Culture is happening on Twitter. With hundreds of millions of global users, Twitter is the perfect place for brands to listen to their customers, learn from them and show them some love. As a recent Vulture article says, “Advertising has always been integrated with culture — mascots brought brands to life, influencers became human billboards — but Twitter has facilitated a new sort of intimacy for brands, one in which they can blend in with people and develop their own personas.”
Hashtags are one of the main ways that brands use Twitter to connect with customers. But, how do hashtags become popular? And, how do brands take advantage of viral hashtags?
This is the story of #PanteneOppa – a random hashtag from a local radio station that turned Steve Aoki into a brand ambassador for Pantene. It’s a great example of a brand seizing an opportunity to launch an organic marketing campaign, created and driven by the conversation on Twitter.
On October 25th 2018, DJ Steve Aoki released “Waste it on Me,” a song featuring the world renowned South Korean boy band BTS. In addition to holding records for best-selling albums, BTS also holds a host of social media records such as most Twitter engagements (average retweets) for a music group, thanks to their huge fan base the BTS Army. In 2018, BTS was ranked as the #1 most Tweeted about account for 2018 worldwide.
Only three days later on October 29th, #PanteneOPPA hashtag was born. A local radio station in Tennessee, 103.7 KISS FM, tagged Pantene in a Tweet with a gif of Steve Aoki jumping, saying “Hey @Pantene we have your new spokesperson! Look at that hair bounce 👏🏾 #PanteneOppa.” In Korean, oppa literally means “older brother of a female person,” but the meaning of oppa has changed over time and now commonly refers to a close friend or romantic interest.
On October 30th, Pantene responded to launch a new campaign that connected it to a global audience organically. Pantene’s simple Tweet -- “Can we join this party?” received a response from 103.7 KISS FM who mentioned BTS in their Tweet, urging Pantene to collaborate with Steve Aoki and BTS on a commercial.
On October 30th, Steve Aoki jumped into the conversation. Steve Aoki’s Tweet accepting the new nickname has more than 45K likes and 20.5K retweets.
According to Steve Aoki, who spoke with Sprinklr and Pantene on a panel at the 2019 Twitter Beach, Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, BTS fans are uniquely powerful on Twitter. “They’re definitely young, but they’re incredibly organized and intelligent. If they love you, the power they have is exponential,” said Aoki.
On October 31st, Pantene ensured BTS fans stayed involved in the Twitter conversation . The company responded to Steve Aoki’s Tweet with lyrics from the BTS and Steve Aoki new song, “Waste It On Me” with a request for the BTS Army to comment with #PanteneOppa commercial ideas. They also didn’t forget to mention 103.7 KISS FM in their Tweet – a nice call out to the radio station that started this conversation. In response, 103.7 KISS FM encouraged BTS fans to give Pantene some #PanteneOppa ideas. From there, #PanteneOppa was officially a viral hashtag.
Sprinklr’s social listening found that Pantene and 103.7 KISS FM Tweets mentioning the BTS Army and Steve Aoki drove the most engagement, leading to a huge spike in #PanteneOppa mentions on October 31st. Thousands of BTS fans responded on Twitter, creating viral #PanteneOppa memes.
Throughout the month of November, Pantene strategically kept the #PanteneOPPA conversation going with an engaging poll, hilarious Tweets (one has 16.9K likes so far) and
1-1 Tweets to fans.
Pantene didn’t miss out on the opportunity to thank 103.7 KISS FM either and on November 12th the radio station Tweeted a picture of the care package – with a handwritten note, personalized T-shirt and products – that Pantene sent to them for all the positive buzz they created for the brand.
This engagement resulted in a spike in Twitter conversations mentioning #PanteneOPPA that’s lasted through 2019.
1. Be Natural on Twitter & Don’t Force Engagement. Throughout Pantene’s entire engagement on Twitter with #PanteneOppa, the company never forced the conversation. Sprinklr’s platform found that only two of the four spikes in hashtag mentions were driven by Tweets from Pantene, meaning that the majority of the brand love was organically created by customers.
This is a great example of how to create meaningful connections with customers through a social media campaign inspired by an earned engagement. As with all conversations, over time they die down and the Twitter universe moves to the next hot topic. Pantene allowed the conversation to die down just like it started – naturally. But the connections they made and the brand voice they built remain.
2. Tap into the fandom on Twitter. Pantene knows that the conversation about their brand is happening on Twitter. The company paid attention to the Tweets about Steve Aoki and BTS, and used this moment to effectively participate with those fans with relevant and fun content – like incorporating BTS song lyrics into their Tweets. The tone of their Tweets were like any other fan, excited and wanting to be in on the joke. The @Pantene handle had character and was funny. In only one month – from October 28th to November 28th 2018 – Sprinklr found that more than 20,000 individual BTS fans on Twitter mentioned #PanteneOppa and generated 29,943 mentions of the hashtag #PanteneOppa. Sprinklr’s listening capabilities also found that the sentiment on Twitter around Pantene grew significantly in October 2018 when the #PanteneOppa hashtag went viral. This increase in sentiment can be attributed to the effective Twitter content Pantene published as a result of its deep knowledge of consumers and BTS fans.
3. Listen to Your Customers on Twitter, Learn from Them and Show Them Love. Pantene, Steve Aoki, BTS and 103.7 KISS FM all succeeded in driving engagement around #PanteneOppa because they listened to their customers, quickly engaged with them and also created personalized engagements to one another. 51% of marketers say that access to social data (listening in real-time to conversations your brand otherwise wouldn't be privy to) is very important to overall business decision making. From listening on Twitter, they learned what would make their customers happy. They quickly turned this insight into action and showed their customers and fans some love with personalized Tweets, polls and creative images. They also knew that measurement should be more sophisticated than just looking at “likes” in order to understand the full story.
With the right technology like Sprinklr in place, brands can listen and authentically connect with audiences on Twitter to drive deep levels of engagement and make their customers happier.
Want even more? Watch Steve Aoki, VP of Hair Care at Pantene Ilaria Resta, and VP of Sprinklr Marketing Yoli Chisholm on a panel at Twitter Beach at Cannes Lions. The Secret Language of Fans: How Brands Tap #Fandom Culture on Twitter.
To learn more about Sprinklr, head to partners.twitter.com.