In 2020, we turned 100 of our superfans on social into sponsored ambassadors of vitaminwater, with the intent to subvert the influencer industry as a whole by proving that anyone and everyone has the opportunity to receive a sponsorship from a major brand. Our goal was to elevate the ways that vitaminwater rewards and engages with its most zealous fans and, in return, encourage them to be even more loyal to the brand than before.
Every superfan group needs an appropriate name to set itself apart from the rest. For vitaminwater, that name was “wet_fam,” an inclusive group open to people from all backgrounds regardless of how many followers they had, so long as they loved vitaminwater.
We unfollowed everyone on Twitter, including big-name celebrities, in exchange for exclusively following our wet_fam members. We gave each of them a digital swag kit to update their social profiles with things like branded Twitter headers and a faux contract to pin at the top of their newsfeeds. We even sent them physical swag kits for them to rep wet_fam and vitaminwater IRL, including product and wearables such as hoodies, sweatpants, patches, pins and t-shirts.
As 2020 began to take a turn, however, vitaminwater went mostly silent on all of our social channels. All, except one. In order to not leave wet_fam out to dry, we created a private server on the community-building platform Discord and invited every member to join us exclusively. What started as a space for us to connect with our superfans became a source of inspiration and insight, as we got to learn more about wet_fam than we ever could on larger channels such as Twitter and Instagram. We asked them about their interests, aspirations and concerns in 2020—unsurprisingly, financial uncertainty was a recurring topic.
So, vitaminwater took it upon itself to dish out nutrient-enhanced stimulus checks to everyone in wet_fam, sending them $250 via PayPal just for telling us what they would do with the funds. Some made donations to charity. Others put it towards student loans and major bills. A few used it to secure more holiday gifts for their family and neighbors. As a result of Covid-19 putting a halt on our marketing spend, vitaminwater put that money to even better use: serving its most loyal community.
Now, wet_fam is a well-recognized group within our larger social following, and there’s no shortage of people asking vitaminwater for their own nutrient-enhanced sponsorship. Our goal is to grow wet_fam’s membership moving forward and further democratize the influencer industry, whether you’re someone with 5 followers, or 5 million.
While our 100 wet_fam members make up less than .0007% of our total Twitter following (~145k), they ended up generating 2% of vitaminwater’s total social conversation.
Additionally, we saw a growth in conversation from users that are now in wet_fam increase by a total of 31% from the previous year.
This positive engagement from wet_fam helped drive an overall 93% favorable sentiment on Twitter, surpassing our benchmark from the previous year by 4.5%.
Finally, by leveraging Discord to give wet_fam members a place to connect, share and contribute to vitaminwater’s actions on social, we’ve received an outpouring of sincere appreciation from our superfan community, with them saying things such as:
“I am literally so happy to be a part of this group.”
“One of the kindest companies I have ever had the experience of getting to know.”
“The Wet_Fam has been the best thing to happen to me, y’all are amazing humans.”