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Whether you work for a big company or a mom-and-pop shop, connecting with customers on social media has become a top priority. However, as social media is continues to evolve, many marketers are now forced to learn on the go.

To add to your social education, we asked marketers to help us compile a list of lessons gleaned from the social sites of big brands.

Here are three lessons that big brands can teach us about connecting with an audience:

1. McDonald’s shows its playful side

Having a hard time thinking up new and creative posts everyday? Take a page out of McDonald’s marketing playbook and come up with fun messages that revolve around offbeat holidays. With one of the largest followings on Facebook, its 58+ million fans love unique posts like this one from National Cheeseburger Day:


Posts like this resonate with customers, and encourage engagement. In just a few days, the post got 400+ likes, 41 shares and 143 comments.

“McDonald’s does a fabulous job leveraging trending news and holidays to elevate their brand’s message,” says Britt Klontz, a digital PR consultant for Distilled. “Marketers can do the same. However, if it doesn’t seem like a natural fit, don’t force it.”

What quirky holiday relates to your business? Here’s a list of odd holidays that you can reference to find some that fit your brand.

2. Disney captivates with images

Disney movies use compelling images to captivate an audience, but its Facebook and Instagram pages adhere to the same principle. Just about every single post on the Disney Facebook Page has a picture with it.

Jason Parks, owner of The Media Captain, says it’s something every marketer should do to connect with his or her niche audience.

“Just like Disney does, you should find compelling images that resonate with your brand,” he says. “Make your messaging short, sweet and to the point. Focus on the image. This will result in great interaction and more cohesiveness.”

Of course, Disney has a digital vault full of eye-popping images, but you can start your own vault. Check out stock image sites like iStock or Shutterstock. If you don’t have a big budget for photos, check out this list of free stock photo sites.

3. Red Bull connects with videos

When it comes to visual social platforms, you probably think about Instagram and Pinterest first. Twitter probably doesn’t spring to mind, but that doesn’t stop Red Bull from posting videos to its site. Twitter is known for its headline-like updates, which is why posting video to the site makes it stand out that much more.

You don’t have to invest in a ton of camera equipment either. Red Bull used Vine, the six-second video app on Twitter, to create this cool video.

“Video is highly valuable,” says Anna Daugherty, a freelance inbound marketing specialist. “Red Bull makes great use of their content, which brings fans right into the action and reinforces Red Bull’s action-packed branding.”

Consider using Vine to create and share video on your brand’s Twitter page. Or, if you don’t have the time to create a Vine, ask your fans to do it. Run a social media competition that asks participants to send in a Vine that revolves around your brand and give the winner a prize. You’ll get a ton of user-generated content that you can use on your social channels.

How do you connect with your fans? Add your tips in the comment section below.