The importance of social marketing in today’s businesses can’t be understated. There are countless ways that companies try to capture the attentions of Internet users, striving for thumbs ups, shares, +1’s, tweets, pins, and likes. As Google has started taking these social media indicators into account, the democracy of social media makes an even bigger impact. A creative, consistent approach to using social media, to actually interact with consumers, sets some brands above the others. Just consider these three brand’s social networking, success stories:
Created by Susan Gregg Koger and Eric Koger when they were still in college, over the last couple of years, ModCloth has become one of the fastest growing apparel retailers. The brand specializes in retro-inspired independent designers and vintage apparel. Social media is a prominent part of the brand and the website, as ModCloth highly encourages customer involvement. Through the perpetual Be the Buyer program, customers vote on which styles the company should stock. Occasionally, the company also runs design contests or “Name It and Win It” contests to name pieces of apparel, facilitated by Twitter (the brand has 800,00+ followers) or the ModBlog. Run by a team of “social butterflies,” the social marketing side of the business helps generate and sustain buzz around new products and promotions. In an interview with Thoroughly Modern Marketing, social media manager Natasha Khan explained that the contests on sites such as Twitter and Pinterest help generate consumer interest and earn new customers. For example, “Every month we do a Twitter topic mashup! For example, one month, we asked our followers to mash up fashion terms and famous books using hashtag #literaryfashion. The contest gained us not only fans, but attention from acclaimed poet Margaret Atwood.”
Recently, Oscar Mayer sent comedian Josh Sankey on a trip across the country with only Butcher Thick Cut Bacon to barter with—no money. The journey was logged at BaconBarter.com as well as through a variety of social media outlets including Sankey’s twitter feed, the brand’s YouTube channel, and Facebook page. As the story progressed, Sankey received an onslaught of tweets from an audience entertained by what he was able to trade bacon for. Further, the antic-based ad received coverage from mainstream news sources such as The Huffington Post. Sure, bacon’s already having a cultural moment, but, despite a hard year for farms, Oscar Mayer took advantage of the zeitgeist and created a bacon story that people would follow, increasing the social networking of their brand.
As the go-to hub for handcrafted and vintage goods, Etsy and Pinterest are a match made in heaven and the brand has taken advantage of the naturalness of that pairing. The brand uses pinboards on Pinterest to showcase goods as well as how-tos and informative pieces from their blog. Their popular treasuries and gift guides work excellently as pinboards, promoting sales as well as interaction between consumers and the site. Hubspot notes, “You can of course connect to the thousands of items for sale on its ecommerce site, but Etsy’s account also shows you how you can make your own products and how to put their products to work in your daily life, which again, emphasizes the lifestyle philosophy that Pinterest promotes.” In this way, the brand uses Pinterest to make already existing components of their site more accessible and bookmarkable for users.
Even if you don’t have the budget or base of one of these big brands, you can still make social media work for you. Check out our Social Media Tips for Small Businesses for ideas on how to amplify your voice in social networking. Or, see Mashable’s Infographic on Social Media Marketing for must-have facts about social networking. ~Kasey