“It’s interesting to see how brands are starting to figure out how to communicate with people in a way that makes them relevant,” says Victor Pineiro, VP of social media at Brooklyn-based agency Big Spaceship.
The key to relevance? “Besides listening,” says Victor, “is in locating a brand’s voice.”
In his own experience, he credits a Skittles account for shaping how he helps brands find their voice, and for influencing the way he currently taps comedians and screenwriters when hiring “social copywriters.”
“The key to relevance, besides listening, is in locating a brand’s voice.”
When Skittles signed Big Spaceship to manage its social media back in 2009, the task of creating daily Twitter and Facebook posts fell to Victor.
After the agency chose to personify a Rainbow that occupied the story world of the Skittles TV commercials as the face of the brand's Facebook and Twitter accounts, Victor went to work.
“I was able to work with the brand manager to really evolve the brand voice,” says Victor.
“The most important thing is the ability to be a chameleon with your voice.”
The social media listening tool? This was 2009, so Victor manually dug through comments.
The strategy? Find inside jokes in the comments that kept resonating, and scale them.
Rather than posting day-in-the-life updates, Victor wrote bizarre maxims—“Nobody parties like a manatee,” for example. They gained traction, so he wrote more of them.
“Can the [social copywriter] shift their voice in a way that sounds authentic and genuine?”
“It was a very specific voice I used,” says Victor, whose background is in screenwriting. “But at the same time I was writing for five other brands that had very different social voices.”
Earning success for other brands (Crayola, Lucasfilm, Wrigley) pushed Victor up the ranks at Big Spaceship—he’s now VP. He’s found that when hiring writers for social media accounts, those best suited for the task are not always journalists or advertising copywriters.
“Comedians [make good social copywriters] because they can read an audience and tailor what they’re saying.”
“To me, the most important thing is the ability to be a chameleon with your voice,” he says, explaining why people with comedy or screenwriting experience seem more natural fits for the job.
“Can the [social copywriter] shift their voice in a way that sounds authentic and genuine, and can they speak different brands?” says Victor. “I find that comedians do well because they can read an audience and can tailor what they’re saying. And screenwriters have a sense of empathy that’s useful when creating multiple characters.”
And who can argue with success? The Skittles Rainbow voice grew the brand's Facebook profile from 3 million to 20 million likes by 2011. And, for one year, the Rainbow held the Facebook record for Most Liked Post.
“And screenwriters have a sense of empathy that’s useful when creating multiple characters.”
I asked Victor what the post was and almost by reflex he replied, “If you love somebody, let them go, because they might come back with Skittles.”
It worked for the client, and for Victor as well, with more brands following the Skittles trail to his desk at Big Spaceship.