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How You Can Win at Social Media Right Now (Hint: Silly Cat Pics Don't Cut It)

From General Electric to Red Bull, these 24 brands selected by the Webby Awards are proving there is more to social media than cat pictures. Here’s what you can learn.
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Today, it takes more than a couple of cat pictures for a brand to be successful on social media. Whether on Pinterest or Vine, brands constantly need to update their tactics and strategies in online marketing to stay relevant and engage users.

The Webby Awards released a list of 24 brands that are doing it right on digital media. These organizations are gaining followers and raising awareness of their brand, while also providing some key lessons in how to market with social media.

One of the key qualities among the companies on the list is an ability to tap into a community and supercharge it. Greatist, a website that inspires readers to make healthy choices every day, utilizes Instagram and Twitter to connect users to the website and each other. Followers add #imagreatist (I’m a Greatist) to photos of healthy food, Tweets discussing their exercise regime and workout selfies. Tagging the photo spreads brand awareness, creates content for the community and fosters engagement.

Related: What Twitter's New Scheduled Tweets Mean for Marketing Your Business

Brands on the list also found success in trying out new forms of social media to engage users. General Electric recently used Vine to encourage people to “pack as much science as you can” into a six-second video. Using the hashtag #6SecondScience, GE promoted its core values, raised brand awareness and helped their audience learn to use Vine.

One of the biggest takeaways of the report was that organizations can’t risk sounding too robotic or “corporate” online. If an actual machine, The Mars Curiosity rover, can create Tweets that are full of personality, other brands should be able to follow suit. “Curiosity is the biggest, most complex spacecraft ever sent to the surface of another planet,” says Veronica McGregor, a NASA News and Social Media Manager, in the report. “Her enthusiasm and personality draw from the people on the mission, and she has a rock-zapping laser! So the voice has to be both confident and fun.” With 20 percent of adult Internet users active on Twitter, engaging Tweets are becoming increasingly important.

Check out the full report for how companies like Red Bull, Kayak, Shake Shack, and more use everything from Facebook to Snapchat to build their brand on social media. 

Related: How Social Media Really Affects Spending (Infographic)