An ongoing joke in my social circle is that I am the plug for any type of product.
I work for a marketing company that specializes in branded merchandise, so I am always bringing stuff home. Some of our clients have sizeable merchandise stores with us, and one that I work with is the Volkswagen Collection.
When we first built the online store, it was primarily for dealerships across the country to have an easy way to purchase items. We created an Instagram account as a tool to reach the dealerships in unique ways, all at the same time, while also displaying our products. They were my target audience at the beginning.
Connecting with them on social media lead me to accounts for sales reps and marketers, and I got to know them as individuals. Most of them were interested in the Collection for merch they could wear at work and give to customers. When social media showed me that a dealership employee had a baby, I immediately sent them a Volkswagen onesie at no charge. I try to make touch points in the most relatable way possible and remind them that the Volkswagen Collection is their friend.
Over the last year, the page has grown in following and the audience has shifted. It is still an awesome resource to connect with dealers, but now Volkswagen lovers who want branded swag follow me too. Tons of folks have accounts dedicated to their Volkswagens, and post photos from different angles in different locations every day. Some of these accounts have thousands of followers, and they are the accounts I want to target now. They love the brand, they want to show it off, and now I have shown them where to find the goods.
With this new audience, I hold giveaways that require a follow to enter. I often send free merchandise to people with high follower counts and engage with me frequently and hope they will show it to their Volkswagen-loving friends, or post about it on their own page. Our retail sales have increased, and I have formed real relationships with some of those customers.
If you had to choose between the 2 scenarios, which position would you pick and why?
- You are a social media manager for a mid-sized brand with a unique, niche following. Your audience is particular and relatively small, but you have potential to connect deeply. Your posts don’t go far enough to stir up conversation in either a positive or negative light.
- You are a social media manager for a large, well-known brand that has a large following. Your audience ranges in demographic and interest, but your content might not resonate with all of them. Your posts go very far with potential to stir up positive conversations, though the virality could also foster negative buzz around the brand.