I joined the social media team for Greggs in April 2012 when the brand had around 450,000 Facebook fans and 20,000 Twitter followers. I left in April 2014 with Facebook at 780,000 fans, Twitter at 83,000 followers and a Gold 2013 Digital Impact Award on Greggs mantelpiece. Look at that chump at the back. Put your tie on, Moran. Jesus.

In the beginning we were responsible for planning, designing and writing copy for each post, as well as responding to user comments. Eventually we handed over the latter to Greggs customer services team, so we had more time for creative and planning. With a bias towards Facebook (Greggs strongest platform at the time) content usually fell into one of four themes: Product, Seasonal, Topical or Campaign.

PRODUCT

HEAVEN AND HELL

You can’t be right all the time. So on the rare occasions a new Greggs product faced delisting, we would prompt the Facebook fans to vote – should it be sent to Heaven or Hell? The results would determine whether the product received either a loving or wickedly spiteful epitaph.

As well as keeping customers up to date with the Greggs menu, this approach would always spark comments both for and against the product. Plus it gave us an excuse to write some silly poems.

ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATIONS

While content like ‘Heaven and Hell’ (above) was designed to specifically prompt comments, other content was designed to prompt Likes and Shares. An example is the range of original Greggs-branded illustrations we produced.

Highlighting the Greggs product offering, they’d also reach out to new fans with their tongue-in-cheek style.

DUNK WEEK

To raise awareness of Greggs own blend of coffee we created ‘Dunk Week’ – a series of social media posts aimed at determining the best biscuit for dunking in coffee. Using supporting artwork (with Greggs coffee cups front and centre), a leaderboard and a series of Facebook votes, Greggs fans chose the ultimate winner.

Turns out it’s a Custard Cream. Who knew? With a very tight budget, we also created a suitably silly video to launch Dunk Week, with me providing hand acting. The first 5000 views were seeded, the second 5000 were my mum.

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SEASONAL

HALLOWEEN, 2013

If we found there wasn’t a particular product or campaign to shout about, some weeks we’d just have fun. Racking up almost 36,000 shares, with no financial boost behind it, ‘What’s YOUR Monster Movie?’ was Greggs most successful post of all time.

Attack of the Flying Werewolves

 

VALENTINE’S DAY, 2014

As Valentine’s Day always divides opinion, we designed a series of posts in a variety of styles to raise a smile, instead of a sneer.

 

CHRISTMAS, 2012

What’s worse than an epic social media fail? An idea that doesn’t make a ripple. Such was the fate of Christmas 2012’s #101usesforasprout – the idea being that we could think of 101 things to do with a Brussels sprout, but eating it wasn’t among them.

As we steadily posted our own suggestions, we challenged Greggs Facebook and Twitter fans to send us their own #101usesforasprout. We thought it was hilarious and our in-house vegetable-sculptor deserved an award. It just didn’t seem to capture Greggs fans imaginations. Live and learn. But since you’re here and this is my page, you can sit there and enjoy them all.

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TOPICAL

ESSEX LION

We had a couple of social media wins for Greggs at moments when we could remain on brand while riffing on the hot topic of the day. One in particular was during the bizarre Essex Lion scare in Clacton-on-Sea in August, 2012. There’s a Greggs in Clacton-on-Sea. We thought this post would help.

Essex Lion spotted in Greggs

 

MAN OF GINGER

In June 2013, the poster for upcoming blockbuster Man of Steel was everywhere – depicting a shackled and serious-faced Superman being led by a SWAT team. Which is why, on the day of the film’s release, we posted this. I still prefer our version.

 

FISH CUSTARD

November 23rd was a big day for Doctor Who fans. The 50th Anniversary special was due to be simulcast (shown in cinemas and on TV all around the world at exactly the same time) at 7pm that night. Big things were promised by the billboard posters.

A mainstream, generation-spanning British institution. A character obsessed with strange food. A hashtag, #savetheday, the BBC was promoting up the wazoo. We had to get in on that.

Using Greggs stock photography we comped together an image of the current Doctor’s favourite snack, Fish Fingers and Custard, and added it to Greggs standard menu on their website. Then we asked everyone we knew to tweet its location. No big PR spend – just a little design time and some very game chaps at Greggs.

By lunchtime it had been picked up by Buzzfeed, Gizmodo, and Daily Star with Twitter roundly voicing its approval.

CAMPAIGN

THE GREAT GREGGS SANDWICH MAKER

Winner: Gold Digital Impact Award 2013 – Best Use of Digital in the Retail Sector

To raise awareness of Greggs huge range of freshly-made sandwiches, we launched the Great Greggs Sandwich Maker – a Facebook app for Greggs fans to build and name their own bready creations.

As an additional incentive, Greggs announced that they would choose one sandwich to make and sell in shops.

In just a few days, over 6000 sandwiches had been made and shared on social channels.

INVASION OF THE ZOMBIE BAKERS

Aimed at raising awareness of Greggs Halloween product offering, Invasion of the Zombie Bakers combined sampling activity around the country with social media engagement.

On a purpose-built campaign site we would announce where in England ‘Zombie Bakers’ had been spotted and encourage the public to go out and find them. Ground teams in Zombie Baker costumes would be handing out Greggs Halloween goodies to anyone who found them.

On Twitter and Facebook we’d be publishing fun content, reposting photos, driving traffic to the sampling locations, and giving away vouchers for Greggs treats to anyone submitting their own zombie photo. Great fun!

#PASTYSANTA, 2013

To promote their Christmas range, and rival the iconic Starbucks red cups, Greggs released a limited edition #PastySanta bag for December. It was impossible not to hold it up to your face.

To make the most of all the selfies that would inevitably start flying about online, we designed a simple campaign site where people could upload their #PastySanta pics. It would also capture any photos Tweeted or Instagrammed with the hashtag #PastySanta – displaying them all in one big, festive gallery.

Every day we awarded prizes for the best #PastySanta photos and shared them on Greggs social channels.

MEAL DEAL REVEAL, 2013

An integrated campaign across POS, press and digital channels, Meal Deal Reveal was a mechanic to promote Greggs really-rather-reasonable £3 Meal Deal. With every purchase of a Meal Deal in shops, customers would receive a scratch card. Scratching the left side could reveal a free Greggs product, redeemable instantly. Scratching the right side revealed a unique code. That’s where we came in.

Registering their details and entering the code on a campaign site gave customers a second chance to win a free prize instantly. Plus, they were also entered into a draw for a weekly grand prize. The more unique codes a customer entered, the more times they were entered into the weekly prize draw – incentivising repeat purchases within the campaign period.

Any time a prize was won online, customers had the opportunity to share their glory on their social channels, reaching potential new customers and driving them to Greggs shops to take part.

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