Afternoon. Just thought I’d ‘share’ a little story. I run the digital department at a small, pure play, gift website. We have lots of wealthy customers and part of my role was to attract a younger, more web savvy audience. Social seems the way to go. We’re still tiny and don’t have much money to spend on advertising, so the stats aren’t huge but they’re significant in our world. As our social following has grown, social and in particular Facebook and Twitter (never Twitter and Facebook is it?!) send us directly attributable sales each week…and for every sale you can definitely attribute to those sources, there will be other sales generated by them, but not directly attributed to them. So, user checks FB at work, sees your offer, goes home, turns on iPad, searches Google for you, clicks and buys – your metrics show a direct or organic sale, but it was your social activity which actually generated the sale. Anyhoo. So when I joined we had a Twitter feed in our CEO’s name which isn’t great for any exit strategy she may have in the future so we created a new one from scratch. And we had a couple hundred FB fans.
We now have just shy of 800 Twitter fans and 1,500 Facebook ‘likes’. As I said, tiny numbers, but they deliver more and more sales each week, so every fan does have a monetary value.
The cost beyond my time and some design was around £1,200 and that’s been paid back time and again. The cost was based on the cost price to us of items we used for a competition. We delivered the majority of those followers via three promotions seeded by email and then the social platforms themselves.
The first was an email to our ‘active’ email database of around 5,000 subscribers. It was simply;
‘like us on Facebook to win £1,000 to spend at Gift Library’
We had a 30% open rate (versus 24% averagely), a 10% click rate, meaning a click-to-open rate (my favourite metric) of 33% ish. And crucially, we had a click to engagement rate in the high 90%. O.K, it’s easy to ‘like’ something but we still had to get people over the line. The £1,000 is pretty strong but we’re having to cut through inbox clutter so time of send, richness of offer, ease of mechanic etc was all important to get right. Plus we had no idea how it would go. What was interesting was how quickly people acted and how obvious it was that companies don’t seem to be blocking Facebook use as much as I thought they might be. Most of the likes happened during work hours, whereas I thought we’d get a decent click through rate followed by a staggered action rate as people went home, remembered the email and then acted on it. Anyway, that delivered us nearly 800 likes in a couple of days. Creative is below.
Like us on facebook email creative - sent July 2011
O.K, so it worked nicely and we were starting to join our email and social channels and we’d established a new, albeit fledgling sales channel. We made sure we welcomed our new fans and gave them all a nice little discount code to say ‘thanks’ and summarily converted a few prospects into actual customers.
Then we interviewed the winner and talked about what she’d spend the voucher on and blogged about it and then linked to that in the next email. And finally we got a photo of her in the necklace she chose and posted that on FB and Twitter, a site banner and linked to it from another email. The goodwill from the audience which didn’t win the competition towards the winner was really nice and things like that help break down any ‘them and us’ people may feel exists.
From then until now, everything we do across the site, email, youtube, whatever is echoed on FB to ensure the message is consistent and so we’re talking to customers and prospect wherever they happen to be.
Next up, Twitter. Ours is a very a visual product range. Selling in 140 characters is a challenge and a chore. We decided that although we’d use Twitter to push products, we’re better off using it as a customer service and an added value channel. So we ask our followers questions or for product suggestions or we get them to ask our CEO style questions and so on. But we do get sales from it so we wanted more followers. Although the people who get Twitter are an engaged bunch, it’s a tougher gig getting a retweet than a getting a like. The mechanic is more complex and lots of people won’t read what you write or follow instructions! However after as much simplification as possible we came up with a fairly straight forward promo which went;
- follow us on Twitter
- Retweet the following -’I've just entered the @giftlibrary competition to win this fabulous bag #giftlibrary’
- That’s it
And we got a big jump in followers and more importantly, retweets. Over the period of the promo we went from 200 to 600 followers and we got around 250 retweets. Not bad for a bag which cost us £190 and retails for £500.
An excerpt from the email is below
Example Twitter promotion creative
And again we welcomed our new Tweeps with a discount code and told them how ready we were to listen to them and their problems, compliments, suggestions and so on. We asked the winner, who seemed ecstatic at the time, for a photo and although she promised to send one, never did. Boo to her!
And the final promo which launched today is designed to go one step further than ‘liking us’ which can almost be a throw away action in some ways. A ‘share’ is a big commitment from a user. It’s a public display of affection for a brand. Our range isn’t that sensitive, but by sharing, you’re endorsing and depending on what the share is, it could say something about you. For instance, the social marketing dude at BMW probably has a much easier task than his or her counterpart at Anusol. Anyway, this one was again seeded by email after a soft launch on Facebook. Sent to both active and inactive email subscribers as well as promoted on Twitter and site banners, we produced some really nice creative promoting ‘luxury his and hers stockings worth £1,200+ delivered in time for Christmas’. The creative itself, as you’ll see, incorporates the mechanic as well as the prize; the idea being that once one of our fans (who know and trust us to an extent) has shared, the creative needed to be explicit enough to stand on its own two feet in order to go viral.
Share on facebook example creative
It’s difficult to know how it’ll pan out but after the first couple of hours, we’d generated 270+ shares and 220 new likes. The real shares figure will be much much higher as the only shares you able to view are those where the user has his or her share settings set to ‘public’. It’s shame as I believe FB are missing a trick. We, and presumably many other companies, would be happy to pay a monthly fee to know the depth their posts were shared to. What a powerful metric it would be to know the amplification and reach of a piece of content. Knowing that one offer got from fan to friend of fan to friend of friend of friend of fan and so on versus which which went no further would be key to optimising. Anyway, I’m sure there’s a few bright sparks at FBHQ and they’ll get it sooner rather than later!
And of course, we’ll follow up the winner with interview, photo and soundbite and flog it to death via as many channels as possible!
Anyway, we’ll see where it goes from here.
UPDATE: After 22 hours, we’ve reached 1,000 shares on the main picture, 160 on the album and 750 new ‘likes of our page. The discrepancy between number of shares and new likes proves not everyone reads instructions but more, that you don’t need to offer a huge incentive to get some serious traction. I think the fact the picture was very nicely designed and included both the prize AND the campaign mechanic has helped this have a somewhat viral effect. In the great scheme of things, these numbers are tiny but they will make a difference our little world. Consider that the Cool Hunter on Facebook gets an average of 1,000 odd shares per post via 500,000 fans, we did that with 1350 fans. Yesterday was a good day!