In today’s current social media climate, older companies sometimes struggle to maintain their relevance if they are not quick to develop and sustain an effective social media marketing strategy. A product like LaCroix, with its 37 year history, proves that old brands can emerge like “brand new” again, through the proper implementation of social media marketing. LaCroix is a brand of natural sparkling water offered in a variety of fruity flavours. Despite its French sounding name, LaCroix is actually an American brand distributed by the Sundance beverage company. Although the label was developed and released nearly 40 years ago in 1981, LaCroix is often mistaken as a new, trend-setting beverage due to its ever increasingly popularity with millennials. However, this affinity between the younger generations and LaCroix did not just happen overnight, nor was it a coincidence. In fact, LaCroix came up with a very specific social media strategy in order to win over its now prominent millennial consumers.
So, how did an older company like LaCroix manage to establish such a cult following among millennials? Seemingly, it was through the strategic use of micro-influencers as a tool to market the brand across popular social media platforms (more specifically Instagram), to sway the interests of social media savvy millennials. A micro influencer is essentially the same as your typical influencer (otherwise known as macro influencers), but maintains a much smaller following. For example, whereas macro influencers often have over 100,000 followers, micro influencers typically have no more than a few thousand followers. In fact, some very effective micro influencers might only have around 1000 followers or even just a couple of hundred!
Why would a brand like LaCroix choose to partner with influencers who have a significantly smaller following, rather than aligning themselves with big-time influencers who could get the brand’s message out to hundreds of thousands of people? This is a clear example of how the number of followers does not always dictate the level of consumer engagement. In fact, as the quantity of followers increase for an influencer, engagement surprisingly tends to drop with their posts. As IZEA explains, people with followings of less than 1000 usually have an engagement rate around 15 %, whereas those with 100,000 followers typically have an engagement rate of only 2.4 % with their posts! Clearly, LaCroix had a strategy when choosing to use micro influencers in their social media marketing strategy.
How did this strategy work?
Now that you know what a micro-influencer is, let’s discuss how LaCroix used them to strategically market their product towards a millennial target audience. Firstly, in seeking out micro influencers, the company simply searches for people who have already tagged the brand in their social media posts. LaCroix even sends out vouchers for free cases of their drinks to these users to encourage their continued loyalty to the brand. Whereas some brands only offer free products to those who have a massive following, LaCroix considers the extent to which a user engages with their brand on social media. In turn, LaCroix works hard to engage with each and every user who tags their brand, whether it’s through sending them a free box, or sharing user content on the company’s official Instagram page. However, the brand does not reward those with a lesser following simply to be “nice,” but does so with strategic marketing interests in mind. To elaborate, through sharing micro-influencer content on the brand’s official Instagram page, it allows the company to communicate a message that transmits authenticity, sincerity and honesty back to their consumers. In other words, the company uses micro-influencer content to highlight a more organic relationship between brand and consumer because the results appear far less fabricated. LaCroix’s official Instagram stays away from showcasing Instagram influencers who have been payed big $$$ to share the brand and chooses to focus on the “ordinary” people who truly enjoy the sparkling water. In the end, it is the sense of community that has been created on these platforms (such as Instagram) which allows LaCroix to increase brand loyalty and trust through social media marketing.
“Through multiple social-media platforms, we strived for 100 percent consumer involvement by acknowledging all comments about LaCroix and responding to our fans on a daily basis,” – former digital LaCroix strategist, Alma Pantaloukas (quote retrieved from inc.com)
Other Social Media Marketing Practices LaCroix Utilizes
Additional ways LaCroix works to market its brand on social media include aligning itself with the whole 30 program (a clean eating diet trend) through including fan’s crowdsourced photos with the hashtags #whole30approved. The brand also uses various other hashtags such as #LaCroixlove and #LiveLaCroix, which in turn has inspired lifestyle bloggers to share personalized LaCroix recipes on social media. Again, these types of social media tactics encourage consumers to connect with the brand since they know the engagement will be reciprocated, which not only increases the likelihood of people continuing to follow LaCroix, but also their consumption of its product.
Lessons for Others
LaCroix’s micro-influencer strategy proves that in order for social media marketing to be successful, brands do not always have to dole out big bucks to influencers maintaining a huge following. Instead, companies can turn to the people who are already actively engaging with the brand on social media and share this content on the company’s official page. In turn, these practices of reciprocal communication and engagement between brand and consumer, (which is not based on, nor dependent on how large the following an Instagram user has) create an authentic atmosphere where buyers see themselves reflected in those promoting the products. Not surprisingly, it was this focus on engagement with “ordinary” users that allowed LaCroix to grow its primarily millennial audience from 4,000 to 30,000 within eight months in 2015. Today, the brand has 145,000 followers on its official Instagram page where every day micro-influencer content continues to be shared.
Industry: Beverage Industry
Name of Organization Contact: Nick Caporella, CEO
Authored by: Danielle Brubaker
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
Dua, Tanya. (2016). The LaCroix Guide to Tapping ‘micro-influencers.’ Digiday. https://digiday.com/marketing/the-lacroix-guide-micro-influencers/
Izea. (2017). What are Micro-Influencers? Izea Blog. https://izea.com/2017/06/12/micro-influencers-101/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwjtLZBRDLARIsAKT6fXyBt6QygJld8bA1ajlbPDe6qmfghVD4_b3izyz8-S9lCOVTkpS5A58aAqa0EALw_wcB
Mikel, Betsy. (2017). Lacroix uses this Brilliant Tactic to Win Over Millennials by the Droves. INC. https://www.inc.com/betsy-mikel/lacroix-uses-this-brilliant-tactic-to-win-over-millennials-by-the-droves.html
Wikipedia contributors. (2018). La Croix Sparkling Water. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:36, July 3, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=La_Croix_Sparkling_Water&oldid=844550957