas that only struggle with getting people’s names right. They are the ones that directly interact with customers, so Starbucks puts effort into highlighting them, making it one of the best employer branding on social media.
This helps to humanize the brand, but also highlight values that are important to modern consumers, such as fair labor conditions, diversity and eco-friendliness.
What comes to mind when you think of Airbnb? Unlike its biggest competitor, Booking.com, Airbnb is much more about gorgeous, aesthetic holiday homes, rather than affordable fees (or at least it seems to be going in that direction in recent years).
So, it comes as no surprise that their social media strategy is focused on visual communication - the platforms this company uses are Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and YouTube.
In the early days of Airbnb it may have been intuitive to share less polished content, for example featuring hosts, guests, or other user-generated content. However, nowadays the company has a strong focus on visually stunning content that highlights some of the most unique (and often most expensive) homes available on their platform.
And this approach seems to be working! Although personally, I’m still looking for holiday homes through Booking, I love scrolling through Airbnb’s social media and daydreaming about luxurious holiday homes I can’t afford.
So, the key takeaway here is that not all social media traffic is directly linked to conversions. Still, increasing your social media visibility helps to build a brand image (and in turn increases your brand value), and ultimately can lead to more sales.
We’ve already highlighted a few brands that do wonders with user-generated content. But one brand whose social media strategy is known for it is Glossier.
It may not seem that exciting nowadays, but remember that not 10-15 years ago we were all used to cosmetic brands utilizing exclusively polished ads and professional models to advertise their products.
Glossier is one of many examples that proves the importance of social proof. Instead of an airbrushed photo of a supermodel, we all love to see how real people use cosmetic products and the results they yield. Naturally, the rise of social media videos was an organic fit in this strategy, as they help to further increase the trustworthiness of the brand.
Some social media channels are more obvious than others. While Target has a decent presence on Instagram and TikTok, the platform where it really stands out is Pinterest.
This platform is particularly useful for brands with a wide range of products, since it also doubles as a search engine.
12. Burger King
We all know about Burger King’s iconic ads, but how is this company’s social media presence?
It comes as no surprise that they rule the Twitter sphere with their witty and somewhat random tweets. On the other hand, the fast food company keeps active on both Instagram, but also Facebook as a way of connecting with different demographics of their clients.
I may have mentioned once or twice the importance of consistency in social media marketing. However, some brands excel by mixing things up.
Buffer’s Instagram is one such account, with an array of content - from tips, tutorial videos, to memes and funny TikTok-like shorts. Naturally, this approach requires quite a bit more planning and effort than using social media design templates. But it’s a good way to bring added value to your customers, and ensure that your followers actually engage with your brand.
Many brands have jumped aboard the meme marketing bandwagon. However, only Netflix is one of the very few that’s creating iconic memes with screenshots from the films and shows found on their platform.
Naturally, this garners lots of attention and shares with the platform’s target audience.
Or this awesome post that got a lot of shares after the launch of Instagram Threads.
So what can you learn from it? Stay close to your brand. Although it could be easy for Netflix to share well-known memes, they stick to films and shows found on their own platform. At the end of the day, the point of posts like these is to make people laugh - but there’s no harm in reminding them of entertainment options they could get with a Netflix subscription.
What Most Successful Brands Have in Common?
We hope these examples of how businesses use social media for marketing helped you get a few ideas to enhance your own social media presence.
While their approaches and tactics are quite diverse, there are a few key takeaways of the best brand marketing on social media that everyone should know about here. Here’s what they are.
- Have clear goals. Do you want to make your audience laugh like Wendy’s? Or do you want to have the best employer branding on social media, and show your business are the people behind it? You certainly can’t do everything, so it’s best to decide how and why you want to use each social media channel.
- Engagement is key. Producing great content might be step one. But to keep your social media presence active, you need to engage with your users. Respond to their comments, both negative and positive, ask them for feedback and opinion. Social listening is one of the key social media trends in 2023, and this should definitely inform your social media strategy.
- Give user-generated content a try. Whether it’s reposting your staff’s pics from a teambuilding event, or creating a fun hashtag for your users like GoPro, user-generated content is free and one of the best ways to build trust with your audience.
- Use video content. If you are still reluctant to join TikTok because “it’s for kids”, think again. Around 18% of the platform’s users are aged 35-44, with around a quarter in their late twenties/early thirties. Don’t neglect video content on other platforms as well. Videos (or Reels) have a higher reach on Instagram than all other post types. If you don’t want to shoot videos yourself, graphic design and motion graphics can be a great alternative.
- Offer value & be genuine. Sure, your social media is a way to promote your products. But don’t forget that the point of social media marketing is to build a strong brand. Give people a reason to follow you or engage on social media, by offering valuable or humorous content. Don’t be afraid to show your true colors. People value authenticity more than anything else on social media.
For more social media insights, be sure to check out our social media design tips for the best post, as well as this comprehensive guide, packed with social media insights, tips and design inspiration!
An experienced creative talent with a demonstrated history of working in the advertising industry for more than 18 years. A strong creative writing professional with a special focus on creating content for marketing and social advertising projects. I have a Master's degree in Theater Directing. I love hiking, enjoy obscure music and European cinema. I am an avid fan of UFC!