I love a good pun in the morning. The other morning I saw three puns – in their full, respective glories — at where else, but Starbucks at the Marriot Marquis in San Francisco. This picturesque perfection is what Instagram is made for. This is the kind of morning delight that slips a warm, fuzzy feeling into my coffee. We’re in business. Literally. I Instagrammed, Facebooked, and tweeted this immediately.
This right here — a compilation of fruit funnies — was enough to color me happy. But then the glory of social media monitoring beamed into perfection, and the social media manager at Starbucks pulled a fast one with a clever reply, charming and fun:
Boom. Another pun. That’s four puns before 9 a.m. (or so I thought). So yeah, a technology platform likely helped the Starbucks social media manager monitor my tweet in an organized feed. But he or she had to distinguish my sentiment in context (which was incredibly happy and coy, thanking them for the pun). He or she also made the conscious decision to think about a relevant, anecdotal response that would correlate to my tweet. And to my delight, this social savant delivered.
I was smitten.
And as I went about my morning, another brand, completely unrelated and untagged, found a way to fight for its right to delight. This happened:
Can I just say, firstly, how much I loathe pomegranate? From taste to texture, to aesthetic — the mere concept of the pomegranate irks me. NO SLIGHT AT POM WONDERFUL! Actually, this response tweet made me want to shout from the rooftops that you should drink POM Wonderful brand juice. Come on, guise, these people are NICE. Drink the juice. This is so fun. This means a brand whose product I am certain I will never consume found a way to be relevant in my news feed, and in my life. Props, POM Wonderful. Can’t say a fruit brand’s had me like this since Chiquita Banana.
Despite being busy at an event, this morning offered me an antidote. This is a free, fun, and meaningful way to delight. I’m calling the pomegranate purple on this with three important social media lessons from both brands:
1. Come when you are called. I took the time to tag Starbucks. A tag in this respect in playful and fun. I’m calling you to play! If you don’t come play, I have to ask, what is your social media monitoring for? I know this must get out of control, and it can be difficult to scale “sweet sentiment”, but if a brand at Starbucks’ caliber can pull this off, likely so can you. Get a little HootSuite up in your business, if nothing else.
2. Interrupt if your interruption has merit. I heard the term “digital disruption” the other day and thought, “Well, isn’t ‘digital’ disruptive by nature? And doesn’t disruption occur digitally all the time?” I actually appreciated POM’s disruption. So much so I favorite that bad boy. And then called my mom, who loves pomegranate juice, to tell her about the funny interaction. She told me she had some in her fridge. We swapped brand sentiments (and over what?!?) A cleverly injected pun!
3. Stay focused on the nature and sentiment of the discussion. Collectively, the two brands pulled out five puns before 9 a.m., like I said. All I did was provide a forum for punning by socially engaging, and props to POM for getting in on the fun – by staying sharply focused on the conversation that I, the end user, wanted to have, and ultimately initiated. Nobody asked for anything. There was no call to action. Just a call for wit and delight.
4. Piggy bag on a hashtag to your benefit. I was en route to a marketing event in another city when I snapped the fruity photo, so I included the event AND city hashtags in my tweet. This means that all the event attendees and really anyone with a vested event interest in the Twitterverse, and anyone who left their hearts in San Francisco, could have seen this unfold. That’s additional exposure; more opportunity for impression; and a big win for all parties involved.
These interactions were on my terms, but supported both brands’ engagement with their followers, mine, and lovers of puns everywhere.
In business we spend a lot of time talking about quantifying our ROI. We have to. Thanks to technology, we’re able to do it well! But sometimes the right to delight gets lost in the shuffle, and we can’t have that! Never underestimate the value of these subtle and meaningful interactions. You have to focus on creating “fans for life.”
PS: I have a pocket full of Starbucks receipts that can demonstrate hard ROI at nearly $5 a cup. From last week alone.