Wait. The FDA winning the Internet?

One of the coolest media wins last week came from the FDA (h/t Kristy Cartier).

It had to do with something I’m really into (and never expected to be): cicadas.

Check out this tweet from June 2:

FDA tweet on cicada allergens


My fascination with these bug-eyed, er, bugs 😉 doesn’t extend to my plate.

That said, it certainly makes for good dinner party conversation (#seewhatIdidthere 😂). But until Kristy mentioned it, I literally had NO idea.

Now, the FDA doesn’t usually get a ton of engagement with its social content.

I’d say if it gets 10+ retweets and 0 haters on Twitter, it’s having a good day (an observation based solely on an informal scan of its Twitter profile).

This one, though, is different:

  • 300+ comments and thousands of retweets and likes
  • actual engagement and sidebar conversations among commenters including, of course, the obligatory social media smart-a**es waiting to trip up any/everyone they possibly can
  • TONS of legit media coverage
news search results for FDA cicada allergen warning
  • “expert comment” opportunities for entomologists, environmentalists, nutritionists, and more
  • digital content for a whole host of “old” and “new” media, who could bring in said experts for a local angle
  • an easy, light lift for the FDA – the tweet links to their standard info on food allergies, so not a ton of extra effort here
  • probably a relief to reinforce a quirky, not so well-known factoid, v. having to warn people not to ingest disinfectant 🙄

A flash in the pan? Maybe…

Now, this is unlikely to become the norm for the FDA’s social media “voice,” and that’s ok.

But it’s a great example of how even a “serious” brand can diversify its content and have fun once in a while, by smartly piggybacking on a news hook.

This is one of the best ways, and reasons, to use social media, i.e.:

Generate engagement that, in turn, grows community, and which you can then motivate to X, Y, and Z actions, depending on your strategy.

Nicely done, FDA!

What did you think of this social media play? Awesome, terrible, meh…? Whichever it is, I’d love to know.

Oh, also: the absolute best way to stay looped in on my upcoming book, as well as my PR news & views, is to sign up for my email list. If you have friends/colleagues in the industry you think will benefit, do point them to my list. Thank you in advance!