The Secret to My Social Media Success (and Failure!)

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  • Good afternoon everyone.My name is Dave Haber and I’m the Director of Marketing & Social Media for Ice.comFor those of you that don’t know who Ice.com is, we are a leading online jeweler and retailer of fine diamond, gemstone and pearl jewelry. We’re trusted by millions of online shoppers since 1999 .In additional to heading up SEO and Direct Marketing, I’m responsible for product development and our social media activities, which is what I’m here to talk about today.
  • When I joined Ice, their social media activities we’re being led by this guy… so needless to say, I had my work cut out for me You all probably know Pinny, and while he was surely one of the early innovator’s in social commerce and social media for ecommerce… he’s also a Rabbi, father, community activist…. And he’s a serious conference whore. He is a VERY busy man, and he recognizes this, so in 2009 he graciously passed the torch to me for a fresh perspective and new approach to social media at Ice.
  • When I started at Ice, My new co-workers we’re excited about our renewed commitment to social media and asked repeatedly, “What are we going to do on Facebook?” “What are we going to tweet about?” “What should we be blogging about?”This reminded me of something had learned in my previous life working on the agency side, I worked at a digital marketing agency called Twist Image, and I learned from my previous boss, Mitch Joel, who always emphasized the importance of defining a solid strategy before considering what tactics to employ.Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stinajonsson/3932774410/sizes/z/in/photostream/ 
  •  In his book, Six Pixels of Separation, Mitch writes:Ask “Why?” not “What?”. Asking “What?” simply defines what tools to useAsking “Why” will force you to develop a real strategy. “Why should we be using Twitter?”Because it’s a great place to engage with customers, Because it’s a good channel for delivering customer service, andit’s a very efficient and effective platform.communication“Why should we have a Facebook Page?”So that we can connect with customers where they want to hear from usSo that we can create brand awareness among consumers that have never even heard of us.So that we can join in conversations about jewelry and online shopping that are already taking place and drive traffic to our website“Why should we bother writing a blog?”Because publishing fun , relevant and valuable content will keep our customers engaged, Because blogging serve as a great tool to support our SEO initiativesSo I really like Mitch’s “Why not What” approach, but I put a twist on it , and I ask Where?
  •  You know, like Windows… Where do you want to go today?The key to success for me has always been setting defined, measurable and realistic goals as the foundation for building a strategy to achieve those goals.As marketers, without clearly stated objectives, we end up wandering around like this guy, not sure if we’re in the right place. We know that we’ve walked for a long time, but we’re not really sure where we were trying to get to in the first place.At Ice, we defined 4 simple goals that serve as the daily compass for everything we do in social media.
  • The goals we established at Ice are pretty typical, and are probably similar to the goals many of you use to guide your day to day activities.Create brand awareness through online word of mouthAcquire new customers via the social media channelFoster loyalty and retention among existing customersImprove customer service levelSo now that we’ve answered the question of Where? And defined our objectives, the question becomes HOW? How do we achieves these goals?How do we get there?
  • This is where we work out the strategy piece.For instance, let’s take our first goal of creating brand awareness. when it comes to generating brand awareness, the most effective and efficient way to create reach and visibility is word of mouth… it’s free.So at Ice, our strategy for this goal focuses on :<SLIDE>Providing engaging and shareable content that provokes discussion, commentary and contributionLeveraging social sharing tools to promote pass alongWhenever possible, implementing the viral loop. How can an experience or piece of content innately imply a multi-person dynamic?These strategic cues ensure that whenever we develop an initiative or campaign, we have a checklist of criteria by which our tactics are designedThis gives us the best chance at getting to our destination in the quickest and most cost-effective way possible.
  • Tis is where we work out the strategy piece.For instance, let’s take our first goal of creating brand awareness. when it comes to generating brand awareness, the most effective and efficient way to create reach and visibility is word of mouth… it’s free.So at Ice, our strategy for this goal focuses on :<SLIDE>Providing engaging and shareable content that provokes discussion, commentary and contributionLeveraging social sharing tools to promote pass alongWhenever possible, implementing the viral loop. How can an experience or piece of content innately imply a multi-person dynamic?These strategic cues ensure that whenever we develop an initiative or campaign, we have a checklist of criteria by which our tactics are designedThis gives us the best chance at getting to our destination in the quickest and most cost-effective way possible.
  •  Once our strategies are defined, we can back to the first question that all my colleagues were asking … “What?”, but rephrase them with a sense of goals and strategies in mindWhat’s the best way to create engaging, shareable content? What’s the best platform on which to publish this content?Now we can look to the toolbox. Our toolbox at Ice keeps getting bigger and bigger…. We started with the typical core elements: A blogA Facebook PageA Twitter ProfileProduct Ratings & ReviewsAnd established a basic social media ecosystem
  •  This diagram is actually representative of the ecosystem in 2010…. It has evolved a bit since then, but the same core elements remain, and become increasingly integrated with our main website.INSERT SLIDES FOR LIKE BUTTONS, REVIEWS, SHARING, COMMENT BOX, BLOG POST, TWITTER FEED, ETC.So how do we use these tools? Back to the question of WHAT…What type of content do we create?What type of experiences do we create?What do we talk about?All good questions….and truth is, it’s hard to know… so we use our best instincts and we try things out.The title of this presentation is the Secret to my Success (and Failure)…. And believe me, I’ve failed… but that’s OK.
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  •  So how do we use these tools? Back to the question of WHAT…What type of content do we create?What type of experiences do we create?What do we talk about?All good questions….and truth is, it’s hard to know… so we use our best instincts and we try things out.The title of this presentation is the Secret to my Success (and Failure)…. And believe me, I’ve failed… but that’s OK.
  • “Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast.”– Tom PetersAt Ice, we accept failure because we understand that you can’t succeed unless you risk failing…. We follow a baseball philosophy… So we have a tolerance for a .300 batting average….And everyone once in a while… we hit one out of the park…and that makes up for the 7 times out of ten that we struck out.As long as we are always learning something replicable every time we step up to the plate, we have gained something.So we test a lot of different tactics… some are obvious… some are totally out of left field.…and as I said, the results a aren’t always pretty.
  • “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” - Winston Churchill…and sometimes the results surprise us.This is actually a picture of our CMO after a post-campaign report back in Q32010Just kidding – he’s older and has less hair.But as I said, we’re constantly testing with an eye on pre-defined KPIs and an understanding of precisely what we are trying to learn…So how do we measure success and failure?
  • Social Media Monitoring (Lithium, Google Alerts, TweetDeck)Web Analytics (OmnitureSiteCatalyst, Google Analytics)Customer Feedback (BizRate, Bazaarvoice, Better Business Bureau)Social Analytics (Facebook Insights, HootSuite, Klout) Brand mentions & Sentiment, Share of VoiceTraffic & ecommerce metricsCustomer feedback ratings (BizRate, BazaarVoice, BBB)Engagement (Likes, Comments, Replies, Retweets)Follower & Fan countInfluenceSo I’ve given you an overview of our goals, approach to defining  our social media strategy, and how that translates into the tools we use and how we test and measure them….. But the presentation is titled the secrets to my success, and failure… so I’m going to run down some of our keys to being successful in social media. And as I’ve said… many of these we learned the hard way, by getting it wrong.The first secret is… 
  • One of the keys to our success in building a vital community has been forming great partnerships with leading brands and organizations that share similar customer demographics or that align well with our brand.
  • We’ve been fortunate to work with great brands like Benefit an Universal Pictures, but one of our most successful efforts came from ….
  • In a Mother’s Day campaign in partnership with the super-popular Ellen DeGeneres, we gave away 400 key pendants on her show to the audience in exchange for a fantastic brand endorsement on the same show, and a link from her Facebook Page (1.6 Million Fans) to our page, where we hosted a contest to give away 5 of the same diamond key pendants.The result was phenomenal and represented the fastest fan growth seen by our page at that time.As part of the campaign, everyone who became a fan got a promo code for 25% OFF their next purchase at Ice, and we donated a percentage of all sales tied to that promo code to support the crisis recovery effort in Haiti. We were proud to partner with Ellen on this campaign, and very grateful for our customers and fans that helped us raise some money for a much needed cause.
  • One of Ice’s brand attributes is that we are appreciative of our customers. We’re grateful that they’ve chosen to shop with us, and we’re grateful to our Fans that have liked us on Facebook, so it’s important for us to show that appreciation and show them a little love.We do this in a few ways.
  • Fan of the WeekOne of the ways we share the love is by acknowledging one Fan every week that has made a contribution to our community, usually by sharing something on our wall,- a photo, a video, advice to another Fan, our helpful feedback to us about our products or service.These are but a few examples of some of the great women (and men) that make up our community.
  • Another way that we share the love is through exclusivity.Fans get great offers, exclusive content and sneak peaks or early access to promotions o products.In this example we shared an exclusive deal, richer than those typically offered in our email newsletters.But there are only so many promotions we can put out there before the whole thing gets a little tired and people get bored…
  • I mean, no one likes a self-centered blabbermouth… so by the same principle, we try to keep the conversation about our customers and their needs, desires, and feelings … in fact, we often promote conversations that have nothing to do with shopping for jewelry online but that may be top of mind for our community.
  • In this very simple example using the Facebook Questions, we asked our community to tell us their favourite style of earrings.With 800+ responses to date, this particular example showed us that, for our most engaged Facebook Fans, Hoops rule, and served as a great cue for our social media marketing team, as well as our merchandising team.
  • A couple of other examples involved contests that we ran during two very key seasonal periods for Ice – Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.For Mother’s Day, we asked the community to share photos of a beautiful mom in their life, and to tell using a few words why that woman was beautiful to them.For Valentine’s Day, the theme was Love Stories– share yours in text for a chance to win some beautiful and expensive jewelry. The community could vote on the submissions, and at the end of the contest, the submission with the most votes won the prize. These were powered by Facebook applications powered by Wildfire Interactive.Both campaigns exceed our expectations, getting really high levels of participation and engagement, through submissions, voting and comments, generating impressive fan growth and resulting in h a large amount of pass along through social sharing. We were thrilled with the real stories and real interactions that this campaign stimulated… that’s another one of our secrets of success…Keepin’ it real.
  • Keep it real.…because no one likes a phony or wants to create a relationship with an automatron.Consumers want real interactions with real people
  • I love this cartoon, it’s funny because it’s true.Just like you and me, our customers want to be treated with respect, and for us that means being real, being human … connecting with them at a human level rather than a corporate level.
  • It means practicing all of the qualities and behaviours that we look for in our day to day relationships.Listening,HonestyAppreciation,Attentiveness,Compassion & UnderstandingI already told you about our Beautiful Moms contest that we held. Well the winner of that contest was a woman named Janelle whose entry honored her own mother, Linda, who was battling ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease. Our community rallied behind Janelle’s entry and overwhelmingly voted her entry to the top, and Janelle and her mother won the diamond pendant prize.
  • Sadly, Janelle’s mother Linda passed away months later from the disease, and Janelle let us know on our Facebook Page with a post thanking Ice for the diamond pendant that her mother wore in this picture that she shared with us. Janelle told us how she had read all the Ice community’s comments of support to her mother in her final days. How she had worn the diamond pendant to her mother’s funeral just days prior, and they were planning to auction the pendant off in charity event to raise money for research for a cure for ALS.We were saddened to learn of Linda’s passing, and we did what any friend would do… we sent a letter of condolences to Janelle and her family, along with flowers and a donation to the ALS society. We continue to stay in touch with Janelle and her family. This is only one of the many real, human relationships we’ve formed with customers and fans ... ..but sometimes it’s not about our relationship with them, but about their relationship with others, and we just need to get out the way.
  • Sometimes, creating real, engaging and shareable experiences can be really simple, we just need to provoke a conversation about things that are important to our community.Who here know it was National Girlfriends Day on August 1st? Not many of us… I mean, I didn’t get any calls from my ex-girlfriends… but I digress…
  • we asked our community to post comments about their BFF’s, tagging them in the comments and telling us what they love about themWe got a great response, with most Fans tagging multiple friends in their comments and extending the reach of the content exponentially.This effort took about 2 minutes to plan and execute, and generated some great , real, and shareable conversation on our Wall.When we can prompt our fans to discuss topics that are near and dear to them, we can simply step out of the way and let the community run with the conversation.Ice.com is far from perfect. We make mistakes… certainly more than we’d like to admit. They key for us is to be accountable for the error in our ways.
  • To step up, admit we were wrong, apologize, and most importantly, correct the situation. It takes a big brand to say I’m sorry … Any of the men out there know how hard it can be to say you’re sorry….On second thought, maybe that’s why none of my ex-girlfriends called me on National Girlfriend Day?So when we mess up … a shipping error occurs, when a customer has an issue with their order, when there has been a technical issue …. We needt o make it right.We’re constantly monitoring the web to pick up on issues like these, address them, and bring them to resolution.
  • In this example, a customer was shipped the wrong product. She returned the product and received the wrong product again. It took us 3 tries to finally get her the product she had ordered. We were transparently apologetic, stayed on top of the issue until it was resolved, and when we finally resolved the issue, the customer was appreciative and remained a loyal Ice advocate.Mistakes aren’t fun… but they can have happy endings.But we like t have fun… after all, jewelry is about fun,… about celebration… about romance… about looking great….So the last secret to social media success is about having fun.
  • We create content and experiences that let our customers play and dream.
  • One of our activities that consistently generates high engagement amongst our fans is something we call What’s Your Style. We’ll post an image on Facebook and Twitter containing a selection of jewelry from a specific theme - stackable rings or Amethyst rings for example - and ask our community to tell us which one they would wear.Much like a brick and mortar shopping experience that friends might share, our Fans tell us which piece is there favourite, and often recommend one for a friend.
  • Like you, we’re always looking to the horizon.. .what’s the next big thing… well, I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can tell you about a few area we’re going to be exploring and investing resources in the 12 months ahead.
  • Probably the most important place we want to improve and innovate is in how we marry our customer data, mailing list database and our social community data.To be able to have a 360 degree view of a customer including their connection to us on Facebook, Twitter, as a member of our mailing list, etc, can allow us to create customer segments and marketing initiates that will undoubtedly generate huge returns, so we’re really looking at the best way to do this. One of the ways we will be moving towards this is with Social Sign On, allowing customers to create or sign into an Ice.com account with their Facebook or Twitter account.
  • F-CommerceWe’ve experimented with shopping experiences within Facebook, and weren’t thrilled with the results, but we’re confident that consumers will become more at ease with in-network shopping experiences and shop tabs will become a viable ecommerce channel.
  • Facebook Credits & Social GamingIf you saw the case study that I presented with Scott Silverman of ifeelgoods, you heard about our previous success using virtual currency incentives with Facebook Credits. We’ll continue to explore the world of social currency, Facebook Credits and social gaming. We want to be there when Facebook opens up Credits to real world transactions.
  • Haul Videos aren’t new, but they are starting to reach a real tipping point and the value of our customers creating and sharing video reviews of the jewelry they purchased from Ice.com is undeniable, so we’ll be exploring how we can facilitate this activity.
  • GoogleWho here has played with Google Plus yet. Well, if you haven’t, I highly recommend you check it out. Google’s latest answer to Facebook and Twitter is pretty cool, and while they have yet to release their offering for businesses / brands with Google Plus, we’re waiting with baited breath and will definitely be there when this happens.
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