In any discussion of the masters of B2C social media, the usual suspects—Zappos, Ford, Starbucks, Dell, Coca Cola—are most often touted. There is, however, one assuredly unsexy brand that has created a dedicated and engaged community on Facebook and Twitter. Here are three things that you can learn from the wonderfully odd simplicity of the Pabst Blue Ribbon social media strategy:
Don't Overthink It
A typical tweet or status update from Pabst is no more than a few words, often accompanied by a simple photo without any graphical treatment. Here's a small sampling: "It's about to be a party," "Friday night," and "Merry Pabstmas." They rarely attempt to generate engagement through condescending questions or thinly-veiled straw-polls. In fact, one of their most-engaged posts contained only three words:
But if you think that all of their content lacks heart, think again:
Have A Consistent Voice
It's clear that Pabst has defined a singular persona and voice from which all communications, across every social network they are active on, consistently come from. This persona is best described as a care-free (and occasionally reflective) reveler who has more in common with the average PBR drinker than a typical marketer. This form of content governance protects their brand identity and allow fans and followers to seamlessly interact across multiple networks.
Know Your Audience
In adopting this persona, it's clear that Pabst understands their audience. It would be easy for their community/social media manager to do what everyone else does: offer coupons, administer contests or promote new products.
Instead, Pabst engages in interactive empathy; effectively turning their Facebook page into a party at which only PBR is available to drink and everyone is having a great time. At no point do they attempt to woo the craft beer crowd, or apologize for their discount-brand stigma.
As a result, something wonderful happens. Something that every B2C community/social media manager dreams about: there are no customer service requests. No one is complaining about a bad experience with the product. Pabst is so effective at generating and fostering brand loyalty that they've essentially inoculated themselves from disgruntled customers on their social media channels. Why? Because their community is a party, and no one likes a downer.
Even if their strategy doesn't perfectly translate to your products or services, there's one lesson everyone can learn from PBR: have fun. What else is social media for?
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