What Is a Social-Led Brand? [+ How to Become One]

Social media is the top-used channel among marketers and is an ever-evolving space for brands, businesses, and creators to be part of.

As a result, social-led brands have become more popular, as consumers expect relevancy and trendy conversations on social media. In this post, we’ll explain what a social-led brand is and what it takes to become one.

What is a social-led brand?

A social-led brand uses everything about its social media presence, from assets to tone, in all of its marketing and branding efforts. Essentially it is led by how it acts on social media channels. For example, a brand with a humorous voice on social media maintains that same voice on billboards.

Popeyes is a great example of this, especially when it comes to its who-has-the-better-sandwich feud with Chick-fil-A. Popeyes says they have a leg up in flavor and also in the fact that they’re open on Sundays when Chick-fil-A is closed. It made a joke about its open hours on Twitter (shown below),

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And maintained the same humor in a highway road sign.

social-led brands example: popeyes

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Social-led brands are also tuned in to current conversations and trends on social media and use them in their own marketing, like using a trending meme to promote a product.

These brands also learn what customers expect from brands and businesses they like on social media. For example, social commerce is rising in popularity as customers shop on the channels they use. A social-led brand would recognize this and might make an Instagram Shop so its followers can visit its page and make a purchase without leaving the app.

Overall, two things make up a social-led brand: its social media voice that it carries to different channels and leveraging current and buzzy trends.

How to Become a Social-Led Brand

The most essential characteristic of a social-led brand is cohesiveness.

The branding and messaging you use originates from your social media accounts and are consistent on and off social media, from Instagram captions to email newsletters to physical mailers.

As mentioned above, social-led brands also know what’s buzzy at any given moment. You’ll know what people are discussing, what they’re excited about, and what’s driving clicks and engagement. You’ll also participate in conversations in a timely manner, not weeks after a meme has run its course.

Southwest Airlines recently tweeted about passengers on a flight who were given a free ukulele and treated to an in-air lesson. People on Twitter immediately began talking about how they wouldn’t want that to happen on their flight, like Jon Ostrower, who said he likens the situation to giving his kids glitter.

social-led brands example: southwest airlines

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Amtrak was tapped into the conversation and reminded everyone that its trains have a quiet car that is always free from the disruption of a ukulele lesson.

social-led brands example: amtrak

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Social-Led Brands Leave Longer Lasting Impressions

Culturally relevant brands are more popular with consumers and leave long-lasting impressions, so being a social-led brand positions you for success.

When you can tap into trending topics, have conversations, and share content consumers enjoy, you’re more likely to attract interested customers, inspire purchases, and build brand loyalty.

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