Social Media – Creating Moments of Delight

Have you ever wondered how you can stand out on social media?

This post details how a brand can excel on social media and make a customer’s day all at the same time.

It was a normal Thursday. I woke up at around 6am and (after forcing myself out of bed) started to get ready for work. Work for me at the moment is a freelance digital manager for an agency in Birmingham. I usually aim to get into the office around 8am but this morning would prove to be a challenging one filled with all of the frustrations that accompany things not going to plan.  I showered, got dressed, made a coffee and packed my leftovers from last nights dinner for lunch, and a shaker filled with Huel for breakfast.

Firstly, the traffic going into Birmingham wasn’t great which put me behind my usual schedule. This is not a big deal. I have been driving down the M6 to Birmingham for years now and it is a fickle mistress (I would use the male version of mistress here, but I don’t know what it is **UPDATE** I Googled it and Urban dictionary said it is manstress which I am almost positive is made up). When I am greeted with traffic, I simply sit back, relax and listen to the dulcet tones of Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter to me for the 10th time (thank you Stephen).

Traffic aside, the real disaster was yet to come. I arrived at my designated parking space (about 15 minutes walk from Birmingham city center)  and opened my bag to grab my headphones so I could enjoy the walk into Birmingham with Stephen being pumped safely into my head.

Here’s where the problem occurred.

Apparently, someone didn’t put the lid on my shaker properly. I don’t want to point fingers (at my girlfriend) but somebody in my house (my girlfriend) didn’t put the lid on the shaker properly and it wasn’t me (it was my girlfriend). For the whole car ride, my Huel had been slowly leaking into my man bag forming what I could only describe as a nutritious pool of frustration.

I spent the next 10 minutes using a t-shirt from my gym bag to wipe the viscous, beige liquid from my belongings. My moleskin notebook, my headphones and my iPad Pro. Luckily, everything survived with only minor damage and by damage, I mean oddly shaped stains on my notebook, an oatey smell on my iPad and some concerning build up in my headphone buds. In the spirit of attempting to be a hipster style zen master, I tried to look at the positives and realised I had, at a minimum, created a tweetable moment (huzzah!).

Apparently, twitter is simply a place in which I vent my frustrations now. I’m probably the only person that does that right? I’m so unique.

The whole situation resulted in the following tweet (which I now realise was hastily written and poorly put together).

I want to clarify a couple of points here:

  1. I had zero expectations of this tweet. Maybe someone I hadn’t spoken to for 6 months would like it or an old colleague would give me a good ribbing in an open act of schadenfreud.
  2. This situation was absolutely, 100% not Huel’s problem. It just happened to be their product that flooded my bag. I wasn’t even using their shaker when the accident occurred.
  3. The only reason I tagged the brand at all was because they had a twitter account.

Here’s the clever bit that the social media team at Huel have realised that many more established brands still don’t understand.

Every time you are tagged on a social media platform, you are presented with an opportunity to delight your customers and create a conversation.

The team at Huel, like the hero’s that they are, saw the opportunity and made my slightly crappy situation into a wonderful experience and in the process created a moment of delight.

This is what they had to say.

Let’s analyse this a bit.

  1. The reply is completely on brand and perfect for social media.
  2. It has that tongue in cheek quality and an element of wit.
  3. They subtly point out that it’s not really their problem but they are in a position to soften the blow.
  4. They turned a bad sitation into a good one in a public forum for everyone to see.
  5. They top it all off with a well chosen GIF.

In the blink of an eye, Huel had transformed themselves from a brand I buy products from, into a brand that I am spending time writing about and evangelising. I already knew the benefits of their product and have (at times) talked to people about it when they questioned what was in my shaker, but only when questioned.

Now I have a reason to actively seek people out and tell them about the amazing customer experience I had on social media. If a “water cooler moment” is still a thing, this is most definitely one.

I replied in my usual, semi-humourous way and waited eagerly for confirmation that I would be getting something everyone wants. A freebie.

I didn’t have to wait long.

They topped it off with a final, virtual hug.

Within about 10 minutes of the final tweet, I received a text from DPD saying that my order was confirmed and would be delivered the next day. Freebies often take weeks to arrive, but Huel maintained their “paying customer” standard for a random dude on twitter who had a bad day because someone (his girlfriend) failed to put the lid on his shaker properly.

My day improved significantly because a brand had decided they had the ability and opportunity to make it that way.

This is what social media is all about. As a freelance digital strategist, I often talk to my clients in Birmingham about consistently posting valuable, engaging, educational content on social media, something that lots of brands are getting much better at. Within my SCALE marketing framework, right at the end of the process, I talk a lot about creating evangelists. This is the process of going beyond the usual engagement tactics and creating VIP moments. It is these moments of delight that make brands stand out on social media.

With the ecommerce landscape being overrun with startups who can easily create websites with little to no upfront capital, standing out by doing things that go beyond the norm are key to creating awareness, loyalty and growth. Giving back to the people who support the brand is a great way to do that. Whether it’s inviting customers of a clothing brand to a celebrity photo shoot or offering free chicken nuggets for a year if a person gets enough retweets.

Every single interaction on social media is an opportunity to go above and beyond.

At this point, Huel could have sent me even a very small gift and their job would have been done. The size or quantity of their gift didn’t matter to me. It was the interaction, tone of voice and willingness to solve a problem that wasn’t theirs that mattered. As far as I was concerned, their job was already done. To their credit, they really did much more than they had to.

I arrived home the next day to find a box delivered within 24 hours of our initial conversation.

Huel delivery box

My delight at the situation increased exponentially when I found that even with the freebie, they went above and beyond. Off the back of my initial tweet, Huel sent me all of this.

Free Huel Bundle

The pièce de résistance? A hand written note in the box that was personalised to me.

Personal not from Huel

This is a perfect example of extending a customer’s online experience into an offline environment. Personalisation across digital and physical.

The point of this post is two-fold.

Firstly, it’s to offer massive praise to the social media team at Huel. Whoever monitored and responded to my tweets on that day is on a fast track to becoming a phenemonal social media manager, if they are not there already. Give that person a pat on the back and a bonus. They are a keeper.

Secondly, it’s to show what the result of a simple interaction on social media can be. I doubt that the social media team knew that I was in the advertising industry or that I have created strategies and content for clients who are not dissimilar to Huel. Many of their interactions won’t result in a full blog post, but they will always result in increased loyalty and brand awareness.

Congratulations Huel. You are an example of social media and community management done well. Kudos to you and your social media team.

Fancy giving Huel a try?

Ok, this last bit makes it look like I am writing some branded content. I promise you I am not. No one at Huel asked me to write this nor did they know I was going to. However, I am a fan of the Huel product. I usually have it for breakfast because it is quick, easy and nutritious.

If you want to give it a go you can get £10 off your first order (and yes I get £10 too).

If you don’t want £10 off or don’t want me to get £10, just search for Huel.


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