It’s a challenge for brands across the globe, how can digital marketers prove the value that Social Media is adding to a business? And how can you maximise the value of your Social Assets? In this article, I’ll run through the thinking on how a brand like Best Buy use Social Media to drive it’s business strategy, putting customers at the heart of its business, whilst at the same time, using some solid numbers to prove true ROI.
Let’s take Facebook as an example, as it’s fundamental to a digital strategy across the world. With increasing budgets channeled into Social, networks like Facebook have had to wise up and work harder for their clients’ spend. Now, with a clearly focused notion that Facebook profits will ultimately be driven by the brands that advertise on the network, Facebook is on a mission to help marketers.
Firstly it announced more staff in more geographies, able to account manage for larger brands. Next, it started to test with credits and deals, as a way to open the network up to commerce. But, it seems to now have a real focus on what it’s really great at. It’s great at being the most relevant marketing tool available to digital and traditional marketers on the web.
So, as hastily as it changed, Facebook’s tactics have changed too. Deals and credits are out – new insights tools, free Facebook branding and advertising classes are in and advertising account managers are becoming a lot more common. It makes sense. Marketers are restricted in their Social Ads budgets, not because they don’t believe that Facebook can work, of course it can, but in the absence of harder metrics, money is apportioned to lower risk, higher measured ROI, more established and measurable channels, like pay per click or affiliate advertising.
So how, at Best Buy, did we tackle the opportunity of using the power of Facebook’s platform (and marketplace/sponsored story ads) to promote and sell electronics to the Facebook community? Well it’s certainly not an exact science, but here’s a demonstration of how we approached the subject.
Background and Research
The first stop on a journey to creating a new strategy in Social, is to listen and listen a lot. Rash decisions in Social Media frequently have big consequences; although it is important to use your instinct and be close to the community, you need to back that up with genuine insights – both qualitative and quantitative. So we did a few things, we started by looking at our own data, surveying our customers, and then a broader set of retail customers, and the Social Media back too. And what did they say?
We asked the question: For what reasons would you “like” a brand on Facebook:
60% – of respondents, “liked a brand page for deals and discounts” – encouraging.
Further to this, we analysed months of commentary to retrieve key themes in the commentary. Best Buy’s customers had requested, in large numbers, discounts. Exclusive offers also came up a lot.
Separately, Best Buy had ran a BlackBerry PlayBook giveaway on Facebook earlier in the year, so there was a decent amount of data, of which we were keen to understand more about how our customers interact throughout the consumer purchase cycle. We were surprised and further motivated on our initial hunch with the results, with contest participants spending 86% more than a non-engaged customer.
Naturally curious about the wider Social influence on commerce, websites such as hotukdeals.com and Groupon, have been achieving much success in the UK, with using a social to power a sale at the heart of their model. The ability to seek advice, compare prices and read other’s reviews on forums and the ability to procure products at deep discounts as a group, all adds reassurance to the consumer journey in a tough economic climate. It therefore comes as no surprise to me that both sites feature in the UKs top 100 websites, by visits, according to Alexa.com.
Social By Design
The research had come back with more powerful insights than expected and with statistical confidence that Social could play a part in how customers interact with a retailer and buy products. There was the question however of how this could work on a platform like Facebook. There are some clear strengths of Facebook:
• Most popular UK Social Network and high population penetration
• An advertising platform that’s more relevant than any other
• Comprehensive Insight tools
That delivers some clear incremental benefit to the customer
• Helps to make buying technology more inclusive and exciting
• Giving groups the option to buy at a discounted price
And in turn, this helps Best Buy:
• We’re able to market to a audience that wants to hear about our offers
• We can plan to buy our stock for deals
• We can tell people about our business, in a more relevant and timely way
It’s therefore important, that a campaign uses these strengths, to create a more exciting, relevant and interactive shopping experience for the customer, whilst ensuring that there’s the ability to share socially and amplify a message using Social Ads, to people that are more likely to be interested in what we have to offer.
So, where do Social Ads come into the equation?
Social Ads are the most relevant display advertisement. Facebook’s ad platform caters for new ways of contacting your customer, handing an advertiser the ability to be more useful and interesting to the consumer, at an affordable cost.
Social Ads can have a number of benefits, but for a company such as Best Buy, it allows brand impressions to be served on an impressive scale, whilst also being more specific and relevant. For example, someone who “likes” XBOX, may also like Call of Duty. Not always the case, but it is likely of more interest to that group of “fans” than the general UK population.
The solution: Thumbs Up. Price Down.
picture paints it a lot more than simply words, but here are some insights into the design:
• ‘Like’s unlock the price. Using Facebook’s popular ‘like’ tool has several benefits – it’s social by its nature, it’s a familiar and widely used social tool, it allows the advertiser to spread a message and register unique users.
• Social Ads are used to drive relevant and interested traffic
• We use Facebook’s wall and comment-feed to promote and facilitate conversation and questions about the product.
• We use the Facebook platform to listen to what our customers say and the flexibility of the platform allows us to react quickly and make changes when and where required.
• Thumbs Up. Price Down. Allows us to reward loyal fans for their comments, promotion and insights.
Feel free to take a look at Thumbs Up. Price Down. Now at Best Buy’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/bestbuyuk
If you have any questions, or would like to chat about anything in this article or if you’d like to talk more about Social, or its use within a small, medium or global organisation, please contact me via Twitter @graeme_cole
This article is written by Graeme Cole, Social Media & New Media Manager, Best Buy UK