No trip to the mall is complete without a bucket of Pretzel Nuggets from Auntie Anne’s or a White Gummi smoothie from Jamba Juice. And if Bari Rosenstein Tippett has her way, no scroll through your social media feed will be complete without stopping to glance at the latest meme or status update from the same classic brands.
“Our social approach is to make our brands part of the conversation, whether it’s by aggressive community management, or hopping on a trend, sending surprise-and-delights or just doing a bunch of testing,” Rosenstein Tippett said during a call with PR Daily. “We try our hardest to be present in all of those moments, viral and not viral.”
The senior social manager for Auntie Anne’s and Jamba, both under the umbrella of Focus Brands, takes a fan-centric approach to her craft, focusing on organically becoming part of the conversation – both the big and little stuff.
“We just want to make our fans part of the journey and we want to create for them and speak with them, not directly to them,” she said. “We want them to feel like we know who they are, and that we create this content for them.”
Here’s how Rosenstein Tippett’s team of two handles their community of more than a million fans with fun and a strong sense of brand.
A commitment to the community
What makes Rosenstein Tippett’s approach to social media notable is her commitment to fostering a true community rather than just pushing content out.
On TikTok, her team is committed to replying to every comment. Most of these are short and simple – a “Yesss” of agreement, a smattering of emojis, a simple “thank u bestie” — but it serves several key purposes in their overall social media plan.
“It’s crazy how many likes some of our top comments gets,” Rosenstein Tippett said. “And that’s just another form of engagement, another form of brand awareness. And so that’s one of our goals this year is to really have a community management strategy.”
But that community building goes beyond commenting. It goes all the way to surprising a bride and groom with nuptial pretzels.
It all started with a TikTok post where Auntie Anne’s were served at a wedding. It hit WeddingTok and blew up. From there, Auntie Anne’s started angling for wedding invites. They found one in northern Georgia, just an hour away from their Atlanta headquarters. It was time for a road trip.
While they did work with the wedding planner and the bride’s mom to make sure they’d be welcome at the wedding, the bride and groom were completely in the dark that pretzels were being rolled and baked in the back of their venue.
When the grand pretzel reveal was made, unveiling bread products that spelled out the couple’s initials, the newlyweds were stunned. Rosenstein Tippett said it was possible they forgot they’d invited Auntie Anne’s at all. But their surprise gave way to huge smiles.
@auntieannes So we crashed a wedding last night 💙🥨 #auntieannes ♬ Wedding March – Felix J L Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Helmuth Brandenburg
“It was just one of those moments where we just created lifelong brand fans, and you just can’t replicate that. And yeah, it was definitely a core memory for everyone involved,” Rosenstein Tippett recalled.
And of course, they turned that moment into content, which scored more than half a million views.
TikTok, Instagram – and Facebook
Jamba’s target audience is Gen Z, while Auntie Anne’s is both Gen Z and Millennial. It’s probably not surprising that their two highest priority platforms are TikTok and Instagram. Not only is that where those audiences spend the most time, they’re also the most time-consuming for content creation, ranging from their monthly Instagram photoshoots to the time required to film TikToks.
“We spend a lot of time ideating and concepting around those main content pieces,” Rosenstein Tippett said. “But we do carve out time to make sure all of our other platforms are up and running.”
Indeed, their largest audiences are on Facebook – 1 million likes for Auntie Anne’s and 1.7 million for Jamba. And those aren’t just legacy fans – they’re active and engaged today.
“I always say Facebook isn’t dead because it’s working,” Rostenstein Tippett said. “And we have the facts to show it. We have a very engaged audience to show it. And so that’s why we get super excited about our results that we see on Facebook.”
This horoscope post is a perfect example, Rosenstein Tippett said. According to data she shared on her personal LinkedIn, that post has earned 6.7 million impressions, 12,000 likes, 3,000 comments and 6,500 shares.
“People were so moved to tell us how right we were, how wrong we were, tagging their friends and asking them is, ‘is this you?’ And that alone just showed us that we’ve created such an engaged community that when we create content, we want people to share and repost and comment.”
They’ve even found success with Gen-Z focused Jamba on Facebook, asking fans to chime in to name smoothies and other questions that offer real-time feedback.
“Not only have our Facebook learnings helped us increase our benchmarks, they help us shape the way we think about our content,” Rosenstein Tippett said.
Whether it’s from their fans or elsewhere, Rosenstein Tippett’s team is always on the lookout for great new ideas for social content.
“We get inspiration from everywhere. We are active users on Twitter, we are active users on TikTok, active users on Instagram. We also find inspiration from other brands that are not in our industry. So we look at fashion brands, soda brands, snack brands.”
Still, it’s vital to make sure you are staying true to who you are and not hopping on any trend just to look cool.
“When Tik Tok was a whole dancing platform, we were not dancing,” she said with a laugh. “We don’t want that at all. We’re a pretzel brand.”
And at the core of those brands is a boldness and a willingness to experiment.
View this post on Instagram
“We are not afraid to flop. And I think that’s the coolest thing. Because we learn from our flops, we learn from our successes.”
For more practical social media advice, join us at our Social Media Conference, presented by PR Daily and Ragan Communications, held in Walt Disney World March 27-29! Learn more.