A youth spent skateboarding, reading comic books and performing dangerous stunts on camera. Only I didn’t really skateboard, I just hung out with friends who did. I didn’t really perform any dangerous stunts either. We just stayed up all night watching Jackass. I did read plenty of comic books though.
Perhaps this is why I follow so many brands like this on social media. They’re something to remind me of who I really am, or at least who I like to think I was when I was growing up.
On the face of it, purchasing a pair of low-slung jeans and wearing a back-pack doesn’t necessarily mean any more than buying into a culture, but I make these choices because they go some way to define a part of me.
Vans does an excellent job in tapping into its own cultural heritage and providing a social experience that is in turns aspirational, inspirational and nostalgic. In a mututally beneficial exchange, the brand defines the community and the community defines the brand.
Here we’ll be taking a look at the best of Vans’ social media channels.
Vans has amassed an impressive 1.2m followers on Instagram, double that of rival shoe brand Converse, thanks to a committed, highly prolific mix of regular diverse content.
I’m writing this on 1 April and already by 10am, Vans has posted this brilliant video of a group of surfers using the current of a German river to surf.
Vans has a strong connection with its followers. This month it’s tapping into the creativity of its fans by asking them to submit entries for a documentary competition.
As YouTube has recently revealed in its Creator Playbook as featured in Content marketing for YouTube made easy, interactive content is the key way to drive engagement and long-term loyalty.
Vans posts updates at least once or twice a day making it the most prolific of branded Instagram accounts. It’s a strong mixture of well-shot product images…
And behind the scenes glimpses of the people in Vans HQ.
Vans’ Instagram channel is all about connecting to the lifestyle that Vans represents. It suggests a certain amount of rebellion and individuality but also a strong community spirit. It’s an attractive place for followers of the brand and identifies with the demographic perfectly.
Vans has taken to Vine exceptionally well. Averaging seven posts a month and accruing 20,600 follower. These may not sound like incredible figures, but for the one-year old platform it shows a greater commitment than Converse, which has posted six Vines in the entire year.
It’s also a major positive that Vans uses Vine as well as Instagram video, seeing the mutual benefits in each, and posts Vines that are exclusive to the channel, rather than cutting down existing content.
Again the content is all about community spirit. It shows the faces behind the brands and how the brand is involved in its community’s everyday lives.
There is nothing complicated here, nothing slick or high budget. Just some people living their life in tandem to the ideals fostered by the brand.
Vine is the perfect way to engage with consumers on a very low-key, lo-fi level. The best Vines are the ones that don’t cost very much money but show a certain level of charm or creativity.
Vans doesn’t run a Google+ page. Let’s be completely transparent about this. It does have a sister page for its ‘Warped Tour’ concern, but the brand itself has yet to commit to the running of a page.
However, in keeping with the grassroots spirit of Vans and a testament to the affection that the brand engenders, an employee at Vans HQ has taken it upon themselves to create a community page for Vans.
This is updated almost every day with product shots and various homages to the brand from community members. As Karin Chicck says, this is a place for me to put all the Vans-related stuff that needs a home.
Maybe that’s how Vans likes it. Maybe this is precisely how Vans wishes to represent itself on Google+, through the passion of its fans and followers.
As you can see, Vans has already uploaded another Vine since writing the above Vine section.
Vans runs one of the most visually attractive Twitter feeds I’ve ever seen. Almost every post has a visual element, whether it’s a twit-pic or a Vine.
It’s also brilliant because almost all of the posts are original content, not just reposts from its Instagram account.
Even more impressively is that in amongst the various photographs of the team hanging out with musicians backstage and cool footage of skateboarders, Vans still finds time to use Twitter as a customer service channel.
Recently it was revealed that Twitter is the ‘least effective’ customer service channel, well despite this, Vans still manages to reply almost immediately to queries and offers relevant support.
Because it’s not all about partying with rockstars and spending long summer days at the skate park, it’s about fostering a positive sense of community and consumer relationships.