Five Lessons in Social Marketing, Courtesy of Warby Parker

Warby Parker uses social to be social. . .it takes the brand/customer interaction to another level.

Warby Parker uses social to be social. . .it takes the brand/customer interaction to another level.

Most businesses in this day and age realize that having a social media presence isn’t really an option, but a requirement if they want to engage their existing customers, keep them happy, stay in their minds and attract new customers.  However, all too often a business will have a presence on social media and not cultivate it in an advantageous way.  They create a Twitter handle, give themselves a pat on the back, and are content with the delusion that they’re in the game.  Not even. Social media outlets are marketing tools for sure, but they need constant care and feeding in the form of attention, creativity and innovation to really be an x-factor in your company’s marketing strategy.  Here are five essential aspects of a successful social marketing campaign, inspired by online eyewear retailer Warby Parker. 

Warby Parker conveys timely weather-related information and customer service in a single thread.

Props for the combined customer service/weather relevant thread.

1. Interact with and engage your audience.

This may seem rather obvious, but I can’t stress how crucial it is for a company’s social media presence to have a real, live human behind it.  People use social media because they want to have a conversation, they want to be heard, they want to be acknowledged.  It is so easy for a company to validate their customers by simply responding to a Facebook comment, or retweeting a nice or funny tweet. Straight from Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal, “We find that engagement fosters virality and builds loyalty. Our customers are telling their friends about us and it’s driving our growth. Over 50% of our sales are driven by word of mouth.” Warby Parker is exemplary in interacting with and engaging their customers on their social media platforms.  Just take a look at the thread pictured to the left.

Warby Parker takes diversified social marketing to a new echelon with its Warby Parker website.

Warby Parker takes diversified social marketing to a new echelon with its Warby Parker website.

2. Diversify the content across your social channels.

Don’t you hate it when your friends have their Facebook and Twitter synched?  I definitely do, because what’s the point in reading the same content twice?  The same rule applies to companies that have a Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, and Tumblr accounts.  It’s not good strategy to have the same content on all the platforms, because then people will only follow one of them.  In addition to that, different mediums serve different purposes.  Warby Parker uses Tumblr and Pinterest for brand awareness; they post about things that inspire them and things that represent their brand’s personality.  While Twitter and Facebook offer real-time interaction, Tumblr and Pinterest allow companies to build their brand identity over a longer period of time.

Any disadvantages of online shopping disappear. . .

Any disadvantages of online shopping disappear. . .

3. Offer some sort of value exclusive to your social marketing efforts.

There needs to be something about a company’s social marketing strategy that makes people want to take part in it.  Social marketing is not a one-way channel of communication and marketers are not just trying to influence consumer behavior anymore.  The consumer’s voice and opinion are a larger part of the marketing process than ever before, and marketers are constantly wracking their brains trying to generate new ideas for making their social marketing efforts collaborative.  Warby Parker has one of the best  models that in terms of offering the consumer value by way of social marketing.  Their “Home Try On” program completely nullified the disadvantages the company might have encountered when they didn’t have any brick-and-mortar locations.  They combined the ease of online shopping with the in-person benefits of going to a store, effectively creating an integrated shopping and social experience that was absolutely stress free for their customers

4. Build relationships.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when doing social marketing is that you need to build relationships.  A social media presence is meaningless if no one is paying attention to it (kind of like if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it . . . you get the idea).  Building relationships with people who have a following  gives a company an opportunity to speak to new people using a channel that’s familiar to them.  Case in point: Warby Parker’s Bespectacled Bloggers Pinterest.  This Pinterest contains photographs of the company’s favorite bloggers in Warby Parker gear.  The benefits are mutual.  Warby Parker gets stylish and popular people to sport their glasses, and the bloggers will undoubtedly post about their collaboration with a trendy new brand. Bam, Warby Parker just expanded their potential audience by a factor of multiple bloggers’ followings!

The Bespectacled Bloggers on Warby Parker's Pinterest show favorite bloggers in WP glasses.

The Bespectacled Bloggers on Warby Parker’s Pinterest show favorite bloggers in WP glasses.







5. Use social marketing to enhance your traditional marketing, not replace it.

Just because everyone and their moms have a Twitter account doesn’t mean that traditional, in-the-flesh brand building is so completely over.  However, using your social outlets to publicize your “traditional” event is a great way to let your followers know what’s going on with the brand, and even better, the advertising cost is infinitesimal.  Take Warby Parker’s cross-country journey, The Warby Parker Class Trip for example.  Here’s the skinny, as detailed on their website, “Warby Parker is touring the nation, visiting nine cities in six months to bring our showroom experience to life. It’s our version of that great literary tradition — the cross-country road trip.”  This is a great way for Warby Parker to attract some publicity and reach people who aren’t glued to their Twitter feed via their iPhone 24/7.  It’s creative, it’s fresh, it’s fun and it’s all based on person-to-person interaction.  Shaking hands.  Making pleasant small talk.  Pick your jaw up from the floor, I know  it’s hard to believe but the human element of marketing is still a powerful tool in making friends and influencing people.  Warby Parker is making old school feel new again.  However, they’re enhancing the experience by documenting their journey through photos on Facebook, and letting people who can’t be there share in the experience.  Sort of the perfect marriage of traditional and social marketing, right?

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