Twitter can help an established brand underscore the ideals it believes in (and uses to its marketing advantage). Ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s noticed that millions of Tweets contained unused character space, so they created a campaign that promoted fair trade (using the hashtag #FairTweets). They easily could have stopped there and used #FairTweets to encourage a grass-roots movement toward Fair Trade (the organized social movement and market-based approach that works to improve life for producers in developing countries). That might have been enough.
However, Ben & Jerry’s took their effort a step further, beyond Twitter. The company created a micro-site.
It encourages Twitter people to Tweet as they normally would; the website fills in any unused character space with an explanation that the individual is using unused characters to promote fair trade, along with a customized URL linking to the Fair Trade Resource Network. These appeals to socially responsible users (at least in their own mind) by letting them contribute something to a good cause, even if it’s only a few spare characters.
Ben & Jerry’s Multifaceted Twitter Presence
The fair trade Tweets aren’t the company’s only presence on Twitter, of course, Ben & Jerry’s has several Twitter accounts, including a corporate account (@cherrygarcia), a rolling free ice cream truck (@BenjerrysTruck and @BenJerrysWest), and regional offices (such as @BenAndJerryOz). Each of these is well thought out for attracting people to the company’s ice cream, and they also acknowledge the contributions from retailers.
@BenAndJerryOz @coontastic Don’t forget to ring your local store to check if the new flavors have arrived!
What Ben & Jerry’s Does Right
Ben & Jerry’s efforts demonstrate several things that a company can do right in a PR campaign, whether it’s for a specific event or for ongoing branding:
- Ben & Jerry’s highlights a product “feature” that had very little attention, used it to promote a cause to which the company is committed.
- The Twitter campaign extended past the micro-Hogging site itself. By drawing visitors to the FairTweets page, would-be customers can look at other things the company has to offer, whether in social media (such as a Facebook Like), fair-trade activism, or the company’s home page. That’s far more than they could accomplish with any stream of 140-character messages.
- The business doesn’t try to make every marketing campaign fit under a single corporate umbrella. Different “departments” have their own Twitter IDs, letting each of those identities engage with its own target market in the appropriate manner.
There’s a lot to be learned, here, when it comes to good Twitter marketing.