How to Make A Boring Product Shine

Have you ever heard of #lifewith3M? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. In an article by Forbes, I learned that 3M is the company that makes Ace bandages, Scotchgard, and Post-it notes, as well as other industrial products you’ve likely never heard of. The company has a huge following of 164,000.

“We are leveraging Twitter to help our customers become more familiar with the science and technology behind our products,” said Amy Lamparske, 3M’s Global Social MediaLeader. “We’ve noticed that the more a customer knows about 3M, the more brand loyalty and intent to purchase that creates.” 3M is educating its community about science, not just its products.

Photo credit: @boetter / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: @boetter / Foter / CC BY

Takeaways from their Twitter successes:

Just because a product is “boring”, doesn’t mean it can’t achieve popularity in social media. No matter what you are selling, you will have an audience and stakeholders. Learn about your audience and use its “niche” to your advantage.

Invest in your people. 3M has a relatively small social media team. 10 people within a 90k person company. But they have a budget allocated to photographer, videographers and other creatives to bring great content. They also presented at South by Southwest last year, which generated a lot of buzz about their company.

More content is better than quality content. The article advocates that “…you must be open minded, willing to change and ready to test new things. In the digital space, it’s critical not to take a top down approach. 3M gets content out quickly.” Mistakes will obviously happen, but relevance can be fleeting.

Senior management needs to support social media. 3M has been so successful because senior management supports the social media team in their Twitter efforts. They also don’t obsess over metrics:

“There are a number of important metrics and KPIs we track (reach, frequency and engagement coupled with conversation volume, sentiment breakdown and share of voice). But at the end of the day the most important factor is the degree to which we are adding value to our online stakeholders and growing familiarity and loyalty for our business.”

Having Multiple accounts is ok. If a brand is strong enough on its own then it should have its own Twitter presence. For example, Post Its has its own Twitter handle, which has 15k followers.

Their secret ingredient: Their team has found that the more questions they ask followers, the more engaged their community is. At one point they asked “What does science mean to you?” which generated more than 200 retweets and 500 favorites. Twitter is a conversation. Ask. Respond. Engage.

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This entry was posted in Metrics, Social Media, Twitter and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How to Make A Boring Product Shine

  1. sydhavely says:

    Great post, Danielle. I once heard the chairman and CEO of 3M speak at a conference and he said that he was on his way to one of 3M’s best events–its annual Nobel awards for creativity and innovation. Imagine having your organization award you a Nobel-like award? Wow. I’d be pumped. No wonder 3M is considered a great company, Post-It Notes notwithstanding.

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