In an effort to proactively engage in customer support, online nutrition brand Vega adopted a “surprise and delight” mentality designed to convert satisfied customers into brand advocates. The strategy has proven successful: Vega generated positive brand sentiment on Instagram at a rate of 98.5% by the end of 2016.
Only five months into 2017, Vega’s “surprise and delight” campaigns are paying off. When leveraging Instagram as a customer service platform, Vega reported:
20,195 responses, up 221% from 2016;
An average first response time of 1 hour, 51 minutes;
202,268 incoming messages, up 128%; and
130,222 incoming conversations, up 94%.
As part of the campaigns, Vega often interacts with followers who engage with the brand, and even sometimes give away free product samples, gift cards and t-shirts.
“On social, it’s important for us to maintain that connection with the community,” said Bridgette Clare, Customer Experience Team Lead of Vega, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “It’s also at our foundation to provide education not only on our products but on the plant-based nutrition space overall.”
Social Project Inspires Surprise And Delight Campaigns
Vega leveraged software from Conversocial to help get these “surprise and delight” campaigns off the ground. The company based the campaigns on its #BestLifeProject, which was designed to enable followers to share their personal life experiences and adventures on social. Followers could share a post related to the project’s five pillars — Adventure, Connect, Recharge, Eat and Move — and the Vega team might share the post on its site or even send the consumers product samples or other items. Although the #BestLifeProject campaign has ended, Clare noted that key elements of the strategy have been transferred to other campaigns.
Vega fields consumer questions on Facebook and Twitter, but more than 65% of customer conversations occur on Instagram. Fans, for example, frequently tag the brand in posts mentioning hashtags associated with the brand, such as #myvega or #poweredbyvega.
“We found that a lot of people were posting recipes or how they were taking Vega on these epic camping trips or long-distance bike rides,” Clare said. “Vega was a part of their everyday lives and we wanted to celebrate all of the adventures they go on. The positive brand engagement comes from the fact that it’s a genuine interaction with us and our fans. It’s very easy to tell if a brand is trying to engage through a marketing grab. Our foundation was to instead create ‘micro-experiences’ with our community, and that sentiment really showed.”
Converting Shoppers Into Pen Pals
The Vega team leverages these genuine interactions to build out relationships with followers beyond the initial social interaction. Clare compared these followers to “pen pals,” and emphasized the importance of authenticity, particularly when customers have issues that need to be addressed.
“Even if the interaction doesn’t seem like that big of a big deal to you, it could be a big deal for somebody else,” Clare said. “It’s our job to take that time to continue to look at each interaction and make sure that we’re focused on creating those authentic experiences all the time, regardless of whether we have a direct opportunity to surprise and delight our fans.”