Casper is putting to bed the notion that mattresses are boring social fodder, and the upstart is gaining comic notoriety and a sizeable following on Twitter
As a new player in the mattress market, high-end manufacturer and supplier Casper has relied heavily on word of mouth to make up for its low-budget advertising strategy. Since its founding, person-to-person marketing has been the biggest driver of its sales. Social media allowed the brand to engage with customers while also giving its loyal patrons a very public way to do its evangelizing.
Casper’s main objective on Twitter is to raise awareness of the brand. Not everyone is in the market to buy a bed—most people buy a mattress every seven to 10 years—but when they do embark on that buyer’s journey, it’s important to grab their attention, says Lindsay Kaplan, Casper’s vice president of communications.
How bizarre is the idea of a talking mattress? That’s the question Kaplan asked herself when she launched the social media function for Casper in April of 2014. The idea was admittedly absurd, but says Kaplan, so was the idea of a mattress company using Twitter. “We found something really funny about a mattress on Twitter,” says Kaplan. “There are a lot of brands who use social media and take it very seriously and don’t find humor in the fact that they’re using Twitter to begin with.”
The first step was to determine the personality of the brand’s spokes-mattress. “We immediately knew a mattress would be up all night,” says Kaplan, “so that became the first element of Casper’s Twitter presence.” The voice of Casper is geared toward a demographic that’s familiar with GIFs and the kind of syntax often found in memes. The account frequently responds to @Casper tweets with short clips of pop culture on loop. “It’s always about entertaining, elating and conversing,” says Kaplan, a strategy that differentiates the brand from many business handles that use Twitter to make a sales pitch rather than holding a conversation with consumers.
|To get coffee or to get to work on time? That is the question.— Casper (@Casper) April 6, 2016|
With musings like, “To get coffee or to get to work on time? That is the question,” and “Still don’t think it’s a coincidence that ‘morning’ and ‘mourning’ sound the same,” Casper, the tweeting mattress, supplies followers with a steady stream of witty one-liners usually about sleep (or a lack thereof) and coffee.
While that may not resonate with every prospective customer, Jim Tobin, president of Ignite Social Media, says a bold approach trumps vanilla tweets any day. “The worst thing that can happen to a brand in social is to be fundamentally ignored,” he says. “If you know who you stand for and who you appeal to, just own that, and you’ll end up with a much bigger portion of your segment.”
The mattress brand is also challenging its competition with its #linksomnia tweets, a series of articles, videos and other content curated for those who resort to scrolling social feeds when they can’t sleep. “When they’re writing about insomnia, they’re very quietly making the case that maybe they could help you sleep better,” Tobin says. “It’s a strategy that Serta or Tempurpedic can’t copy. It’s a nice way to say, ‘Hey, there’s a very different mattress here,’ without talking about a mattress at all.”
Some content comes from Van Winkle’s, an editorial website covering the topic of sleep and published by Casper. With categories like science, health, travel and culture, Van Winkle’s makes sleep a ubiquitous conversation. Casper, Tobin says, excels at inserting itself into larger, relevant conversations as opposed to product descriptions.
“What Casper’s realized that a lot of brands haven’t is that Twitter’s not about their product,” says Tobin. “It’s about the experience the product facilitates and the reason the product exists. Sleep’s important to all of us.”
|WHY CAN’T IT BE NAP TIME ALL THE TIME?— Casper (@Casper) April 14, 2016|
One reason Casper’s content is so effective is that it’s relatable. Everyone can empathize with the after-lunch energy crash at work or hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock. The motto of Casper’s social media department is, “Look at the struggle and the joy,” says Kaplan. The struggle is the pain of getting out of bed in the morning and the joy is kicking your shoes off, getting into bed and pulling up the covers.
One follower claimed Casper’s tweets convinced her to buy a mattress, and while that may be true, Tobin says it’s more likely the tweets served as an engaging introduction to the brand. “What they’re saying is, ‘I heard about this brand because of this Twitter account. I started to like the brand because of this account. I checked it out, bought it and came back to say you got me started on this path.’ ”
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Casper’s Twitter presence has earned it a Shorty Award for excellence in social media. It’s also up for Webby Awards for social customer service and comedy writing, the latter it’s vying for alongside The Onion, Conan O’Brien and John Oliver. In 2015, the brand grew its Twitter following from 5,000 to 50,000 and its overall social media following increased by 1,311%.
The social media team behind Casper’s Twitter account has grown as well. Kaplan says that growth was more methodical as the decision to hire in-house talent took patience. “When you work with an agency that is juggling a few brands and isn’t living and breathing your company day to day, you’re sacrificing the heart and soul of the brand,” she says.
“It was one of the slowest hiring processes I’ve ever taken to hire our first social media team members, but it has paid off.”