How Duolingo Struck Social Media Gold with Unhinged Content material


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 amassed 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. Should you see a social media publish and assume “How did that get permitted?” it may well possible be thought of unhinged.

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

Unhinged advertising and marketing will be significantly efficient at profitable over Gen Z customers preferring advertising and marketing that feels extra actual and fewer salesy. What could 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 firms sending imply tweets, and Duolingo has capitalized on it.

Duolingo’s TikTok Technique

Since shifting from investing in TV advert spots to a deal with 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 centered on Duo being a humorous character the viewers may 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 performed in a humorous mild, and the viewers doesn’t really feel overly bought to. In truth, Duolingo’s TikTok content material that mentions the app typically highlights the free model of the app.

Duolingo TikTok Free

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2. Hopping On Trending Matters

Scrolling by way of Duolingo’s TikTok feed, the model is at all times on high of utilizing trending sounds and hopping on present matters whereas they’re scorching.

One publish from final fall incorporates a cowl picture of well-known rivals Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber. The publish was shared shortly after the pictures of the pair (which precipitated 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 matter whereas reminding the viewers that it’s nonetheless a language-learning app.

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

All these posts hold the model’s content material recent, which helps construct belief with the viewers.

3. Constant Storylines

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

  • Duo’s one-sided rivalry with Google Translate: A number of videos (together with the instance above) function Duo shading Google Translate and those that 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 material any time Dua Lipa is trending.
  • The Duolingo authorized workforce: There’s one other working joke on the TikTok account that highlights Duolingo’s counsel making an attempt 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 each day energetic customers are up 62% from final yr and it continues to be among the many top-downloaded Training apps.

When performed 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) should encompass imply tweets and images of the corporate mascot in a thong to be efficient, however a little bit of character and relatability can go a great distance.

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