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March 07, 2014 Article 2 min read
Headquartered in Madison Heights, Mich., Moosejaw specializes in outdoor recreation clothing and gear for snowboarding, rock climbing, hiking, and camping. The company is known for its quirky, irreverent brand, epitomized on its website as “Moosejaw Madness.”

Headquartered in Madison Heights, Mich., Moosejaw specializes in outdoor recreation clothing and gear for snowboarding, rock climbing, hiking, and camping. The company is known for its quirky, irreverent brand, epitomized on its website as “Moosejaw Madness.” (For example, you can take a quiz to determine your “spirit animal.” Mine’s a USB plug. Like I said…quirky.)

You can imagine how a company like this might thrive on social media. Dan Pingree, Moosejaw’s chief marketing officer, recently talked to us about the company’s approach to social media and pitfalls organizations contemplating these outlets may want to consider before leaping in.

Can you tell me a bit about the social media experience Moosejaw strives to provide its customers?

Social media is about engaging the customer. Our brand voice is so unique in our industry; a lot of people know us because of our silly, off-the-cuff, irreverent humor. We want customers to experience our brand online just as they would if they walked into one of our stores. Everything is intended to reinforce our unique brand voice.

Do you find social media to be an effective sales channel?

Not really. Generally speaking, we don’t push many sales promotions on social media. That’s not to say it doesn’t occasionally drive sales — it can — but that’s not our primary goal.

How do you measure success on social media?

For Facebook specifically, we look at various actions that customers take, including (but not limited to) likes, comments, and shares. Obviously, we also look at our overall fan audience and how many people are talking about us.

Something that’s worked well for us is posting videos of what we call “Test Lab.” We take new and interesting products and test them in different scenarios around the office. In true Moosejaw fashion, they’re funny and bizarre. Those get significant numbers of shares and comments.

What’s a common pitfall when companies start getting on the social media bandwagon?

Failing to have a strategy. What’s the company looking to get out of Facebook, for example? Is it advertising? Because it’s not cheap. It’s not as easy as setting up a page and then waiting for people to come.

Plus, people have very limited time, so they tend to be picky about where they spend it. Social media isn’t a PR machine where you just pump out announcements. It requires taking the time to have a conversation with your customers and investing in good content and experiences to make the fan page something that people want to be a part of.

Just how zany are those Facebook posts?

Here are a few postings from the past couple of months:

  1. Our CFO is always wandering around and bothering everyone. We’re guessing it’s because he gets bored in his office so we’re going to redecorate. Should we paint it to look like the inside of a submarine, a planetarium, or a calculator?
  2. Sometimes I order a bunch of Taco Bell on my way home and instead of eating it, I just leave it in the fridge with a note that says: MINE. Drives the roommate crazy.
  3. Moosejaw Tip #18: Refer to things as “assets” if you want them to sound more important.