When I was a young, I constantly asked questions to the point of being slightly annoying. Today, I continually ask questions to others and myself, mainly through social networking sites. One of my more recent questions I asked was, “Is social media marketing working?” or “Does social media content drive me to use a product?”


You see, I’ve always loved a good story, but I’m not been enamored with the storytelling capabilities of the biggest brands and their respective advertising agencies. Most of the content I am reading is too long in nature and I am lost in their message. The message I was hearing was “Like Us Here” or “Follow us There,” all the while remembering how great it was to get lost in the story of certain brands. I still fondly remember how many licks its takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

So can a brand or an individual effectively convey a story in a short, profound or impactful statement in a 140 characters or less? I firmly believe yes and my way of storytelling is through poetry. Not the traditional, boring poetry that we all were forced to learn in our school years, but through haiku and limerick writing.

Albeit traditional haiku, includes a reference to nature and time, the haiku form of using seventeen syllables, divided into three stanzas, broken down in five, seven and five syllables, enables me to capture the essence of a brand in a tagline, which I believe can be more effective than what I have reading for nearly four decades. For example, I usually do a daily haiku challenge, utilizing a chosen word of the day.

One of the words of the day on was “junk”. I wanted to capture three distinct sentences that could be simple to understand. So the following haiku captured a common phrase, my need for a product and my desire to use a local hardware store versus a national chain.

Waste management

One of the more interesting responses I received was directly from Waste Management, the parent company of The Bagster Bag. Not only did they respond, but I also engaged Waste Management in a return haiku. I clearly understood through their response, the benefits of The Bagster Bag. That’s pretty cool and is a more effective way for me as a consumer to want to “Like” or “Follow” either Waste Management or The Bagster Bag or go to their website for more information.

So for the last two years or so, engaging brands in haiku and limericks, I’ve made my lists, I’ve checked them twice and I know which brands are naughty or nice. There are brands that are quite social, others arrogant and lastly, there are those brands that are purely, well spam. I found it humorous that @SPAMbrand, is quite social and not all like spam. The best engaging and most social brands, realized that to #GetDowny with me, responding with poetry is at best, great storytelling in 140 characters or less.

Further, I too have drunk the Kool-Aid that brands and social media “marketeers” are enamored with the underlying data that is being captured by social networking sites. They believe it helps to drive sales and effectively target customers. I also like data. But I use my data and product placement poetry as a way of determining which products I use.

For example, the tweet below was a haiku I wrote about Head & Shoulders Men (@HSForMen), which they subsequently retweeted. In fact, if you look at Head & Shoulders Men’s Twitter feed, from early November 2012 until around the start of the 2013 professional baseball season, you will many of my poems and limericks retweeted and mentioned by this brand.

Head and shoulders

Then guess what happened? Their new community manager and a change in strategy resulted in them unfollowing me. While I still used the products that they sent to me, once they ran out, so did my relationship with Head & Shoulders Men. As they first unfollowed me, I too unfollowed them, but I’m not apologetic about that at all. We both got what we wanted out of our relationship. And as they said in their lovey card, “…we’ll always have Twitter. Thanks for all the fun!”

P and G

So for all of the budding wordsmith’s and potential Haikuteers, you too can effectively engage your followers and build an excellent social community, simply through great storytelling, poetry and even haiku:

So please scan this code
Like, follow and be my friend
I’ll respond to you.

scan me

About The Product Poet: The Product Poet is just a Poet with a love of haiku and brands. The Product Poet lives in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area and has a love-hate relationship with social media networks.