3 Ways To Do Social Media Sampling Right

Since before social media, product sampling was already intuitively social. From grocery store tasting trays to department store perfume reps- sampling has been a great way for brands to connect with potential consumers directly. Giving an undecided purchaser the chance to try your product, at little cost to the company, can highly influence their on-the-spot decision making.

Since digital landscapes evolved, brands have learned to listen and participate with users who are talking about their product and intervene on the conversion. Rather than “the data blindness that comes from selling most of its products through retailers,” CPG brands in particular have been running social sweepstakes and building coupon micro-sites in order to learn more about interested consumers and track engagement based on products.

However, consumers and brands are getting smarter. Consumers expect to get products in their hands when they participate and brands are expected to respond or provide the consumer with their ask instantly. Now, brand marketers can’t make product sampling random- but that they have to make it matter and contribute to the bottom line.

Social media has proven a successful channel to reach out to consumers in the most direct and instant way. According to Neilsen, “Globally, 46% of consumers use social media to help make purchase decisions.” When focused on the right shopper, and finding them in the right medium brands now have the power to “drive impact and determine what drives the biggest return on investment.”

Social Sampling Done Right:

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Social technology and automation software allows brands to instantly engage and convert interested users from any media outlets (social, TV, print, billboard, digital ads). By using #actiontags (#try #newproduct) across media, brands can automatically find and respond to a user with their offer. This acts as a consumer opt in— allowing them to get something in return instantly and on-the-go (mobile, mobile, mobile!). This technology also allows companies to capture unique data (shipping address, social ID, age, location, favorite ice cream flavor) of engaged consumers and allows products to be distributed to those most likely to purchase.

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Benefits of Social Sampling with #actiontags:

  • More Qualified – gather information about consumers first so that you can put samples in the hands of those most likely to have a good product experience, and spread the word
  • Higher Amplification – Because friends and followers can see when a consumer requests a sample using an #Actiontag, there is a dramatic increase in the earned media amplification. This is also a great way to reach audiences that don’t respond to traditional ads/offers.
  • Cost Effective – Offer samples directly via social conversion, brands avoid the typical costs associated with a microsite or custom sampling form.

Examples of Social Sampling Done Right:


For the first time ever, OREO launched a product sampling campaign by featuring an #actiontag in a prime-time TV commercial. It offered customers first access to a new product flavor by adding the hashtag #SendMeOreo at the end of the TV spot, which aired during the 2014 Grammys.

By activating a TV commercial within social media using an #actiontag, Oreo was able to amplify their message within an online channel, reward engaged viewers and distribute product to those who have shown intent.

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  • The campaign drove up to 5,000 tweets per hour, catapulting the campaign to become a national Trending Twitter Topic.
  • OREO gained over 15k new followers in 12 hours – they normally average 1k per day.
  • #SendMeOreo accounted for 5.3% of the total Grammy impressions on Twitter.
  • Social product sampling program delivered 20k product packages to engaged social customers.
  • #Actiontag participation and sharing drove more than 46 million impressions and reached 22 million social accounts.

2. Secret

Secret ran a product sampling campaign- getting their new Secret Clinical Strength deodorant into the hands of busy, social moms. Seeding began by activating a product post within a Twitter mom’s group.

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Activating social posts allows brands to capitalize on fan conversations and participation. It propels content across feeds, and sometimes across channels, enabling organic content to spread like wildfire. Additionally, brands are able to reward users and distribute product to those who have shown intent by using the #actiontags.


  • News of the deal spread online and then to Facebook, with thousands of Tweets using the branded actiontags
  • The campaign hashtag #StressStinks then became a national Twitter Trending Topic.
  • 5,000 products were claimed within 4 hours.

3. TaylorMade

TaylorMade Golf launched their new Project (a) Golf Ball at the AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. To expand the excitement around the new product TMaG ran a #Enter to win campaign on Twitter, Facebook and through their email marketing, with the goal of giving away 10K sleeves of the new ball.

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TaylorMade Golf was able to use their email marketing list to engage people within social media. By putting a tweet intent in their email (“Tweet #Want #ProjectA on social to enter to win”) they took a private offer into the public sector. Because of the data collection, TMaG was able to get the balls into the hands of qualified consumers, likely to purchase the ball in the future.


  •  TMaG was able to give away all 10K sleeves within 2 days of the campaign launch, the same weekend of the Pro-Am.
  • There were 32,000 intents, all of which TMaG was able to capture data for specific golfers (type of handicap).
  • One tweet reached 1.19MM accounts and generated upwards of 1.42MM estimated impressions.
  • Delivered over 7k direct responses to people to complete their entry.

Want to learn more? Download the Social Media Sampling Best Practices Guide.

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