At a little over 100-years-old, the Chattanooga-based MoonPie is a legacy brand in the grocery store snack aisle. Baby boomers and other older generations remember the company fondly for combining graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate-flavored coating together as the perfect treat. Millennials and Gen Z, on the other hand, know it for having one of the snarkiest Twitter handles this side of Wendy’s and Denny’s.
Journey to the social media handles for MoonPie and you’ll find content that is, in keeping with the brand tagline, outta this world - Twitter runs the show with tweets that turn engagement on its head on everything from providing relationship advice to fellow MoonPie enthusiasts with spouses that don’t get the snack’s appeal:
Treat her with love and respect you took a vow John https://t.co/oTUmC2lKCY— MoonPie (@MoonPie) December 28, 2017
To sharing photos of “Brayden” a freshly baked MoonPie that was given a name just because.
For other legacy brands seeking the same levels of popularity MoonPie sees, it’s easy to assume that the road to social media success means snapping a few professional photos for Instagram, jumping on whatever meme is relevant and riding its Twitter wave. However, tweeting today’s trending hashtag will only get you so far — which is to say, not that far at all with your audience.
The real strategic move that takes a legacy brand to the cutting edge is how they engage with fans, and build trust therein. Gather ‘round, every brand aiming for their own slice of MoonPie success, and take note of how MoonPie's social strategies enable the business to keep its products fresh and strengthen bonds across generations.
Have you ever noticed that none of the MoonPie tweets (or none that I could see, there are more than six thousand of them) have punctuation? No periods, exclamation points, or question marks.
Don’t run out and call the grammar police just yet because all of this is intentional - social media posts that don’t include punctuation have been proven to be funnier in nature.
This can create a language of its own, one that's looser and allows the user to express themselves a bit more. It simply wouldn’t read the same if the punctuation was included, creating restricted tweets that would (probably) need to add a GIF as a means of letting the audience know they can laugh now.
I’m not saying it’s time for every brand to drop their punctuation now or anything, but in the case of MoonPie it works nicely since fans speak the same native tongue.
Ditch the carefully curated Instagram account
A long time ago, when Instagram was in its infancy, users posted photos of just about anything to their accounts.
There weren’t any real rules of the road established yet, so it was just a myriad of filters on content that varied in randomness. Flash forward to 2018 and it’s a new day for Instagram, both for brands and users interested in growing their following. Content is scheduled and curated in advance, professional photos are taken of products. Nobody would dream of posting a grainy video onto their profile, not using appropriate hashtags, or skipping over their #linkinbio. The best word to describe it, if you had to choose one, would be formulaic. Stick with the formula that's been proven to work so well for so many on the platform, and don’t deviate from it to ensure your analytics avoid tumbling.
MoonPie’s Instagram account doesn’t exactly follow these rules to a T.
Sure, there’s a lot of professionally shot images in the mix, but the majority featured are ordinary people from all walks of life enjoying MoonPies in everyday situations. There’s even a toy robot professing his love for banana MoonPies.
To recap, an aesthetically pleasing Instagram account looks good and plays well with followers, but if you really want to get people talking about your product, it’s not a bad idea to include their images on the company handle.
Whatever makes you unique, embrace it and play it up online
The absolute worst thing MoonPie could have done on social was to be just like everyone else - we’re talking about a snack that was named after a astronomical body in outer space, there’s no way one could expect it to have dull accounts.
MoonPie gives a nod back to its history, while doing its own thing in the present, always embracing the people that love its products.
The same approach should apply for any other brand - pull out that thing (or things) that make you stand out and play to those strengths with your audience. Maybe it gets you hundreds or thousands of followers, maybe it doesn’t, but it will differentiate you from the pack, and enable you to build a fiercely loyal following of brand advocates.
These are just some of the ways MoonPie is winning at social, building an engaged, active community which helps to spread their message. The key detail from MoonPie's approach is to be yourself - understand your brand, what it stands for and its mission, and work with that, as opposed to always sticking with the latest trends.