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  • Writer's pictureKara Maddox

Brands That Are Absolutely Killing it on Social Media

Traditional media can only be so powerful for brands in a time when the digital world is exploding. Consumers are flocking to social media to follow brands and understand their point of view and what they offer.

According to Jemully Media, 78 percent of consumers use social media to make purchase decisions. Drawing users in with promotions and keeping them engaged by producing good content is Jemully Media’s advice for success.

Today, I’m exploring the top three platforms that brands use to reach their audience: Instagram, Twitter and YouTube and the brands that are doing exceptionally well.


Instagram launched in 2010 and was bought out by Facebook in 2012. The majority of Instagram users are women under 35. 71% of users are between the ages of 18 and 29, according to Hootsuite.

Brands are flocking to the app to show off their products and services. Now, Instagram has made the information search and purchase process much easier by offering in-app shopping. Aerie, Airbnb and Netflix are just three brands of the many that are disrupting industries with major help from their social media accounts.


Aerie has made their entire brand centered around body positivity and being “real.” The lingerie, swim and loungewear brand only features photos that haven’t been retouched. They have a ton of crowdsourced un-retouched content that features #AerieREAL to promote their key messages.

This is after many brands, including Victoria’s Secret, have come under fire for “photoshop fails” and holding women to an unrealistic standard. Victoria’s Secret closed 30 stores in 2018 and will close another 53 stores in 2019, according to a USA Today article. In contrast, Aerie’s sales rose 27% in 2018 and expects to open 50 to 80 stores in the coming years.


You are probably familiar with Airbnb and may have even used the company’s services. It is responsible for disrupting the travel and hospitality industries with accommodations around the world. Airbnb started a “Live There” campaign that used carousel ads to feature some of the service’s most impressive accommodations and exciting activities to do in cities around the world.

Much like the ad campaign, the company’s Instagram page is entirely crowd-sourced photos featuring beautiful accommodations. Airbnb is connecting normal people with extraordinary experiences, and to do that, they need to create a want in consumers to take a vacation. Seeing these gorgeous views and homes stimulates that want and pushes consumers to take action and book an Airbnb.


Netflix has become a meme account on Instagram featuring funny content that usually revolves around their shows. The brand also has a lot of content featuring the stars of their latest Netflix Originals. They’ve gathered quite a large internet following and have developed it into a community.

The account definitely appeals to a younger millennial audience. Each country has a separate Instagram handle, for example “Netflixca” for Canada, and that helps showcase the different streaming offerings in each country. There is a lot of speculation about who runs the Netflix accounts and many fans thought it was Cole Sprouse for a while. But their authentic, consistently funny voice sounds like a twenty-something is running it, which means they’re doing it right!


If you ask three people why they use Twitter, you’ll probably get three different answers. Some go on Twitter for the memes and internet comedy; some use Twitter as their source for news, and some use it as a way to keep up with their friends. Brands like MoonPie, Wendy’s and Pop-Tarts have paved the way for other brands to develop internet personalities and truly interact with consumers in a more intimate and authentic way.

Twitter launched in 2006 and has continued to stay relevant ever since. According to Hootsuite, the largest users of Twitter are 18 to 29 years old, just like Instagram. The platform is full of highly-educated users and is comparable to the LinkedIn demographic.


MoonPie started to gain Twitter fame in 2017, when an agency called The Tombras Group completely revamped the brand’s account in order to appeal to a younger demographic without alienating their older, brand-loyal consumers.

After this revamp, they were named the top social media brand of 2017 and currently have 283.7 thousand followers. Their voice is authentic, sassy and funny, without being rude. They capitalize on memes and current events, but also reply to Twitter users and have less time-specific content. Entertaining their audience has been MoonPie's “advertising.”

I personally had never heard of the brand until I saw them gaining traction on Twitter. The word of mouth buzz generated by viral tweets has put them back into the light of pop culture. According to Forbes, the brand experienced a giant revenue increase.


Wendy’s is famous on Twitter for its ability to roast competitors--namely McDonalds. They even had a rap battle with Wingstop and dropped a mixtape on Spotify. With 3 million followers, the brand is great at pushing their key messages, which include the freshness of their food (never frozen) and their superiority in the fast food industry.

Like Moonpie, they capitalize on current events. Most recently, they included a huge string of tweets about the new Game of Thrones season. They have a huge following that is interested in their humor and sass, and the brand engages with them regularly. According to, Wendy’s experienced a growth in profit of almost 50 percent after changing their social media strategy in 2017.


The Pop-Tarts Twitter account definitely falls under a more crude humor style than MoonPie. They actively respond to Twitter users, usually with a lot of sass. Just like Wendy’s and MoonPie, they capitalize on current memes and events. They tweet a lot less frequently than the aforementioned accounts, but they still have an impressive 177.2 thousand followers and many viral tweets. Most of their tweets mention Pop-Tarts without trying to sell the product, which is a strategy proven to work well for internet-famous brands.


People are consuming more media than ever these days, with video being consumed the most. According to Hootsuite, 96 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 use YouTube, but the platform isn’t only for the young. Two-thirds of internet users in the 65 to 75 age range use YouTube and over half of the 75 and older demographic use YouTube.

According to the same article, the platform “reaches more American 18- to 34-year-olds than any TV network” on mobile alone. Building an engaging YouTube presence is necessary for brands to maximize their owned media potential.


GoPro has had an impressive following on YouTube since as far back as 2012 and is still considered one of the top brands on the platform. The brand boasts an impressive 6.3 million subscribers and Using user-generated content keeps costs low and still provides an impressive example of what their products can do.

Since GoPro products are meant to produce videos, the earned media that the company receives every time someone posts content using one of their products is immeasurable. Their main channel features videos of events, vacations, athletic endeavors, wildlife, customer stories and more.

The brand also has a GoPro Tutorials page which features instructional videos on how to use the product correctly. The page allows viewers to learn some advanced techniques to take videos to a whole new level.

Crowdsourcing their content is a fantastic strategic decision and allows GoPro to show their appreciation for their consumers. Right now, they have a challenge on their channel for content featuring dives and you could win up to $7,500!


According to CNBC, LEGO is the world’s most valuable toy brand. It defies languages, cultures and customs by being so simple yet so fun. Lego has an impressive YouTube following and according to the same CNBC article, it is the most popular branded channel on the website. Currently, the page has 7.4 million subscribers.

According to Hootsuite, LEGO has about twice the amount of YouTube views as any other brand. There are also many fan sites, which is a huge earned media win. The YouTube channel features many different types of videos including behind the scenes of Lego movies, REBRICKULOUS - a series dedicated to “super fun, crazy antics that show you what can be built beyond the box,” cartoons and more.

If none of these appeal to you--don’t worry. They have several other LEGO-run channels including LEGO FanTube, LEGO Discover, LEGO Access, LEGO Gaming, The LEGO Group, LEGO Family and LEGO Little Ones. The product is for all ages and by having so many different channels that appeal to different audiences, they keep their market wide and all those interested, involved.


Disney is another YouTube giant. They have 3.6 million subscribers on YouTube and have content that ranges from TV shows to behind the scenes and extra content that didn’t make the cut from their most famous movies.

Like LEGO, they have many other channels that appeal to other demographics and even have specific channels for their larger projects. Think Star Wars, The Muppets, Disney Junior, etc. They even collaborated with LEGO on a LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload playlist. Disney’s nostalgia marketing brings in the older audiences while their new content brings in their children - SCORE!

Social media isn’t going anywhere, and it is time for brands who aren’t participating to join. Brands like LEGO, Aerie and Moonpie are excelling at leveraging the opportunity presented to them for essentially free advertising. If you want to know how to appeal to millennials on social media, read this.


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