Branding anything on social media with humor “steaks” time, and it’s “rare” to find a brand that can “cook up” a “meaty” Twitter campaign with jokes and puns while appealing to a loyal customer base.
I’m not great with puns, but this is exactly what Steak-umm does every day on social media.
Ironically, it was a vegan who turned me on to @steak-umm tweets. He DMed, “You know, I don’t eat meat, but these Steak-umm tweets are ‘well done’.”
I was already a Steak-umm customer. Now I’m a loyal follower on Twitter.
Curious to learn more about the team behind the account, I reached out to Nathan Allebach, social media manager for Steak-umm, to ask a few questions about the Steak-umm team, viral tweets, and cool collaborations:
Q: What does the Steak-Umm social media team look like?
A: One person manages the day-to-day Twitter account as far as community management, content creation, ideation, but our whole creative team at Allebach Communications collaborates on campaign ideas, design, digital, and so on. Slinging steaks and taking names.
From there we work with the marketing department at Quaker Maid, which owns a few brands, including Steak-umm, Mama Lucia Meatballs, Philly Gourmet Burgers, and Heritage Premium Sliced Steaks, all of which we work on together.
Q: There have to be some Steak-umm tweets or campaigns that made you proud. Was there a point with the Steak-umm account when you thought, "wow, that got a lot more RTs and likes than I expected"?
A: The viral rant about young people on social media from September was the highlight of the year as far as messaging and general media attention (https://twitter.com/steak_umm/status/1045038141978169344). That was by far the biggest tweet(s) we had done and we weren't expecting it to resonate with so many people.
Everyone is always confused when a frozen meat company is insightful. So that’s always funny and surreal.
Q: Did you have any tweets or campaigns that kind of fell flat?
A: Well, if we send out 20 different tweets, some will perform a little better, some a little worse, with a couple being bad, then maybe one hitting the mark. There was this hilarious “Hey Arnold" meme we posted, but it flopped. Those just aren't quite in yet with the “fellow” kids.
Q: I envision your team sitting in a Twitter war room, designing a master strategy for funny, engaging tweets while you consume an endless buffet of Steak-Umm sandwiches. How far off am I?
A: Way off, but that sounds so much cooler than the reality, so lets just go with that.
You know how they say the best ideas come in the shower? That’s what it's like crafting tweets. If you try to sit in a room strategizing the best tweets, they often just become stale marketing efforts. Tweets are like a stream of consciousness, so in most cases we just jot ideas down throughout the day, and then refine them at later points.
Sometimes (ideas will) get bounced off a coworker or we’ll spend some time as a team talking through further implementation, but day-to-day it’s just living life and tweeting about frozen meat sheets as the thoughts pass through.
Q: I loved the whole Steak-Umm flavored Pop Tarts bit. What’s your dream cross-promotion that would rock the Steak-Umm Twitter account?
A: That's tough. There are so many. We’ve interacted with all our favorite brands, such as MoonPie, Pluckers, Flex Seal, and a bunch of others, even celebrities like William Shatner and Tommy Wiseau. So, at this point it would be fun to mix it up with more niche celebrities like Joe Rogan or Lana Del Rey, or with a superstar like Demi Lovato.
Just the absurdity of it would be hilarious.
Some brands try to go for “cool” collaborations either because of what they are or what they want to think they are, but most of our content falls into meme culture, so the more absurd the better.
Q: You're winning a lot of new followers on Twitter. What’s the Steak-Umm rule on engaging with customers on social media?
A: Treat people online like people IRL (in real life). Tweet what you would say in person. About 95-percent of the daily interactions we have are positive, so we try to engage with as many people as we can. Some are just one-off, trivial comments, while others are more in depth and interesting.
With jerks, we’ll offer up some sass at times, but we try to keep it light (e.g., Steak-umm bless). With trolls, we play along until it goes too far, then we just disengage.
There isn’t a cemented set of rules for proper Internet etiquette, so most of it is discretionary and common sense as we’ve come to understand it over time. People aren’t robots, so it’s good to let the range of human emotions flow sometimes, as long as it’s tethered to the brand.
Q: Anything else you'd like to add?
-Steak-umm is a family owned company
-Demi Lovato if you're out there please @ us
-VerifySteakumm on Instagram
-be wary of charlatans online
-Steak-umm bless us, everyone
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator newspaper on social media and society.