Q&A: Creative agency NAIL shares their Twitter tips

By Marissa Window

What's it like to manage clients at a creative agency? We chatted with Mary Kate Byrne, Senior Account Manager and Kaitlyn Vicente, a Social Content Strategist, to learn more about their social strategy for their client Lightlife (@Lightlife).

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Mary Kate Byrne, a Senior Account Manager at NAIL. And I love Beyonce and puppies.

And I’m Kaitlyn Vicente, a Social Content Strategist at NAIL. And I love Lady Gaga and cats.

Tell us a bit about NAIL.

NAIL is an independent creative agency based in Providence, RI. We don’t specialize in any specific industry, instead, we specialize in solving any client’s problem through communications.

Tell us a bit about LightLife.

Lightlife was founded in 1979 and their mission is clear: make food from plants so delicious that everyone wants to enjoy it. The brand was just acquired by a Canadian Protein company, Maple Leaf Foods, and is growing every day.

How do you work with Lightlife? As Lightlife’s creative agency, we are responsible for how the brand looks and sounds out in the world. We work closely with Lightlife on everything from developing their brand positioning, producing creative content, and social media planning.

When we pitched for the account in 2015, we challenged Lightlife’s brief and encouraged their team to look at their brand in a different way. Thankfully, they were up for it. That initial presentation set the tone for our relationship. They trusted our strategic and technical expertise to execute new ideas.

Three years later, Lightlife has grown so much they’re now an important part of the strategic future of, Maple Leaf Foods, and we love being a part of that.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

MKB: As a Senior Account Manager at an independent agency I play many roles. Ultimately, I’m responsible for the relationship between NAIL and our clients. I work with Lightlife to understand their needs and challenges. I work with our creative teams to solve those problems, and then go back to Lightlife to convince them to trust our recommendations.

The best part about my job is that there isn’t a typical day. Some days I’m traveling for a shoot, other days I’m prepping for content presentations with CEOs, and sometimes I shut myself away to work on developing a creative strategy for a new client.

KV:  As the Social Content Strategist I’m responsible for creating social campaigns that connect communities with the brands they love. I focus on ensuring that the content tells a story and maintains the brand’s voice across platforms. Since my job is creative and relies on social media trends, my days are always different.

When it comes to social, I am Lightlife. When I’m working on Lightlife I’m balancing creating content, engaging their communities, and working with NAIL’s social ads manager and digital strategist to execute advertising campaigns. It’s a nice balance of working on top level strategies and being in the social weeds.

Tell us about the marketing campaign you crafted to launch Lightlife on Twitter?

MKB: When we started working with Lightlife our goal was simple — reverse a 4-year sales decline. We needed to change the perception around the brand, from a brand that makes meat alternatives for vegetarians, to a brand that makes delicious food for people who need to eat.

KV: Given our budget and target audience, social media platforms that allow us to build personal relationships with consumers are always a priority. Our agency philosophy is that Twitter is the best generator for conversations between a brand and a consumer. Twitter is where you turn one-on-one relationships into strong communities of loyal consumers. Because building brand awareness and changing brand perception are consistent goals, we use Twitter to speak to various audiences and build our persona through content strategies and community management efforts.

We launched with creative that supported Lightlife’s campaign tagline, Meat Without the Middleman. The content was designed to encourage conversation and debate. Twitter is the place where this type of behavior is happening all of the time, so it seemed like a good fit. This campaign was how we introduced Lightlife to the world on their social channels, so we wanted to make sure that we made a big splash.

What are a few Tweet examples that you think really capture the LightLife brand?

We wanted to encourage people to engage with our Tweets, so we let Lightlife’s bold personality shine by using our tongue-in-cheek tone to help relay our messaging. NAIL’s creative team coined the word 'meatist' to call people out for discriminating against plant meat, which is a term that we used in a couple of ads and engaging in direct responses.

This Tweet is a reflection of the movement we were starting:

This Tweet is a fun visual representation of our tagline, “Meat Without the Middleman” that conveys our messaging in a punchy and engaging way:

Via social listening, we found out a popular Netflix movie was going to be streaming in a local theatre, and they decided to serve our Smart Dogs. We decided to show some TLC to the theatre and the movie goers. This is just one example of Lightlife showing a community that they’re listening:

How does video on Twitter fit into your marketing mix?

KV: Lightlife is a small company so our media spend has to be efficient. We shoot hero videos and extract pieces of content from that main video to be used specifically for Twitter, whether that’s an organic post, an ad, or a GIF. The goal is to increase brand awareness within the plant-based category, and video helps us showcase our personality and highlight our products. Since we’re using Twitter to build one-on-one relationships, Lightlife’s videos serve as conversation starters.  

What’s something you’ve recently tested on Twitter? Any results you’d like to share?

KV: Lightlife launched a new frozen product line in 2017, for this effort we created several versions of our videos and tested audiences’ responsiveness to our ads. Our creative approach was to create video content and memeify it ourselves. We tested the meme copy, Tweet copy, and different audience groups to learn what the best combination would be.

This being a new product launch, our objective was awareness. So the metrics that mattered to us on Twitter were view completions and impressions. Twitter’s grocery store targeting feature proved to be successful in reaching customers near Lightlife’s distributor’s locations, which served as a great foundation for us to hone in and refine our target audiences.

How do you use Twitter Ads to amplify your marketing efforts?

MKB: Prior to our initial campaign launch, the two words most associated with Lightlife in social conversations were “veggie” and “vegan”. Our goal was to change consumer perception and ultimately change the conversation around the brand. It was important that we achieved this goal because it would mean Lightlife owned a new position within the meat alternative category. The content we placed and the conversations we had with consumers on Twitter helped us to change that. One year later, the two words most associated with Lightlife were “meat” and “delicious”, while two of Lightlife’s main competitors were still tied to words like “vegan”.

KV: We’ve used Twitter Ads to reach people based on keywords and behaviors. That strategy helped us effectively build and reach specific audiences that relate to certain product categories.

Recently we've performed audience testing on Twitter. We restructured our targeting approach based on our learnings and the availability of Lightlife's new frozen line. This ad strategy was centered around the targeting followers of specific grocery stores since Lightlife’s availability within certain markets is so specific. Working off of a geographic structure and integrating demographic filters made our campaign creative relevant to our target audiences. Since our specificity lead to relevancy, our ads were delivering higher impressions, which is great for our goal of building brand awareness.

How do you plan and create Twitter Ads that will resonate with your target audience?

MKB: We are firm believers that creative content and media placement need to support one another. Filming a TV ad and then promoting it on digital and social channels is never ideal. Each channel is used differently, and content should be specific to that channel and usage occasion.

On Twitter our video content is short and sweet. It’s direct and punchy.

An example of a creative concept and Twitter media placement supporting one another is Lightlife’s frozen campaign. The videos we created were intended to be our consumers’ inner monologue. It was some of the most relatable content we’d ever created so we letterboxed the videos in a meme format because that’s how people were relating to content. We took advantage of the whole “OMG this is me” trend because the creative allowed for it.

KV: At NAIL, we like to make smart, funny, and fascinating things. Because we see every video, every Tweet, every everything as an opportunity to make someone feel connected to your brand. We try to be sure our clients’ content evolves with social media culture. It’s important for us to keep up with the way people are having conversations online, so Lightlife continues to be seen as a brand our audience wants to talk to.

Social listening and trend research are essential components of my job, accumulating that data helps me build content recommendations that hopefully break through the waterfall of information on consumer’s feeds. Being able to listen to and understand the voice of the consumer helps inform and optimize the content we’re creating, and listening to the conversations taking place within those broad and narrow scopes of consumer categories enables me to gather feedback that can improve the user’s experience.

On Twitter, we focus on telling stories that create conversations. Our plan is always centered around our creative campaigns sparking some sort of reaction — whether you like what we’re saying or not — and then anticipating those reactions and being ready for them. This approach enables us to build a personality and create a connection with consumers.

What results have you seen with Twitter Ads?

KV: With low brand awareness and low household penetration for a CPG brand, one of our initial goals was to increase awareness. When this is our objective, the KPIs that we look at are impressions and video completion rates. If we are successful with these metrics, and particularly video completions, we can infer that our audience is seeing us and are maybe even enjoying our content. We’ve seen great success in these areas with Lightlife’s Twitter advertising and are continuing to optimize for even better results.

Any final tips for agencies on Twitter?

MKB: Always create content specific to the channel. Consumers are savvy and are actively trying to avoid advertising every chance they get. Make the ad experience pleasant for them and they may stick around and view or read the whole thing.

Experiment. Test different post copy. Test different audience targeting. Different versions of creative. Sometimes an idea doesn’t perform like we thought it was going to. No biggie. See what works and what doesn’t and apply those learnings to the next round.

KV: In the social world, every Tweet is an ad. Every impression you have on a consumer affects brand sentiment. Right now, it’s super trendy for brands to be roasting people and clapping-back, but I think it’s important to make sure the content your posting is true to your brand. Thankfully with Lightlife, I can be sassy because it’s authentic to their brand personality. Do what’s right for your client, not what you want to do for you.

Other one-off tips for agencies on Twitter:

  • Listening to your audience is just as important as keeping track of your quantitative metric
  • Don’t be a megaphone, respond to people! Even on your ads.
  • Best practices are like one-size-fits-all leggings; learn what works for you by testing your creative, testing audiences, and learning from your findings. What works for a major CPG brand might not work for a small B2B.

Know a brand doing interesting things on Twitter? Tweet us @TwitterBusiness.

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