Toms: Using Social Media Marketing Effectively

m234ali    November 12, 2015


Organization Name: Toms
Industry:  Retail
References: Toms, Social Media Breakdown, How Toms Creates Customers for Life, A Case Study in Profitable Cause Marketing, Social Media Analytics for Social Good

As the shift between having a social media marketing strategy and needing one lurches towards the latter, online marketing intelligence will glean much from the examples and experiences of sustainable enterprises like Toms who have hit the nail on the head.  The multifaceted retailer, who gained immense popularly with their famous “one for one” policy (where they donate one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased), now has an audience of over 2 million Twitter followers and it’s largely due to the expert use of integrating the philanthropic ideology within social media marketing tools.

In other words: The secret lies in mobilizing your marketing objectives to coincide with your brand ethos and long-term organizational goals.  Toms achieves this through the annual One Day Without Shoes campaign that asks patrons to go barefoot to raise “global awareness for children’s health and education,” and uses social media is it’s primary outlet.  Not only do they have a dedicated page on their website, but they host Instagram meet-ups in several social-savvy cities, offer a toolkit for those who want to participate, and a Pinterest board (with 33k+ followers) full of shareable fact photos and participant photos.


In terms of marketing, Toms engages it’s customerbase–and future customerbase–through promoting conversations using social media.  One terrific example of this was the Ticket to Give program where people submitted their aspirations of what they wanted to give, and had their communities promote and vote for them.


Toms also goes to campuses and community centers around the United States and Canada and works with local initiatives to help them achieve their personal missions.  They act as a facilitator while simultaneously introducing the TOMS mission to a larger a community.

Turning the attention to platforms better known, TOMS’ Facebook page, Instagram, Pinterest and twitter accounts take the cake.  Their Facebook page is loaded with photos of TOMS products and information about the company’s socially responsible initiatives, presented and updated in the most chic fashion and continuation of the youthful, hipster vibe.   The TOMS Twitter account tweets similar information about products and charitable initiatives. It’s founder Blake Mycoskie will himself tweet and retweet followers, directly connecting himself and his brand to his fans.  The Toms Instagram page also does a wonderful job integrating fans into content creation strategy by incorporating fan images of wearing product into their albums.


Two Key Lessons to be learnt from Toms:

  1. Sell a lifestyle, not just a product. Do this by encouraging your customers to speak about their own, personal experiences through your brand – and show how they care and what they care about, through the brand.
  2. Drive product sales through the positive influence of others – reach audiences that otherwise would not have been reached through partnering with other brands and other organizations that have similar interests.

Submitted By: Moneeza Ali, University of Waterloo

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