After introducing a range of automotive appearance care products into its 303 line, protectant and cleaner manufacturer Gold Eagle faced a familiar quandary: driving awareness of the products in a highly competitive marketplace. “The challenge is launching a new product at new retailers and just trying to get excitement and buzz to pull the product off the shelf,” says Marcel Manzano, senior manager of digital marketing at Gold Eagle. “It’s the age-old challenge of getting a person to actually walk to a store, pick it off a shelf, and buy it.”
But for this age-old challenge, Gold Eagle was willing to try something new: building buzz on social media. And for help with that, it turned to advocacy activation company Social Media Link, which aims to amplify social media conversation for brands. The vendor’s proprietary advocacy ecosystem, Smiley360, targets consumers it identifies as citizen influencers and ambassadors. Using Smiley360, Gold Eagle activated 900 influencers to try out the new products and share their experiences, with the goal of driving awareness on social media and reaching potential new customers.
“When Social Media Link presented us with its Smiley360 community, the way that they approach their tool to generate buzz, it seemed like a good idea,” Manzano says. “This is something new that we had really never done before, so we went into it with hopes and wanting it to do well, but no real expectations. We just wanted to test out that tactic to see how it works.”
Initiating the campaign was a three-step process. First, influencers were screened to ensure they were car enthusiasts and active social media users. Second, the chosen influencers were invited to join the Gold Eagle 303 Automotive “Mission.” Once they opted in, they received a bottle of 303’s Automotive Protectant and were prompted to showcase their 303 experience through before-and-after car photos, product reviews, and personal stories on social media. Third, a #CarsLove303 Twitter hashtag was established to drive conversations on social media.
Over the course of 10 weeks, the 900 influencers generated 11,837 pieces of content—including 978 photos and 2,594 text reviews—across social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In addition, the #CarsLove303 hashtag produced more than 6,400 tweets.
Furthermore, when compared to vendor category benchmarks for similar campaigns, the initiative outperformed quantity of content produced by 53 percent, friend and follower engagements by 70 percent, and impressions by 82 percent. Moreover, 303 saw a 20.6 percent lift in overall share of voice compared to its competitors, and a 30-fold increase in overall brand mentions. As for the influencers, 92 percent said that they were likely to purchase 303 Automotive Protectant after the campaign, and 40 percent said that they knew someone who purchased the product based on their recommendation.
According to Manzano, the snowball effect of the campaign was particularly impressive. “We handed out products to 900 people, and just seeing how 900 people engaged with [the products] and then engaged with their circles, and how the reach and the impressions snowballed—the whole thing multiplies.”
After adopting Social Media Link's Smiley360 proprietary advocacy ecosystem, Gold Eagle saw:
- its campaign generate 11,387 pieces of content;
- a 20.6 percent lift in overall share of voice compared to its competitors; and
- a 30-fold increase in overall brand mentions.