Popular Israeli fashion brand Kisim invited visitors to its Facebook page to help design and then preview name a brand-new leather bag. This innovative marketing strategy involves their customers in the creative process.
The brand used its Facebook platform to reach out to customers and fans and walk them through each step of the design process, brainstorming everything from the basic shape of the bag to its color, handles, closure and compartment options and then voting on the final sketches. The final result — a large brown leather over-the-shoulder bag with a divider, two internal pockets and a special pocket for a mobile phone — was named by Kisim’s Facebook fans as well.
Kisim used to this strategy successfully to engage and grow their audience.
A recent forum from National Small Business Week, stated that 73% of small businesses currently using social media, 80% said their use had increased during the past year — and 81% said that it will increase over the next year. 62% of small business owners plan to start using social media during the next year.
Facebook was the most popular choice for 95% of the small businesses doing social media marketing, followed by 60% using Twitter, 58% using LinkedIn, 45% using YouTube and other video sharing and 23% using daily/local deal services.
In terms of effectiveness, Facebook led again, with 82% of Facebook users finding it effective as a marketing tool — followed by 73% for video-sharing users, 55% for daily/local deals, and 47% each for Twitter and LinkedIn.
Tweeting is an essential aspect of any social media plan. But when should you do it? How often? Social media expert Dan Zarella, has come up with some key facts on when to tweet for maximum results.
- Tweeting later in the day and later in the week results in more retweets.
- The click-through rate on links tends to decline as more links are tweeted per hour. After about six links per hour, click-throughs essentially drop off.
- Still, tweeting more frequently leads to more followers, but Facebook is a different story: Too many posts on Facebook can more easily alienate people.
- More people tend to open marketing emails in the early morning than any other time during the day. Weekends also appear to be effective for emails.
- Weekends are an ideal time for sharing on Facebook.
Originally Posted on Mashable.com Written by by Todd Wasserman
Facebook CTO Bret Taylor has said that a lot of the company’s focus this year will be on mobile. When Facebook declares an intention in any direction, people take notice, but for marketers, this may mean that 2011 is the “year of mobile,” a designation that has been tossed around every year since 2006 or so.
It’s unthinkable for a marketer to ignore Facebook, but that said, there are a lot of mysteries and frustrations around the platform. Display ads don’t perform very well there, for instance, and a lot of consumer data is kept under wraps. Facebook’s mobile operations are even harder to get a handle on. The company’s mobile app, for instance, doesn’t at the moment provide any opportunities for advertisers through traditional venues, such as display ads.
But things are changing. Eyeing Groupon, Facebook recently expanded its Facebook Deals platform to include local deals in at least six cities. Facebook Placeshasn’t been used much by marketers yet, but that could also change. Here are three big potential growth areas for Facebook’s mobile operations this year and some ways that marketers have already capitalized on them.
1. Mobile Friendcasting
Last November, Constellation Wines worked with mobile marketing firm Augme Technologies for a programthat offered consumers a mobile site accessible via a 2D barcode or a text message. The site, which offered a party-planning calculator and suggested food and wine pairings, among other features, was designed for consumers who were out at liquor stores looking for a wine to bring home or to a holiday party.
One viral aspect of the effort was a feature that let those users share their purchasing decisions with their Facebookfriends. David Apple, the CEO of Augme, predicts that such sharing will become easier this year as Facebook attempts to get retailers to register for Facebook Places. Doing so, Apple says, is going to “allow general grocers like Safeway and Kroger to create on-the-fly inventory deals.”
That would also mean that the deals will be broadcasted across Facebook, opening up a new form of advertising: Mobile to Facebook. Another marketer that sees potential in mobile-to-Facebook is ABC, which is using MMS video messages, distributed every Wednesday, to publicize its new show Happy Endings. Users who get the messages also automatically post them to their Facebook wall. The network is hoping the Wednesday distribution will encourage tune-ins. In this case, the salient aspect about texting is not the ability to reach a consumer in a given location, but the fact that consumers are generally more responsive in real-time to texts than emails.
The combination of location-awareness and time-sensitive deals opens up a whole new area of mobile marketing for Facebook. Facebook got into the market when it introduced Deals as part of its Places service last November, and expanded it in Marchwith Groupon-like deals specific to each city. (The pilot launch is in Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, San Francisco and Austin, Texas.)
The expansion of Deals, in theory at least, gives retailers more incentive to register with Places. Imagine the following scenario, for instance: A consumer with 150 Facebook friends cashes in on a deal at Kroger, which automatically sends out a status update on her account describing the deal. Assuming 10 friends are shopping nearby that day and checking the Facebook app on their mobile phones, that’s potentially 10 more customers than Kroger might have had if not for the Facebook-broadcasted deal.
Jamie Tedford, CEO of Brand Networks, predicts that a lot of brands will begin exploiting the possibilities of Places in earnest this year. “We will see more marketers building games and promotions on top of the Facebook Places platform delivering ‘check in to win’ and loyalty points as reward for checking in and broadcasting their location,” he says, noting that his firm did something along those linesrecently with JetBlue.
3. Phoneless Checkins
Since Facebook is so pervasive, it’s easy to see a day where consumers can access the social network by means other than a computer or mobile phone. For instance, under a program at the Coca-Cola Amusement Park in Israel last summer, visitors were able to update their Facebook statuses via their RFID-enabled bracelets. (See video below.) According to All Facebook, the program netted more than 35,000 updates each day of the program even though the village only hosts 650 teens at a time. Similarly, Vail Resorts last fall launched a platform where skiers could post the amount of vertical feet they traveled on their Facebook profiles. In another program, running shoe brand Asics let friends and family members send individualized messages to runners in the New York Marathon via Facebook. When a runner’s tag was recognized by an RFID reader, the message ran on a video screen.
Mark Roberti, editor of RFID Journal, says phoneless checkins make sense at waterparks or skiing resorts where people might decide to leave their phones behind, but also at an event where connectivity might be a problem. Though he thinks it will take a while for the technology to go mainstream, he says that it opens up a lot of possibilities. “As marketers learn about it, they’re going to find new and interesting ways to use it,” he says of RFID Facebook checkins.
Originally Posted on the Harvard Business Review web site:
David Dorf is the Senior Director of Technology Strategy at Oracle Retail.
A central tenet of retailing is to put stores near customers. Now that 600 million potential customers are on Facebook, retailers are flocking to the site and aggressively experimenting with new communication strategies. Here are five ways they’re connecting with customers on Facebook.
For retailers, the key is to treat “fans” differently than other customers by providing special access to offers and information. Using Facebook as a one-way communications channel is a baby step, but broadcasting deals already found in other channels isn’t a particularly effective engagement model. A smarter approach is to reward fans by, for instance, providing Facebook-only discounts and sneak peeks at upcoming products.
Participatory promotionsare particularly effective as they add excitement to online purchasing and an incentive for customers to invite other friends. For example, Lowes ran a Black Friday campaign on Facebook in which it offered a limited number of items at ridiculously low prices for fans only. Most discounts were in the range of 90% and were limited to the first 100 people to check out with the item at lowes.com. Not only did this engage existing customers, but it drove new customers to “like” Lowes’ Facebook page, allowing Lowes to post future dealson their newsfeeds.
Wal-Mart and Gap have used crowdsourcing tactics on Facebook, inviting large groups to participate in shaping an offer or strategy. The Wal-Mart Crowd Saversprogram, for example, offers a potential deal to Facebook fans that is only activated if enough fans “like” the promotion — in effect, joining together to reach a goal — much like Groupon’s model. Similarly, last year Gap asked its Facebook fans to comment on its new logo design. After a barrage of negative feedback from fans, Gap invited them to submit their own designs. Responding to customers’ outcry, the retailer ultimately restored its original logo.
Mobile-device check-ins are a popular way to electronically announce your arrival at a location. This has enormous potential value for retailers who, if they identify customers at all, typically don’t do it until checkout, at which point it’s too late to influence a purchase. Facebook Deals enables retailers to provide electronic coupons and loyalty points when customers check in at arrival, increasing store traffic and sales, and giving retailers a clearer picture of their customers’ behavior. Last year REI drove traffic to its stores by offering $1 donations to charity for every check-in, with a ceiling of $100,000. American Eagle has offered 20% discounts to customers who check into its stores.
Games like Farmville and Mafia Wars hosted on Facebook are immensely successful, creating an ideal opportunity for retailers to do something they know well: marry entertainment and merchandising. Last summer 7-Eleven partnered with game-maker Zynga to extend social games into the physical world. Items such as Slurpees and Big Gulps were branded with Farmville, Mafia Wars, and YoVille designs that had redemption codes for in-game rewards. Meanwhile, teen-fashion retailer Wet Seal has been developing its own Facebook game, Chic Boutique. The retailer is hoping customers will compete with each other online to design outfits compiled from items in its catalog, increasing awareness of Wet Seal’s offerings and driving sales.
The most obvious use of Facebook is also the most elusive — to create more than just an e-commerce store within a Facebook frame. Over the past two years several retailers have made it possible for customers to browse a subset of products on the company’s Facebook page, but they usually rely on their e-commerce site to complete the transaction. This is a step in the right direction, but to take real advantage of Facebook, retailers must make it easier for people on the site to communicate with each other about products, promotions, and reviews, and seamlessly make purchases.
To that end JCPenney recently opened a storefront on Facebook containing its entire catalog of products. The UK retailer ASOS quickly followed suit. Facebook is testing a Buy-with-Friends program, currently limited to virtual goods, that publishes users’ purchases on friends’ newsfeeds and, by offering discounts, encourages those friends to make the same purchase.
All companies, not just retailers, should be using social media like Facebook to listen to what customer are saying about their products and brand; attract them by using promotions, contests, and games; and involve them to keep them loyal and take advantage of the power of influentials. These are the early days, and while it’s uncertain what will work best, it’s likely that retailers that don’t experiment with social commerce will find their customers defecting to those that do.
With minuscule marketing budgets, small businesses are flocking to low-cost social media as a key channel for marketing outreach, according to a new study by local business networking site MerchantCircle.
According to the company’s “Merchant Confidence Index” for the fourth quarter of 2010, which polled 8,456 small-business owners in January and February, 70% use Facebook for marketing, up from 50% in the same period a year ago. Twitter was used by 40% of local businesses, up from 32% the year before.
In addition, social marketing is perceived as being highly effective by 37% of respondents, second only to search engine marketing (42%) and ahead of email (36%), according to the MerchantCircle report. This is an American study but the findings would probably be similar in Canada as well.
Facebook is an intergral part of any consumer marketing program.
1. Appeal to your target audience.
Facebook fans are clearly willing to endorse you, since they’re linking your company to their personal profile. The more appealing your page is to your target demographic, the more those individuals will want to join in and be a part of the community.
2. Trigger Debate
Spark a discussion on a hot topic, somehow tying it to your business.
3. Ask For Feedback
Fans feel more connected with a company when asked for their feedback. You can ask fans for input on things like a product, a service, or your website layout.
4.Update with photos, videos, and original content
Original, interesting content will keep your users coming back to find out what’s new, so update and refresh often.
5. Create incentive
People flock to fan pages that give them a reason to go there: a sale, free products or services, and contests. Word of mouth is powerful on Facebook.