Redfora, a disaster preparedness company cofounded by Zach Miller and Skyler Hallgren (creative director), has been doing a pretty good job on Facebook of promoting its backpacks filled with necessities in case of an earthquake or other natural disaster.
The backpacks include an N95 face mask -- the type the medical community suggests for those with respiratory issues to protect against contracting viruses like COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. There has been much discussion about these masks. Amazon shut down hundreds of sellers for price gouging and false promotions.
Redfora caught my attention on Facebook after searching for the N95 mask and information on coronavirus in Google. The ads began popping up in Facebook all the time. I reached out to Miller and Hallgren, but neither replied.
The latest Facebook ad posted on Feb. 26. Since, then Facebook members have left 83 comments and shared it 72 times. Although this isn't a huge amount of activity, the company has managed to engage consumers in meaningful and detailed conversations -- in fact, more details than I’ve seen in other posts, and that’s how it caught my attention.
Engagement between the brand and consumers included everything from positive and negative comments to reviews about its products from past purchasers and suggestions for new options. It’s not quite clear whether the comments are bot-generated or whether someone is actually taking the time to respond.
Jennifer Lupo wrote: "stop stirring the pot. You don’t run these ads for the flu, which kill more people worldwide annually." Redfora responded in detail, with information including the N95 masks in its kits and how the company encourages people to get prepared before something happens, including flu season.
Helen Norton Moraller from Greenville, Texas, wrote: “This is like anything else people. You are NOT being forced to buy it. It’s an option for those who want the security and don’t want to have to make the kit themselves, or they have the time, but don’t want to and don’t mind spending the money. To all of you complaining about price gouging, this virus didn’t just happen overnight. If you are so concerned, you could have prepared yourselves making your own kit before now. …”
Some reviews and comments offered sound advice. For example, Judy Ragland Armstrong asked for a pre-packed gluten-free option for those with Celiac disease.
Consumers are reliant on reviews, but American consumers estimates on average said they wasted $125 in 2019 as a result of inaccurate reviews, and 49% believe too many companies create fake reviews online, a report from TrustPilot finds.
The commissioned study published by the reviews platform aggregates responses from more than 6,300 adult internet users in the U.S., the UK, and France in December 2019, with help from UK-based research firm Canvas8, which focuses on consumer behavioral insights.