Using social media to market your products: the case of Red Bull

First session after lunch at Media 140 is John Beasley, head of brand at Red Bull, who says social media plays a key role in the marketing of the company’s products.

He says the important thing is to find something genuinely interesting to do with the medium. The company is prioritising its marketing to the extent that it says it wants it “to become the brand”.

It uses everything from videos to iPhone apps to link its name to (and produce) unique content it thinks will excite people and get them interested in the brand. Beasley says the eventual aim is to monetise the content and get people to pay for it.

He says, “As a brand, we should only contribute when it works in the community. We need to be very targeted and responsible. You need to connect with and benefit with consumers. Communication is never just for it’s own sake, and we hope to create something in the long term that will mean a consumer will have a better idea of us.”

He says long-term commitment to social media is the only thing that will get it to work. The first thing the company did was create a presence online using MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.

He says, “But we had to develop that though and use content . We found consumers wanted short bits of content that needed to be refreshed constantly. We also created lots of different points for consumers to discover us through.”

Red Bull sponsors an F1 team and uses this to create content and engagement – staff in the pitt at a Grand Prix will twitter about what’s happening, answering questions and talking to people. And alongside commitment and decent content, Beasley says honesty is needed – it’s important not to be fake.
Red Bull doesn’t really innovate through its products – it doesn’t launch new products all the time, instead it innovates through its marketing. Not all companies would want or need to do as much as Red Bull has, but it provides a good example of what a company that relies fairly heavily on marketing can do with social media.