The Oreo social media strategy has emerged as a masterclass in getting it right in recent years, offering up many lessons for social media and marketing managers. From combining traditional advertising with digital elements to adapting to the times and current events, Oreo keeps its brand right up to date. Here’s how it does it:
1. Newsjacking and culture jacking
Harnessing the technique of newsjacking, which locates a brand’s messaging within a current news story, helps to show its relevance. Speaking on real-time events on behalf of a company on social media requires an adaptable team that’s used to understanding situations quickly and carefully balancing the tone to fit both the brand and the sensitivities of the subject.
Culture jacking can be prepared further in advance, as it taps into upcoming events and holidays. Oreo has shown support for Gay Pride on its social channels with its famous biscuits filled with rainbow-colored creme and celebrated Elvis Week with images of its cookies nibbled into the shape of the king himself with his iconic quiff.
2. Quick thinking
Nobody could have predicted a 30-minute blackout during the 2013 Super Bowl, but the quick-thinking marketers at Oreo used it to their advantage. Knowing that it’s one of the biggest sporting and television events of the year in the US, they knew a lot of their audience would take to social media when the feed was cut.
Tweeting “You can still dunk in the dark,” put the brand at the heart of the shared experience and had the light-hearted vibe of making the most of things. In order to be truly adaptable to take advantage of such unforeseen circumstances, staff must be empowered to make decisions without delay, which can feel risky to some organizations.
3. Continuous dialogue
When one of Oreo’s posts goes viral on social media it’s on the back of the rest of the strategy. For every big, headline-grabbing tweet, there are hundreds of simpler ones that have been posted three to four times a day, helping to build the brand’s audience. From these seed tweets, a continuous dialogue with the audience is created, with representatives of the company responding to fans and establishing real engagement.
4. Get the tone right
It may sound counterintuitive but being spontaneous takes careful planning. That means putting procedures in place to allow staff to make decisions on what to post before the moment passes. This means they have a full understanding of the brand’s messaging, its tone, the language that's appropriate to use and the way an audience is likely to perceive it.
Social media is designed to be fun and Oreo takes this playful side and runs with it. An effective example of this was when it was challenged to a good-natured Twitter battle with rival biscuit brand KitKat. Using the iconic shapes of their products, the two companies danced around the idea of a game of tic tac toe on the social media channel.
What’s more impressive about this event is that it came about as a response to a seemingly innocuous tweet from a fan, who confessed to following both brands. They placed Laura Ellen from Manchester in the UK at the centre of the event and declared they would fight it out for her affections.
Not being an influencer or a celebrity helped the brands to show that they’re engaged with their audience, and Laura Ellen represented everyone. There was no outright winner between the companies, as Oreo tweeted a graphic of the KitKat having been half-eaten, saving face for everyone. While it could be seen as unwise to engage with a competitor, ignoring them completely would have seemed childish.
5. Use simple, high-quality images
Often the most effective messaging on social media is the simplest and using high-quality images to accompany it is imperative. Oreo has an advantage as its monochrome product is instantly recognisable. This allows designers to play around with it while keeping key components that mean even those swiping past will immediately see the content is related to Oreo.