Social Media Breakdown: TOMS Social Media Marketing

 
Very few companies can enter into a well-established market space and completely turn it on its heels (pun intended), but that’s exactly what TOMS did when it entered the shoe industry in 2006. No, it wasn’t the Argentinean alpargata inspired design that caught the eye of potential customers; it was the mission of the company. For every pair of shoes sold (and now eyewear), TOMS gives a pair of shoes to a child in need. While the shoes were comfortable, it was the heart of the company that captured its fan base and turned them into true TOMS zealots. 
 
Blake Mycoskie got the idea for his company when he was on vacation in Argentina in 2006 and saw the alpargata shoes. Later in the trip, while doing volunteer work, he noticed that a lot of the children around him didn’t have shoes. He later learned that without footwear, children were unable to attend school and were constantly plagued by feet-borne parasites and other illnesses. When Blake got back to the States, he sold his driver’s education company to finance his new startup: TOMS. Fun fact, the company name TOMS is a derivation of the word “tomorrow”, and evolved from the Mycoskie’s original concept, shoes for tomorrow. So how does a company known for doing social good fair in social media marketing? Let’s find out in this week’s social media marketing breakdown.
 
Content Quality
 
TOMS’ Facebook page is a TOMS fan’s personal paradise. The page is loaded with photos of TOMS products and information about the company’s socially responsible initiatives. All presented with a very hipster vibe. The TOMS Twitter account tweets similar information about products and charitable initiatives. It also regularly tweets inspirational quotes like, “ ‘I’m still learning’- Michelangelo, age 87”. TOMS’ Twitter followers will also receive retweets from the company’s founder and shower-striking enthusiast, Blake Mycoskie. 
 
If you’re a big TOMS fan, you’ll definitely want to check out the Instagram and Pinterest dedicated custom pages on its Facebook page. If you Instagram a photo of yourself wearing TOMS shoes or TOMS glasses, you could end up in one of the Fan Favorites Facebook albums. This is a great example for how to integrate fans into your content creation strategy.  
 
Excited to see the latest TOMS styles, but don’t want to leave Facebook? Well lucky for you, TOMS has you covered. Its dedicated New Styles custom page shows off the latest in TOMS footwear. As an added bonus, users can add products to their TOMS shopping cart directly from the page. Now you can shop for shoes without having to take a break from Facebook stalking your high school boyfriend. 
 
Ranking: 4 Toasts
Audience Engagement
 
As of the week of May 13, the TOMS’ official Facebook page has almost two million likes with more than 20 thousand people talking about the company on Facebook.  The most popular piece of recent content on the page is a photo album named, “TOMS X Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project,” which has almost 10 thousand likes and almost 500 shares. The album was created in support of the aforementioned project, whose mission is to help fight and end the AIDS epidemic in Africa (The shoes don’t look half-bad either). The TOMS’ Twitter account has published over six thousand tweets and has 2.1 million followers.
 
Its YouTube account has over 40 thousand subscribers and over 4.5 million video views. The channel features more than 4 hundred videos, the most popular being TOMS Wrap Boot.  This video teaches women, and probably some men, (No judgment here, you work it!), how to wrap and wear the new TOMs Wrap Boot. The second most watched video is entitled: One Day Without Shoes 2011, and is a call to action to participate in the One Day Without Shoes nationwide event. The video has garnered over 382 thousand views.
 
TOMS’ Pinterest account has 23 boards, 815 pins, and almost 33 thousand followers. The board with the most pins is called #travelingTOMS, and has 67 pins. The 12 Days of Giving board seems to be the most popular, with over 28 thousand followers and lots of repins.
 
Ranking: 4.5 Toasts
Innovation
 
TOMS was founded on innovation and is credited with playing a large role in jump starting the conscious capitalism movement in American business. Driven by its conscious spirit of giving, the company recently commissioned 30 local artists from Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, to create designs for TOMS shoes in a move they are calling TOMS Haiti Artist Collective. The designs have tropical themes, as might be expected. Check out the website to see profiles of the artists, whose ages range from 18 – 45. 
 
To bring even more attention to the plight of the shoeless, TOMS started its annual One Day Without Shoes in 2007. Through this event, TOMS encourages people to go barefoot for a day in order to bring global awareness to how children’s health and education are affected when they cannot afford shoes. Supporters of the movement can share photos of themselves participating in the event on the One Day Without Shoes website. 
 
While artist collectives and social movements are certainly innovative steps, they pale in comparison to the innovation shown when a company known for making shoes launches a brand new, unrelated product. TOMS launched TOMS Eyewear in 2011. Working off the “One For One” model, TOMS provides a person in need with free pairs of glasses, sight-saving surgeries and medical treatment for every TOMS Eyewear product sold. This is truly a noble cause, and a sure sign of innovation from a company that primarily works on the opposite side of the body
 
Ranking: 5 Toasts
Thrill Factor
 
TOMS really knows how to get its fans excited about both its products and its charitable initiatives. The band Dengue Fever recently went to Cambodia with TOMS to help increase awareness of the sight-saving services available to local people. Honestly, I don’t know what the most thrilling thing about this initiative is. On one hand you have a great band doing amazing work with a revolutionizing shoe company; on the other hand you have this epic beard, proudly owned by Dengue Fever lead guitarist. 
 
If epic beards aren’t thrilling enough, the company also provides its fans with regular opportunities to be involved in the giving process via TOMS Giving Trips. Every year, 50 TOMS fans are picked to travel with the company to fulfill its mission of shoe giving. In order to be chosen, fans must create pages for themselves on the site and write a short profile about themselves and why they should be selected. Their friends, family and other TOMS fans can then “vote” for them. The 50 people with the most votes get to go on a giving trip and play their role in the giving process. 
 
Ranking: 4 Toasts
Summary
 
TOMS is indeed a social media marketingpro, which is fitting considering its target demographic of socially conscious fashionistas. The company knows just what its fans want to see on their social media platforms and it delivers that content in spades. With such high engagement rates, it’s clear that TOMS has a passionate fan base. If any advice could be given to TOMS in regards to its social media marketing strategy, it would be to provide alternate ways for fans to engage/share the great content being produced. After all, increasing awareness of TOMS goes hand-in-hand with increasing awareness of the “One for One” movement.  In the end the true winners of this increased awareness isn’t the company or the fans (although both will benefit), the winner will be that one extra person that receives their pair of shoes. TOMS is more than a shoe company, they are an inspirational example, proving that a company can be profitable and successful while simultaneously making the world a better place.   
 
 
Ranking: 4.5 Toasts
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About the author:

SarahSarah McNew Razzaque     Twitter

Chief Product Officer - SocialToaster