Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How Social Media Drives New Business: Six Case Studies

July 17, 2010: summarized from TechCrunch -- Businesses both big and small are flocking to social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Foursquare. The fact is that a presence on these platforms not only allows companies to engage in conversations with consumers, but also serves as an outlet to drive sales through deals and coupons.

And while major brands like Starbucks, Virgin, and Levi’s have been participating in the social web for some time now, the rate of adoption among small businesses is increasing too. According to a recent University of Maryland study, social media adoption by small businesses has doubled from 12% to 24% in the last year. But as these businesses look to Facebook and Twitter to connect with customers, many are finding that some strategies work and some do not produce results. We’ll be exploring these questions at a panel on Social Media and Businesses at our Social Currency CrunchUp on July 30. We’ve found some local and national businesses using social media effectively, ranging from Levi’s to a creme brulee cart, whose case studies are below. Some of these businesses will be sharing their experiences at the CrunchUp.

Levi’s: Now more than ever, retail brands are engaging consumers on social networks to offer deals, allow users to socialize around purchases, and more. Levi’s Jeans was one of the brands that was first to use Facebook as a tool for sales and marketing initiatives and has launched a number of compelling campaigns using Facebook.

As one of Facebook’s initial partners using the social network’s new Like functionality, Levi’s allows Facebook users to like products on Levi’s online store and its Facebook page (which has nearly 500,000 likes) and share their favorite items with their friends. Within the first week, Levi’s got more than 4,000 likes, says Inside Facebook.

The jeans giant also promoted a major campaign in conjunction with SXSW this year, partnering with music publication The Fader to promote a music event at the festival. The company worked with brand marketing platform Involver to incorporate music and video into their page, with the hopes of driving music fans to buy jeans from the Levi’s brand. Most recently, Levi’s has begun to promote retail offerings with geo-targeted event advertisements on Facebook.

In terms of Twitter, Levi’s recently enlisted a “Levi’s Guy,” 23-year-old USC graduate Gareth, to engage consumers on the microblogging platform. He has over 6,000 followers and is responsible for responding to and engaging in conversations about the Levi’s brand on Twitter. The company is currently in the process of trying to find a Levi’s Girl, which will serve as a female foil to Gareth.

Levi’s director of digital marketing, Megan O’Connor, told us that the engagement with both Twitter and Facebook is about creating and informing brand ambassadors that will help drive sales through their own actions and word of mouth.

Starbucks: Most experts will agree that Starbucks has one of the best social media strategies out there. Now that it is giving away free WiFi, it is even more of a magnet for roving laptop warriors. And with 10 million Facebook fans, Starbucks is now close to surpassing the Facebook fan base of Lady Gaga. The company has held a number of promotions on its page to drive engagement. For example, Starbucks held a promotion for free pastries on its Facebook page, allowing customers to access a coupon that would give them a free pastry with a purchase of a coffee drink. Advertising on the social network has also helped to drive traffic to Starbucks’ page.

In terms of Twitter, Starbucks has also been incredibly active on the microblogging network, amassing nearly one million followers. Not only does the company’s Twitter stream serve as an engagement tool with customers who are talking about the brand on Twitter, but it is also used as a way to spread news from Starbucks. Starbucks has also participated in Twitter’s promoted Tweets program, which allows advertisers to buy sponsored links on Twitter.

The combination of geolocation and social networks is also a huge avenue for Starbucks and the company was one of the first major brands to broker a deal with popular location-based social network Foursquare. In March, Starbucks started offering Foursquare mayors of retail stores special ‘Barista’ badges that would come with discounts on drinks and food. Starbucks also partnered recently with mobile social network Brightkite to give members special discounts on drinks.

Read more at: http://tcrn.ch/aiFrLY

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