Back in June, I took a look at how companies such as PepsiCo Inc. and McDonald's Corp. are bringing a social media experience back to their websites – Pepsi through its entertainment content aggregator called Pulse and McDonalds through Your Questions, which is now leading its advertising campaign.
This trend hasn't slowed down at all. In fact, it's spreading and taking on different forms. Instead of bringing a rich media experience to a website, Reebok International Ltd. has gone the other direction and made its YouTube channel a hub of sorts by adding social feeds and links to e-commerce for the products featured.
If you click on one of the products from the YouTube channel, you are brought to a Reebok website with a direct e-commerce link for that product as well as a variety of Reebok assets, including advertising, information on complementary products and promotions.
All of this integration means that these brands and others are making the most of their online presence. No matter how you enter their universe – through an ad, their websites, or via their social channels – you are quickly and efficiently exposed to their entire mix of products, content and channels.
These examples are great, but they highlight a twofold problem of scale for entrepreneurs and smaller brands that would love to be able to recreate this type of experience.
The first is resources. The Web-development cost of creating something like these examples is simply out of reach for smaller brands that can't fathom spending hundreds of thousands, or millions, of dollars on their Web presence.
The second is content. Quite simply, big multinational brands have a lot going on. They have multiple product lines, sponsorships, events and partnerships that enable them to consistently create enough content to keep this kind of site engaging and timely. They have in-house production teams and agency partners on speed dial ready to jump into action.
However, there are now a variety of tools available to help smaller brands and individuals level the playing field and overcome these problems of scale.
One such tool that has recently attracted the attention of top social media thinkers is RebelMouse.
RebelMouse is a platform aggregator founded by Paul Berry, the former chief technology officer of The Huffington Post. It provides a one-stop solution for smaller brands or individuals looking to make the most of their social media resources and content by bringing updates from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other social platforms together in an attractive visual layout.
Using a tool like RebelMouse by embedding it on your website provides an easy way for people to get to know your business and gives them a chance to get interested in your social channels. It extends the impact of the effort you're putting into finding and sharing great content and will not eat up resources the way a custom Web build would.
For a great look at how to use RebelMouse, check out founder Paul Berry's personal page. He's an entrepreneur constantly looking to share new content. He's most likely pressed for time, too. But by using the tool to its full capability, he's making a great first impression through one quick look.
For another, more neutral endorsement, have a look at CrunchScroll, where leading social media news source TechCrunch has turned to RebelMouse to share updates with its fans.
When it comes to social media, big brands are leading the trend of tying all their social channels into a more cohesive part of their owned, earned and paid marketing mix. Fortunately, the emergence of tools such as RebelMouse can help small brands efficiently – and cost-effectively – achieve the same results as their larger counterparts.
Special to The Globe and Mail Mia Pearson is the co-founder of North Strategic . She has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing communications agencies, and her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle.
Join The Globe's Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT