We spoke to Jenna Rose Robbins, director of marketing and social media at Fiji Water, about how the company engages with its passionate fans via Facebook.
How does your position as the lead Facebook page administrator differ from what the traditional webmaster used to do?
Managing a Facebook page is quite different from being a webmaster because it’s far more immediate, in terms of responding to both requests and trends.
A Facebook page administrator is the consumer-facing voice of the brand, while a webmaster is more the technical wizard behind the curtain. Websites introduced a new flexibility — and immediacy — to marketing, and social media only upped that ante.
Brands are now expected to respond to their fans and consumers in real time and should take it upon themselves to engage in the conversations about their products that are already happening.
Now that social media has made the online conversation a two-way forum, brands now need to have a voice that is far more approachable than the “brochure” copy that comprised the webpages of yore. Facebook offers a convenient platform to do so.
What is the company’s strategy for spurring engagement and generating likes especially during slow periods?
Keeping our current fanbase engaged is key. We know how much our brand means to them, so we like to make sure we maintain our connection with them as often as we can, even if it’s just through discussions of current events. Plus, we have so many regular online programs, both small and large, that there isn’t that much downtime between slow periods.
Do you have a favorite campaign you’ve launched on Fiji’s Facebook page?
Until now, the majority of our online campaigns have been based on our website. However, we have a few Facebook campaigns in the works that we’re incredibly excited about, and they’re all about rewarding our fans for their loyalty and listening to their interests.
Fiji is a brand that inspires a lot of passion, to the point where we’ve seen people get into spats on Twitter about who’s the biggest Fiji fan, so we want to make sure we reward that level of loyalty. We’re hoping to launch a campaign around that idea by the end of summer.
We also note our fans other interests, such as their pets — you wouldn’t believe how many photos we’ve received of a furry friend and a bottle of Fiji. People are almost as passionate about Fiji as they are their pets, so we’ve come up with a fun campaign that marries those two.
What special skills or knowledge does Fiji Water look for when hiring for social media positions in general, and for Facebook in particular?
Voice, tact, and gut. They need to get the Fiji brand and understand who we are as well as who we aren’t, and convey that to our audience in a voice that underscores our USPs.
There are a lot of conversations going on around our brand that, although positive-sounding to those having them, are not the sort of conversations we want our brand to be associated with. Knowing how to navigate these conversations, and choosing which to engage in and which to avoid, is as important as speaking the Fiji voice.
Graciously turning down the opportunity to participate in these conversations, as well as fielding other off-brand requests, is a refined skill that not everyone can handle. There’s a lot of gray in this area, so gut feeling plays a key role.
Do you have any favorite Facebook tools that you like to use?
We’ve been using polls a little more often, both for fun and to gage fans’ interest in marketing ideas. But we generally keep it simple and use the basics, such as the event calendar and photo albums. We have a third-party agency that has helped us build our fan-gated contest app, which has proven to be a huge success, so I’m sure we’ll continue to use that.
How many people work with you on Fiji’s Facebook page and presence? If more than one, how do you divide tasks or projects?
There are two of us who officially work on the page. I handle the everyday strategy and fan response, while Ben Upham, our associate manager of social media, posts content from our other online destinations (e.g., the Fiji Water blog) and researches innovations for Facebook, such as new apps or social media management systems.
Since my responsibilities also include other marketing areas, such as events, it makes sense for Ben to focus on some of the more long-term projects, so they can have more attention. We discuss strategy and any large projects such as contests together.
What does Fiji do differently, if anything, with its Facebook page presence as compared to other bottled water brands or other beverage brands such as Coca-Cola?
Fiji strives to differentiate itself by being accessible. We talk to our fans, not just at our fans, by initiating conversations on subjects other than our brand.
For instance, during the Super Bowl, we posted to our wall during key points of the game and asked our fans for their reactions, because we knew our fans (at least those in the U.S.) were watching and we wanted to engage with them during a moment that we all could share in real time.
Almost each of those Super Bowl posts garnered more impressions than any other Facebook post in the previous six months. Also, even though we regularly receive photos of celebs carrying our product, we rarely post those because it’s too much about us and doesn’t offer much value for our fans.
An exception was recently made when Michael Bolton sent us a behind-the-scenes photo from the set of his Jack Sparrow video with The Lonely Island. We knew how viral the video had become, and how much chatter was going on about it around the web, so we posted the photo and asked people to name the celeb. The result was one of our most popular non-contest posts to date. People loved the timeliness and goofiness of the meme, so we built upon that.