Adam Britten has an amazing job. He gets to go to work every day and interact with happy people, engage an active and supportive community, work with a team that is receptive of his ideas, and best of all, he gets to work with froyo. There’s something about frozen yogurt that just seems to make for an incredibly rewarding job, and I can’t say I’ve ever met somebody who represents a frozen yogurt brand on social media who isn’t incredibly satisfied with their job. It’s this perfect combination of a fun treat that’s fairly good for you, the happiness it brings to customers, a delightful lifestyle and a product that basically sells itself, which opens up a world of marketing possibilities. Those possibilities apparently lead to fun and engaging social media campaigns and active communities around the brands. What’s not to love?
I interviewed Adam for my final assignment in #CMGRClass, to get a sense of his work life, and how he approaches community management. He’s the community manager for 16 Handles, a small chain of self-serve frozen yogurt shops based mainly on the East coast. His brand – and his work – is notable for being the first to adopt the popular picture sharing app, SnapChat, where picture messages can be viewed for only a few seconds before they disappear forever. Adam used the platform to offer a promotion to Handles fans, which got picked up by social media news outlets, trade magazines, even Wired. Innovation like that is just one way he works to make his employer look awesome on social media.
16 Handles is more than a yogurt company, which is apparent in all their online media. Their web site describes their mission to help make the world a better place by participating in green projects, planting trees, and improving communities. On Facebook, they share photos of their staff’s Earth Day improvement projects, on Instagram you’ll find pictures of the office dog (a frenchie named Handles) decked out in his very own 16 Handles hoodie. On Twitter, every fan gets a personal touch, whether they have a question, a complaint, or just want to say hello. Adam has ensured that online, 16 Handles is more than pictures of froyo, and is instead a very approachable and human brand.
When you’re competing with giants like Red Mango and Pinkberry, and you’re established in a crowded city and a saturated market, it’s tough to stand out. And yet, here’s a brand who is recognized by Quick Service Retail Magazine, a trade publication focused on retail operations with small footprints and in-and-out service, as a company to keep an eye on. If social media were the judging criteria, 16 Handles would be high on the top of the list, posting engaging content and very plainly valuing its fans. In contrast, Pinkberry, Red Mango, and TCBY all share more product shots than anything, and often ignore their customers on Twitter, only responding to a few each day.
Speaking with Adam, it’s plain that he’s not only a social guy who loves making people happy, but a talented and driven community manager. He’s forward-thinking and proficient at marketing, he fully understands his business’ goals and works hard to attain them, and he’s on the lookout for every opportunity to be at the forefront of digital marketing. He loves his fans, and he goes out of his way to make sure they’re engaged and positive, while striving to get more bodies into their stores, get more franchisees interested in the company, and get 16 Handles’ name on more headlines. He’s certainly a model #CMGR.
Adam’s favorite froyo flavor is salted caramel. What’s yours?