Lots of brands in the fashion and beauty industries have, not surprisingly, become well-regarded trendsetters in social media marketing. How do I, a thirty-something man know this? Because several women in my office "force" me to look at how businesses are promoting their campaigns - on Facebook and beyond - in innovative and exciting ways
Here are some recent campaigns from two such brands. Your business does not have to be in the fashion and/or beauty industry for these campaigns to inspire.
Kate Spade New York: Driving Direct Revenue with Flash Sales
Fans of Kate Spade New York's (KSNY) Facebook Page know that one of the greatest perks of following the brand is that KSNY frequently hosts surprise flash sales. With the potential of snagging a designer bag for up to 75 percent off, this tactic keeps their fans on their toes.
Hosting surprise sales is a tried and true strategy for KSNY; the company has been using it for the past few years. In a 2011 interview with Mashable, KSNY's CEO Craig Leavitt was asked: "What sort of return on your [social media] investment have you seen? And how do you measure it? Is it about sales or engagement?" He responded by saying, "Primarily we're looking to grow our consumer base and our followers, and ensuring that they remain engaged with us, which is the most important part. That said, we are looking at how to drive more direct revenue. We've offered special sales and previews on items to Facebook fans in the past, and we'll look to do more of that in the future." And they have.
So how does KYNY pull off promoting a successful flash sale on Facebook? Here's a look:
First, they create an action-gated page. Action-gating is when you ask users to do something (like share a piece of information about themselves) in order to get something (like access to a promotion) from your brand.
At KSNY, in order for fans to gain access into their flash sale, they must first share their email address and zip code.
The above page is not hosted on KSNY's website, but on a subdomain of their website. What this means is that only people who follow KSNY on Facebook and see their surprise sale posts get to take advantage of the offer.
Second, they use eye-catching images for their Facebook posts. The images KSNY uses for their Facebook posts that promote their flash sales are bright and send a clear message: It's flash sale time!
While it would be a stretch to say KSNY's surprise sales are the sole reason for the company's recent growth (their direct-to-consumer sales increased 29 percent in the first quarter of 2014,according to MarketWatch) small and consistent social tactics - like sharing with fans a limited-time-only offer - can add up to make a big impact on a brand's bottom line.
Benefit Cosmetics: Creating Hype for a New Product
Benefit Cosmetics has spent the past month creating a lot of hype for a product that has yet to hit store shelves. Instead of shipping their new product, "they're Real! push-up liner," directly to their retailers and brick-and-mortar stores, Benefit gave their fans the chance to buy the product first. Benefit Cosmetics' core audience knows new and popular beauty products have a tendency to sell out quickly, so this campaign targets them perfectly.
Implementing an "early access" campaign not only created a ton of awareness for Benefit Cosmetics' soon-to-released product, it also gave the beauty brand the opportunities to gauge fan interest in the product and even forecast how sales would be once the product was officially launched. Since their month-long awareness push has recently wrapped, it's likely they know now if they have a star or a dud product on their hands.
To promote their "they're Real! push-up liner" early-access campaign, Benefit Cosmetics used their social channels to drive traffic to a microsite (aka their campaign's "hub") to educate their fans more about the product and collect leads.
To drive as much traffic as possible to their campaign's hub, Benefit Cosmetics concentrated their messaging across all of their social channels, but mostly on their Facebook Page, for over a month. They did this by updating their cover photo and posting repeated status updates (12 in all) about their "they're Real! push-up liner."
3 Lessons You Can Learn From These Campaigns
These are just examples of two brands that are marketing on Facebook in unique ways. If you're interested in employing their tactics, remember:
1. Keep your messaging focused throughout your campaign's time period. On Facebook, businesses can be hesitant to post one type of message more than once - they might fear their fans will find the messaging monotonous. But when you're running a campaign, this should not be a concern. Here's why: The organic reach of a Facebook post often reflects a very small fraction of business's fanbase. Meaning, you could share a handful of posts that a large percentage of your fans will never see.
On the flipside, if your fans do see the same message from your brand multiple times, consider it a good thing. In advertising there's a term called effective frequency, it represents the number of times a person must be exposed to a message they respond to it and before repeated exposure is considered wasteful. Another definition of the term comes from Business Dictionary. There, effective frequency is defined as a theory that a consumer has to be exposed to an ad at least three times within a purchasing cycle to buy a product.
2. Build your campaign on a webpage, independent of any one platform. Creating a unique webpage or "hub" for your campaign makes managing and promoting your campaign easy. Instead of hosting your campaign on a social platform where you have to abide by their promotion rules and guidelines, make your own rules and customize the type of entry and sharing features you want.
3. Collect data from people who engage with your campaign. Collecting data in the form of email addresses and other contact information is one of the biggest values of running a campaign. The type and amount of data you collect during a campaign can provide your business with some amazing customer insight, as well as help your brand gauge the overall success (or return) of your campaign.
Readers, are there any campaigns from successful brands that have inspired you lately? If so, please tell me about them in the comments below.
This article originally appeared as a guest post on Neil Schaffer's blog Maximize Social Business on June 19, 2014.