In theory, social media should be a dynamite way to interact with customers inspiring them to spread the good word. In practice, social media efforts often fizzle out as conversations devolve into monologues and so-called fans act more like detractors.  Which makes the success of the few Award Winning CMOs quoted below all the more impressive. These folks have found the formula to make social media a bright spot in their marketing plans. The special ingredients, among others, include a dash of personality, timely relevance and a commitment to community. Bring them together on the proper platform and perhaps you too can spark up your social media initiatives!  Or at minimum, at least you now know with whom to consult.

1. Establish Your Brand Voice with a Bang—Loren Angelo, Audi:

“We identified an opportunity to engage a conversation with America through social media several years ago. It was the ideal platform to reinforce our provocative messages while establishing a clear voice for the brand. While our fan base has grown organically from our engaging content, we’ve established Audi in over 10 social media channels. Each has its own engaging characteristics for that community, but we’ve found Instagram to be an increasingly enthusiastic and responsive channel that has grown exponentially because of the personalized, visual nature of the content.”

2. Light the Fuse on Conversation—Kieran Hannon, Belkin International:

“Social media lets you be front and center—with customers, partners and other industry peers. I love it. For instance, Hudson News is a big partner and we have done some interesting promotions together amplified via social media. But all of their team, from the CEO across the board, are completely engaged. It allows for that real time feedback loop. I get such a kick out of it. Can’t believe more CMOs aren’t on Twitter.”

3. Send Smoke Signals to a Broader Audience—Bob Kraut, Papa John’s:

“We use social media to talk to our brand believers and to reach broader audiences in ways that are authentic, real-time and meaningful to them. Pizza is the perfect platform for social media—at its core, pizza brings people together as social platforms virtually. In 2014, we greatly expanded our social reach beyond Facebook and Twitter—we are now active on Instagram, Google Plus, Vine, the publisher platforms, etc.—and we have taken our highly visible NFL sponsorship into social media, especially on local level, where we sponsor 21 NFL teams.”

4. Keep the Sizzle Every Day—Alison Lewis, Johnson and Johnson:

“By launching and activating several social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), we are able to listen to what teens want, engage in direct conversations with them and entertain, educate and inspire them with authentic content. By engaging with teens in the social space, the brand is able to forge an emotional connection and become part of their everyday lives. We have coffee with them in the morning, provide advice to them on the go, and help them relax before bed while celebrating the confidence that they portray on a daily basis by just being themselves.”

5. Ignite the Spark of Interest—Cammie Dunaway, KidZania:
“Social media is huge for us. KidZania is really a marketer’s nirvana. We have a great experience that our guests want to share with their networks. We just need to ignite the spark. Our marketers spend a lot of time creating interesting content and interacting with our fans. The most effective networks vary by country. For example: In Kuwait, Instagram is the most important, while in Chile it is YouTube. Facebook, however, is pretty consistently important across the globe.”