Some companies have all the luck. They have products that are fun to sell, or at least sexy to talk about. For the rest of us, it’s not that easy. With Google moving more and more rapidly toward social media signals to tell them who is most important to listen to, having an inherently interesting product to sell is a game-changer.
Pets are much more exciting than let’s say dentistry, but they still provide a challenge. People love their own pets, but how do you get pet owners excited about your pet products on social media? One company has figured out how to do this with their fun outreach campaign #PetsAtWork. Purina, a company that has been around for what seems to be forever has been busy over on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Their outreach work is simple: they encourage you to share photos of your pets at work, and then they choose among cute #PetsAtWork photos to share back. Purina has tapped into several core elements. What may seem like a boring or even unappetizing product (dog/cat food) is brought to life with this campaign.
First, we love our pets and spend a lot of money on them ($56 billion in 2013). I feel that my vet bill alone for two cats and two dogs helps contribute a fair amount to that sum! Also, we are moving toward a mobile work environment, and many people are working more and more from home. Even some workplaces allow pets to come to the office. Let’s face it–pets make us happy. They release endorphins, which is the same hormone that is released when exercising (and petting a puppy is way less work!). Purina has tapped into this with their outreach work using the hashtag #PetsAtWork. Purina is present online, talking to people who share their own #PetsAtWork photos, and my dogs even popped in to chat a bit.
My dogs are @PippinandLucy on Twitter, and when they showed up, Purina had a nice conversation with them. Later, Purina identified me as the mom of these pups and asked me via DM to send over my address for a special gift. Several weeks later, Pippin and Lucy received a fun box in the mail, with treats and toys and even some doggy stationary. The package also included a note that said thanks for being a great #PetsAtWork member. This is what I call going way beyond expectations. Sending your best community members a gift box of your product and a personal note is sure to ring home. They will remember the effort, and believe me–they will talk about it online. More than that is the brand connection you have made.
With Purina, I know I am more apt to buy their products. I also know that I look for reasons to interact with them online, and usually I avoid big companies because they are too corporate. But not Purina – they know how to have fun and have created a lifelong fan. This translates into me personally choosing their products more quickly when I am at the store looking at the large numbers of choices, but it also translates into me talking about them online and sharing their posts with others. This second result is what matters for a company who is looking to leverage the power of social media to increase their sales. Word of mouth is the number one way that people make choices. If a company tells a consumer, hey our brand is awesome and this is why – they may get a small percentage to listen. But when an individual talks about the company and sings their praises – that individual has power within their own community. This is what happens when you create a social media advocate by taking simple steps to connect and engage with people.
The next step for purina would be to identify true influencers, thought leaders who are online with big audiences and to perhaps look to create more concrete relationships. This could include paying influencers to represent their brands – but the strategy needs to be one where the influencer believes in the brand and won’t have a problem talking about it. Purina most likely has list of influencers that they try to talk to and connect with organically and that may work. It just depends on approach and strategy. The point is that this campaign has a lot more that can be done to build it out and strengthen it. And that is the same with any digital marketing effort. At SocialNicole, when we land on something that works for a client, like #PetsAtWork, we then look for ways we grow that and make it something bigger and long lasting. There are a lot of great campaigns that can go forward with a small investment indefinitely. Brands and businesses that identify a great campaign and look for ways to strengthen and grow it can have huge successes. We have seen this first hand.
So in conclusion I ask each of you: What is special about what you do? Is there a way you can personalize your own social media outreach? I would love to hear your ideas and discuss ways to make them into concrete campaigns that will get results. Contact me today.