One of my favorite benefits of the increase of technology has been advancements in learning. Throughout my childhood, I constantly had my nose in a book. This was the case until I began my undergraduate degree, where I found certain content to be lengthy and difficult to fully understand. During this time, I was introduced to SparkNotes, a company who’s original focus was to “provide study guides for literature, poetry, film, and philosophy.” Just as the technological landscape has changed, the educational landscape has changed as well. SparkNotes has done a phenomenal job adapting to this change by creating social media handles that have not only made learning relevant, but cool.
At the beginning of 2018, the SparkNotes Twitter hovered around 15,000 followers. Cue in staff writer Courtney Gorter and Chelsea Aaron, who manages the SparkNotes Instagram account. After some social listening, identifying which types of content were most popular, and adapting a consistent brand tone and voice, Aaron and Gorter developed a content strategy that they believed would help SparkNotes achieve its mission: “making classic literature easier for students to understand.” Flash forward to today, the SparkNotes Twitter account has over 184,000 followers and regularly averages over 10,000 favorites/tweet.
While the hilarious content certainly draws audiences in, the brand’s posting consistency and audience engagement keeps them there. Recently, the brand tested out a post where they asked their followers to “request custom-made memes by reaching out via email with the title of a book or a subject they’d want meme’d.” Gorter and Aaron were thrilled with the response they received, by teacher and student alike.
So how does a 20 year old brand whose focus on the classics reposition themselves in a world where MySpace is considered archaic? By creating social media accounts that the brand itself would want to follow. According to SproutSocial, the best ways to define and maintain your brand voice include reinforcing your brand’s beliefs, outlining your brand’s ideal voice, avoiding “bait and switch” communication, monitoring audience engagement, and learning where your brand voice is highlighted the most.
Ultimately, the brand’s social media accounts, particularly their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have done an exemplary job of creating engagement and driving performance. What can brands learn from SparkNotes’ social media success?