Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Conversation

Finally, some retailers are understanding how to use social media as a connector. This is from WonderBranding:

How Ann Taylor Rocks Social Media

Posted: 29 Jun 2010 09:46 AM PDT

Thanks to Ken Brand for pointing me in the direction of Ann Taylor and its sister store LOFT, which seem to have a very smart strategy for using social media tools like Facebook.

The company realizes that social media is not the end-all and be-all of marketing strategy. (As I said on a panel discussion last week, if that’s the way you think, then you need to have your head examined.) They are using outlets like Facebook to do two things:

1) Research. Surveys and questions posed to fans of the page (yes, I still call them fans) in order to learn more about what kinds of clothing styles are hot now and where trends are going. (click on image to enlarge)

2) Conversation. Ann Taylor is working hard to answer comments left by fans, to let them know that the company cares, and to nip potential bad feelings in the bud.

Customers recently spoke up, saying that there was too much airbrushing of swimsuit models. Check out the company’s reply:

When customers questioned whether LOFT’s clothes might look as great on “real women” as they do on stick-thin models, LOFT began photographing employees of varying size wearing LOFT outfits.

This is how you use social media.

It’s not about the latest viral video, trying to drum up something wild to get attention.

And it’s not about direct selling.

It’s about conversation.

Conversation that will provide consumer research data you never could have otherwise gathered.

Conversation that requires you to be open, honest, and flexible.

Conversation that could make current and former customers fall in love with you all over again.

How are you using your company’s Facebook page? Is there a disconnect between what you want and what the customer wants? Maybe it’s time to review your strategy.

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