What makes a good love story? Is it the ending where the couple falls madly in love and the story ends? Not likely.
For most people, a good love story is watching the journey from initial attraction, to wooing, to the challenge or roadblock right before the end that makes a truly epic love story.
When attempting to attract and engage customers online, there are many challenges that marketers must face and overcome. For some, it’s figuring out how to set up a social profile. For others, it’s finding a way to woo customers and create meaningful interactions.
Successful marketers track and measure their relationships with their customers from beginning to end (and beyond), not just the last interaction before a sale. The number of friends, fans, and followers connected to your brand does not equal marketing engagement.
In the opening keynote at SES San Francisco, Avinash Kaushik discussed “Business Optimization in the Digital Age” and compared companies that just measure Facebook “likes” to the equivalent of him marking down each person as a lover that only smiled at him while walking down the street.
The moral of the story is: Superficial KPIs like fans, friends and followers don't define a successful social media strategy any more than a glance means the same thing as being a lover.
Kelly Winters of Facebook shared a memorable case study during her session at SES San Francisco that showed how a company with a good idea and a killer engagement strategy was able to rely solely on Facebook to generate new and repeat business. This is Lolly Wolly Doodle’s love story, which includes five tips to help you create a lasting relationship with your own customers.
Lolly Wolly Doodle: Love At First Post
Lolly Wolly Doodle was started in 2009 by a stay at home mom who had a knack for creating children’s clothing. One day Brandi Tysinger Temple (the heroine of this love story) mistakenly purchased a fabric that just wouldn’t work for the project she had in mind. She figured she might as well put the unused fabric on Facebook to see if someone would like to purchase it.
The “likes” on Brandi’s page quickly jumped to 100, and she sold her entire stock of the fabric within 15 minutes of posting. The instant response and sale of the product presented a unique business opportunity for the stay at home mom.
Brandi decided to brand her Facebook page as Lolly Wolly Doodle (her nickname for one of her children) and see what happened.
Each Business Has Unique Targeting Needs
Because Brandi lived in the small town of Lexington, N.C., her access to customers would be limited. She had a couple options available to start her business.
- Option 1 – Open A Storefront: Say Brandi was to open a storefront in Lexington. The investment in finding a space, and stocking product would be a great financial burden. Additionally, her customer base would be roughly 4,000 women living in Lexington, who were over 21, and had children under the age of 12.
- Option 2 – Open Shop On Facebook: Setting up a store online gave Lolly Wolly Doodle access to over 700,000 women in the U.S., who were over 21, and had children under the age of 12.
Why Taking A Facebook-Centric Approach Was Wise
Brandi found that she was able to move product faster on Facebook than any other channel. Within two weeks of initially starting her business she pulled all product from eBay and Etsy and only promoted her materials, and children’s clothing on Facebook.
- Increased Sales: Lolly Wolly Doodle’s Facebook page is the #1 source for their sales (larger than their website). Sales increased threefold from 2010 to 2011.
- Customer Loyalty: 20-30 percent of Brandi’s oldest customers still purchase each month.
- Improved Engagement: Lolly Wolly Doodle’s customers post photos of their children wearing Lolly Wolly Doodle clothing at major milestones. These posts have been known to receive thousands of likes and comments.
Use A Love Potion of Earned and Paid Media to Attract New Customers
In addition to their organic growth strategy, Lolly Wolly Doodle also has a multi-tiered ad strategy to attract new customers.
Lolly Wolly Doodle utilized the following ad tactics:
- Marketplace: used to grow initial company page “likes”
- Sponsored Stories: a method to reach friends of current “fans”
- Targeted Ads: connected with audiences to continue to reengage them
Lolly Wolly Doodle’s story is truly one-in-a-million. While it might take longer for customers to fall for your brand, there are some best practices that you implement to create a strong and lasting relationship with your customers on Facebook.
1. Identify Who Your Facebook Audience Is
As with any marketing plan, the first step is to determine who you're targeting. Questions you may want to ask yourself include:
- What does my audience care about?
- What other sorts of brands do they follow?
- What sort of information do they like to read about?
- How often do they interact with brands?
2. Attract & Promote With Ads When Appropriate
Advertisements on Facebook are a good way to target additional users that may be interested in your brand. When creating an ad be sure to keep the language succinct and engaging. Promoted posts are also a great way to extend the reach of your post to those who already follow your page, but may not see it come up in their home feed.
3. Engage Your Audience with Quality Content
This tip may be the most important. If you provide quality content, your customers will keep coming back.
Creating a content calendar will help ensure that you providing the right type of content, at the proper frequency for optimum engagement. Depending on your audience there will be testing involved in determining the right time of day, day of week, and type of content that will best meet their needs and preferences.
4. Woo Through the Use of Striking Imagery
When a fan or future fan visits a Facebook page they want to be informed, and entertained. Typically brand pages that have a mixture of photos and videos tend to perform very well on a platform like Facebook. Believe it or not, the way you make someone feel will impact his or her opinion of your brand.
5. Inspire Your Customers to Share With Their Friends
Your Facebook page fans and customers are worth so much more than the one-time or multiple transactions they have with your company. The real value lies in their ability and willingness to share their positive experience with their friends, fans, and followers.
Make it as easy as possible for your customers to share your information. Heck, encourage that they do and offer a discount or other promotion for participating!
Does the Lolly Wolly Doodle Story Apply To Your Business?
Chances are you’re not in the business of selling children’s clothing. Perhaps you’re responsible for finding a way to attract new B2B customers for a software company or selling luxury handbags. The good news is, no matter what business you’re in, this story and the five Facebook tips still apply.
Whether you’re targeting B2C or B2B customers, you have to remember at the end of the day they’re all people who want to be wooed and engaged before making a purchasing decision. People make decisions based on emotions, not logic. The question is, are you prepared for the right kind of romance?