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Neenah Paper & Packaging Social Strategy

As Design Army's social media director, I played a key role in developing the social media strategy for Neenah Paper and Packaging, a world-class manufacturer of premium writing, text, cover, specialty, and private watermark papers. Our team began developing the strategy in late 2019 in preparation for a January 1, 2020, launch date.

We first identified personas and developed content pillars that mapped back to the interests, curiosities, and design styles attributed to those personas. Education, community, inspiration, real-world utility, product offerings, cultural relevance, and Neenah headlines were the key content pillars identified.

In addition to Neenah-centric content such as informative process-based videos (education), designer features (community), sustainability (product/education), standout projects (community/news), giveaways and contests (product/community), we sourced user-generated content in the form of satisfying videos with a focus on texture, paper, and design. The new #SatisfyingVideos series lived on Neenah's Instagram Stories as well as in dedicated posts.

Prior to presenting the strategy, we performed in-depth research around various content categories and their suggested impact on audience interest and engagement. According to psychologists, watching "satisfying videos" releases chemicals in the brain that bring happiness and positivity (you can read more about the #oddlysatisfying video trend that took off in 2018 in Wired via the link on this page). These videos allowed us to tap into Gen-Z, the next generation of designers, through instantly gratifying and highly sharable posts. These were immediately successful—two of the top performing posts in the first quarter of 2020 were satisfying videos, and garnered an engagement rate per impression of 9.1% and 6.7%, respectively. More results can be found below.

Community was a key thread throughout our monthly social media calendars. Featuring designers and projects that use Neenah brands allowed us to integrate the fine paper manufacturer into the design community on social and leverage these relationships into some of our strongest marketing tools.

Cultural moments also played a key role in our editorial planning. What role did Neenah have in the Oscars or Golden Globes? How can we highlight Neenah’s environmental impact on Earth Day? What role does paper play in Fashion Week and political elections? This allowed us to tap into existing designers working with Neenah products, including Mandy Maxwell who used Neenah's CLASSIC Stipple and CLASSIC Crest for the 2019 Academy Awards invitations and winning cards and envelopes. The post, as well as a link to view it live on Instagram, can be found on this page.

As of 2019, over half of Americans (54%) got their news "sometimes" or "often" from social media—Facebook being the most popular social media site for US adults to do so. Working off this data point we developed a Facebook strategy focused on a range of topics, including design trends, the future of packaging, notable graphic designers and studios, industry developments, events, and trade shows, in addition to case studies, awards, and shifts in sustainability practices. Our editorial calendar guided the cadence of this content. To kick off the year, we featured articles on 2020 design trends and predictions from top publishers and industry experts, including Adobe, 99designs, Dezeen, Creative Boom, AIGA Eye on Design, Fast Company, and Dieline, to name a few.

As part of our approach, we overhauled Neenah’s Facebook profile, first by making the page more visually appealing and modern by updating the cover image and creating a cover carousel that automatically rotated to feature beautiful product imagery. We reordered the menu—prioritizing the strongest content and tabs with the most traffic. We also curated photos by collection and retired outdated content. As a result, net Facebook page likes increased by 60% in the first six months.


∙ From January 1 to June 30, 2020, @NeenahPaper saw a 634% increase in overall impressions and an 89% increase in engagements on Instagram.

∙ In our first month running the account, our team saw a 331% increase in impressions, a 457% increase in engagements, and a 50% increase in profile actions across Instagram and Facebook. Our engagement rate per impression also grew by 29%.

∙ Net follower growth on Instagram was up 212% in January of 2020. These results can be greatly attributed to the emphasis placed on published video galleries, or carousels, as well as a 120% increase in published posts featuring standalone static images, when compared to the same time last year.

∙ We saw instant success with user-generated content. Our first satisfying video post, published on January 3 immediately following our takeover of the account, generated an unprecedented average reach per post of 56k, 2400 engagements, and over 2k reactions. In comparison, the lowest performing post from the same six-month period generated an average reach per post of 237.

∙ The second highest performing satisfying video, published on January 23, featured Cooper Calligraphy, generated 32,193 impressions, nearly 3k total engagements, 2300+ reactions, a 9.1% engagement rate, and an average reach per post of 31,320.

∙ Net Facebook page likes rose by 60% from January 1 to June 30, 2020. Due to a significant increase in link sharing on Facebook, we also saw a 166% increase in post link clicks during the six-month period.

∙ Our top performing Facebook post in terms of engagement rate and impressions between January and June 2020 was a community feature published on February 9, the same day of the 92nd Academy Awards. Here we featured designer Mandy Maxwell, mentioned above, who designed both the Oscar invitations and winning cards and envelopes. The post had a 13% engagement rate and over 3300 impressions.

∙ We saw a significant uptick in engagement with relevant videos and articles featuring brand history from the likes of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, who uses Neenah Paper for labels and packaging. We also experienced high engagement (8.8%) with posts featuring new innovative brands such as Lowell Herb Company, who takes a sustainable approach to packaging with Neenah® Folding Board papers.

∙ Please do not hesitate to contact me for additional metrics and insights.

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