American Express could be called a relative newcomer to the social media scene, making its first appearance on Twitter in 2009. But being a late comer to the party hasn’t held the company back from making a grand entrance with big strategies and programs to back them up.
The credit card company currently has almost 2.5 million Facebook fans and just over half a million Twitter followers under the @AmericanExpress account. So what can we learn about social media from a company that went from zero just a couple years ago to being called a “real winner” by Advertising Age? Plenty.
It’s true, American Express already had myriads of passionate fans out there from the customer service focused line of credit cards and the variety of other company offerings. The goal was to bring that passion online and to the social networks to get people talking and sharing their stories on their preferred social network. They are not only on Facebook and Twitter, but also YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare and even the rewards system in Zynga’s FarmVille game.
The Small Business Saturday campaign and the Sync social spending program are among the biggest strategies that have helped them gain the online following they desired.
“Our mission is to be everywhere our Cardmembers and merchants are,” said Leslie Berland, senior vice president of digital partnerships and development for American Express. “To engage with them, service them, deliver unique value that’s shareable and create seamless digital experiences that surprise and delight.”
The Small Business Saturday Facebook page actually rivals the company’s main page with 2.8 million fans. The initiative encouraged consumers to support small businesses by shopping at them between the biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The company offered a credit in return for spending a minimum amount at a qualifying small business. The company started an online movement in support of small business with almost 195,000 tweets mentioning the initiative.
The company is continuing to support small businesses and announced earlier this week that they were giving away a $25,000 makeover to five small businesses. American Express has taken the social media spotlight away from a “me, me, me” focus and is helping small businesses that can really use their support. It’s a win-win strategy.
The key is both consumers and merchants are engaging with the brand on a very tangible level.
Who doesn’t love getting a bargain on something they were already planning on buying? The Sync program was first launched last summer on Foursquare and then Facebook with the “Link, Like, Love” campaign. Earlier this year they finally brought the program to Twitter.
When you link your American Express account with the various social media sites the savings can be big. They have established partnerships with companies like Best Buy, Whole Foods and McDonald’s. For example, one current offering is if you tweet #AmexProFlowers you could get 20 percent off a purchase of $29.99 or more from ProFlowers.com when you have synced your American Express card with your Twitter account.
Here’s a video explaining it in more detail:
Using smart strategies in their social media campaign has helped the company reach important business goals including raising brand awareness, increasing sales and continuing to build customer loyalty.
About the author
Early on Kellie realized she wanted to pursue a career helping businesses with their communication needs. She interned as a reporter during high school at a local paper and served as editor-in-chief of her college paper, leading the team to several national awards. But that was just her younger years. Kellie has led public relations efforts for major brands in hospitality, consumer goods and non-profit sectors, helping them secure placements in top media outlets including USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and 20/20. Outside of work you will find Kellie jet setting around the world, doing art projects and enjoying all that Utah has to offer. Kellie graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in mass communications with an emphasis in public relations and hospitality and tourism.