Skittles, a popular candy brand of Mars Inc., recently changed over its homepage to depict a constant Twitter stream about Skittles. While some may see this as a bold move into the future for products and brands around the globe, others are finding fault in this social media strategy.
You have to give Skittles credit for having the guts to do something more daring than most other candy brands. The redesign can show that Skittles wants to move forward in terms of its marketing efforts. Instead of relying on more traditional methods, the brand is looking to let its target audiences do what they do best: communicate and spread the message by word of mouth, or in this case, by tweets.
The fact that they’re turning to such a popular site such as Twitter shows that they know where their audience is, they want to connect with it meaningfully, and they want to show that they’re on top of their game in terms of sending the right marketing messages. We’ve all seen the successes of other brands like Zappos and WholeFoods in the social media sphere. Consumers love it when their favorite brands reach out to them one on one in various communities. They love it when a brand opens itself up for engagement and feedback. They love it even more when they get a response. Could Skittles be the next big story?
However, the question about this whole move remains: is Skittles being engaging? In a blog post on Search Marketing Gurus, writer Li Evans brings up some good points. She writes:
I found out that Skittles changed its homepage. Now, normally this wouldn’t be news, no more than launching a new site. But here’s the kicker, they changed their homepage to a Twitter stream about Skittles.Now, at first glance this may seem really neat, but lets dig underneath the surface here a bit.
- Does Skittles control the @Skittles account? Nope!
- Does Skittles actively participate in discussions on Twitter? Nope!
- Does Mars, Inc., its parent company participate on Twitter? Nope!
The key to being successful in social media is all about meaningful engagement. The fact that Skittles does not have much input in the constant Twitter stream puts the brand at a great risk. While it may seem pretty cool that they’re all into social media at first, Skittles can potentially suffer in the long run, especially with how fast news travels in the global community. People may not like the fact that this whole Skittles effort could be just a simple matter of latching on to “the next big thing” in order to make more sales. Negative public opinion spreads like wildfire.
At the same time, while it can be potential dangerous for their PR, it’s also a bold move for putting the public opinion in the hands of the “tweeple.” After all, social media is supposed to be about honesty as well. Skittles might be risking its reputation by not being authentically engaging, but it has accomplished something: we’ve been talking about it since it happened. Whether or not it’s meaningful is up to you.
Developing a successful social media strategy isn’t just about latching on the the next big platform and hoping that your brand alone can make you stay afloat. You have to make sure that you’re providing your target with the interaction it demands in the social media sphere.
As in any good relationship, there has to be give and take on both sides. You can’t just create a Twitter account and just expect people to follow you. You have to put yourself out there. You have to start some conversations. You have to respond. You have to engage. Only then can you even hope to keep up in the constant flow of communication. Ask yourself: can I commit to the relationships in social media? If you can, the benefits are well worth the effort of upkeep. You may find that your brand has not only your target’s trust, but also its respect and that respect is the key to surviving in chaotic times like these.
So, what do you think of Skittles’ new social media strategy? Are they being engaging, or are they just attaching onto the social media sphere without really knowing the scoop? You decide.