24 August 2017   

5 min read
Encouraging customers to engage with your brand and provide content are some of the key social media lessons we can learn from companies like Ikea, Sephora and Black Milk Clothing (see breakout).

“The most effective social media strategies provide ways for customers to participate with brands,” explains Dan Young, digital and social strategy director at Ogilvy PR.

“This idea lies at the heart of Black Milk’s approach to community building. The brand functions as the convener of the community. Its people interact with customers in a human and celebratory way. The use of customer Instagram pics on specific product pages is a great example of this, as is the company’s focus on real-world meet ups.”

These days, people don’t have place a lot of trust in companies and are overwhelmed with the barrage of messages and “noise” they receive from brands, says Dionne Lew, a partner at Zoetic Agency.

“On the other hand, there's a high degree of trust in one another's recommendations because we trust 'people like us'. We know they don't get anything from the recommendations they make,” she adds.

Lew says companies like Ikea, Sephora and Black Milk are harnessing that to build brand love and engagement and it's paying off.

“In particular, with the use of user generated content, which is the most highly trusted content of all, by posting genuine reactions from genuine customers, they build trust and an army of brand advocates.”

Earlier this year, Stockland launched its ‘My gift for Mum' social media campaign, which was based around user generated content. Shoppers were invited to upload ideas via social media and the online customer-curated gift guide, using the hashtag, #mygiftformum. By sharing their photos, shoppers were in the running to win one of 30 $100 Stockland gift cards. Retailers were also encouraged to take part, using the hashtag, #retailerideas.

As a result, the centres received 788 entries and achieved a social reach of 195,830. A similar campaign for Father’s Day, ‘My gift for Dad' has recently launched this month, too.

 


 

It’s all about me

Lew notes that as much as people want to block distractions, they want to hear about things that interest them, provided it's done well and with respect for their constraints.

She says successful companies are achieving this by using micro-content because it's in sync with the fact that most people are consuming content on mobile and most lack time.

“We have 24 hours in a day, but 31 hours of activity. That's because we are stacking activities. For example, listening to a podcast while we go for a run or watching videos while we cook dinner. Micro-content is a perfect vehicle because it is strategic, stackable and shareable,” she explains.

“To me, these examples reflect a very strong understanding of where people are at. They don't have trust or time and they're on the move.” Young adds that retailers that enable customers to participate with their brand through social media can benefit in several different ways.

“Customers can feel more connected and loyal towards a brand that listens to them and involves them,” he says.

“They’re more likely to recommend the brand, as result, which is an effective way to convey messages to wider audiences.”

Young concludes: “The key to success for retailers in our social media age is authenticity. Some businesses succeed because their approach is a genuine reflection of their brand and its values. But this socially-led thinking needs to be integrated across all aspects of all business. All of the good work created a by a clever social media strategy can be quickly undone if those same values are not reflected in-store or through a tone-deaf approach to social customer service.”



 

Three social media success stories
Ikea

Rather than posting its own catalogue online, Ikea Norway asked its potential customers to help create it. The company posted a message across its social profiles asking people to take photos of their favourite products from its latest hard copy catalogue and to post these on Instagram using specific hashtags.

As an incentive, a few lucky participants won their favourite items for free. But the winner here was Ikea, after its entire catalogue ended up on Instagram, at virtually no cost to the company.

 

Sephora

The beauty retailer created its own social network, The Beauty Board, which lets customers upload pictures of their own makeup or hairstyles. Other customers who want to copy these beauty ideas can shop the look by adding the products used in the photos to their shopping carts.

A community has been built around the brand as customers share photos and beauty tips. The network also meets their need to be inspired and validated by their peers and provides a highly interactive experience.

 

Black Milk

The Australian online fashion label relies entirely on its social media campaigns to grow its business and brand. The brand has over 725,000 likes on Facebook and a loyal following that is helping to spread the word. It allows customers to tag photos of themselves wearing its products on Facebook and Instagram and then re-posts these on its official product pages.

Black Milk also encourages fans to manage localised Facebook fan pages, created around geographic location or special hobbies and interests. These groups then get together to swap clothes or around their interests.

The brand has over 725,000 likes on Facebook and a loyal following that is helping to spread the word.

It allows customers to tag photos of themselves wearing its products on Facebook and Instagram and then re-posts these on its official product pages.

Black Milk also encourages fans to manage localised Facebook fan pages, created around geographic location or special hobbies and interests. These groups then get together to swap clothes or around their interests.



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