Thibaut Davoult leads content marketing for Nitrogram, an Instagram analytics platform for brands. If your brand is on Instagram, he probably follows it already.
When planning for a social media campaign, one of the main questions you’ll have in mind is: “How do we encourage our fans to participate?”
Good rewards, intuitive submission flow, enough marketing and communications are all part of it. But most of the time, the very idea behind the contest is what makes it work: What is your audience going to take action for?
That’s where mophie’s #socketsuckers succeeded.
Mophie makes iPhone battery cases, giving an extra life to smartphones and peace of mind for travelers who aren’t often acquainted with electric plugs.
In its Instagram campaign, the brand invited its fans to take photos of people who have to sit in odd places in order to charge their smartphones. We reached out to Jacob Perucca, mophie’s social media marketing coordinator, to learn more about the challenges of the campaign, and the solutions found by his team to make it work.
Thibaut Davoult: Could you describe #socketsuckers in a few sentences? How does it link with mophie’s products?
Jacob Perucca: #socketsuckers are the unfortunate individuals who are chained to outlets in public places and are sadly wasting valuable time, while missing out on greater opportunities. Our mission: to educate and free them.
How did this idea come to fruition? What big questions arose when you first discussed it?
It started as an idea for a digital ad campaign called “Don’t Be That Guy” and really just made sense as a social media promotion. The biggest question was: “How do we pull this off and make it fun and engaging, but not offensive?”
Our audience loves the freedom that mophie provides, so we focused on giving them the opportunity to showcase this. We aimed to find an idea demonstrating the lifestyle associated with using the product versus not using it.
We also wanted an idea that was visual enough to be relevant on social media and on Instagram in particular.
You mentioned the intention to ensure no one got offended, how did you overcome these doubts?
Our legal team was concerned with encouraging our fans to photograph strangers at random. That’s why we [included] the black spots to ensure their anonymity. It also helped to make sure no one got in trouble or offended with the photos during the campaign.
Why do you think the contest worked so well?
It’s a bit risqué in that you’re basically shaming people. But our followers love sharing their products and pushing others to purchase them, so this was really another opportunity for them to showcase that. Our fans are naturally engaged with the brand: They use mophie, not “charging cases.” This helps us confidently push such initiatives, knowing that they’ll participate.
What other social media channels did you use for this contest, and how did you use them?
We used our other channels to help promote the contest and push the hashtag so it was referential across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+. The focus was really on Instagram to keep it as visual as possible.
On Facebook and Google+, we created albums dedicated to re-posting the best submissions.
What were the defined goals before the campaign? Did you have any specific objectives to reach?
We wanted to make sure that this campaign demonstrated the utility of our products in as fun and engaging a way as possible. Highlighting user-generated content is typically a neat way to accomplish this. Growing our social following is always a goal, but we wanted this to generate word-of-mouth and engagement, and we definitely succeeded in that aspect.
How many people worked on #socketsuckers, and what tools did you use to keep track of submissions?
It started with our creative and marketing teams being very hands-on to make sure it was integrated with our digital campaigns and on-brand…. We used a social aggregator to keep track of all incoming posts with the #socketsuckers hashtag.
How did you manage the campaign and content creation on a day-to-day basis?
On Instagram, we first launched the campaign with a photo of our own, announcing #socketsuckers and the contest. Then, we re-posted 25 submissions from the community. One of these 25 was selected as the grand-prize winner, so we posted the photo a second time. This means the contest generated 27 posts for mophie’s Instagram: only 1 from us, and 26 from the community. A huge time-saver for us.
To animate other networks, everyday we reposted one photo to our Facebook and Google+ album. The goal was to make sure everyone was included in this campaign, not just the Instagram-savvy.
Over 400 photos were submitted to the #socketsuckers hasthag on Instagram, all re-usable by mophie
Did you use the submissions besides re-posting them on your social networks?
Not at this point. We wanted to build up the volume of #socketsuckers content so it would exist on Instagram for reference, and so we would have the ability to use these images in future promotions.
What prizes did you offer to the winners?
The winners each received our newest product at the time, the powerstation XL. Then, we also gave away a larger grand prize: an iPad Mini, juice pack and mophie “Members Only” jacket.
Any additional insights to share about mophie’s Instagram strategy at large and your experience managing the account?
Our strategy is to try and push beyond just having the “great content” and make our channels as engaging as possible. The creative has to look good, but we also want to make sure we’re having fun and that our fans are too. It’s extremely rewarding when people appreciate and recognize what your brand does in these outlets.
Such operations, for our brand, are also a way for us to really engage our fans by creating a deeper relationship. Our fans get that they have to interact with our brand to get rewarded with such campaigns.
At the end of the day, more and more focus is put on engagement rather than sheer followers’ numbers. Social media allows consumers to interact with the brands they love, and to spread the message among their friends in a heartbeat. That’s why we’re increasingly focusing on engagement: getting more likes and comments, and getting people to tag their friends in the comments to let them know about a product, feature or operation we’re running. We value these interactions more than merely gaining followers now.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed.