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How to Apply Big Brand’s Explosive Social Media Tactics for Your Small Business

Everyone wants that ‘secret sauce’ when it comes to social media marketing. What does it take to go ‘viral’? How can I get sales to increase through digital? Everyone craves the digital marketing guidebook. The one that gives them all the answers. The one that reveals how to kill the competition, increase sales, and rock their customer’s socks. But here’s the thing: all the answers you want to know are right in front of you. The secret behind taking your marketing to the next level involves a few elements (which we’ll explain in a minute), paired with the right team to execute.

There are many lessons you can learn from giant brands like Buzzfeed Tasty, Squatty Potty, Nike, and the sarcastic Wendy’s.

Buzzfeed Tasty

Buzzfeed has built its entire brand on killer content marketing. Specifically, Buzzfeed Tasty is known for their bite-sized (‘scuse the pun) video recipes. They’re visually clean, easy to digest (there go the puns again!), and will have your mouth watering by the end of it. This is the kind of content people crave in their spare time. (We digress.)

They’ve built a cult-like Instagram following of over 20 million strong leveraging their strong video content, and using Instagram Stories to continue building engagement on a more ‘conversational’ basis.  

Check out their Instagram feed:

Their Instagram Stories are quirky, fun, and interactive. They truly understand what it takes to create engaging content.

Here’s are one of their YouTube Videos for Double Crunch Shrimp, and we dare you to not drool.

Squatty Potty

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the viral brand that is Squatty Potty. Their pooping unicorn scored them national brand recognition, and millions of loyal viewers across social media platforms. They took a “stool tool” and turned it into a funny brand with an infectious personality adored by millions.


We all know who Nike is. Their entire creative catalog portrays fierce competitors who cease to give up on their deepest passions and aspirations. No excuses, no ‘tomorrows’, just do it. Their campaigns are soaked in inspiration, stirring even the smallest spark of aspiration, and their everyday content are merely extensions.

Though we may not all have Nike budgets to enlist the help of celebrity influence, their campaigns always have one thing in common: the power of telling stories.


Wendy’s has taken social listening to a whole different level. They definitely monitor other rival fast-food chains, listen to their customers, and offer up playful stabs at competitors. While we would normally advise against ‘name calling’, Wendy leverages Twitter to take a light-hearted approach to calling out competitor menu items, icons, and tactics. We think this is pretty great:

So What Makes These Brands So Successful on Social Media?

Every one of these brands have been successful on their social media because of these reasons:

  • They Get Their Audience
    Each brand knows exactly who they’re talking to. They know who their customer is, what they’re looking for, and how to keep them engaged. Start with building out user personas for your customers. That’s a great way to identify messages for your next big campaign idea.
  • Tell a Story…Creatively
    Everyone can tell a story – but how many people make you feel like you were there? From the overarching message of your brand, to your campaign’s creative visuals and videos, it’s important to be able to not only tell your brand’s story, but figure out how to keep them engaged. You don’t want just followers, you want loyal brand advocates.
  • They’re Not Afraid to Fail
    Be bold! Social media is always evolving, rolling out new features – don’t be afraid to test them out. If your current campaign isn’t working, try a different approach. You’ve got to be unafraid to try new approaches, tactics, campaign messages, and creative. The worst thing that happens with a campaign is that you’ve gotten more brand awareness. And is that really a bad thing?
  • They Constantly Improve
    Constantly evaluate your progress and key metrics. See what’s working, assess why things aren’t working, and dig deep into potential missed opportunities. Remember that what works today may not work tomorrow. Be prepared to adapt.
  • Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
    Like Wendy’s, don’t be afraid to be conversational and light-hearted in your social media. It’s social after all, right?


Think about how you can apply these ‘big brand’ ideas for your small business social media. You don’t need a multi-million dollar advertising budget to bring these ideas to life – just some customer research, a killer campaign, and a whole lot of creativity.