As social media has evolved and grown in popularity, companies on the peripheral of being “cool” have been able to gain attention in the digital spotlight. The first that come to mind are mattress brands (Casper, Purple, Leesa, etc.), premium coolers (Yeti has taken over), shaving companies (Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, etc.) and daily vitamins (Sugar Bear Hair, Ritual, Care/Of, HUM, and more!). It’s interesting and exciting to see these types of industries that have a history of lacking emotional connections to their consumers, now suddenly gather passionate tribes!
Specifically narrowing in on the vitamin and supplement market, the most popular and trending brands in this category not only leveraged the use of social media, but they also developed compelling brands and solved consumer problems. In the past, it was difficult for regular consumers to easily determine which vitamins they needed and also educate themselves on the benefits on each different supplement. Now, brands like HUM, Care/Of and Ritual are providing in depth quizzes to help assess each consumers needs and also help inform them of the potential benefits of different daily supplements.
Just a quick thought for my fellow brand marketers… If only this amazing educational content translated onto their social media pages, am I right? But, I digress…
For this social media case study, I am specifically focusing on HUM Nutrition. They are an extremely popular supplement brand that has narrowed in on the female consumer demand for specific nutrients that enhance their outward appearance and inward feelings. All of the products created by HUM have promises on the packaging such as, “Red Carpet: For glowing skin and shiny hair,” or “Flatter Me: Supports a flatter stomach and healthy digestion.” When I took the “Getting Started” quiz on their website, I received a full report on my healthy and unhealthy habits the very next day from an assigned dietician. This report included a summary of great choices I already make, things to watch out for, my current health concerns, and HUM’s nutritional solution. The report also recommended 3 specific HUM products that could assist with my current concerns of dull skin and fatigue. This personalized marketing is very different than strategies used by some traditional multivitamin brands. And let’s not forget… millennials are *literally* eating up this effortless and customized approach to nutrition.
I just love Instagram. Don’t you? Without this platform, I honestly don’t think brands like HUM could ever have such fast awareness and growth. HUM utilizes their Instagram page well, but honestly not GREAT. I found it much more difficult to analyze HUM on Instagram compared to my last case study on Patagoniafor a few different reasons. Patagonia has a content strategy that always ties back to their brand identity as nature lovers. HUM’s Instagram, well, it just confused me. They’re a vitamin and supplement company targeted towards the beauty needs of women… yet I didn’t really see any pictures of skin, hair, nails or women! Initially, my mind exploded a little bit and I had to take a step back to fully understand how HUM was defining their brand identity.
To lay it out for you I analyzed HUM’s most recent 12 posts and the engagement they received. Here is the content breakdown…
The 12 most recent posts included:
4 travel images,
1 inspirational quote,
5 product shots (2 of which were giveaways),
and 2 “healthy” recipe posts.
The average engagement rate for these 12 posts was 0.91%, and excluding the 2 giveaway posts that garnered an influx of comments the rate was 0.68%.
Definitely not knocking engagement out of the park, with an average “good” brand engagement rate on Instagram being closer to 3%, and GREAT brand engagement being above 6%.
Just to make this analysis straightforward, I’m going to mention the pros of HUM’s current Instagram strategy, then follow with their much needed areas of improvement. First, HUM is doing a nice job with their giveaways as they are in partnership with other relevant brands such as Slip silk bedding, REN skincare, and The Thirty. Each of these brands embodies an identity centered around female focused health and beauty, which is great for HUM’s brand awareness. Next, sharing healthy recipes is useful for HUM as it furthers their message of “Inside health = outside beauty.” I also like the use of inspirational and motivational quotes, even though I think the graphics could be improved. HUM also dabbles seasonal posts throughout their page, which is fitting and allows their consumers to connect with their brand on fun topics like the health benefits of pumpkins (It’s always pumpkin spice season in my world so I personally loved this post). Last but not least, HUM does a great job at utilizing Instagram best practices such as tagging relevant accounts, always including a location, consistent posting (about 1 per day) and utilizing hashtags.
With these solid Instagram tactics come many areas of improvement for HUM. Much of the content doesn’t fit well with their brand’s purpose. Why so many travel photos when they could be posting more relevant beauty images? Also, the healthy recipes posted seem extremely unrealistic for their consumers who are looking for a convenient approach to nutrition through a daily vitamin. HUM could pick much more easily accessible recipes than rainbow unicorn themed Spirulina smoothie bowls that could honestly only be made by a picture perfect surfer girl living on a Hawaiian beach with a hibiscus in her hair as she sips water out of a coconut from her own tree. If you can’t tell, I get heated over businesses posting recipes that no one could or would actually ever craft. I also get heated over HUM’s overuse of product shots, especially when their other content is just O.K.. Another huge improvement HUM needs to work on is their use of video. They have only posted 2 videos out of their most recent 100+ posts over the last 4 months. While videos on Instagram may not always garner the same engagement as pictures on Instagram, they provide an exciting variation of content for followers and those researching the brand. One last bummer is HUM’s minimal use of Instagram Stories. Over the course of a few days writing this blog, I have yet to see a story posted. And, if you know me, you know I love a good Insta Story.
After digging deep into HUM’s Instagram presence, I was surprised to see that their Facebook didn’t follow suit. HUM has done a beautiful job at utilizing their Facebook page in a very different way than Instagram, which I love to see! Many of their posts include educational and entertaining articles from outside sources with topics like, “Dr. Approved Grocery List for Clear Skin,” or “Ingestible Beauty Let’s you Nourish your Skin from Within.” These articles are incredibly useful as they help HUM reach a broader audience outside of their circle that is still in their target market. HUM also shares all of their own blog content on Facebook, two of which include, “The 4 Best Beauty Supplements for Fall,” and “How Two Registered Dietitians Meal Prep for a Week.” These blogs are a great form of content marketing as they draw consumers to HUM’s website, where they can easily purchase products or sign up for a monthly subscription. They also set HUM apart in the consumers mind as being subject matter experts.
In contrast to their Instagram downfall, HUM actually utilizes a fair amount of videos on their Facebook page. While some of these videos are solely funny and entertaining, many are educational and feature their team members discussing relevant topics like, “Is Vegan Collagen a Thing?”
I am actually very happily surprised by HUM’s use of Facebook with few areas of improvement. They are consistently providing valuable content, which is wonderful! While their engagement is low, this isn’t shocking, as Facebook’s recent algorithm changes have made it very difficult for brands on their platform to perform well. If anything, I would almost recommend spending less time and energy on their Facebook presence, as it doesn’t seem to be offering worthwhile returns. However, this determination is best made by those tracking each sale and analyzing the data.
Without surprise, HUM’s Twitter is filled with about the same content as their Facebook page. However I must give them credit because each caption is customized to the platform. Twitter can be tricky because every brand wants to be on it, but in order to garner wildly successful engagement they need a dedicated team member tweeting, retweeting and commenting 24/7. Talk about labor intensive! HUM seems to recognize the potential benefits of having a twitter account, while also being realistic on how much time they have to spend on this platform. By recycling Facebook content (never a good thing) and customizing captions, they are only doing half of the job. They need unique content that is created just for Twitter. Also, their posting cadence, about one tweet per day, is too low to make much traction on Twitter. Last, they could definitely utilize more brand specific hashtags allowing potential consumers to find them easily.
Sure, HUM’s engagement is very minimal, but at least they have engagement. Many brands similar in size have no comments, no likes, and no retweets on most of their Twitter content! Side note: If you want to witness pretty amazing Twitter content, check out Nike, IBMand Patagonia. Each of which I have written social media case studies about!
HUM Nutrition has an interesting social media presence making them exciting to do this case study on. Many of the expectations I entered into this research with were completely wrong, which was surprising. I expected HUM to have a more clear brand image on Instagram, and less purposeful content on Facebook, but it was the exact opposite!
Overall, HUM needs to solidify their purpose and image on Instagram. It really seems like they have been solely focused on “pretty” content instead of “purposeful” content. As far as Facebook goes, I say, “Keep it up!” However, Twitter needs some work.
After developing these recommendations, I fear I may come off as too harsh of a critic. However, I want to clarify that I think HUM Nutrition is still a wonderful brand with outstanding products. While there is always potential room for improvement in a company's social strategy, HUM has created a well known brand that has answered the demands of their target audience, which is something to celebrate! Now that you have read this case study, what are your thoughts? I would love to hear any questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org