Up in the Pacific Northwest, where I hail from, there are a few things we can count on in the summer: glorious days that are neither too hot nor humid, plenty of outdoor adventures, and … Tillamook Ice Cream.
Tillamook is a local farmer owned dairy cooperative formed in 1909 that makes plenty of great products, but a summer here wouldn’t be complete without a trip to coast to the Tillamook Cheese Factory where the ice cream is fresh, rich, and decadently creamy.
So I wasn’t surprised that we recently started seeing some clever TV ads for Tillamook Ice Cream using real customers, but I was surprised to learn that the diary leveraged Facebook to create those ads, especially since this was their first foray ever into television.
Here’s what they did: Having created a nice Facebook fan page, Tillamook asked people what they thought of when they took their first bite of Tillamook Ice Cream. People posted some great stories, so much so that the dairy decided to use those testimonials as the basis for their entire TV ad campaign.
They then took it one step further, using Facebook again, this time to put out a casting call for the commercials. As a result, the Tillamook commercials use real customers sharing their real feelings about ice cream they really love (after all, they signed up to be online fans, right?) As such, the spots have an authentic feel to them that gives Tillamook a leg up on the competition.
The entire campaign is a great example of how any business can use social media to create a unique marketing campaign, even with a small budget. In this case, it was real customers who created the content and real customers who starred in the ads. Talk about savings.
I would suggest that there are two key takeaways from what Tillamook is doing that you can use in your own business:
The first is that it is simply not enough to have a social media presence anymore. The real trick is to engage people online in such a way that they get a benefit out of spending their e-time with you. That is what the Tillamook Facebook fan page did.
Online, there are literally millions of choices when people surf around. They will choose you only if they find their interactions with you and your site engaging and rewarding, meaning, having a site, fan page, or Twitter account is probably not enough. The real trick is to forge a connection.
How? There is no shortage of ways:
- Have a contest
- Post a poll
- Give away free stuff
- Engage and chat with them – build relationships
- Have a “fan of the week”
- Create a quiz
- Create a mobile app
You get the idea. That is what Tillamook did. They created a place online where people can connect and hang out – by offering videos, recipes, contests, and more.
The second thing that Tillamook did right that is worthy of emulation is that they relied on user-created content to make that connection. The power of user-created content is two-fold:
First, it is incredibly affordable because it is your customers, and not your business, that is taking the time and effort to create the content. Sure you have to cull through it to see what is usable, but that is a whole lot easier than creating it all yourself.
Second, because it is your customers and not you creating the content, it inherently is considered reliable; when someone takes the time to create content on your site, they must really like what you do.
How do you get users to create content? It’s the same idea: You could host forums or have a contest, Call for essays or videos or testimonials or maps or flags or models or whatever it is that relates to your business.
By doing these two things: engaging with the people who visit your site and getting them to create some of your content. You too can have some yummy results.
Image credit: victorchapa