8 brands that rule at social media

Getting social media right isn't easy, but it's an essential tool for brands wanting to keep themselves in the minds of their customers. All too many companies set up social media accounts and then either forget about them or use them as a straight marketing channel. That's never a good look, regardless of how impressive your Instagram fonts are.

To give you some ideas on how to create a social presence that'll reel the punters in, we've found eight brands that are killing it on social media right now. Whether you want to work across multiple social media platforms, develop a distinctive brand voice that customers will identify with, or simply promote your brands in ways that traditional marketing techniques don't allow for, you'll find some inspiration here. 

(Note that we've included the brands killing it on more traditional social media platforms, but you can read all you need to know about the popular TikTok app here.)

01. Lego

Social media brands: Lego

Lego's Instagram account is where it's at (Image credit: Lego)

With over 13 million Facebook fans and more than 600,000 Twitter followers, Lego is a titan of social media, which isn't surprising given its position as one of the world's leading toy brands. The brand has a never-ending stream of cool new stuff as well as an openness to suggestions through its Lego Ideas portal. 

But it's on Instagram – where "everything is awesome" and it has a cool 4.5 million followers – that really Lego stands out; Instagram's visual nature makes it the perfect place for Lego to showcase inspiring projects and new product launches to swallow up your disposable income.

02. KFC

Smart brands know their audiences and how to address them, and some of the best-performing brands on social media are the ones that nail a brand voice that might not sit well in the board room but cuts right through to the target market. KFC is a master of this, not only through its main account but also its international franchises. Take for example this epic shade thrown at the Conservative party by the UK KFC account:

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Our favourite thing about KFC on Twitter, though? Well-known for its secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices, its main Twitter account follows just 11 people:

When you get it, you'll get it (Image credit: KFC)

03. Charmin

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Social media's a lot more relaxed than other promotional channels, meaning that brands can often use it to say what they can't in their more traditional campaigns. For example, toilet paper adverts have always been dressed up in assorted euphemisms, generally focused on comparing its softness to assorted cute fluffy animals rather than ever addressing what it's actually used for.

For US toilet paper brand Charmin, though, when it comes to Twitter, the gloves are off. It still makes a big deal about how soft its paper is and gets a lot of mileage out of its bear mascot, but it doesn't shy away from the nitty gritty of toilet paper and it makes liberal use of the poop emoji, and for that we love it.

04. Paddy Power

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Regardless of how you feel about gambling, it's hard not to at least feel a little grudging admiration for the way in which Paddy Power has revitalised the industry's image. 

Gambling used to be all about grim-looking high street betting shops, but with its killer eye for mischief and controversy, Paddy Power has shaken things up a lot, and its Twitter presence radiates its own particular brand personality. It's a non-stop stream of sports talk – and accompanying odds – but alongside that it's never afraid to tackle bigger issues.

05. Disney

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When you're as big as Disney and have so much beloved content to draw upon, even a half-hearted social media presence would do the job. So it's to Disney's credit that it nails its social game, with some staggering numbers to prove the point: 52 million Facebook fans, 6.4 million Twitter followers and another 20 million on Instagram. 

As with Lego, it's probably on Instagram that Disney's image and video-let social feed works best, but its greatest recent use of social media came when it summoned all its assorted properties to move to its new streaming service, and they all responded in kind. 

06. Casper

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Sleeping's great. Everyone loves a good slumber, and industry disrupting sleep brand Casper loves to play on this in its social media output, with a great line in photos of cute sleepy animals that are guaranteed to ramp up the 'Awww!' factor. Right now it's pulling out all the sleepy stops for 'Sleptember', a month dedicated to celebrating all things sleep; we're not sure it's going to catch on, but we love its dedication.

Social media brands: Casper

Get some snoozey listening on the Casper Sleep Channel (Image credit: Casper)

As a hungry challenger brand, Casper is active across all the usual social media platforms, as well as some you might not expect. For the most unlikely – and brilliant – piece of social media marketing, check out the Casper Sleep Channel on Spotify: "a magical slumberland of sounds, meditations, and bedtime stories to help you sleep". Nighty night.

07. MoonPie

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We're not entirely sure what a MoonPie is – to our UK-based eyes it looks a bit like a Wagon Wheel, and that's fine by us – but we're utterly entranced by its Twitter feed. 

It's a glorious stream of consciousness with a flagrant disregard for punctuation, apparently written by a hapless, MoonPie-obsessed social media intern. It's clearly aimed directly at the younger market and is so beautifully observed. We're unlikely to ever eat a MoonPie but we've still given it an enthusiastic follow.

08. Pop-Tarts

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The official Kellogg's Twitter account has its moments, but it seems to spend more time responding to consumer complaints than sharing hot content. Its Pop-Tarts brand, though, absolutely nails it – and has more than double the followers of the corporate brand to show for it. 

Again, it's a brand aimed at the younger market, and the tone reflects this; like the MoonPie account it's super-casual and occasionally wonderfully edgy – check out its tweet from 20 April this year for a great example that the kids will get but a lot of adults won't.

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Jim McCauley

Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.