Flow Communications

Long-term Flow client Elegant Fuel is an innovative and proudly South African fuel company. We love the social media and public relations work we do with the Elegant Group, and the excitement with which its director, Ryno Strydom, receives many of our campaign ideas and proposals.

So, we did a thing! We proposed a fresh, new campaign to position Elegant Fuel as innovative, inclusive and creative by launching on popular social media channel TikTok. After doing our research, we decided on the following two key elements:

  • Launching the Elegant Fuel TikTok channel, to be populated with video content

  • Promoting a fun competition for South Africans, encouraging them to create unique video content when visiting an Elegant Fuel station

Why did we propose this course of action?

In collaboration with our client, we wanted to tap into one of the fastest-growing social media channels in the world – with more than a billion active users, and six million to nine million of those users in South Africa. We also wanted to drive Elegant Fuel’s brand – it would be one of the first fuel companies to have a successful and active TikTok account in South Africa, one that celebrates its South African-ness and rewards its users.

Elegant Fuel
Elegant Fuel’s TikTok account. (Image: Elegant Fuel)

Flow senior account executive Edwin Reichel, who managed this project, reflects, “All you need is fuel and TikTok, we thought. We wanted to elegantly ‘TikTok’ and Ryno said, ‘Sure!’.

“We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but the client trusted us. With four celebrated influencers and an enthusiastic internal team, we ended the campaign with 3.8-million views of content bearing the #ElegantTikTokSquad hashtag. And to reinforce that we were on the right track, the TikTok page following is still climbing.”

TikTok is different to other social media channels in that one doesn’t need an established channel in order for a video to reach many people or even go viral. In fact, the initial statistics astounded us. The competition was launched on the Thursday before the Easter long weekend, and by early evening that day we had already hit 100 000 views! We were on the edge of our seats all weekend and, just after the Easter break, we hit a million video views.

The key to TikTok is to create unique content for a specific audience. This is the reason we enlisted the help of seasoned South African TikTok influencers, who helped our content reach a large audience in some of the specific locations we wanted to reach.

Each influencer was from a different background and all spoke different languages but, most importantly, all had their own dedicated audiences and resonated well with the Elegant Fuel brand. Every week for the four weeks of the competition, our influencers posted videos they had filmed at Elegant Fuel stations, to encourage others to do the same.

Elegant Tik Tok
Our four selected South African influencers for the Elegant Fuel TikTok campaign.
(Image: Elegant Fuel)

“Like with any campaign, we learn, we grow, we move things around,” says Ayanda Siswana, Flow account manager and influencer liaison on the project.

“It’s important that all stakeholders – the internal team, the client and the service providers, in this case our fabulous influencers – work together and have fun throughout the process. The TikTok campaign was a testament to that.”

A great outcome

The results? We aimed for more than 12 videos to be posted by selected influencers and after pivoting by stepping up the influencer action halfway through the competition, received 22 in total. We also promised 500 000 video views across social media and got a whopping 3.8-million!

We told Elegant Fuel we would undoubtedly reach a million people – and we reached 6.8-million across our channels. Lastly, we aimed to get 1 000 entries, an ambitious target – however, we managed to get 40 and learnt a lot!

It seems the influencers who were so enthusiastic and a pleasure to work with are quite a rare breed, and that not many young people are that comfortable in front of the camera. We shared all these results with the Elegant team, and Ryno’s response was, “I think that’s very successful … Thank you to you all. It’s great to work with our communications partners to be as innovative and far-reaching as we are with our expansion and [the] growth in [our] footprint on the ground.”

Working with a client who trusts us and an internal team that is willing to explore new frontiers is incredibly rewarding and affirming to us as communications partners.

“It’s extraordinary to work with a client who is so collaborative and willing to try new things – and it delivers extraordinary results,” adds Caroline Smith, Flow head of public relations, and consultant on the project.

What did we learn? In short, a lot! As our managing director and one of our consultants on Elegant Fuel, Tiffany Turkington-Palmer, put it, “TikTok is an important channel and cannot be ignored by big brands. It’s important to understand the tone and conversation of the platform in order to get good engagement and build your brand. We look forward to continuing to build Elegant Fuel’s brand and many others on TikTok.”

The campaign was shortlisted in the Best Use of TikTok category of The Independent Agency Awards 2022.

What an adventure – we can’t wait to do it again! If your business is interested in exposing its brand to a younger audience, you should strongly consider TikTok.

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