How RadioShack Made Their Twitter Sponsored Trend Go Viral

by Nicole D'Alonzo on Oct 10, 2011

Originally published at NikisNotes.com

You expect young tech startups and hip software companies to lead the way when it comes to social media. So it’s a nice surprise to see an exciting campaign coming from more established brands. RadioShack, a 90-year-old retail brand, has been dusting off its image in big ways and its use of social media has been no exception.

At a recent social media conference, Adrian Parker presented a session on “How RadioShack is Leveraging Social Media to Create Connections and Drive Growth.” Parker took the stage with exuberance—the kind that puts the audience at ease—and began describing RadioShack’s “retired gadgets” campaign and shared some interesting stats.

Did You Know…

• 40% of Facebook updates and 37% of Twitter updates are made via mobile devices
• More than half of all American homes have $100 worth of retired technology
• Bill Gates wrote the code for RadioShack’s TRS80
• Radio Shack sold the first mobile phone (but is not responsible for bell bottoms per Parker)
• It’s projected that by Q4 2011 50% of all mobile phones in the U.S. will be smartphones

Ok, so what did RadioShack do with all (most) of the points noted above? It launched the #UNeedANewPhone campaign. RadioShack purchased the hashtag (promoted trend) #UNeedANewPhone and drove awareness about its trade-in program, which offered gift cards [or discounts on new electronics] in exchange for old mobile devices.

Campaign Results:

• Increased awareness of phone trade-in program
• #1 trending topic worldwide (organic)
• 65 million impressions
• 9% engagement rate
• Double digit wireless sales (3 days)
• 3X Web traffic to its upgrade checker (3 days)

Why the Campaign was Awesome

There are several factors that made this campaign successful, but let’s focus on the hashtag. Notice “U” was used instead of “you,” which shows a clear understanding of the character limitations and casual style of conversation found on Twitter.  RadioShack also used an unbranded hashtag, which definitely contributed to making it viral organically.

The content was highly relatable and sharable because many of us have had, or know someone who still has, an outdated Zach Morris-style mobile phone (#UNeedANewPhone). What can we learn? If you want your hashtag to go viral, make it more shareable and ownable by keeping it unbranded and conversational.

On Another Hashtag…

In a discussion on hashtags, it was fitting that Parker had his own. He hashtagged the session #stayingsocial and offered an iPad 2 to the person with the most “provocative” Tweet. I absolutely love when a speaker does this, but you have to have the content to back it up (he did) or you’ll hear metaphorical crickets from the audience on Twitter.

The session-specific hashtag is great because it allows a hyper-focused conversation to take place and it’s much easier for historical references after the conference. For example, I was able to search #stayingsocial and review all of the Tweets from Parker’s session instead of having to sift through the entire ANA conference hashtag. So, not only does The Shack get social, but also Parker, RadioShack’s presenter, made his presentation social. He gets it, too. Double props.

 

 

 

Post Author

Nicole lives in New York City. She is the Founding Editor of TASTEdaily, a daily email for bold women. She previously worked as a Global Director of Social Media at Kiehl's, a L'Oreal company. She has launched social media...

  • Nice post.  Interesting stuff.  Neat idea of having a hashtag for a specific session at a social media type event.  Smart idea.

  • Chet Holmes, the author of “The Ultimate Sales Machine” has an incredible strategy that revolves around showing people data that leads them to the logical conclusion that they have a problem that needs to be resolved.

    If anyone resonates with what Radio Shack did with their list . . . 

    • 40% of Facebook updates and 37% of Twitter updates are made via mobile devices

    • More than half of all American homes have $100 worth of retired technology

    • Bill Gates wrote the code for RadioShack’s TRS80

    • Radio Shack sold the first mobile phone (but is not responsible for bell bottoms per Parker)

    • It’s projected that by Q4 2011 50% of all mobile phones in the U.S. will be smartphones

    You can have a research firm find all of these compelling points for you and then use what you learn in Chet’s book to weave them into a compelling argument for buying what you offer. The research firm he likes to use is called Empire Research Group because they know what to find that’s helpful for a business to persuade rather than just a data dump.

    Be interesting to see if Radio Shack can stay in the game.

  • Thanks! That was a very informative article. Thanks for the useful Twitter case study. 

  • Great write up, Niki. Lots to learn from this case study, AP gets it. 

    Side note: Went to check out your blog, but the link took me to a Twitter status instead. 

  • Nicole D’Alonzo

    Oh, no! Thanks Sarah–we’ll correct. :-)