Using Social Media to Better Connect with an Audience

KNF sells vacuum pumps: unobtrusive pieces of equipment with a long shelf-life. Once purchased and set up, chemists tend to flip a switch and forget about the vacuum pump. From the customer service prospective, this is desirable, as it means the pump is working correctly. Given the inconspicuous nature and longevity of the equipment, however, staying on chemists’ radar and keeping them engaged with the brand are consistent challenges for KNF.

KNF's Business Challenge

C&EN was tasked with solving these questions from the team:

What is out of the ordinary and fun that is still on-brand for the company, but attracts the intended audience?
How can we leverage C&EN’s social channels, built around a news outlet, that allows for engagement from a brand?
How can we use the campaign to hit more than one goal, increasing the reach online, but also at upcoming events?

Our approach:

Tap into Every Scientist’s Inner Geek


By utilizing C&EN’s social team’s expertise, KNF was steered towards a light-hearted, competitive campaign. Readers were asked on social to originate puns based on the periodic table, in celebration of IYPT. C&EN BrandLab came up with #PumpUpThePuns hashtag for the campaign as a sly wink to KNF’s product.

Engage Readers Where They Are

2019 was the International Year of the Periodic Table and the scientific community had been abuzz with excitement to celebrate the 150th anniversary. KNF and C&EN saw the opportunity to capitalize on #IYPT excitement to give the campaign more legs and increase engagement.

Online to In-person

KNF’s social media team joined in on the fun by commenting on the posts, and directing more engagement by encouraging voting. When people arrived for their free t-shirt from the KNF booth, KNF had the opportunity to connect in person with potential leads.

The Program

C&EN BrandLab utilized three platforms for this campaign, posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for each phase of the contest. Each platform has unique ways to present content, which is something the voting round really took advantage of, utilizing various polling options. By using all three platforms, the overall reach was extended for KNF’s own social media presence.

Artwork for this campaign included mockups of t-shirts with elemental puns, to provide inspiration to our audience. The use of Instagram’s story feature allowed for a fun way to engage and share content, that didn’t come across as overly curated. Timing of each round was intentional, with the intent to keep the audience's’ attention throughout the summer.


KNF benefited from working with C&EN to create an unusual and fun social media campaign. The company was able to leverage its investment in the social media campaign by using the result to create a giveaway that drove booth traffic at a scientific conference.

Total targeted campaign impressions across three social media platforms
Social reactions, through submissions, voting, and announcements
Puns submitted
The winner: “I Zn I can, I Zn I Can”

Let’s Get Started. Book a Consultation.

We build custom programs that bring your big idea to life. Get in touch today.