Get Local with Social, Jan 2012

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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 and members of their community to build relationships and drive sales. In this presentation, Sara Lingafelter, Social Media Specialist at REI, will present a case study on REI's local social media program, share her views on unique opportunities for specialty retailers, and host a Q&A session, from which multi- and single door retailers will be able to take away best practices, tips and tricks. Whether you're a Google+ early adopter or still haven't claimed your Yelp business listing, this presentation will provide practical advice for developing your own local retail social strategy.

Originally delivered at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2012 in January, 2012, this presentation also includes relevant stats, studies, and tips for brands and non-retail companies who are participating or thinking about participating in social media.

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  • “ Social media is no longer the latest ‘ shiny object, ’ as 79% of corporations have undertaken social media efforts ” Altimeter Report: The Two Career Paths of the Corporate Social Strategist: Be Proactive or Become “Social Media Help Desk” Nov 2010 It accounts for 20% of Internet time and social networking sites now reach 82% of the world’s online population ( Comscore) Forrester found that 86 percent of people have adopted social networking services in the US.. In Canada, it's 88 percent, and in Poland, 95 percent. Urban areas of China are at 97 percent. And in terms of time spent, social networking consumes more time than going to church; communicating by phone, e-mail, and snail mail; and exercising. "It's just a little less than shopping and child care," Colony said. “ Social is running out of hours.  Social is also running out of people” -  George Colony, Forrester
  • 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.
  • Lacy Simons, owner of Hello Hello Books in Maine, a small store with an e-commerce site, says she is seeing customers “cement their determination to shop local” — which on the Internet, means shopping at the smaller vendors — even when the big sites offer lower prices.
  • Fish where the fish are AND develop a strategy for LISTENING.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • National presences plus… 57+ new market-level Twitter handles 57+ 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 Ongoing training Growing pains.
  • Your numbers may be different… but what you can expect is slow, steady, organic growth. This was achieved without marketing expenditures – no Facebook advertising. We did a small ad buy to support our Grand Opening in SoHo, but not a statistically significant increase. Meaningful growth is earned, not bought. How do I grow a following? You can buy it (facebook or twitter advertising) But even with geotargeting, that may or may not support your business goals. Brand exposure and awareness? Sure. Brand loyalty, connecting with existing customers, etc, perhaps not. Brands are making a big push [on Facebook]. At an effective [cost per impression] that’s well under half as expensive of most TV or glossy magazine buys, brands are seeing that they can easily equal the reach at much more attractive frequency, so it’s becomign the awareness and interest builder of choice. OTR Global (but that was in June 2011, which in social media time is eons ago.
  • Lightspeed Research (UK particpants) Majority turn to Web (44%) to complain; 36% pick upt he phone. 8% via FB; 2% via Twitter but you can count on those folks being more likely to be bloggers, reviewers, yelpers, etc. 15% aged 18-34 turned to Facebook.
  • Content is king: Outdoor Retailer True Believers: Patagonia Content opportunities: use a sign-up form with a name and likeness disclaimer, so that you can use photographs and videos as content. Images and linkshelp “escalate” content in”importance” on Facebook. High engagement on photo galleries and videos. But really – it’s a philosophy of transparency. I get asked, “but I want to tell my story.” That’s where a blog comes in. That’s a “True believer” tactic. Not caught up in ROI of a blog.
  • (always listen – what keeps me up at night) Negative: even negative product reviews help increase conversion 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, while 30% suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see anything negative at all. - Reevoo, as published by Econsultancy. http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/8638-bad-reviews-improve-conversion-by-67 Fearing negative reviews is a mistake, however. There are many case studies that show negative reviews, at least when mixed with positive ones, are a clear driver of sales. If all of your product reviews are glowing, people will be suspicious of their authenticity. What's more, any customer-generated information about a product, whether it's entirely positive or slightly negative, helps increase sales; even products with three-star ratings convert better than products with no reviews. If your site provides a mix of positive and negative reviews, that shows two things: that you are willing to give your customers the space to share their authentic opinions, and that you value their feedback. The mere presence of negative feedback on your site builds transparency in your brand.
  • Trust your customers, and they will trust you: Let your customers share their real opinions – taking the good with the bad. Moderate out "flames" and illegal postings: Just because you're embracing negative reviews doesn't mean you should leave up inflammatory or legally-questionable reviews. Your rules of moderation still apply. Respond quickly to complaints: The faster you respond to dissatisfied customers, the better. Address concerns in both published and rejected reviews right away, and fix what's broken in terms of products, service, or process. See negative feedback in a positive light: Negative customer reviews are a goldmine of critical information about your products and services, as well as a window into how customers view your brand. Learn from negative reviews to improve every aspect of your business.
  • Trust your customers, and they will trust you: Let your customers share their real opinions – taking the good with the bad. Moderate out "flames" and illegal postings: Just because you're embracing negative reviews doesn't mean you should leave up inflammatory or legally-questionable reviews. Your rules of moderation still apply. Respond quickly to complaints: The faster you respond to dissatisfied customers, the better. Address concerns in both published and rejected reviews right away, and fix what's broken in terms of products, service, or process. See negative feedback in a positive light: Negative customer reviews are a goldmine of critical information about your products and services, as well as a window into how customers view your brand. Learn from negative reviews to improve every aspect of your business.
  • Trust your customers, and they will trust you: Let your customers share their real opinions – taking the good with the bad. Moderate out "flames" and illegal postings: Just because you're embracing negative reviews doesn't mean you should leave up inflammatory or legally-questionable reviews. Your rules of moderation still apply. Respond quickly to complaints: The faster you respond to dissatisfied customers, the better. Address concerns in both published and rejected reviews right away, and fix what's broken in terms of products, service, or process. See negative feedback in a positive light: Negative customer reviews are a goldmine of critical information about your products and services, as well as a window into how customers view your brand. Learn from negative reviews to improve every aspect of your business.
  • Facebook purports to make their decisions in response to customer wants and needs, but from the outside that sometimes doesn’t line up.
  • 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.
  • http://sproutsocial.com/insights/2012/01/facebook-pages-impressions/ Sprout Social August 2011: Average reach 131,758 people per post (about 35% of our audience) January 2012: Average reach consistently in the 30k range per post (only about 8% of our audience)
  • 48 hours of video are uploaded every minute, resulting in nearly 8 years of content uploaded every day Over 3 billion videos are viewed a day Users upload the equivalent of 240,000 full-length films every week More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US YouTube is localized in 25 countries across 43 languages YouTube's demographic is broad: 18-54 years old YouTube reached over 700 billion playbacks in 2010 800M unique users visit YouTube each month Youtube is the second most “authoritative” domain in search results (behind Wikipedia) so ranks high on search engine results. (but don’t underestimate vimeo for our outdoor audience.)
  • "What Tumblr was to 2011, Twitter was to 2007, and Facebook was to 2006, a site called Pinterest is to 2012," says the San Francisco Chronicle. The Chronicle says that the site, launched in 2009, had 11 million visitors during one week in December of 2011, and estimates monthly users is around 40 million uniques by mid-January - 40% growth year over year. How has it grown so quickly? From word of mouth. Pinterest has grown organically with a female-majority of users. Mashable reports 59% of users are female. Watch demographics
  • Yelp surpassed 15 million reviews and 41 million monthly visitorsby theend of 2011. (and is showing solid growth). Over 61 million people visited Yelp in Q3 2011 to make spending decisions; And yelpers are shoppers. They’re not yelping to shop, they’re yelping to buy. 24% of reviews are for “shopping” (only 26% are for restaurants) and less than 20% for services.
  • 50 million now; estimated double with Android launch (coming soon) – Instagram on track to becoming the world’s biggest mobile social network Overtaking Foursquare (SocialFresh) http://liesdamnedliesstatistics.com/2011/12/the-success-story-of-2011-instagram-growing-2x-as-fast-as-foursquare.html When I say “largest mobile social network” I am talking about a social network where the majority of user activity is from a mobile device. Instagram and Foursquare both fit this bill well and they were both created as mobile apps first, not websites with a mobile app added later. (added 2 million users in November).
  • The muppets are on google+ along with 90 million other users, and Experian Hitwise predicts 400 million users by the end of 2012. The Google co-founder and CEO also engaged in some sleight of hand in his comments, according to some observers – stating that Google+ users are “very engaged with our products — over 60% of them engage daily, and over 80% weekly.” That could just mean 60% of Google+ users check their Gmail or go to a Google Map once a day. Page didn’t specify. (Check out the entirety of his remarks, which Page posted on Google+, here .) (although FB, 1 billion users by August). My experience: still nascent. Early adopters at this point, and in my circles, emphasis on visual content. Hangouts, but currently capped at 9 people… an option for larger audiences is reportedly coming soon. Cool solution to the “on duty” problem, and a great opportunity to engage directly.
  • This guy figured out that it’s not about the product – it’s about the product enabling peopleto get out and do what they want to do. He started teaching fly fishing classes, with great success, and great sales (and great press). Then, the recurring question (in the secretive fly fishing community) was: “Where do I GO?” It wasn’t popular with the community, but it was popular with the customers … they loved it. More great press. Deliver what your audience wants.
  • Julia Day told a story in her TrendInsights presentation yesterday (a don’t miss) – about the owner of a fly fishing store. “Customers don’t come into my store to buy a fishing rod. They come into my store because they want to fly fish.” Get local: you’re in the best position to connect with local influencers and ambassadors: YOU know them best. Event coverage, build a community (#carfreeme), use Facebook Events. Because if you’re not there, they’re talking about you anyway.
  • Get Local with Social, Jan 2012

    1. 1. <ul><ul><li>GET LOCAL WITH SOCIAL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BECAUSE THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT YOU WHETHER YOU’RE LISTENING OR NOT. </li></ul></ul>Sara Lingafelter @theclimbergirl | @REI | #getlocal Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2012
    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. THE STATE OF SOCIAL <ul><li>79% of corporations have undertaken social media efforts. (Altimeter Group) </li></ul><ul><li>86% of Americans have adopted social networking services. (Forrester) </li></ul><ul><li>At the same time, social media may be reaching saturation point in many markets. (Forrester) </li></ul><ul><li>Social networks are pretty negligible as a source of measured sales but companies are still prioritizing them. (National Retail Federation) </li></ul><ul><li>The average enterprise class company (>1000 employees) has 178 social media presences (Altimiter Group) </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    4. 4. 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 (OR SM 2011) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Local is a huge opportunity for those who seize it.” </li></ul><ul><li>Julia Day of @leisuretrendsgr at #orshow (OR SM 2011) </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    5. 5. WHY LOCAL SOCIAL MEDIA IN SPECIALTY? @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    6. 6. WHY LOCAL SOCIAL MEDIA IN SPECIALTY? <ul><li>Your customers are talking about you, </li></ul><ul><li>^ and probably TO you </li></ul><ul><li>Whether you’re listening or not. </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    7. 7. 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
    8. 8. 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
    9. 9. Social Media at REI (pre-local) @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    10. 10. Social Media at REI (Post-Local) @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    11. 11. Social Media at REI (Post-Local) @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    12. 12. WHAT? WHEN? HOW? (practioners)
    13. 13. THE MUST DO <ul><li>Listen </li></ul><ul><li>Respond </li></ul><ul><ul><li>¼ of respondents who complain via Facebook or Twitter expect a reply within 60 minutes – and 6% expect a response within 10 minutes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If consumers notify a company of a problem via their website, 50% are happy to wait up to a day for a reply and 27% are content to wait for up to three days. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Younger customers are more likely to use social to complain. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Having a “friendly” online presence was important to 33% of those polled. </li></ul></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    14. 14. THE CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE <ul><li>Decide whether (for now) you’re a Customer Support, Content is King, or True Believer Entity, and strategize and execute accordingly. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Customer Support (the new required minimum): </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasis is on listening & responsiveness and financial ROI is a key concern. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content is King (e.g. Outdoor Research, The North Face) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Generate and curate content to share your brand with followers. ROI is a factor, but the organization is willing to invest in content and sharing, and is willing to view ROI in financial terms and/or content performance terms. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>True Believers (e.g. Patagonia) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Employee stories, behind the scenes, corporate transparency. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ROI is measured (to the degree possible) but is not the key decisionmaking metric. The organization has embraced social (and transparency) as a philosophy and business value. </li></ul></ul></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal | © Sara Lingafelter
    15. 15. 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><ul><li>True Believer </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    16. 16. Cory Edwards, Director of Social Media & Reputation Team (SMART) Twitter: @coryedwards @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    17. 17. HHE SIMPLE DON ’TS <ul><li>Don ’t sell </li></ul><ul><li>Don ’t be a jerk! </li></ul><ul><li>Don ’t be afraid of negative comments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Even negative product reviews help with conversion; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negative / critical comments in social build trust that you’re not overmoderating. </li></ul></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    18. 18. CONCRETE TIPS FOR NEGATIVITY <ul><li>Trust your customers, and they will trust you. </li></ul><ul><li>Moderate out &quot;flames&quot; and illegal postings. </li></ul><ul><li>Respond quickly to complaints. </li></ul><ul><li>See negative feedback in a positive light: Negative customer reviews are a goldmine of critical information about your products and services, as well as a window into how customers view your brand. </li></ul><ul><li>Bazaarvoice: Why Negative Reviews are a Gift </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    19. 19. AND A REAL WORLD EXAMPLE @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    20. 20. AND A REAL WORLD EXAMPLE <ul><li>Customers tend to choose their preferred contact channel and stick to it, even if it’s not the “best” channel to resolve their issue. </li></ul><ul><li>Work hard to resolve issues “in public,” and if you take a conversation offline, do so “in public.” </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    21. 21. HOT BUTTON ISSUES <ul><li>Proceed with caution, and proceeding can be rewarding. </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    22. 22. WORKING WITH YOUR STAFF <ul><li>We all learn social by doing. </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize 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
    23. 23. WHAT? WHEN? HOW? (organizationally)
    24. 24. MODELS FOR SOCIAL ORGANIZATION @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal Altimeter Report: The Two Career Paths of the Corporate Social Strategist: Be Proactive or Become “Social Media Help Desk” Nov 2010
    25. 25. 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 & mobile access </li></ul><ul><li>Reporting </li></ul><ul><li>Built-in URL shortcuts </li></ul><ul><li>But watch out for pitfalls: Facebook API, overpromising / lack of understanding of real life workflows. </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    26. 26. HOW ’S IT GOING?
    27. 27. 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 tools are vital, but imperfect </li></ul><ul><li>We ’re hitting use cases not yet considered by vendors </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook algorithm changes are unpredictable (and not usually great for businesses) </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    28. 28. WHAT’S WORKED WELL <ul><li>Organizational trust  </li></ul><ul><li>Traffic is building </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><ul><li>Social is proliferating across the organization, so we’re working toward a true hub and spoke model </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    29. 29. THE ONLY CONSTANT IS CHANGE <ul><li>The average post on Facebook only reaches 17% of Facebook fans, a precipitous drop since even late last year. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Our stats are even worse. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Average reach, Aug 2011: 35% of our audience. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Average reach, January 2012: 8% of our audience. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Brands are paying an increased attention to community platforms we have control over (or, at least, that are more transparent). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content is king: Blogs, videos, photography </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Return to online forums & community spaces </li></ul></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    30. 30. THE ONLY CONSTANT IS CHANGE @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    31. 31. THE ONLY CONSTANT IS CHANGE @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    32. 32. THE ONLY CONSTANT IS CHANGE @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    33. 33. THE ONLY CONSTANT IS CHANGE @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    34. 34. THE ONLY CONSTANT IS CHANGE @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    35. 35. LOTS OF GROUNDWORK PRE-LAUNCH <ul><li>“ Customers don’t come into my store to buy a fishing rod. They come into my store because they want to fly fish.” </li></ul><ul><li>A really smart retailer </li></ul><ul><li>Quoted by Julia Day, @leisuretrendsgr </li></ul><ul><li>In yesterday’s #TrendInsights seminar </li></ul>@REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal
    36. 36. Be nimble Be quick Be present Listen Play nice Get local. @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal [email_address]
    37. 37. QUESTIONS? @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal [email_address]
    38. 38. THANK YOU. @REI | Sara Lingafelter / @theclimbergirl | #getlocal [email_address]

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