Yes or no. Now or never. This or that. For such a little word, or sets a lot of limits. But and opens a world of possibilities: Peanut butter and jelly. Rhythm and blues. Yours and mine. And turns two good choices into one strong solution.
For RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), it’s got to be And not Or, a groundbreaking social media program we launched this month.
How did we get to And? Our governing board began a strategic conversation in 2016 about reaching consumers directly by focusing on their information needs about specialty pesticides and fertilizer. That conversation matured into one about the power of the social media lifestyle conversation to deliver answers to people’s questions and make a positive impression.
After the governing board’s decision to invest in the concept, we piloted a social media program in 2017 to begin a lifestyle conversation on Facebook and Twitter with the next-generation consumer, influencer and opinion leader: the millennial.
We built the And not Or program on attractive, curated content delivered directly to our audience with rigorous measurement built in so we could assess the quality and quantity of our conversation with the next-gen consumer. Facebook’s and Twitter’s ability to hyper-target the audience — and capture audience interactions and reaction — let us know which pieces of content performed best, so we could optimize impressions and engagement with our messages throughout a 10-week pilot program last spring.
And not Or targeted millennials in five states, with the expectation of reaching about 4 million people who identified as our target audience, based on their demographic information, brand likes and other social media tracking information. We pored through consumer research and analytics, and did some of our own research to better understand the millennial consumer and their attitudes about many things, including professional services and do-it-yourself products.
Our results exceeded our expectations — and showed us there is an appetite for the information we are sharing. We reached more than 7 million people who liked, loved, shared, clicked, commented on or otherwise interacted with our content more than 400,000 times. A series of videos we posted had more than 800,000 views during the four weeks they were posted on our AndnotOr.org microsite, and shared on Facebook and Twitter. Negative conversations about pests, lawns and outdoor living decreased in the lifestyle space within our target geographic region, too.
These results gave us a solid foundation to invest in the program for 2018 and beyond. We know social channels are a place where all of us must be present and active with relevant content. And not Or gives our industry a voice in the conversation with a generation of consumers who get virtually all of their information from social media, especially when making buying decisions or seeking information about services and products.
I predict what we learn from the program this year will reinforce what we learned from our pilot: The next generation of homeowners wants to hear from us, and they are looking for our resources to help them solve problems. For professional applicators, we will have information about the millennial consumer seeking their services, along with pest and product knowledge. We’ll also have practical information about engaging in the lifestyle conversation with relevant content. Consider these two statistics, resulting from the “Think with Google YouTube Insights Study”:
⦁ 62 percent of millennials live in single-family homes, with half of them owning their house.
⦁ 62 percent of smartphone users report YouTube influences their purchasing decisions with how-to videos and reviews, and they would follow the advice of these influencers vs. their favorite TV or movie personality.
The social lifestyle conversation is one in which we must engage, both now and into the future, to ensure a vibrant future for families, communities and our industry. Our goal is to keep choice alive through And not Or by sharing content that is meaningful to our audience and meets their needs. Our longer-range goal is to move from awareness to active awareness, creating advocates for the contributions our products and services make for healthy, safe and fun homes and communities.
REARDON has led the communications and public affairs efforts for RISE for more than a decade. Located in Washington, D.C., RISE is the national association representing the manufacturers, formulators, distributors and other industry leaders involved with pesticide and fertilizer products used in turf, ornamental, pest control, aquatic and terrestrial vegetation and other non-food/fiber applications. Learn more at PestFacts.org and DebugtheMyths.com.