London DrugsSprout: Insights is pleased to introduce a guest post this week from social media consultant Sean Smith.

Sean recounts a recent grassroots social media success story from London Drugs – a retail pharmacy chain that saw an opportunity to use social media to connect with its community and jumped at the chance without a second thought.

Take it away, Sean!

Trash Talk

It’s amazing where a single Tweet can take you.

When London Drugs – a regional pharmacy chain in Western Canada – recently tweeted about the launch of a new driving game controller I immediately retweeted and began challenging my followers to a race.

Not surprisingly, one of my followers replied to the challenge and the trash talk was on. After several fun shots back and forth, we moved on. To their credit, however, London Drugs did not.

It would seem that London Drugs has a small group of people at their head office who are responsible for the company’s social media strategy. They had been following the trash talking conversation about the race and were enjoying the banter. The minute it slowed down, they kicked it back into high gear by suggesting that there was a gauntlet thrown and that it should be picked up. Hard to resist…

Social Media Knows No Borders

Seeing the opportunity, London Drugs called me directly. “Let’s do this”, said the company rep. As fate would have it, the company had been trying to get their stores to adopt a social media stance, but was having a hard time getting the buy-in from the individual store managers.

Being a social media consultant, I was thrilled to see that this large retailer “got it” and that they wanted to demonstrate how a promotion could be done through social media, rather than through just traditional media advertising.

What’s more, this promotion originated in a small store in a small city on Vancouver Island, demonstrating their understanding that social media knows no borders!

Race Day

Race Day!
It may look like a scooter but it handles like a Ferrari

Over the next couple of weeks, as the trash talk flew fast and furious, London Drugs followed, commented and re-tweeted almost everything that came down the feed.


Their head office recruited the local store’s more Twitter savvy employees to build a Twitter account for the store and take part in the conversation.

They also organized a Race Day with prizes, complete with enough high end gaming equipment to make any gamer drool on their smart phone. Most of all, they let the Twitter users build the hashtags and lead the conversation, acting as participant and never attempting to moderate or control the message.

It was a truly customer driven promotion!

On Race Day, the room filled with about a dozen Twitter users, who laughed and continued the trash talk face-to-face. As the races began, the excitement in the media room raised to a point where the curious onlookers signed up to take part as well.

3 hours later, a winner was crowned, food had been collected for the local food bank and, as one of my followers put it, “London Drugs definitely got some new customers”.

Social Media Done Right

In the world of Social Media, London Drugs did it right. They engaged with their customers and used their enthusiasm for something they offered, to drive more traffic to their brand. They are now experiencing increased traffic on their website, more followers and engagement on Twitter and higher page views on their blog.

And all from a single Tweet that said “Wanna Race?”

Do you have a good story about social media done right? If so, leave a comment and you could be featured on an upcoming FANFRIDAY post or even land yourself a guest post spot on the Sprout: Insights Blog (Thanks Sean!)