Social Media Example #18: Rubbermaid

Number 18 on our list of 26 Social Media Marketing Examples is Rubbermaid. I was pretty excited about researching Rubbermaid because I’m secretly an organization freak! I love buying new organizational supplies and finding ways to organize anything and everything. An organized house makes for an organized life – too bad I don’t use that same motto with my car or desk at work.

Back to our social media example. Let’s jump right into my observations and recommendations, shall we? The Rubbermaid site is primarily focused on ecommerce. Each individual link a) provides a way to purchase products, provides full details about a specific product, b) provides tips and tricks on how to use the product or c) both a and b. While I understand an ecommerce section to the site is pertinent, as that’s how they garner online sales, I think the site could be more effective and user-friendly by driving traffic to one specific ecommerce portion of the site and and then dedicating the remainder of the site to building a more interactive atmosphere.

However, I got excited when I saw the “Tips & Solutions” section. I thought “Oh! They’re going to show me how to get organized. YES!” Unfortunately, that was not the case. Again, just more detailed content about the products and their uses that read like a big sales pitch to me. There was one cool thing to note about this section, however, and that is that there is actually a RSS feed and a sharing option. The ability to share content is one of the fundamental benefits to social media, but it’d be far more useful to the consumer: if the content were more share-worthy (i.e. genuine tips and tricks I’d like to share with friends/family).

Adventures in Organization

Adventures in Organization” is Rubbermaid’s blog, and it’s apparent to me that they know their audience. They’ve featured mom bloggers, organizational bloggers and frugal mom bloggers on the Adventures blog. Besides that, there are a number of other specifics that I like about the blog. The multiple authors give you a sense of each individual personality behind-the-scenes, and the fact that they spotlight these same personalities on Facebook and Twitter makes it that much more appealing. I feel as if I know something intimate about each personality like how Lauren’s refrigerator at home is very well organized and how Jim now believes that everything he learned about social media came from Mister Rogers and Mr. Hooper of Sesame Street.

The use of other influencers, such as the Consumer Queen, draws a large crowd that is searching for the how-to tips. Unfortunately, I believe there are a number of issues that keep this hidden treasure away from the masses. The main issue, so simple yet so essential, is that the blog is buried in the “new products” section. By simply calling the blog out on the homepage, you can draw a significant amount of additional blog traffic.

The other issue I see is that over 75% of the content feels like a sales pitch. It seems to restate product information already on the site. Don’t get me wrong, I would read the blog to learn about the products as well, I mean it is Rubbermaid, but what I’m interested in is not learning more about the quality but instead seeing more “how-to” articles and videos that provide tips on how to get organized and suggestions on what products are most useful for that specific project. The remaining 25% of posts that are “how-to” articles and videos, guest posts, interviews with professional organizers, etc. are much more appealing (to me and likely the vast majority of the readership).

@rubbermaid on Twitter

Though I’m not blown away by the main Rubbermaid site, I am pretty excited about their Twitter account, @rubbermaid. Jim Deitzel, one of 6 Rubbermaid bloggers, is currently tweeting for Rubbermaid. The first thing that caught my eye is how humanized the presence is. Deitzel is very active with the Rubbermaid followers, responding to their questions, concerns and even fun comments. He consistently @replies to consumers who tweet things of interest to him, and he retweets content that is relevant.

There are a number of tweets about Rubbermaid products and promotions, but could you really expect a brand like Rubbermaid to be on Twitter and never say anything about their products? I certainly appreciate the heads up about their sales. If I’m looking for Rubbermaid on Twitter, it’s not because I want to make a new friend. I’m interested in organizational tips and the products that can be used to execute those tips. The combination of personal interaction and product-related info is perfect because it provides followers with utility and personality for your brand.


Rubbermaid on Facebook

The final stop during my research was the Rubbermaid Facebook fan page. One thing I noticed about the page is that it serves as a one stop shop. The wall only lists a series of links from Rubbermaid’s blog posts and links to bloggers that are either reviewing Rubbermaid products or are doing Rubbermaid giveaways. There’s no interaction with fans.

They have some good content in other tabs on the page, but in order to really lure fans into engaging with your content, it’d probably be beneficial to begin by interacting with users within the wall tab because this is the first thing users see when they visit the page. This could encourage more people to become fans and will also likely encourage current fans to further explore what the page has to offer like discussions, opportunities for fans to share tips and tricks, etc.

I think the fan page could be extremely beneficial to its fans but needs to be much more inviting. I would recommend transforming the positioning of content and information. Continue to add links to posts on the fan page, but don’t congest it with only that information. I think they should bring forth some of the discussion topics to the wall, share tips in the notes section, prompt fans to get in on the action by sharing their own tips, and possibly even provide fans the opportunity to ask questions and get expert and fan advice.

Final Thoughts

I love the multiple voices and personalities of Rubbermaid. Through stories and images I feel as if I know each one individually. But am I the only one that has perused their content only to be disappointed by the lack of information and the redundancy of product information? I think it’s obvious they’re not afraid to utilize social media, and they’re definitely giving it a valiant effort, but they should veer a little further away from the “marketing talk” and really focus on engaging the consumer. What do you think?

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