Winners are grinners ... As retailer Lorna Jane demonstrates, a good social media strategy should be measured on more than just friends and followers.
Within five years, active-wear retail chain Lorna Jane wants its online store to rake in $50 million annually.
Social media will play a big part in reaching that goal. As it stands now, the retailer’s Facebook page is already pulling its weight.
The social media platform drives 10 per cent of all traffic to the Lorna Jane website and that traffic accounts for revenue equivalent of that from two physical stores.
That staggering result is why we have named Lorna Jane as one of the best corporate users of social media. In the forthcoming issue of BRW, out on Thursday, June 14, we will uncover seven other companies that are nailing Twitter, Pinterest et al.
A good social media strategy should be measured on more than just friends and followers.
We talked to many digital, marketing and social gurus to find the companies that have used social media to increase sales, snatch market share, cut recruitment costs and delight their customers.
In the meantime, Lorna Jane’s digital strategist, Sam Zivot, has some top tips for companies using social media.
Use Facebook for engagement, not a hard sell.
“Too many retailers are ... using Facebook as a sales channel and when you try to sell on the medium you are going to turn your customers away,” Zivot says. “Our approach is very much as an engagement tool. When you engage people effectively and build their passion, they’re going to shop with you organically.”
Keep status updates simple.
“What many retailers do wrong is when they throw something up on Facebook, they try to do too many things with it,” he says. “They’re asking to sell, they’re asking to engage, they’re asking for a response and when you do that you really see a decline in engagement with those posts. What we try to do is give every post a single identity or a single purpose.”
A quick look at the brand’s Facebook page shows singly-minded status updates that have a clear call to action, such as an inspirational quote with “Hit “LIKE” If You Agree!”, which sparked 3395 likes. Or two side-by-side pictures with “Which Brave Look Do You “LIKE” More – LEFT or RIGHT?” which lead to 535 comments.
“Keep it so dead simple that a customer doesn’t have to think too much before responding to a post, it’s more of a reaction,” he says. “When you put words in your customer’s mouth they’re much more likely to respond.”
Photos are a winner
“It’s no secret that photos continue to be the most highly interactive piece of content.”
Use different social media channels for different purposes
“Each medium is it’s own animal and has its own strategies. They’re all games and you have to play the respective game of that channel.”
Facebook is a general brand experience, but the @LornaJaneActive account is the personal account of the chain’s founder, Lorna Jane Clarkson. “The customer gets a personal experience,” Zivot says.
Pinterest and Instagram are also on the brand’s radar. Zivot says customers like the simple format that Instagram provides.
Encourage sharing of content
Each listing on the online store can be “liked” on Facebook or “pinned” on Pinterest. Zivot says Pinterest is quickly catching up with Facebook as a driver of traffic.
Be progressive, try new things
Lorna Jane trialled interactive mirrors in some of its change rooms so customers could post a photograph of themselves onto Facebook.
The brand has also sent clothes to software developers who are building software where users can virtually try on clothes, using just a picture of themselves.
But Zivot says the images that have come back are not too flattering, so the brand is waiting for this to improve before it invests further.
The last word
“Social has been one of the key drivers for our success online,” Zivot says. “We’ve grown our community to 360,000 on Facebook, which puts us third among the fashion space. It’s one thing to have a big community but it’s what you do with that community [that’s important].”
This week’s issue of BRW (out Thursday) looks at how to make sense of social media and names the eight companies, including Lorna Jane, that do it the best.