Winning Week: Covered Bridge Potato Chips is Listening (#stormchips)


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#Stormchips are now a reality thanks to a small New Brunswick potato chip company that was listening to social media chatter and jumped on an opportunity.

The #stormchips story is the stuff of Twitter legends. One fine day Stefanie Domet, a journalist, commented on the current storm indicating she wished she had some chips to weather out the storm, and was the first person to use the hashtag #stormchips. Over the course of that winter, hundreds, nay, probably THOUSANDS of people grabbed onto the #stormchips idea, tweeting out the need for the crunchy necessities before, during and after every snow squall.

You see what happened? A casual conversation about one’s desire to have chips on hand during a storm ignited…well, a storm! Twitter erupted with tweets about #stormchips: who had them and who didn’t, where to get them, which ones were best and what to eat when the chips were gone! Of course it didn’t stop there. You can’t enjoy being storm-stayed without #stormbeer, #stormwine and #stormbrownies, too. The phenomenon was covered by all the major news outlets, including Huffington Post Canada.

Seeing an Opportunity on Social Media

Every brand of potato chip available in the Maritimes was featured in tweets, from local brands to big names. Every major brand of potato chips are on social media and are hopefully listening to the chatter. But one small little chip company, making “craft chips” if you will, really, really listened. Just in time for the very first snow squalls of 2015, Covered Bridge Potato Chips of Hartland, NB, launched their newest flavour of chips.

It is such a natural fit I can’t believe someone didn’t think of it before. Then again, it’s only been a “thing” for about a year and these things do take time. Covered Bridge has a good following on Twitter @CBChips and Covered Bridge Potato Chips on Facebook, so clearly they are monitoring what the world around them is saying about chips. Kudos to them for seizing this opportunity, which will now reap their little company free publicity for the foreseeable future.

While they did a fabulous job seizing this opportunity, they missed something critical. Engagement.

How to Carpe Diem the Shizzle Out of a #Hashtag

News about the new #stormchips came, not from an official Covered Bridge account, but from pictures on social media that went viral, and news outlets that quickly picked up on the trending topic. At the end of a full day of a social media storm, Covered Bridge chips had yet to respond to a single Facebook or Twitter post about the new flavour.

Maybe it was a calculated decision to let the public take care of the publicity, knowing that it would be a huge hit and take on a life of it’s own. Or maybe the small business owners are simply overwhelmed with running a small business and this got dropped…it happens. This is not intended to scold them, but instead to educate other businesses as to what the opportunities are if and when you have a viral hit on your hands.

If I were managing the Covered Bridge social media accounts, here’s what I would have done to Carpe Diem the Shizzle Out of #StormChips. (Click to tweet this)

  1. The day the chips appeared in stores, post a picture of the new flavour on both Facebook and Twitter, with a list of where to get them. I would have wanted to be the first to break the news and build the excitement.
  2. Send a box of #StormChips to CBC’s Stephanie Domet and colleagues. Heck, deliver them in person and I’d bet you’d get on-air to talk about them!
  3. Tweet some of the people who talk about #stormchips the most and offer to send them a sample.
  4. Keep Twitter and Facebook open and be ready for the storm to hit.
  5. Respond to every tweet with #stormchips. It’s easy to keep track of this using a stream in #Hootsuite.
  6. Respond to comments on Facebook.
  7. Respond to people who tweet out the articles from the major news outlets. Again, this is easy to track in a search stream in Hootsuite.
  8. Run a Facebook and Twitter contest to win #StormChips swag! A simple RT contest for the original post announcing the flavour. A comment contest on the Facebook post. These two things would have added to the fun of the day.
  9. Start an Instagram account for #stormchips sightings in the wild.

Those are just a few of the ways I might have seized this opportunity. What would you have done in their position? Would you take control or would you ride the wave?



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