Social media is often used as a method for users and consumers to make public statements about products and services. While this gives the public more power to evaluate brands, businesses can also leverage social media to connect with customers. As social media becomes increasingly important in marketing campaigns, companies are turning to YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook to create personalized responses to individual users that captivate consumers in a way that traditional forms of mass media are incapable of reproducing.

Wieden + Kennedy Portland, the ad agency that represents Old Spice, launched a campaign earlier this year featuring Isaiah Mustafa as a towel-clad macho man representing the brand as “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” or more familiarly, “The Old Spice Guy.”

The first set of commercials was created for television but gained popularity on YouTube, acquiring over 13 million views. After its wild popularity online, the advertising team behind the campaign focused on social media to popularize the campaign. Using YouTube viral videos, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and Reddit the team created a personalized campaign that reached out to individuals using social media and cultivated an enormous following. Wieden + Kennedy targeted influential bloggers, celebrities, and news outlets, but also responded to individuals with noteworthy requests, like when a Twitter user asked The Old Spice Guy to help him propose to his girlfriend.

As a big brand employing a top advertising agency, Old Spice and Wieden + Kennedy had the advantages of a vast supply of resources and an abundance of employees at their disposal to sift through social media websites, find the most interesting comments, and record high quality video responses. Although it may seem like an overwhelming task for an entrepreneur or start-up, small businesses can use personalized social media effectively by targeting a local customer base.

Take, for example, the apology video that Domino’s Pizza franchise owner Ramon De Leon made after a customer was unsatisfied with the service she received at a one of his Chicago stores. De Leon used Twitter to monitor his customers’ feedback, and when he found dissatisfaction, he addressed it directly using social media. The response not only satisfied the customer who had received poor service, it also created a frenzy among the social media users who viewed the video and were impressed by the sincerity of the business owner’s response.

This is a post written by our marketing intern Charlotte Dretler