Social Media Playbook: M&M’s

** This is the second part of a series. Click here to read the first part!                                “Social media Playbook: Jim Beam.”

It’s not a secret that businesses and brands are using social media sites as a new way to market their products and services to customers. Some, however, clearly do it better than others. My goal in my Social Media Playbook series is to identify some of the best (and some of the worst) users of the social environment and explain what makes their presence so progressive and opportunistic (or tragic and disgusting).

I recently stumbled upon a few of M&M’s social spaces, and I knew right away that I would have to write about the brand. Twitter, YouTube and even Pandora are all utilized by the popular candy, but I want to start with the Facebook page – the hub of the social scene.

Mars – the maker of M&Ms, recently introduced the 6th M&M character to the world as the Chief Chocolate Officer of the business. To do so, they used one of the largest audiences possible: the Superbowl! You have probably seen the advertisement, but here it is just in case.

Ms. Brown immediately became the focus of the M&M’s social sites, and she is taking the candies to uncharted territory. I think the part of the Facebook page that I like the most is how relevant to current events it stays. Each post, it seems, is more than just a creative way to talk about how great the candy is. The posts also relate to what’s happening in the world at the time. I think that makes the content much more interesting to people who see it, and this is evidenced by the very high amount of shares that most of the posts receive.

Here are a few examples:

  • April 1 – Ms. Brown announces her retirement from the CCO position, explaining that “Yellow” would take her place. Later in the day, she admitted that the retirement was an April Fool’s day stunt.
  • February 23 – Ms. Brown shows a sneak peak photograph of the new design of the NASCAR No. 18 car.
  • February 14 – Ms. Brown discovers that she has a secret admirer.

  • February 8 – Ms. Brown shows off her team spirit after the Giants win the Superbowl.

One critique I have regarding the brand’s Facebook page is the level of interaction with fans. Actually, the lack thereof. In the info. section of the page, it says, “this is the place on Facebook where you can talk about (and occasionally to) your beloved M&M’s Brand Spokescandies.” They really weren’t kidding about the occasionally part.

Many fans post things to the Facebook page, but I can’t find a single response from the brand. For example, a few people wrote about their belief that the cartoon characters for a candy that is largely targeted to children should not be made sexual the way that Ms. Brown apparently is (she does have an interesting personality).

Other fans, however, have posted images of M&M’s images painted on their fingernails, or just written about how much they love the candy. These posts aren’t responded to, either. Positive or negative, it seems as though M&M’s doesn’t have time or doesn’t care enough to interact with their fans.

I can’t say that I am entirely surprised. After-all, the M&M’s Facebook page has attracted close to 3.5 million likes, and over 50,000 people are talking about the brand as I am writing this post.

Interestingly enough, there seems to be plenty of interaction on the brand’s Twitter page. Much of the Twitter content is repeated from YouTube and Facebook posts, but there are also regular tweets responding to specific people.

Other than that, the M&M’s Twitter presence is unique in that there is an account for each of the 6 characters. I like how the brand distinguishes between these characters and gives them each a personality that is consistent throughout advertisements as well as social media.

Interestingly, Red, Green and Brown M&M’s have English Twitter accounts. However, Blue, Orange and Yellow M&M’s have Spanish accounts. I like the idea of treating these market segments differently, but the Spanish accounts do not have the blue check-mark indicating that it is an official account, as the English ones do, and they are very under-developed relative to the English ones. This situation confuses me a little bit, but as far as I can tell, the Spanish Twitter accounts is a very new idea that is in the midst of implementation.

The other very interesting part of M&M’s social strategy is their Pandora station. I suppose it’s pretty cool that people can listen to a Ms. Brown Radio station, but while doing so, there is absolutely no connection to the candy or the character other than the name of the station. Furthermore, I can’t yet tell what the general genre of the station is yet, nor on what that decision would have been based.

The Pandora idea is a little too much, if you ask me, simply because it doesn’t even put M&M’s in the eyes of the user. I give the brand kudos, however, for trying something new and being one of the first to do it.

Believe it or not, there is still plenty more M&M’s social media to talk about, but I think this gives a fairly decent overview of what the brand does online.

Do you think M&M’s online strategy is successful?                                                 What would you change about it?

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About Jim Mignano

Jim Mignano is a young professional practicing and learning Public Relations in Rochester, NY. He is passionate about the possibilities that digital media provide and loves utilizing new platforms for a variety of functions. James' blog is about people and the technology they use. It's about communication and persuasion... the old and the new ways of doing things... the struggle between sticking to the tried, true recipes and experimenting with intuitive, innovative ideas. It's an extension and reflection of James himself: the convergence of ambition & ability.
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