Toilet paper? Who would have thought that discussions about toilet paper would create one of the most engaged social media communities on the planet? And that's exactly what Charmin has done.
Recently I asked the Charmin social media team to talk about their designation as The Sassiest Brand on Twitter as voted by marketing and social media experts. I've been a fan of Charmin on Twitter for a long time. Their cheeky, humorous presentation of everything related to the toilet experience is heartwarming and humorous. The Charmin social media team consists of five brand members and eight agency members. The team members on the Proctor and Gamble side took some time to answer my questions about their rise to the top.
First I congratulated the team and asked how they felt about being named the sassiest brand on Twitter by a group of social media and marketing experts surveyed by Time.
"Thanks! That was really exciting. We were honored to be named "sassiest brand on Twitter" because it exemplifies the heart and core of our playful character. Social is where we hope to build brand advocacy and build relationships with our fans through our playful banter. We're having fun (the sass comes naturally) and helping others relate to the very everyday experience of using the bathroom."
One of Charmin's "everyday experience" campaigns is the popular hashtag #tweetfromtheseat where followers can contribute potty protocol thoughts or just borrow from Charmin's wry sense of humor.
I asked the team, how do you walk the fine line between tasteful and tasteless in your social media strategy?
"We stay true to the brand's playful instigator tone without crossing the line. Over time we've built a rapport with our community to understand where the boundaries are. We adhere to a content strategy to guide us on when and where to engage. Different channels also dictate the direction we go in. We're constantly monitoring and tweaking to strike the right balance."
Charmin is also well known on Twitter for their playful interaction with other big brands. I asked them how that came about and if they ever had a conversation get ugly.
"As playful instigators, we look for opportunities to banter with other brands that stay true to our voice and community. Many times, our community proactively engages us in the conversation to see how we'll respond. We don't take ourselves too seriously and by acknowledging this, it helps curb negativity. We are careful and make sure our "instigating" stays positive, not hurtful. Our cheeky voice helps and has won over negative commentators. "
When asked how their social media strategy for Charmin evolved, they said they are evolving along with the social media landscape and their growing communities. When I asked them how toilet paper could possibly be a topic of interest, they answered:
"With Charmin, it's not just about toilet paper. It's about the human experience of all things bathroom related." With our agencies, we've developed a content strategy that outlines the types of conversations we'd like to have as well as those we'd like to stay away from. In the end, we hope to keep Charmin and a better bathroom experience top of mind."
Charmin has even found a way to engage in corporate social responsibilityand get their fans involved. Their campaign, the Charmin Relief Project takes toilet paper where it's needed the most.
On Valentines Day, the Charmin social media team was busy all day sending personalized valentines out to some of their fans around the hashtag #Charminlovenotes.
Charmin is a great example of how to take an "unsexy" brand and make it shine on social media. I asked the team what advice they had for social media managers trying to spark some creative engagement for their brands.
"At the end of the day, it boils down to authenticity. Define what your brand stands for and your voice. Don't try to be something you're not. It may be humor and entertainment, or it could be informative or educational. Understand the nuances of the different platforms and your community and how your brand is represented in each."
The Charmin team has a priority of keeping an eye on social media trends and the future. When asked where they saw social media going, their focus was on building relationships.
"Social has helped to humanize brands and build deeper relationships. But as the lines of social, traditional, and digital are blurring, brands need to take a holistic marketing approach and find relevant ways to touch the lives of our consumers."
One thing is evident from Charmin's Twitter feed: they have succeeded in touching the lives of their fans.