Relationships Drive Business

Strengthening Customer Engagement to Propel Your Business

Oprah knows Engagement September 18, 2011

 

No one knows their audience like Oprah does. Nobody

They were a late start on social platforms and some people have picked on them for that. But, when you already recognize your audience members faces, why dive into “social” just because it’s new.

It struck me while watching O’s interview with MC Hammer, that until then she really wasn’t “getting” how to use social media. There was a moment in the interview when Hammer says to her (talking about Twitter) “If I were you, I’d just tweet “Watch this show, it’s on OWN right now.“”

Oprah put her hand on his arm, looked deep in his eyes and said, “We are going to talk more after the show.”

MC Hammer has his own social media company helping other companies do social well. She must have listened well.

The first weekend in April the Oprah Winfrey team started doing live tweets during “Behind the Scenes” episodes (#OprahLiveTweet). The first tweet I saw from her that day was something like “Ok, #OprahLiveTweet starts in 10 minutes. If nobody shows up by 9:15, I’m going home.”

The live tweets were a hit! And it’s been growing ever since. Twitter wasn’t new to Oprah. She’s been on Twitter for more than 2  years, but she didn’t really use Twitter. She was just there – with millions of followers.

But nobody is as good at relationships as Oprah. She and her team totally get it. My God, what other brand do you know that sent their 300 biggest fans on a trip to the other side of the world with a friend. Seriously. They get engagement, in spades. Actually, what other brand could TELL you who their 300 biggest fans are and why?

OK, back to their tweeting. Now her team is tweeting up a storm. And while some of it promotes specific shows and OWN (The Oprah Winfrey Network), they get that they have to earn the right to promote to people. Their tweets are natural, conversational and show genuine interest in learning from who ever engages with them.

To write this post I needed help remembering when the live tweets started. I tweeted @SheriSalata, executive producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show to ask. She sent me a note back mentioning one of the other staffers @mayawatson, to help her come up with the date. Simple.

 

Back to the tweets. Here’s six Live Tweet habits Oprah does well:

  1. Keep it casual
  2. Learn from who else is tweeting
  3. Be helpful
  4. Recognize people
  5. Don’t go it alone
  6. Have a goal – a classic Oprah thing “have an intention.” It works.

I’d love to know if O hired MC Hammer to help her team. @SheriSalata, if you read this, drop me a tweet and let me know 🙂

 

BTW-you should see how they are using email marketing. Killer good. But that’s another post. See you!

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3 Things Distinctive Gardens Learned from Big Break Metrics August 10, 2011

 

Publicity does not equal immediate gratification.

 

There’s no doubt AmEx Open’s Facebook Big Break for Small Business gave finalist (and winner 🙂 Distinctive Gardens gobs of publicity. And it was a ball (and a ton of work.) The nuts & bolts and bean-counter question is —  did it grow the business. Let’s take a look.

 

Lisa’s main goal was to use Big Break to drive brand awareness and measure results with some key metrics (read more about that here.)

 

More of the nitty-gritty is below, but first the big picture observations.

 

3 things the metrics taught us:

  1. Watch for changes in untargeted categories
  2. Metrics don’t measure psychological highs
  3. Small business is a marathon

 

OK, numbers chicks

Here are the results. She compared year-to-date numbers during the pre-Big Break period to the 2 weeks of Big Break voting (July 5-19, 2011) in these categories:

  • Foot traffic  – up 4.2%, and 20 people specifically mentioned Facebook
  • Retail Sales (all numbers are year-to-date)
    • Nursery +3%
    • Annuals +.4%
    • Perennials +2.5%
  • Facebook Fan count – + 2027
  • Website traffic – hits were way up
  • Design Inquiry count – 3
  • Newsletter email count – not much change, only a couple new names

 

A couple notes:

  • Foot traffic up 4% doesn’t sound like much. Until you mash-up foot traffic with weather. Dixon was in the midst of that brutal heat wave that crushed most of the country. In fact, July was the 6th warmest month on record for Illinois. Not many people wanted to be outside, let alone plant anything.
  • Overall for 2011, Distinctive Gardens has had a challenging year. On average they’ve been down double digits year-to-date. So the upticks while small, were welcome.
  • Website traffic was not just up, it went global. Typically their site gets hits from IL and the 4 surrounding states. With Big Break hits came from everywhere, including New Zealand. The map up top tells the tale (it’s from July 10.)

The Surprise

In crunching the numbers Lisa found another interesting up-tick — pavilion rentals.  At the beginning of July their pavilion rentals had equaled all bookings for 2010. In the hot, hot month of July they have never booked a pavilion rental.

 

That changed this year. During Big Break they booked 6 pavilion dates. (Revenue gets hit w/ deposit money) So not only are they ahead of last year, they’ve already knocked last year out of the park. It’s not their core business, but it’s a solid revenue stream that’s growing.

 

What’s all this mean long-term? No one knows. But common sense tells me this – when guests come to an event at Distinctive Gardens pavilion, it’s like advertising for the rest of the business.  It’s more eyeballs exposed to what they love – artful plantings.

 

What, dear reader, do you take away from these numbers?

 

 

 

Did AmEx Big Break Drive Revenue July 20, 2011

 

 

Well, the voting (for 2011 AmeEx OPEN’s Facebook Big Break for Small Biz) is over. What a ride for all the finalists. Winners are announced on July 25, so we have to wait to see who won. Bummer. BUT…impact long term to the businesses that made the Top 10 is happening anyway. All that effort and all the website hits video view should help the businesses, even if they don’t win the contest.

 

What will the exposure created by the Facebook Big Break do for Distinctive Gardens business? Even if they don’t win, the publicity and exposure from being a finalist is nothing to sneeze at. Lisa and I tried to figure out how to measure the impact.

 

Overall we decided that beyond than winning the contest ($20k is a BIG deal) the goal is to drive brand awareness of Distinctive Gardens which could be leveraged to drive revenue growth long term.

 

The real challenge was deciding what we could track that would measure that.

 

We decided to on revenue, and a group of stats that indicate an increase in interest in the garden center that could be precursors to revenue.

Here’s what we decided to track:
  • Foot traffic
  • Retail Sales * – excluding landscaping and maintenance revenues.
  • Facebook Fan count
  • Website traffic
  • Design Inquiry count
  • Newsletter email count
To get a baseline, Lisa measured the indicators for 2 weeks before the release of the Top 10 Finalist videos. Finalists had all agreed to keep their selection secret until the moment the videos were made public on YouTube, midnight July 5. So she used the 2 weeks before that as the “before” baseline.
*Retail sales numbers – Garden center sales revenues is heavily cyclical. July is typically the 2nd slowest month of the year, planting is done, people are vacationing and it’s blisteringly hot in Illinois. So Lisa is measuring total sales from a 4 week period mid-June through mid-July last year vs. this year. That will measure any short term spike in sales. She’ll take another measurement Mid-June through end Sept to track longer term increases during traditionally busier time periods.

 

“How do we isolate and attribute shifts in foot traffic, sales, design inquiries etc.to the BB (Big Break) exposure?”

This is tough. And it’s tough for any form of advertising or promotion. Does Coors Light really know how many more cases of beer they sell specifically because someone saw a Superbowl commercial? No. The ad team takes credit for any increase in sales, sure. But it could be because they also started distributing in a bunch of new stores, or in a county that had been dry.  Or because it was unusually warm in January so people were in  “warm weather, let’s have a beer” mood. Or maybe they got their tax return arrived and they celebrated. There are always plenty of uncontrollable and uncorroborate-able factors.

 

Can you think of any other factors she could measure? Leave us a note in comments.

 

3 Questions for $20k July 16, 2011

Distinctive Gardens entered American Express OPEN’s Facebook Big Break by answering 3 questions. Here’s what they submitted.

How would you have answered them?

“Tell us about your business.  What makes you excited to come to work every day?”

We love gardening, no two ways around it.  We love gardeners.  They’re the coolest, most open-minded people around.  We love our industry.  These people are honest, enthusiastic, and love sharing knowledge and the joy of their efforts.  We feel lucky doing a job we love. We opened this garden center because it’s a fantastic way to meet like-minded people, and share in our passion for plants, gardening, and community. No gardener (nor garden center) worth their salt is anything if not community-minded. Like our customers, we strive to be good neighbors, seeding our community with the same love it shows us.  We hold benefit festivals, like Gardenstock; teach a slew of first graders on yearly field trips (what a trip); and partner with local businesses and artists expanding art and culture in our town.  We’re a garden lover’s delight growing plants, friendship and community, one seed at a time.

 

“How do you envision Facebook impacting your business?”

Facebook has revolutionized the way we communicate with our customers and community.  In 2009, we started the Distinctive Gardens page, followed by Gardenstock Art & Music Festival, and community project pages: Crystal Cork Art Quarterly, and Second Saturdays Art Happenings.  Seeing results, in 2010, we integrated “like” buttons and “news feeds” into our website to keep fresh and increase connectivity. In our industry, it’s all about creating one on one connection and meaningful experiences.  Facebook offers us “little guys” some “big guy” tools for reaching our audience.  It’s our primary platform for customer conversation outside the physical business.  For community projects its indispensable.  We get the word out and organize large events monthly.  Our little downtown is getting the reputation as an “art town”.  Facebook connections are driving that change.  We want knowledge to further integrate Facebook into communication and online selling activities, customize our page, and enhance community projects.

“How could a Big Break help your business and your customers?”

$20K is an enormous capital influx for our business.  It would take us to the next social media and technological level.  Currently, we are looking into selling online.  We want our website to be a hub of knowledge, selling platform, and social interaction place, a gathering spot bringing people together.  Socially enhanced, we want it to be an extension of our store and community projects.  We want our customers to walk into the greenhouse, click on a QR code, access additional horticultural information, and share it with their Facebook friends.  Last year, we hung posters with QR codes at Gardenstock so concert goers could connect to Gardenstock’s Facebook page and communicate during the festival.  This year we want to extend that by projecting the page live on a big screen.  We want the knowledge to take these ideas further.  A Facebook makeover gives us the information to make that happen.

 

AmEx OPEN Facebook Big Break voting is open until July 19. Vote here.

 

 

 

AARP to fuel Facebook Growth June 22, 2011

Filed under: Ideas — Carla Bobka @ 4:47 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

My Mom ❤

 

AllFacebook is predicting the +50 crowd will fuel Facebook’s US growth through 2013.

 

I’m not so sure. I am sure the +50 set will experiment with Facebook. But I’m not convinced they will become regular users who stick with the platform. Here’s why.

 

My Mom was on Facebook for a bit.  Now she’s fed up, so she’s never logging in again. She saw too much unattractive stuff about people she was connected with (people she loves.)

 

Mom is 68, and pretty computer savvy. What she isn’t, is socially liberal. She believes if you don’t have something nice to say you keep your mouth shut. She believes you keep your private stuff (and parts) to yourself. Dirty laundry is for family, not Facebook. In short, she believes in discretion.

 

When it comes to Facebook, she’s seen too much, and she doesn’t want to see anymore. It’s not that my Mom is naive, it’s that she doesn’t want to know.

 

On the upside, she did enjoy catching up with friends who live far away and those she hasn’t talked to in years. Like the bridesmaids in her wedding 50 years ago. And exchanging pics of the quilts she makes with her other quilting buddies. That was wonderful. And they still do that, but not on Facebook. Now the do it via email, the way they have for years. There’s less pollution that way. There’s no worries that my 23 year-old cousin’s boobs will show up in her email like they did on Facebook. Or that she’ll find out about just how much her grandkids are drinking in high school. Or that they lied to their parents or played hooky from work.

 

If Facebook really wants to keep U.S. growth fueled, here are 5 recommendations for them to consider:

  1. Explanation – Better “Intro” for particular age demographics. Explain not just how to connect to anybody, but how to consider who you really want updates from.
  2. Over communicate – Explain the “Block” feature better and more often.
  3. One size does not fit all – Auto-adjust the “Moderation” and “Profanity” filters based on year of birth of the user.
  4. Get image savvy – Upgrade blocklist filtering capabilities to include image filtering, not just words used in text based posts.
  5. Build a bridge – Partner with organizations like AARP to better talk with the +50 crowd.

Any other ideas you can think of?

 

Facebook Page Likers June 14, 2011

Filed under: Learnings,Resources — Carla Bobka @ 1:41 pm
Tags: , ,

Follow these steps to find which other Facebook Pages like your Page.

 

Now it’s simple to find what other Facebook Pages have “Liked” your Page. See the screen shot above. (click on it to enlarge)

 

Favs This Week – April 25 thru 29, 2011 May 1, 2011

People ask me how I keep up on changes happening on social platforms. It is hard for sure. There’s no way to read everything, there’s just too much information.

Below are things I’ve read over the prior week that have struck me as important or influenced my thinking. You’ll see the link and 1 sentence about what struck me in the post. Take a closer look if something sounds interesting.

Thanks to Duct Tape Marketing for the idea.

This week:

 

The Do’s And Don’ts Before Leaving Your Job – First off 36% of people planning to change jobs? That’s a big number. But the main point here is your last impression, how you finish your last 2 weeks makes one hell of a difference. I have first hand experience with this. Both when I quit and when my position was eliminated. You may not get to control when you exit, but you can control how you exit. Do it well.

Watch Email Campaign Results on a Map in Real Time With WorldView – It is amazing what we can learn about customers when we realize that they are real people at the end of those email addresses. This new technology let’s you watch who is responding and pinpoints their location on a map. It’s like reality TV on your monitor.

Royal Weddings over Time – Yes, I watched the wedding. I’m an unapologetic girlie, girl. These pics of other famous royal weddings are beauties. Beyond the beauty of the event, it was fantastic to see two women (Catherin and Pippa) who were so comfortable in their own skin. Even when on such a big stage. Snaps to them! And I pray my own daughters find the same degree of poise.

This last site moved me, nearly to tears. It is a Facebook page cataloging the personal items found strewn about the south after the April 27th tornado outbreak.  The first post I saw was a pic of a zip-top bag holding a baby tooth. The piece of tape on it said “Blyth’s first tooth.” Look through the Photos tab. It is an album of displaced memories. There are pics of found objects, the name town they were found in and how to reach the person who found it. There are baby pics, graduation pics, wedding and prom pics, burial announcements, canceled checks, precious love notes from the ’50s, vacation pics, even an Xray found in someone’s yard. It is a scrap book and time capsule of southern life. Amidst all the loss and confusion, I suspect this Page will help people heal and make feel more connected to the people around them. They are all in my prayers.

 

Have a great week.

If you missed last week’s, you can find it here.