Ronn TorossianRonn Torossian

Snack brand Slim Jim had been struggling to gain traction on social media. Most marketers are familiar with the growing pains that come with trying to grow a brand’s presence online, and Slim Jim was experiencing this trouble firsthand. Repeatedly failing to hit the right note that would connect with customers and drive sales growth, the brand’s Instagram page struggled to get over the 5,000 follower mark.

Meanwhile, an unknown name unaffiliated with Slim Jim had started a fan page called @SlimJimsDoingThings. The page, which capitalized on the current trend of meme culture and humor that appeals to a younger demographic, gained popularity swiftly. Andy Hines, the creator of the page, had somehow found the right way to connect with fellow Slim Jim fans, to the tune of 15,000 followers on Instagram. So Slim Jim did what it needed to do: the brand invited Hines to a pop-up event and eventually went on to hire him as a content manager, allowing him to bring his fresh ideas and engaging content to the official Slim Jim platforms.

What does this teach other brands about marketing and hiring the right team? It shows that the right person for the job may not be the person with the high level résumé or the massive list of accomplishments and accolades. Hines had zero previous experience running a brand’s social media, but he did have the right eye for content that works. And this instinct is perhaps more valuable than decades of experience in managing platforms. Having a thorough understanding of what consumers like to see and engage with is a valuable asset for any marketing professional. Yes, there’s a technical level of understanding needed to effectively manage, analyze and plan content for a social media platform. But often, this is a skill that can be taught. Instincts, however, can’t; some individuals may just have a better knack for content than others, and any perceived shortcomings on their résumé should be considered to be learning opportunities for the right candidate.

Slim Jim’s Instagram page now boasts more than 500,000 followers, a number Hines was able to achieve in just a year of work. And with a growth rate of nearly 100,000 new followers each month, it’s safe to say the brand found a true diamond in Hines’ brain. While Hines is no longer on the front line of managing content, the effects of his work can still be seen throughout the content plan for Slim Jim, which has embraced the idea of meme culture and hit a home run with its efforts.

All of this serves as a reminder that not every “good on paper” candidate will be an ideal fit for a position, just as not every layman with real world experience will be a prime candidate for a major upheaval such as Slim Jim’s social media overhaul. However, learning to look past the résumés and awards and to instead look for skills that are more in tune with the right instincts and feel for tone can be invaluable for brands seeking a fresh voice or perspective.


Ronn Torossian is CEO of leading PR agency 5WPR, which works extensively in influencer marketing.