I have to say, Cinnabon has become one of my all-time favorite social media accounts to follow. They are not only a great brand, but their engagement on social media is one of the most active I have seen.

I remember connecting with the brand and realizing – this is so cool to see a brand that really truly values their community and audience members. The more I started interacting with the brand and the professionals who are behind the scenes working as community managers (props Jessica and Carrie!), the more I thought they were fabulous! This all lead up to being a guest on their Twitter chat w/ my social media classes.

How did this get started?
You may be asking – Karen, how do you get connected with a brand to be a guest of theirs for their branded Twitter chat? Well, this process did not happen overnight. Initially, I connected with Cinnabon a few months ago and I was immediately impressed w/ how they were engaged and active in their conversations on social media.

I thought – wow! They really get what it takes to have a strong presence on social media, especially Twitter! I remember seeing they kept posting with the hashtag #SweetTalk, and I thought – is this their branded hashtag? I realized very quickly that it was their own Twitter chat. They have been doing this Twitter chat for 4-5 years. WOW!

I reached out to them and asked if they ever had guests and if so, I was sure my students would love to participate. As soon as I sent the note – the wheels began moving to get us to be the very first guests for the Cinnabon #SweetTalk Twitter chat. WOW!

I was extremely impressed with how my students did. For some of them, this was their very first Twitter chat. Others, this was the first time they were featured guests. I was impressed with how excited, engaged, and motivated my students were for this opportunity. I mentioned how this is something you do not see a lot of times for social media classes, and this experience interacting with professionals, providing valuable insights, and even content creation, can all be experiences they could share with future employers and internship / job opportunities.

My students exceeded their expectations across the board. I had both of my social media classes (#Freberg18 and #FrebergSM) participate during #SweetTalk (which is every Tuesday at 1 pm EST).

What did I learn from the experience?

So many things to take away from this experience being part of #SweetTalk, but here are some of the highlights I want to share with you all:

  • Encourage your students to create quality content. Most of my students were able to not only respond to the questions and provide their answers, but they were also able to integrate other multimedia features as well like GIFs and even Video Replies. My students in my #FrebergSM class (Lacee, Abbie, Michael, and Bell) all did this for some of their answers as well as their intros and recaps. I was impressed they did this extra effort since it does provide a unique take on their own brand and contribution to the conversation. S/O to Madalyn Sklar for sharing this tip w/ us when she guest lectured for our class a few weeks ago!
  • Making the effort to meet the humans (aka pros) behind the brand. It has been SO cool to be able to meet the people who are part of the brand voice of Cinnabon! This has been one of the biggest highlights for me and during the chat, I was able to chat with both Jessica and Carrie, who are the community managers for Cinnabon. We talked during the chat and they noted how it was cool to see familiar faces and contributors coming into the chat as well as discuss some of the biggest trends, opportunities and challenges in working in social media. THIS is one of the main reasons why social media is so powerful is the fact you are able to connect with professionals like Carrie and Jessica. Would I have been able to connect w/ these pros w/o social media? Probably not. Social media truly opens the doors to many amazing experiences and create opportunities to establish relationships and connections such as this.
  • Allow the students to provide their own views on the Twitter chat. The Twitter chat involved 8 questions, and the students were able to create answers and comments for each of these. Some went ahead and created Twitter Moments of the recap to document their participation and presence on the Twitter chat. What is key here for all of us is to make sure we guide the students on what evidence and support they can use to show others their participation in these chats. It’s one thing to say you participate and talk in a particular community, but it is a completely different situation where you are able to show people what you can do and what you have done.
  • Keep the momentum going after the chat. This is what struck out to me as being really impressive. My students Lacee and Abbie not only engaged during the chat, but they also created separate Twitter Moments from that. We have discussed about the growing importance not just for creating content, but providing your own take on your experiences and brand voice in the content you do share.

Overall, my students and I had a truly remarkable experience and one I am sure #FrebergSM and #Freberg18 won’t forget. I want to thank Carrie and Jessica for giving me the opportunity to be part of this great community and experience. I will continue advocating everyone – students, colleagues, and fellow educators – to follow and note the amazing work you are doing for the brand. You are all truly setting the standard for other brands to follow for brand strategy, engagement, and community management!

Carrie and Jessica – you both are doing a tremendous job with the brand community for Cinnabon, and thank you for allowing my students and I to join in the conversation!

I was a big fan before, but I am definitely a huge supporter now across the board! In fact, for the Twitter chat, I made sure I looked the part and had some CinnaSwag on (they have a store with some great items here!) I also gave out some coffee mug prizes to the students who had the most engagement on their tweets during the chat – they were a hit! Congrats, Abbie, Lacee, and Michael!

If you didn’t have a chance to catch the chat, make sure to check out the Twitter Moment Cinnabon created here. Make sure to follow Cinnabon across all of the different social media channels – you will be impressed and also get pretty hungry looking at the amazing Cinnabon pictures (this has been a true test for me as I am training for my third half-marathon!) However, I will have a Cinnabon after I complete the race in April!

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,