Friday, 2 October 2009

Facebook in a business context: Case KSBKids

We are delighted to announce our first guest writer on the Webropol blog: Malene Hansen Stanley from KSB Kids. Her contribution is based on her acclaimed presentation at the social media seminar arranged by the National Business 2 Business Centre at the University of Warwick in June 2009.

Social Media and Facebook
by Malene Hansen Stanley, KSBKids

We are all in different places in our “online” journey; some struggle with basic websites, some of us are confused by the vast options available and some have been swept away with social media fever. I, like many others are still not 100% sure how social media can add to the bottom line, but I do think the opportunities are undeniable.

For we have focused on Facebook. We sell children’s clothes and our prime target market is mothers. Many of whom have Facebook accounts.

Facebook has more than 300 million registered members; it grows at a rate of 250,000 new members a day and is among the 4th most trafficked websites. The fastest growing segment of users is the +25 years, professionals, in the workforce, - known to be loyal and repeat customers. Some argue that FB holds the key to this segment! Additionally, 53% of FB users have kids.

The KSBKids approach
We use FB to build our online profile, strengthen our “digital footprint” and to create brand awareness. In the long term social media can positively affect a company’s brand, which strengthens a behaviour that ultimately leads to sales. Our objectives for using FB include;

  • Increase sales
  • Drive visitors to our website, fan page and blog
  • Get found by people searching for our product
  • Connect and engage with current and potential customers
  • Create a community around our business
  • Use FB to promote other content that we create, e.g. blog
  • Keep customers informed
  • Conduct market research e.g. polls

How to build your social media approach
Before deciding where to focus resources, you should identify meaningful communities, forums, etc. It is essential that you know where your customers spend time online, “fish where the fish are”. Don’t succumb to the temptation to “be hip” …. “I MUST be on Facebook” unless you have a strategic business rationale to accompany it! Consider aspects such as:

  • How it will FB affect your bottom line?
  • Do you offer a product that is relevant to its users?
  • Do you target your most active purchasers?
  • Can you positively influence WOM?
  • How can you create viral brand awareness?
  • Will it provide valuable market research/feedback that will result in more sales?

I always stress the importance of having a vision and a plan, but I do believe when using FB for business you have to adopt a trial and error approach. Have a strategy, but don’t wait until you have the perfect plan. Be transparent, honest and open with customers. They will appreciate it, but it does run counter to what we have been taught for decades … it defies our traditional idea of being professional.

As you create your vision and craft your message - listen to your community. Gather and digest customer ideas and comments, incorporate their intuitions into your thinking. This should not be a hardship duty, - your customers are your greatest ally!

You have to find your unique voice that sets your company apart and this can be a great challenge. Creating a FB fan page is simple, but getting it to work well takes time, dedication and planning. Don’t expect to create a page and then have a huge following instantaneously. Build good content, make it easy to share, promote it and over-time the community will grow. The more content you create and the more you engage with fans, the more people you will be able to reach.

Be visible, commit, stay active and come from a place of content, - not a place of marketing. Be prepared that social media is slow and steady - it is frustrating! However, avoiding experimenting with the social web is a greater risk than experimenting with it and failing!

Malene Hansen Stanley

The writer is the entrepreneur and a mother of two and owns KSB Kids. You can learn more about KSBKids on Facebook and Twitter.

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