Social media and the retail industry: the importance of strategy and passion

Matt Rhodes - FreshNetworks - Social Media and Retail

Matt Rhodes at the FreshNetworks Breakfast Briefing

Another successful FreshNetworks breakfast briefing has just come to a close. This time the topic was ‘social media and retail’. The two speakers were Naomi Paget (Head of Direct Marketing at TM Lewin) and our own Matt Rhodes.

The breakfast briefing was split into three main parts. First, Naomi talked about how TM Lewin has been using social media as part of their e-commerce site and then Matt presented the results of a recent campaign we ran with Jimmy Choo. He also discussed how to take the first steps towards looking at social media from a business perspective.

First up was Naomi. She is one of our clients here at FreshNetworks and has been working with us since spring 2009.

TM Lewin: the Off the Cuff online community

TM Lewin have a very clear strategy of what they want to achieve from social media (some of these aims include things like “educate and excite customers about the brand and product, Get customer insight into our product, marketing and services and be seen as an authority on business dress”) and they now have a presence on various social media platforms including a Facebook page, YouTube channel, Twitter account and their own community ‘Off the Cuff’. The strategy is performing well against their objectives (see #FreshNetworks tweets for some of the highlights) but one thing was clear from Naomi. Internal passion is the key to success.

TM Lewin has made the most of their community because the employees utilising it have a passion to proactively engage with community members. Because of this enthusiasm, community members have direct contact with the senior management team at TM Lewin, making them feel more valued and increasing loyalty. TM Lewin is using this engagement to help spread positive messages through its current (and prospective) customer bases, gaining valuable insight and feedback on their activities.

TM Lewin has also noticed that people who enter the ecommerce site via the community are more likely to convert on their first site visit and so the community is directly attributing to sales (we can’t share the exact numbers but they are not insignificant!). It was great to hear Naomi’s talk because it highlighted the fact that social media isn’t always about the £ sign – sometimes this comes second to the other benefits that engaging with social media can offer a business.

Jimmy Choo: CatchAChoo

Next up was Matt Rhodes talking about Jimmy Choo , the CatchAChoo campaign and the importance of having a solid strategy for the foundations or all your engagement.
We have just finished running a campaign for Jimmy Choo where we organised a treasure hunt around London using Foursquare to help promote the launch of their new trainer range. There were a number of clear objectives behind this campaign (full case study coming soon) but the main reason we used this approach was because learnt from working with Jimmy Choo on a previous project that the actual purchasing of the shoes is part of the appeal, therefore using Foursquare seemed like a perfect opportunity to bridge the gap between online and offline engagement.

Four steps to building a social media strategy

CatchAChoo, followed a process that was the basis of the second part of Matt Rhodes presentation – a four step guide to building social media strategy:

  1. Understand what people are saying – Before you start any social media strategy you need to know who is talking, where they are talking and what they are talking about. This is an important step as it allows you to identify the needs of the people you are engaging with and how you should go about approaching them.
  2. Know what you are trying to achieve – Matt used an appropriate analogy to sum up this point:“if you were going to the moon you would have a solid reason for doing so! You would just invest all your time and resources doing it for no reason”. Social media it is not as grand as flying to the moon but it does follow similar logic. If you’re going to be invest time and resources, have a clear strategy of what you want to achieve and how you will measure this.
  3. Experiment – Social media tools are changing all the time so using your initial insight from step 1, keep your aims in mind but try different things out. There are no right or wrong ways to use different tools; it all depends on your audience and your business so try different things out until you are meeting your aims.
  4. Ruthlessly measure the impact you are having – This is the most important stage. All your interactions however they are being undertaken should meet the aims of your initial strategy. Regular reporting will allow you to have a diverse strategy and understand what is working well (and what isn’t) so you can change your tactics to make them more beneficial to the business.

It was a great event with some really good questions and thoughts coming from the people that attended. Thanks to everyone that came and we hope that you all took something away with you (besides a load of chocolate muffins) and if you have any thoughts on what was discussed it would be great to hear your comments!