Word-of-mouth promotion can bring a product or brand to the attention of a wide audience with little intervention by the company. Red Bull, the energy drink manufacturer, uses this form of ‘pull’ marketing extensively as a key part of its innovative promotional strategy using digital and social media.
Twitter represents a very attractive platform for business advertising – it has a fast-growing, affluent audience, numbered in the hundreds of millions who spend a lot of time online. (BBC, 25th January 2012)
Red Bull’s social media campaigns provide a direct and relevant communications channel to its target audiences. By creating exciting events and activities and harnessing the power of social media to promote them, Red Bull engages directly with consumers and encourages them to find out more about its products, which builds brand loyalty.
However, the use of social media for promotion must also follow the principles of traditional advertising. A current campaign to use high-profile celebrity tweeters to promote a well-known confectionery brand looks clever but may end up rebounding on the company and the celebrities. A year ago the Office of Fair Trading warned that there must be clarity when celebrities endorse products on Twitter and Facebook – ‘consumers should understand when they are reading paid-for promotional content’.
Although word of mouth campaigns may be more difficult to measure than traditional forms of promotion, over 21 million people ‘like’ Red Bull on Facebook and Red Bull’s twitter audience of over a quarter of a million suggest its messages are reaching the right people.
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