Phineas The Puppy May Have Figured Out Facebook Better Than Zuckerberg

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about Facebook’s long-term success (shaky at best), almost as much talk as there’s been about founder Mark Zuckerberg’s cold and questionable leadership — even a movie about it. In addition to affecting the oversharing of Facebook-addicted individuals, these social storm clouds also threaten the well-meaning businesses and community organizations attempting to connect to their audiences through these outlets. But never fear — for every crime against online decency, there are social media campaigns to counteract it. Pet treat maker A Dog’s Life customer package design contest and Jones Soda’s labels with customer photography, for instance, revitalize the reasoning behind businesses entering the social sphere.

Perhaps even just as inspiring are the customers who participate in these hybrid social media-customer service efforts (in which companies often pass up immediate revenue for long-term customer retention). In fact, corporate Facebookers and Tweeters could learn a thing or two from recent A Dog’s Life contest winners Sal and Noelle Petruzelli-Marino (and their star pup Phineas)’s approach to social media:

“Phineas has his own Facebook page and Twitter account, mostly because we didn’t want to inundate our friends with updates on a puppy if they didn’t want them,” says Sal.

But it turns out, because they were either interesting, funny or endearing enough, people did want to see Phineas’s pages. And they voted just as Phineas asked, catapulting his cute little face into pet food fame. Even though the constant changes in packaging create some extra costs for A Dog’s Life, they find that the winning pooches’ hometown pet stores and owners more than make up for it by buying extra bags for their famous pet, and more importantly, buying into the brand.

So, take the social media naysayers with a grain of salt—even if the target audience shifts or the social network moguls show signs of humanity, these changes create new opportunities to reach your stakeholders in a way that makes sense for your communications. Yes, stay on top of the trends, but stick to your message above all.

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