Yes, you're hearing it everywhere, and yes, you definitely want to be on board! Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging - it's almost impossible to talk about marketing these days without talking about social media, often the fastest and most direct way to reach customers in the digital age.
In the HBA session, “Social Media: Marketing For the 21st Century,” industry experts bantered about innovative ways to use social media. The panel presented case studies of tactics that work and offered tips of the trade.
Wendy Liebmann, chief executive officer of WSL Strategic Retail, best known for its popular “How America Shops” reports, moderated the event.
“If you follow the shopper, you will see the future,” said Liebmann.
Headlining the session was Stacy Mackler, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR. Her company focuses on communications strategies and specializes in strategic reinvigoration of classic brands such as Clinique, L’Oréal and Olay.
Mackler noted that 75% of online shoppers use a social networking site (SNS), while 45% use the SNS for shopping-related activity.
“It’s all about viral engagement,” Mackler said, “as well as cross promotion.”
The “E-way,” or email newsletters (such as Happi Now), is a great way to get the word out as well, added Mackler.
Finally, the “3 C’s—conversation, content and community” are essential social networking tools, she said.
Sheri Koetting, co-founder of boutique design agency MSLK, was also present at the session. She specializes in reinvigorating fashion and beauty brands through “360-degree brand positioning”— from overall brand identity, to retail, packaging, online and social media. Koetting has worked with industry leaders such as Aveda, Johnson & Johnson, Maybelline and Redken.
According to Koetting, “content is king.” Small companies see social media as an exciting opportunity, yet quickly become overwhelmed by the variety of media platforms. Her company targets marketing programs that incorporate online features such as content and photo uploading.
After all, because blogs, and now Facebook and Twitter feeds, are “index-able,” the messaging becomes equally important from a search engine optimization standpoint. Keywords are essential in a Google search, noted Koetting.
Purple Lab has over 3,000 Facebook fans.
She also cited building a strong social network as a marketing must. For example, Pangea Organics recently held a giveaway on Facebook for its “fans.” Another marketer, Renee Rouleau, offers a daily skin care tip online to keep traffic buzzing at her website.
Karen Robinovitz, founder of double-duty beauty line Purple Lab, also spoke at the session. In 2009, she launched her unique collection of lip plumpers and anti-aging foundations now sold in prestigious retailers such as Scoop and Fred Segal Melrose.
Robinovitz is a prime example of a marketer who utilizes the strengths of social networking. Her Twitter page has more than 5,000 followers and features a “Question of the Day” to spark conversation. The company’s Facebook page has more than 3,000 fans and is growing daily. It also has “Le Blog” that introduces members of its team and talks about the latest beauty trends.