How Duolingo Struck Social Media Gold with Unhinged Content

Duo, Duolingo’s large inexperienced mascot, could be probably the most well-known owl of the post-tootsie roll pop industrial period.

The language-learning app first established a TikTok presence in early 2021 and located its stride by sharing humorous movies that includes the sassy owl Duo. Since then, Duolingo’s TikTok account has grown to almost 7 million followers and gathered over 147 million likes from numerous viral movies.

How did Duolingo do it? By embracing “unhinged” advertising and marketing.

What’s unhinged advertising and marketing?

When manufacturers take much less of a sophisticated, good strategy to social, and embrace extra chaotic conversational moments, it’s sometimes called unhinged advertising and marketing. In case you see a social media publish and suppose “How did that get accredited?” it will possibly seemingly be thought of unhinged.

This strategy was first popularized on Twitter when Wendy’s grew to become notorious for “roasting” social media customers and overtly shading the competitors. Since then, different corporations together with Popeye’s and McDonald’s discovered viral moments by sending sassy Tweets.

Unhinged advertising and marketing may be significantly efficient at successful over Gen Z prospects preferring advertising and marketing that feels extra actual and fewer salesy. What might have been deemed unprofessional up to now is now thought of extra genuine and relatable.

With the introduction of TikTok and the rise of short-form video content material unhinged content material now expands past quick meals corporations sending imply tweets, and Duolingo has capitalized on it.

Duolingo’s TikTok Technique

Since shifting from investing in TV advert spots to a concentrate on natural social, Duolingo has discovered its advertising and marketing stride. What has made Duolingo’s TikTok content material so viral? Three key methods:

1. Leisure Over Promoting

The content material is humorous and goals to entertain greater than it goals to promote.

Duolingo’s TikTok began taking off when the content material featured Duo, the app’s mascot. The content material targeted on Duo being a humorous character the viewers might join with, and it has saved folks coming again for extra to see what Duo would do subsequent.

When utilizing the app is talked about, it’s achieved in a humorous gentle, and the viewers doesn’t really feel overly offered to. The truth is, Duolingo’s TikTok content material that mentions the app usually highlights the free model of the app.

Picture Supply

2. Hopping On Trending Matters

Scrolling via Duolingo’s TikTok feed, the model is all the time on prime of utilizing trending sounds and hopping on present subjects whereas they’re scorching.

One publish from final fall contains a cowl picture of well-known rivals Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber. The publish was shared shortly after the photographs of the pair (which induced waves on the web) first dropped and performed up Duolingo’s one-sided beef with Google Translate. This video illustrates how the model can hop on a then-trending subject whereas reminding the viewers that it’s nonetheless a language-learning app.

One other instance is a latest publish that includes Duo on the premiere of the Barbie film dressed as the primary character of the movie which has been a trending subject on social media in anticipation of the movie.

These kinds of posts hold the model’s content material contemporary, which helps construct belief with the viewers.

3. Constant Storylines

Duolingo’s account additionally does an amazing job of getting constant storylines for the viewers to comply with. This helps viewers really feel extra linked to the model and creates a way of belonging as a result of constant viewers are in on the joke. Listed below are a couple of examples:

  • Duo’s one-sided rivalry with Google Translate: A number of movies (together with the instance above) characteristic Duo shading Google Translate and people who use it as a substitute of studying a brand new language on Duolingo.
  • Duo + Dua Lipa: One other storyline is Duo’s “crush” on singer Dua Lipa. This offers the model simple materials any time Dua Lipa is trending.
  • The Duolingo authorized staff: There’s one other working joke on the TikTok account that highlights Duolingo’s counsel attempting to cease Duo from posting (a nod to the unhinged nature of the content material).

It’s not all memes and humorous movies — the advertising and marketing technique has supplied an ROI for the corporate. Duolingo’s every day energetic customers are up 62% from final 12 months and it continues to be among the many top-downloaded Schooling apps.

When achieved proper, a extra relaxed, much less company strategy to social media can cement an genuine connection between a model and its viewers. The content material doesn’t (and possibly shouldn’t) need to encompass imply tweets and pictures of the corporate mascot in a thong to be efficient, however a little bit of persona and relatability can go a great distance.

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