Ah social, the gift that keeps on giving. Customers and their ever-changing preferences keep social media and its platforms on their feet. As new platforms emerge, many marketers continue to struggle with the channel. Many have decided to think of social as a brand awareness tool versus a channel for driving ROI. Some are still trying to decide if an F-commerce app is viable. Others are wondering if they really need to add a Google+ or Pinterest page to their social brand presence.
When clients ask me how they should approach social, I advise them to keep their end goals in mind. Think of social as both another spoke in the digital marketing wheel, and as a medium that should ideally be woven throughout all your channels.
Here are a few examples of customers and non-customers who do social well:
Epicurious: If you love food, why not check out Epicurious? Epi, as it’s fondly known, is a flagship brand for Conde Nast. Its mobile app ties nicely back into site recipes and email while integrating all channels in terms of story, community section and social.
To take its social efforts to an even higher level, Epi should consider a few tweaks to its Facebook page, including integrating TV/video into its overall timeline versus having a separate video tab, setting up Pinterest and email sign-up pages, and touting its Epicurious.com community, which could serve as a brand extension on social platforms.
Shopbop: In 2012, Amazon tasked its subsidiaries with accomplishing large-dollar revenue targets for social. To that end, Shopbop began working toward integrating all platforms and incorporated a Shopbop game app on Facebook (see pic at right). It will suck your time away if you like Angry Birds!
Shopbop started its social integration efforts with its Fashion Week campaigns, through which it began building Customer VIP programs and global brand ambassador programs. In addition, it’s integrated personalized content through My “Heart” lists, wish lists and account interactions, as well as by incorporating customer reviews into all campaigns (email, Pinterest, Instagram).
Zappos: Who doesn’t know Zappos? The Twitter experts on the Zappos team who use this channel to service customers are unparalleled. For starters, Zappos views Twitter as a way to increase positive perception and engage customers, raise category awareness and showcase culture. Here are a few examples of its fun tweets:
- Good Morning Tweeters?!! Vince here! I will be hanging out with you for a while! I hope everyone is having a glorious Sunday!!
- What has 2 thumbs and is excited for the weekend!? This guy! Good morning Tweeps. Christian here hanging out for a few.
- Need a break from heels? Check out these stylish flat sandals http://bit.ly/Yr8UWY from our Sandal Shop!
This personality permeates through the organization’s overall use of social. Zappos integrates campaigns across YouTube, Vimeo, 6pm.com, Foursquare, blogs, etc., taking a holistic approach that ultimately increases traffic and site sales.
Caterpillar: From a B2B perspective, several giants have gotten on board with social and are doing a fantastic job, including Maersk Line, GE Experts and Dow Chemical. Caterpillar is another B2B social success example, using all the main platforms (YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) and more to help humanize its content while connecting its online and offline campaigns. The company has also integrated its CRM system, Salesforce.com, with its social media sites. Caterpillar reports that this is a major process improvement as its current generation of customers is adopting Facebook as a platform to learn about new products.
2013 holds even more promise for these B2C and B2B companies. As new social profiling and scoring tools emerge, marketers will be able to analyze and apply segmentation to their databases. Companies will increasingly move away from social brand awareness goals, instead focusing on conversion goals and tangible ROI.
1) Video: “Using Social to Build Trust”
2) Infographic: “How the Top Grammy® Nominees Communicate with Fans”
3) White Paper: “The State of the Social Universe: Insights from Four Experts”