Although I am not generally a huge follower of individual brands on social media, unless you count the likes of Gordon Ramsay or Gary Vaynerchuk as brands in themselves, I mostly follow individuals. However I have always been intrigued with how brands promote themselves outside of the standard TV, radio, print and outdoor mediums. Whether it be through unique packaging ( I have been know to purchase a product I knew nothing about or need, just because of a cool package), contests, sampling or interesting street campaigns to get their product in the hands of new customers. Such as Pepsi and the brilliant “Pepsi Challenge”.
For years, many large brands, such as the Coca-Cola’s and Pepsi’s of the world have done on campus sampling programs or given away product thru various events or campus promoters. During the fall semester, I got up close and personal with a global brand promoting their product via Instagram. My son, who is in his fourth year at Carleton University has fallen in love with photography and has become a very regular user of Instagram, posting on a weekly basis. In the past year, he has built a good base of over 6000 followers. That’s not hollywood star numbers or anything, but it seems to be enough to attract the attention of people in need of a good photographer. He has gotten a number of paid jobs, just from his Instagram feed.
So, during September of last year, he was contacted by Vitamin Water. They were looking for influencers to promote the brand by taking pictures of the product in and around campus with or without students and posting to Instagram. There was one student per campus who posting 3 photos per month from October thru December. Those photos were to include various specific taglines and hashtags, such as “stay hydrated with my favourite flavour of @vitaminwatercanada, gotta stay focused #vitaminwatercanada, make sure you stay hydrated”. What did they get out of it? All the Vitamin Water they could drink, and pass out to friends, $50 a photo and experience working with a global brand. What did Vitamin Water get out of it? Their product seen by thousands of people in the specific target demo they want, at a fraction of the cost to buy advertising. According to a Fast Company article from a few years ago, Vitamin Water (under the Coca-Cola brand) is a leader in the marketing of their product thru interaction on Instagram.
As social media continues to grow and evolve, there will be more and more opportunities for brands, both global and local to take advantage of these unique ways of reaching out to the customers, both old and new.
What interesting social media promotions have you seen lately?