Get Local With Social, Summer 2011


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Specialty retailers who are not participating in social media miss opportunities every day to serve and build stronger bonds with their customers. From customer service, to customer acquisition, to community building and influencer outreach, specialty retailers have an opportunity to leverage their competitive advantage as place-based entities to build community and drive sales. In this presentation, originally delivered at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in July of 2011, Sara Lingafelter, Social Media Specialist at REI, will present a case study on REI’s local social media program, and host a Q&A session, from which multi- and single door retailers will be able to take away best practices, tips and tricks, and other practical advice for developing a local retail social strategy.

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  • National presences (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & Flickr) Centrally managed by Digital Engagement Team @ HQ Light support from Membership Services Joined Twitter in October of 2008. Affiliates manager noticed his affiliates joining Twitter, and signed on. Department grew from there. We still have Krys managing the national feed; Jordan supervising the team; and me handling product reviews, video syndication strategy, and the local social roll out.
  • 25% of shopping conversations are posted online  from consumers while in an actual store - ListenLogic More effective / higher engagement Time zones / local interest Members & customers shop at their REI Customers are talking about us whether we ’re there / listening or not Customers are increasingly participating in social media while they are in the store Participating in members ’ shopping experience helps inform their buying experience Regionality is important in the outdoors So much great local stuff going on. So much great local stuff going on
  • In this era where anyone can be a personality in their own sphere of influence… consumers are more and more looking to operate based on their zip codes. Real-time community news; getting together on the fly; … the hot online services Salzman talked about, are about where you live and work.
  • Retail team members aren’t traditional social media workers! Not sitting at desks; Limited access to the web, computers or devices Hourly employees present unique challenges Legal issues: minimum wage act / after hours / personal devices Hourly employees mean every hour spent is an incremental investment (e.g. training, tech support, et al) Tension between time on the floor & time on the social media “floor” Retail Managers incented to sell, social designed to engage
  • Launch market-based, rather than store-based Distribute management/ownership to our Retail teams Drive likes/follows nationally and locally Share different content Service different needs National: Direct customer service; web / tech support; national issues / information (system wide) Local: in-store issues; local community news & places & organizations
  • National presences plus… 53 new market-level Twitter handles 53 new market-level Facebook fan pages 300+ new social media practitioners Social Media 101 & 201 training curriculum New social media management platform Rapidly expanding self-help & internal-communication resources
  • Your numbers may be different… but what you can expect is slow, steady, organic growth.
  • Organizational trust. Our practitioners are -- very naturally, and with precious little training and guidance, doing exactly what we hoped they would -- delivering the green vest experience online. So far, the organizational trust in this program is paying off, without anything other than very minor "coachable moments" here and there. Traffic: local following up to almost 20k (aggregate) w/o any marketing support to-date + nice Ad Age article on our local approach
  • Technical expertise… can’t always be matched by a larger retailer. Listen / engage: The bottom line is … we have the manpower and technology to monitor for folks who are talking to us. There are non-creepy ways to listen and connect with people who are talking about subjects that your staff may be able to help them with. Where we’ve got our hands full sorting the Real Estate Investment posts and asian language anime references out of our stream, you can be listening for conversations to join in on as a “local, neighborly” friend.
  • Get Local With Social, Summer 2011

    1. 1. <ul><ul><li>REI LOCAL SOCIAL MEDIA: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DISTRIBUTED, AWESOME, NOT EASY </li></ul></ul>Sara Lingafelter @theclimbergirl | @REI | #getlocal Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011
    2. 2. DO: <ul><li>Please tweet this presentation! </li></ul><ul><li>#getlocal #orshow </li></ul><ul><li>@REI / @theclimbergirl </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    3. 3. Social Media at REI (pre-local) @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    4. 4. WHY LOCAL SOCIAL MEDIA @ REI To serve customers when and where they are looking for us, with the most relevant, helpful information possible. @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    5. 5. WHY LOCAL SOCIAL MEDIA IN SPECIALTY? <ul><li>“ Hyperlocal is the new global. ” </li></ul><ul><li>Marian Salzman of @erwwpr at #orshow </li></ul><ul><li>#locoforlocal </li></ul><ul><li>“ Local is a huge opportunity for those who seize it.” </li></ul><ul><li>Julia Day of @leisuretrendsgr at #orshow </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    6. 6. LOCAL SOCIAL WITHIN RETAIL IS DIFFERENT <ul><ul><li>Retail team members are not cube dwellers! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inconsistent incentives: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social = engage </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Retail = sell </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Both = serve </li></ul></ul></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    7. 7. Local Social Media Strategy <ul><li>Market-based </li></ul><ul><li>Distributed management </li></ul><ul><li>Drive participation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nationally + Locally </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Localize content </li></ul><ul><li>Serve specific needs </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    8. 8. Social Media at REI (Post-Local) @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    9. 9. Social Media at REI (Post-Local) @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    10. 10. WHAT? WHEN? HOW? (practioners)
    11. 11. DO ’S <ul><li>Emphasize the positive </li></ul><ul><li>Pay attention to detail </li></ul><ul><li>Decide on voice + policy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Signing” updates? Identifying practitioners? Speaking for the whole entity? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Obey copyright law </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize your community </li></ul><ul><li>Be responsive </li></ul><ul><li>Get to know other social media users </li></ul><ul><li>Use links, tagging, @mentions to build relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Have fun! </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    12. 12. Cory Edwards, Director of Social Media & Reputation Team (SMART) Twitter: @coryedwards @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    13. 13. DON ’TS <ul><li>Don ’t sell </li></ul><ul><li>Be careless with hot button topics </li></ul><ul><li>Don ’t be afraid of negative comments </li></ul><ul><li>Don ’t use content you don’t have rights to </li></ul><ul><li>Don ’t be a jerk! </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    14. 14. HOW <ul><li>Coachable moments, not mistakes / trouble / smack-down / etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Environment of trust: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We trust retail staff to interact with customers every day on the shop floor. WHY NOT online? </li></ul></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    15. 15. WHAT? WHEN? HOW? (organizationally)
    16. 16. LOTS OF GROUNDWORK PRE-LAUNCH <ul><li>Change-management & planning = more than a year </li></ul><ul><li>Bottoms-up leads to top-down </li></ul><ul><li>Sell-in to multiple groups of leaders, but… </li></ul><ul><li>Retail teams (mostly)chomping at the bit </li></ul><ul><li>It takes a village: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public Affairs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retail Operations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Human Resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Membership Services (aka the Call Center) </li></ul></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    17. 17. LOTS OF GROUNDWORK PRE-LAUNCH <ul><li>“ At what point do we stop talking about return on investment, and start thinking about social media the way we do the phone bill, or the electricity bill?” </li></ul><ul><li>- A really smart REI Store Manager </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    18. 18. ORGANIZATIONAL FLEXIBILITY BY DESIGN <ul><li>Practitioners were self / locally nominated </li></ul><ul><li>Guidance only on how many practitioners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Big enough to: distribute the load & serve all needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Small enough to: hold accountable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multi-store markets self-organize / distribute load </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rotating-daily </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rotating-weekly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anchor-store carrying the load </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Single-store markets organized based on available resources / skillset / interest </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    19. 19. MANAGEMENT TOOL A MUST <ul><li>Account layer between employee & social log-in/password </li></ul><ul><li>Workgroups </li></ul><ul><li>Delegation between stores and between stores & HQ teams </li></ul><ul><li>Ubiquitous web access </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile app </li></ul><ul><li>Reporting </li></ul><ul><li>Built-in URL shortcuts </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    20. 20. HOW ’S IT GOING?
    21. 21. WHAT’S BEEN TOUGH <ul><li>Huge spectrum of social media fluency </li></ul><ul><li>Remote training a challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Very limited technology available at Retail </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One PC image </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Old browser </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited bandwidth </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social media management tool vital, but imperfect </li></ul><ul><li>We ’re hitting use cases not yet considered </li></ul><ul><li>Market-level strategy might not mesh with Facebook product strategy </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    22. 22. WHAT’S WORKED WELL <ul><li>Organizational trust  </li></ul><ul><li>Traffic is building </li></ul><ul><li>Enthusiasm in the broader organization  </li></ul><ul><li>Enthusiasm at retail </li></ul><ul><li>Customers are super excited </li></ul><ul><li>Non-profit partners are already getting engaged </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    23. 23. BUT… WHAT ABOUT INDEPENDENT SPECIALTY? <ul><li>Know and maximize your strengths. </li></ul><ul><li>Promote social in multiple channels. </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize customer service. </li></ul><ul><li>Listen / engage to build relationships. </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    24. 24. QUESTIONS?
    25. 25. THANK YOU.