The adage “sex sells” might be the oldest, dustiest piece of marketing advice still in existence, but it remains true. Sex is used to sell everything, it seems—from decidedly sexy products like lingerie to ostensibly non-sexy products like Web hosting.
But even in an age of hypersexualized advertising, companies whose products and services are less than titillating compared to more assertive brands are using other methods to successfully promote their companies to the masses.
A trip to the local office supply store is generally not a sexy event (although your sexy mileage may vary). So companies such as Staples embrace humor and dialogue with customers as a key component of their social media strategy.
In addition to their humorous commercials, the company relies on their @Staples Twitter account to connect with the public, mixing funny observations with engaging conversations (and very little direct product promotion).
The result? More than 268,000 followers, many of whom will likely think of Staples first when it comes time to review their company’s office supply budget.
But it’s not just laughs that less sexy companies rely on for social media success. Some use their Twitter and Facebook accounts to promote their brands and establish their position on current events—building a loyal following, a rabid opposition, and, of course, plenty of press.
Whether through laughter, connecting with their audience, or a principled stance, even “non-sexy” companies can make their mark in social media with the right mix of humor, audience awareness, and a willingness to think outside the “all sexy, all the time” standard.
How Non-Sexy Businesses Can Kill it With Social Media Marketing
It’s easy to do well in social media marketing if you’ve got a product or brand everyone loves, right? Well, if you’ve got a less than popular product or service such as hygiene, insurance, or office supplies, you too, can kill it with your social media marketing efforts… and we’ll show you how.
Use Humor to Create Shareable Content
- Feminine product brand Bodyform, used a post on their Facebook wall to create a video that created lots of noise in social media.
- The post wanted to know why the commercials depict women being “happy” during their periods.
- You can see the original Facebook post on Bodyform’s YouTube account, as a video.
- It has received more 740,000 views since it was posted in October 2012.
- The video response was an actress who posed as Bodyform’s CEO, who gave a humorous reason why their marketing and advertising is done this way.
- The video has more than 5,447,000 views since it was posted in October 2012.
- Hello Flo, a monthly subscription service for feminine products, uses a YouTube video, The Camp Gyno, to advertise their Hello Flo Starter Kit, a special kit for girls and their first period.
- The video launched at the end of July 2013, and has since been viewed more than 6,660,000 times.
- Insurance brand Allstate, uses a fictional character, Mayhem, to humorously describe situations where insurance can step in and save you.
- The @Mayhem Twitter account has more than 55,000 followers since its launch on September 25, 2013.
Create Engaging Social Media Campaigns
- Tampax took a more serious approach, focusing on the core value of encouraging women to remain active during their period.
- They launched The Awesomely Active Girl Challenge on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- Asked women to submit photos of themselves being active.
- Every week the contestant with the highest number of votes won $500 and a year’s supply of tampons.
- The campaign increased brand awareness while also fighting the stigma that women can’t be active during “that time of the month.”
- Dockers, popular clothing line, launched a B2B and B2C social media campaign, Wear the Pants to increase brand awareness.
- They asked people to become a Facebook fan and submit a plan for putting their personal or business dreams into action. One fan would win a cash prize to implement their plans.
- More than 4,500 people entered the contest.
- Dockers has expanded their fan base by more than five times since the contest launched.
Focus on More than Product Promotions
Despite the fact that social media platforms can be used for selling, their primary purpose should be connecting with your audience.
- Staples, popular office supply store, has more than 265,000 followers on Twitter.
- They focus on being funny and conversational.
- They don’t focus too much on product promotion.
- Tweets include things like:
- “RT if you’ve called to tell someone that you just emailed them. #OfficeLife”
- “RT if your only #caseofthemondays cure is your work BFF. #Love”
- Sharpie, permanent marker brand, uses Instagram to be socially involved with their customers.
- They have more than 111,000 followers on their account.
- They feature photos of artwork made completely with Sharpie markers, in addition to some product promotion.
- How Tampax, Hello Flo and Bodyform are Making Waves with Online Marketing – synthesio.com
- Bodyform Responds :: The Truth – youtube.com
- Richard Neill to Bodyform :: Facebook Post :: October 8th 2012 – youtube.com
- The Camp Gyno – youtube.com
- 5 Not-Too-Sexy Brands Killing It In Social Media – cmo.com
- Mayhem – twitter.com
- Slide Show: 6 Stellar Social Media Contests – cmo.com
- Staples – twitter.com
- Sharpie – instagram.com