Businesses that have a level of self-awareness will typically resonate with their customers, in a relatively broad way. After all, it is fine to hide behind a corporate image at times, but it is the human element that really draws people in. This is more noticeable on social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others have levelled the playing field and broken down the barriers between brands and consumers like never before.

This ideal then points that the importance of social media cannot be underestimated. Research done by the University of Science and Technology of China has explained that the variety of platforms has made brand building easier, with 81 percent of businesses increasing their influence as a result.

So, how can companies leverage social media effectively and build better relationships with consumers? Well, the short answer is through progressive media analysis.

A recent real world example captured perfectly how virality on social media can build brand reputation and influence, providing the company in question is aware of goings on and ready to react.

To that end, a photo posted on Twitter depicted an American Airlines employee who bore a striking resemblance to Severus Snape, one of the main characters from the popular Harry Potter series of books and films.

The picture itself quickly went viral, and was shared thousands of times by customers of the airline and fans of the fantasy stories alike. American Airlines quickly picked up on this, and managed to use the situation to their advantage.

The company tracked down the employee in question and publicised his existence across its social media channels, including in this Tweet:

We will now Severus you at Gate Nine and Three-Quarters. #SnAApe #AATeam #HarryPotter #LGA

— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) June 5, 2015

Consequently, the savvy shown by the airline was picked up on by a plethora of news outlets, and the company was praised for how it has managed its online presence.

Naturally, none of this would have been made possible without effective social media monitoring. The previous example, had shown the power of companies have in both brand and consumer relationship if they would use virality to its full extent when it occurs.

Not only is the process a relatively simple way to build brand confidence, adding in an extra touch of personality on social media can help boost wider engagement, too.