Social media campaigns: A brand success and failure

Take a social media lesson from Victorinox Swiss Army Knives and K-Y to prevent your social strategy from falling flat.


I recently found two excellent examples of both good and bad social media strategies and tactics. First, the bad.

Swiss Army Knives by Victorinox has a pretty loyal following. The primary Facebook page has about 30,000 likes and pretty good engagement.

What’s interesting is how Victorinox has failed on Twitter. It doesn’t have very many followers, but what bothers me most is that it’s trying to get more through a contest that awards the first three followers that help the brand reach 3,000 followers.

Prizes work, but this type of contest—one where people can see the status of the reward process—can actually take a brand longer to gain followers. For example, if you knew about the contest and saw there were 2,990 followers, you wouldn’t click follow until you were sure you would be one of the winners.

At present, Victorinox has gained fewer than 20 followers in the last 24 hours. And this is during a contest hosted by a global and well-established brand.

If Victorinox instead hosted a contest saying “All our followers will get 10 percent off a purchase when we hit 3,000 followers,” people would follow and tell their friends to do the same. It would also be a bigger financial win for Victorinox. If all 3,000 followers use their 10 percent coupon to buy something, they will buy directly from the company and not a distributor/retailer who would take a cut.

Let’s talk about the good example. Warning: This one is rated R.

I’d like to give a transparency award to K-Y Intense Effect. Like any good site, K-Y’s features things like product details and information from doctors, but the first thing you see are compiled reviews. Not testimonials, but reviews that are both good and bad. In this case, there are a lot of bad ones.

What makes this a win? It’s a win because while the reviews may not create sales, they ensure that anyone who sees the site and buys the product is not underwhelmed. It eliminates buyer’s remorse.

Pretend you work for K-Y. If you know most people don’t like the product but it’s not worthwhile to pull it from the shelves, would you rather have a consumer avoid the product because of your full disclosure or have a consumer who feels tricked and now distrusts the brand?

K-Y is also at an advantage because it is the de facto brand in this space. It can rest and enjoy the satisfaction of creating a new product while it keeps its core business and reputation intact, even though the product wasn’t a smash hit.

Nathan Burgess is a senior account executive at BlissPR, where he counsels B2B clients in the development of social media and digitally-based marketing programs. He also is editor and publisher of the PRBreakfastClub blog, where a version of this article originally ran.

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