Toms puts the “Social in Social Responsibility”

CNorris13    November 2, 2015

Company: Toms

Industry: Retailer, Shoes

ReferencesToms WebsiteUSA TodayTwitterInstagram,

Toms is an American shoe company founded by Blake Mycoskie. Its business plan, which at the time of creation was unique, that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need every time a person purchases a pair of shoes for themselves. Since its inception the company has expanded their product lines to include coffee and sunglasses and in correspondence have increased their giving to also includes glasses for those in need and clean drinking water. Since their inception the company has given away more then 45 million pairs of shoes.

Every year they have a campaign on Social Media where people are encouraged to post bare feet to promote the awareness about children who do not have proper footwear. For the 9 year anniversary of this company, the founder is leveraging Instagram with a goal to donate one million pairs of shoes. These shoes would be donated to a child in need, and done each time someone posts a photo of bare feet with the hashtag of #withoutshoes.

When speaking to USA Today, founder Blake Mycoskie says, “By leveraging Instagram, we can really make this a participatory event globally. This isn’t just about advocacy and giving based on your buying. It’s about real giving for giving’s sake.”

The use of Instagram, Toms is leveraging all the followers of the person who uploads the photo. By doing this they are getting more eyeballs on their cause, increasing their potential reach and awareness of the cause. Currently Toms has 690 ooo followers on Instagram. This amount of reach grows exponentially when these followers share content with their followers.

“To scale something like this in order to help more people is an incredible opportunity, and one that couldn’t have happened just a few years ago. Social media is what makes Toms possible. Spreading the word between people who care is so easy now.” – Blake Mycoskie

In the first day, Toms and their hashtag #withoutshoes had 14 000 posts. The campaign was scheduled to run May 5th to 21st 2015. After the campaign ended, the company had donated 296 243 pairs of shoes in addition to their regular donations based on purchases. One thing to note, was they they only donate shoes for each unique person that posted a picture. If you posted a picture every day, only one pair of shoes was donated on your behalf. The hashtag also had to be included in the post, in order for it to count. They then used an app to determine which of the posters are unique each day.


Lessons Learned 

Although Toms did not reach their goal of donating one million shoes to children in need, there are some things that we can take away from what they did. Toms chose to use Instagram as the platform for this campaign. Instagram currently has more users then Twitter and Instagram posts tend to create more interactions then Twitter. The way in which they ran the campaign, getting people to post photos, grew the potential reach of their campaign. They also created a designated hashtag, #withoutshoes, so that the posts could be tracked and found. The campaign was also limited in time frame. Giving a deadline for posting pictures, created a sense of urgency for people to post pictures.

The campaign and method for participating in this campaign aligns with the business plan of the company, and the donation of the shoes to children in need. By posting photos of bare feet, it aligns with the reasons that this company donate. It also as, we see from the audio file above, it gives the opportunity for people to donate for donates sake and in a way that is familiar to the customers of the company.

Submitted by Chelsea Norris 

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Perform