How brands use social media to connect with customers — with Pratima Manga

Social Media is a tool that helps us connect to the world around us. While it originally started to help us share information with our close circles, we can now use it to feel a connection with celebrities, influencers and our favorite brands.


Instead of relying on catalogs, advertisements and visually appealing store fronts, brands have discovered the usefulness of social media for building a brand image and relationships with their consumers.


Certain product features on social media platforms give brands the option to highlight positive things that their customers are saying about them. For example a brand could use Twitter to retweet a positive experience someone had while interacting with the brand and give a shout out to the user who posted the tweet. Everyone who follows the brand’s Twitter would then learn about this positive experience and of the brand connecting with the original user who sent out the tweet. Associating positive experiences and connection between consumers and brands could make people more likely to interact with the brand. 

Pratima Manga is a product designer at Facebook and shares how she thinks social media has changed how brands interact with customers. 

Social media helps brands form a relationship with their customers, Manga said. It also can give customers a sense of connection to the brand as their various social media channels give a better understanding of the lifestyle the brand is creating. 

“I feel like a brand back in the day just used to be something that existed on a store shelf,” Manga said. “I feel like social media makes it so much easier for brands to interact and kind of have a life of their own.”

She said apart from being able to form connections with target audiences, brands are also able to use the analytics coming from social media to figure out what is important to customers and what audiences want to see from the companies they follow. 

Social media has almost forced marketing professionals to pay attention to and work with data. Marketing is becoming more involved with data analytics because there are so many ways to quantify your results.

“I think that in order to be hired as a marketer you have to have some understanding of social media, which is pretty crazy to think,” Manga siad. “Because in the past, marketing used to be entirely print and television and radio.”

You are able to see the number of reactions every post receives and how many followers you gain or lose, which has allowed marketers’ jobs to become more involved with data analysis.

Social media allows brands to adapt and evolve much faster on social media than they could with more traditional brand-building strategies. 

Manga said when brands first started to use social media, every post was focused on the brand, but now, social media managers tend to have some fun with their posts.

“I think the best examples of that are all of the different social media campaigns, like the Wendy’s Twitter for example,” Manga said. “Where they’re just doing something funny with their brand that may or may not be related but because it’s from a brand Twitter or a brand Instagram it’s really funny.” 

In the future Manga said she thinks there will be more opportunities for brands to become more connected with consumers by showing appreciation for them. Companies will be able to reach out to their biggest fans and repost positive things that are being said about the company. 

Manga gave the example of the viral TikTok trend of a man skateboarding on the road listening to “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac and drinking a bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice. After the trend went viral Ocean Spray learned that the original creator was skateboarding to work because his car battery died and responded to the attention he brought to the company by gifting him a cranberry red Nissan pickup truck and recreating the trend themselves.

“As social media changes with the advent of new apps like this, I think that there will also be new ways for brands to connect with customers that they never even thought of before,” Manga said.