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Lego Has the Building Blocks for Social Media Success

Lego. We’ve all got fond memories of constructing spaceships and rockets and battleships and goodness knows what else from those little plastic blocks in childhood – a true sense of nostalgia that is perpetually reinforced as we now watch our own children and grandchildren experiencing the same joy for themselves. And, after decades of success, countless collaborations, video games and most recently The Lego Movie, it seems as if Lego is more relevant now than perhaps it has ever been – indeed, Brand Finance even named Lego the world’s most powerful brand in 2015.

But, even with such mass adoration, in 2017 and beyond, no brand earns a “world’s most powerful” accolade without a rock solid marketing campaign behind it, and Lego has found continued success in this regard through a strategic utilization of social media marketing.

It’s a strategy that’s not without its challenges. Lego, of course, is a children’s toy, but many social networks impose an age restriction on users – Facebook, for instance, requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. Making Lego relevant, important and prominent across these channels, exclusively accessible to older demographics, is therefore no mean feat. And yet, Lego has still managed to exploit its social media presence for brand lift, marketing and sales. The question is: how?

Clocking Up Engagement

The content that Lego produces for each of its social channels is uniquely tailored. Different platforms attract different audiences, and so content is carefully crafted to match those respective audiences’ expectations. But the ultimate purpose of the content is to foster engagement from fans and followers, and Lego has designed a strategy to ensure that its social media team are able to engage with the brand’s following at times most suitable for social media users. Lego’s global director of social media Lars Silberbauer explains the tactic to Econsultancy:

“The channels are run by one team but from different time-zones. Primetime on social media is usually outside working hours so engagement on European platforms is carried out by my team in the US and so on.

“It’s difficult to scale if you have dedicated teams per channel, so we’re focusing on the capabilities and competencies (e.g. conversations, engagement, monitoring and moderation) that can be scaled across channels and markets. But of course you need to understand the specific tone of voice on each individual channel. Therefore, most of the content and engagement is tailored to the specific channel and the demographics that are using that specific platform.”

A Model for Tailored Content

Lego’s Twitter presence is defined by segmentation. The main account is the @LEGO_Group account, where content is rather self-promotional – announcing new product lines, retweeting Lego news, and so forth. But the company also controls a number of other Twitter accounts, designed to direct audiences to more specific content. There’s the @LEGOBatmanMovie account, the @LEGOMarvelGame account, the @LEGOIdeas account, and so on and so on. The idea – that clearly works for the company (each account has tens of thousands of active followers) – is to create content hubs that directly appeal to specific segments of the Lego audience, and thereby give them the exact content that they want and nothing else.

Similar segmentation is employed over at Facebook, with separate Pages created for Lego, Lego NinJago, Lego Dimensions, Lego Batman Movie, etc., etc., etc. “All of the different channels need custom-made content for that channel. That’s the ambition,” explains Silberbauer to the Content Marketing Institute. “We strive to use content that is suitable for the demographics of each channel.”

There are certainly many channels to juggle. Keeping the social media team unified, therefore, and ensuring that the most relevant and compelling content is served to the right users at the right time, is no mean feat, and indeed, as Silberbauer reveals, comes down to the utilisation of Big Data technology.

“For us, it’s all about looking at the trends and reviewing the data, and then having people who are able to analyse it all and convert it from Big Data to insights. From those insights, we create content. Also, we depend on people who have the skills to identify great content and amplify it in the right way. So, we do of course have a lot of technology which supports us, but in the end building social media capabilities in a company is all about creating a culture of understanding the consumer, your brand’s DNA, and then empowering people to jump on great content or consumer engagement when they see it.”

User-Generated Content

Perhaps most impressively of all is Lego’s user-generated content campaign – Lego Ideas. Here is where Lego fans can submit their own ideas for new Lego sets. The beauty of the campaign lies in the fact that each user who proposes a new idea must independently gain support from 10,000 other people before Lego considers the proposal. Each fan is responsible for their own promotions – effectively turning them into marketers for the Lego brand themselves, even if their ideas never come to fruition.

When it comes to creating engagement and making fans feel as if they are part of the ongoing story of a brand, such user-generated content campaigns are really second-to-none. Fans have gotten really serious about promoting their Lego Ideas in the past, all at absolutely zero cost to Lego itself. Here’s the YouTube video promoting a Lego Ideas set for none other than the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

The Building Blocks for Brand Success

Keeping things fun and engaging is the overarching theme connecting all of Lego’s social media output – and that’s something that that appeals to all generations. Lego’s social presence is as strong as its brand – and the two undoubtedly go hand in hand. By utilising multiple channels, Lego is able to always be at the forefront of consumers’ minds, be it on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or wherever it happens to be. The last word goes to Silberbauer:

“We want to be where our consumers and fans are, so that’s always the deciding factor for us.”

About John Waldron: John Waldron is a technology and business writer for markITwrite digital content agency, based in Cornwall, UK. He writes regularly across all aspects of marketing and tech, including SEO, social media, FinTech, IoT, apps and software development.

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