Case Study: Francesca’s Collections

Francesca’s Collections is one of the fastest growing specialty retailers in the United States. It is a women’s clothing, fashion jewelry, accessories and gifts boutique. It sets itself apart from other women’s retailers because it offers gifts, apparel, home accessories, and jewelry that reflect the most fashionable styles from all over the world.

Francesca’s Facebook page has 63,664 likes and the content of the posts pertain to announcements of sales, special promotions, new products, and questions to their followers about their experiences with Francesca’s.

Facebook

Francesca’s Collections is a boutique so they utilize social media a lot more than they do traditional advertising. Rather than spending a lot of money on paid advertising, Francesca’s relies on spending their time creating word-of-mouth or word-of-mouse to inform people about their store.

Francesca’s relies heavily on their Facebook page to interact with their customers and prospects. Customers are encouraged to post pictures of their new outfits and receive feedback from other fans. Also, Francesca’s blog is often highlighted and includes DIY tutorials and style guides.

When you visit Francesca’s Collections page, new products and sales are usually the first things you see. Products are featured in the cover photo, posts, pictures, and blogs. Francesca’s “pick of the week,” which ranges from dresses to tops, is always 20% off for the chosen week. If someone were to click on the link to the pick of the week, they would be redirected to the item on the website including multiple views of it as well as a very descriptive section featuring what it is made out of, fit and sizing, the shipping information and information on returns and exchanges.

One of the things Francesca’s does best is showcase how a specific piece of clothing can be worn and what other things could go with it to make it an outfit. Something unique about their product descriptions is that they offer what type of instances the clothing item could be worn, and then they match it up with events happening around the states. For example, one pick of the week is called “Sun Child Dress” and the description encourages someone to buy this if they are attending the popular musical festival in California, called Coachella.

New Fans and More Sales

Besides gaining fans, Francesca’s Collections main focus is to create more sales. Besides the use of the “pick of the week,” Francesca’s also features flash sales. Flash sales can last for a few days or a few hours and usually include 25% off their entire website or select items. The flash sales are great at causing immediate action by consumers. As soon as some people see a flash sale on Facebook, they may only have a few minutes before the sale is over. Because fans of Francesca’s Facebook page are encouraged to immediately buy a product, the boutique is able to benefit from the content it has posted.

Wrap-up

Overall, I think that Francesca’s Collection fan page does a great job of encouraging engagement and increasing sales. I think it is very important that consumers are interacting with one another and sharing their experiences and purchases from the boutique. The promotions that Francesca’s has created for their Facebook are also very successful. Because consumers are directed to take action right away, Francesca’s is seeing an increase in sales of these items. They often sell out of these high demand items before the promotions are over. If Francesca’s can keep strengthening its Facebook fan book, they may be able to eventually to compete with the powerhouse boutiques such Anthropologie.

Nordstrom’s Social Media Policy

Nordstrom is an upscale department store that sells clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, and cosmetics.  The social media policy for Nordstrom is a separate tab listed under their policies section which contains 10 other policies.

Highlights

What sticks out to me most about Nordstrom’s social media policy is that it was very easy to read. Although some parts were confusing because there was not enough detail, I think the average employee would be able to read and understand this policy. Nordstrom did not use technical language and laid out the policy under heading s that people have been hearing since they were children. Below is an excerpt of the 6 things that Nordstrom wants their employees to follow when using social media. Click here to view the whole policy.

 

Lowlights

The major lowlight of this social media policy is the fact that the lines are blurred about who this policy is for. In the first sentence, the policy states, “We encourage approved employees to use social networking/media (Twitter, Facebook, Nordstrom.com, etc.) as a way to connect with customers and others during working hours. Then, later in the paragraph it states, “In the social media world, the lines are blurred between what is public or private, personal or professional.” I think this is very true and the lines are blurred throughout the policy. At some points, I can tell they are referring to posting as an employee, then it seems like there are other statements that pertain to more of a personal use of social media.

Recommendations

I think the biggest recommendation for the social media policy of Nordstrom would be to include more specific examples of social media platforms. The policy contains very general statements about all social media but does not go into much detail about what would be accessible practice on different platforms. Also, another recommendation would be to break up the policy into two parts: the first part would be if an employee is using social media on the company’s behalf or discussing work-related matters. The second part would be about employees’ personal social media accounts. Although some of the guidelines would be the same, I feel like there should be separate specific rules depending on how the employee is using their social media account.

Importance of a social media policy

I think the biggest reason why companies need a social media policy is so that that their employees know what is acceptable and what is not. For many companies, the social media policy is an afterthought and often not put in place until after some sort of crisis. It is very important, though, because without one, employees have no way of knowing what they are allowed to post. Although there will be infringements, a social media policy will ultimately help better the company.

LinkedIn: It’s the IN thing

Yes. Yes. I too was one of the late adopters to LinkedIn. I never thought there was much use for it. I always thought it was the “Facebook” of professionals, and to be honest, that’s kind of what it is. I never really had much use for it until later in my college career. Now, I use it to network with professionals in my field, search for jobs, stay connected to past employers, and generate leads at work. Just like any other social media channel, there are literally hundreds of reasons to use LinkedIn.

While all those other reasons are important too, the most important reason to use LinkedIn as a senior in college is to find a job. After reading numerous articles about how to use LinkedIn to find a job, there were a few tips that I thought stood out as being more important.

  • Update your profile: Make sure your profile is completely filled out. Use a professional looking photo and make it clear on your profile that you are looking for a job. Applications such as WordPress and Portfolio Display allow you to display some of your work and help your profile stand out. Also, LinkedIn has a resume creator that helps create a proper resume using your profile.
  • Build your network: Try to connect with everyone you know. Try to keep it professional but think of classmates, current and past colleagues, friends, family, employers, professors, etc.  Join networks such as your college or a company network. You should connect to anyone who could potentially hire you or have a lead on a job for you. It is also important to build your network so your profile will appear higher on companies list and will be seen by recruiters
  • Get the word out: Tell those in your network that you are looking for a job. The more people who know, the more likely you are to land your big break. Even if someone you know isn’t aware of any openings at their company now, in a few months they might hear of a job opening and think of your right away.

And remember search for jobs daily. Many times companies post jobs daily exclusively to LinkedIn, so you need to make sure you are aware of the new jobs and applying to those of interest. I hope these few tips help you just a little. This is just the beginning of the many things that you could and should be doing to increase your chances of landing a job. Good Luck!!!

Saving Lives: The Facebook Way

Facebook and organ donors. Two things I never thought I’d hear in the same sentence. That has all changed, though. This past week in a highly anticipated announcement Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced an organ donor status for Timeline. According to Facebook, “More than 114,000 people in the United States, and millions more around the globe, are waiting for the heart, kidney or liver transplant that will save their lives. Many of those people – an average of 18 people per day – will die waiting, because there simply aren’t enough organ donors to meet the need.”

People can share that they are a donor by clicking that they’re an organ donor from their Timeline. Because some people have not already designated themselves as organ donors, Facebook provides a link to the appropriate registry. They also give step by step instructions for those who may find the process confusing.

  1. Click Life Event at the top of your timeline
  2. Select Health & Wellness
  3. Select Organ Donor
  4. Select your audience and click Save

I feel that this is a very smart move by Facebook. I really like that they are doing this to help thousands of people in need, not their bank account. Facebook is the biggest online social medium in the world so they should easily be able to make a difference in the organ donation crisis. This new feature is creating a conversation and making people take action on an initiative that could save lives. The organ donation option will also allow friends and family know their loved ones wishes and also allow people to easily register as an organ donor if they have not already done so.

Even though it is in its early stages, it is already evident that this effort is a huge success. Philly.com reported today that in the 24 hours after the announcement, more than 100,000 people chose the organ donor status update and 22,000 of those people followed the link to their state registries.

I hope after reading this you will think about registering as an organ donor. I am already a registered organ donor, but I was one of the 100,000 people who chose the organ donor status update. Even if you don’t want to update your timeline with your organ donation status, you should still considering registering with your state if you haven’t do so yet.

Pinterest Analytics

This social bookmarking site is all the craze right now. It is an addicting daily habit of many people and with millions of monthly active users; it has become the third most popular social network. Users pin, organize, and share pictures onto virtual pinboards.

Because of the amount of traffic it drives, marketers have jumped at the opportunity to market their brands on Pinterest. Besides the problem of figuring out what do with their boards and which content to feature, another problem is the issue of measurement. Analyzing how well your content is doing and how many click throughs you’re getting is an important part of a brand’s social media strategy. Below are two of the newest Pinterest analytics tools that are available today.

  • PinReach: An analytics site that gives you a better view of your Pinterest activity on your profile and boards. Users can connect with their Facebook or Twitter username and gain access to a dashboard of their latest stats. When the service initially launched, it only included the PinReach score, a numeric representation of a member’s Pinterest influence based on a series of social attributes. Now, the dashboard is still very simple and includes a few stats: history of your repins, most popular pins, and analytics on your followers. Both brands and every day Pinterest users utilize the platform. Pinerly says that looking forward, “they’re working hard to become the go-to platform brands leverage to measure the success of their Pinterest presence and to create meaningful, brand loyal connections.”
  • Pinerly: The newest Pinterest tool of them all. This startup service is only open to beta users. You can get on a waiting list to be notified when it’s up and running. If you refer friends, you can get a sneak peak of the service. According to Mashable, in its first week, over 35,000 users and many major brands had signed up for the service. The goal of Pinerly is to become a comprehensive Pinterest analytics dashboard (Pinalytics). Beta users can only get basic date for Pinerly right now such as how well “campaigns” (Pinerly-tracked pins) are doing, but the company hopes to offer other tools such detailed data on pin performance and the ability to schedule pins.

I’m sure this is just the beginning for how many Pinterest Analytics tools that will be developed in the next year. If you don’t work for a brand and only have a Pinterest account for yourself, don’t hesitate to start collecting data on your pins. It will be interesting to understand your influence on Pinterest and find new people and content. Until next time, Happy Pinning!

I Need a Blog?

On the first day of my emerging and social media in the marketplace class I learned that I would be writing a blog. What? A blog? This news did not sit well with me at first. I have always thought of blogging as something the techie professionals, moms, and health nuts of the world did. I felt like it was more for older people, not young, aspiring professionals. Boy was I wrong.

Blogging becomes more and more popular everyday. There are many reasons why you should join the blogosphere for both personal and business reasons. While there are specific reasons that apply to personal blogging and business blogging, there are a few points that apply to both.

  • Branding: Whether it is your personal brand or the brand of your business, blogging allows people to establish their personal identity and brand. As you blog more frequently and your posts become more popular, your brand will also become more popular.
  • To Stay Connected: Whether its family and friends, customers, or prospective clients, blogging provides a simple way for you to stay connected to those around the world. Unlike other forms of communication, blogging allows you to share stories, photos, videos, and more.
  • Become an Expert : Blogging allows people and businesses establish themselves as an expert in a field or topic. Blogging allows individuals to write about a specific topic or event and helps legitimize their expertise in that field. If an individual or company can portray themselves as a pro, they will have better luck finding a job or selling a product.

An article titled The Importance of Blogging in Online Marketing discusses why people and especially businesses should have a blog.I hope are able to understand the importance of blogging too. Although it can sometimes be time consuming and bothersome, the benefits of having a blog far outweigh the cons. Stay tuned next week to learn more tips to help you in your social media endeavors.

Social Bookmarking

If you’re like me, you probably have over 100 pages bookmarked in your internet browser. This is by no means okay. It takes so much time to go to your bookmarks tab and scroll through all the title to find what you’re looking for. Usually I don’t actually end up finding what I was looking for and end sidetracked and preoccupied. And what’s worse, it you are not on your computer you can’t access any of your bookmarked pages. Not really helpful when you’re at the library writing a term paper and can’t for the life of you remember where you found an awesome article. The answer to this problem is social bookmarking.

Social bookmarking is the practice of saving websites onto a public website and tagging and organizing them for later use. Users can tag websites and articles of significance using keywords. What makes social bookmarking different than regular bookmarking is the website address is saved onto a public website, not your computer.

Besides storing bookmarks for your own personal use, most social bookmarking sites allow users to search for resources by keywords and popularity in the public bookmarks that other registered users have create. According to the Educause Learning Initiative article titled, 7 Things You Should Know About Social Bookmarking, “Activities like social bookmarking give users the opportunity to express differing perspectives on information and resources through informal organizational structures.” Individuals who have similar interests can find one another and create more communities of influential users.

Since the time social bookmarking became popular a few years ago, there have been hundreds of websites created. An article on Mashable talks about 50+ Social Bookmarking Sites. Below are a few of the social bookmarking sites I have found especially helpful and easy to use.

  • Diigo: Share bookmarks with your group and search publicly saves bookmarks. Users can also highlight and write on portions of the page.
  • del.icio.us: Add bookmarks and access them anywhere. Also search other users saved pages.
  • Pinterest: Users “pin” images and videos to their pinboard. They can create and manage their unique collection of images.
  • StumbleUpon: Users surf the web to discover new and interesting sites, images, and videos. The site learns what they like and recommends more of the same things.

I hope these social bookmarking sites make your life easier. Stay tuned next week to learn more tips to help you in your social media endeavors.

Tricky Twitter Tips

I’ve been on Twitter since 2009 (I think) but I am by no means an expert. When I first made myself a Twitter account, it was to follow celebrities. I did not know one friend who was on Twitter. I even got made fun of for having a Twitter. Well……flash forward to today and boom! Twitter is HUGE!!! Because it is so huge and there are thousands of new tweets each second, you have to be able stand out. Last week in class, Dennis Jenders, talked about Twitter and gave us some tips that can be used for both brands and personal accounts. These tips are used to create more visibility and increase link click through rates. Some of the content we talked about was kind of common sense but there were also some really interesting things that I learned or never even thought of.

1. Write tweets between 120 and 130 characters

When I first heard this I was a little confused. You are given 140 characters to use. Why can’t I use all 140 characters then? Well, I learned that you need to leave room for your link, RT, and usernames. Also, in a study by Dan Zarrella, he found that tweets which were between the lengths of 120 and 130 characters had the highest click through rates. So make sure when you write your tweets they are this length.

 

2. Place links about 25% of the way through

This makes sense if you think about it. When you’re scanning the web or reading anything in general, you usually notice less what’s at the end of the sentence. The same thing is true of a tweet. If you place a link at the end people are more likely to miss it or skim over it. Below is a graphic from Dan Zarella’s study.

3. Don’t start a tweet with @username (unless you don’t want everyone to see your tweet)

This literally blew my mind. I had NO idea that if you start a tweet with @username not everyone will see it. Only people that you and the person your tweeting both follow will see the tweet. What this means for me is that a lot of people are not seeing my tweets. It’s habit. If I’m tweeting about something I usually start out my tweet with @username. Well, that is not the way to do it. To make sure your followers see your tweets, you should put the @username somewhere besides in the beginning of the tweet. This could be as easy as saying Hey @username in the beginning of your tweet.

So there you have it. A few Tricky Twitter Tips that may help you down the road. I hope you learned as much as I did last week.

Social Media: All Day, Every Day

Social media is a 24-hour job. Not really, but almost. I’ve kind of been figuring this out throughout my Emerging and Social Media in the Marketplace class, and last week, Sarah Van Elzen from Laughlin Constable reiterated this fact.

If companies want to be successful across their social media channels they need to understand this. It’s not enough to tweet once a day or post something on Facebook once a week. In order to be effective on social media, brands need to not only take into account what they are posting, but when they are posting.

Sarah talked about how brands who don’t post at night and on the weekends are missing a huge opportunity. It is important to remember that people cannot engage when they are at work. If brands post on their social media channels during the prime work hours, there will likely be little engagement. And as I discussed last week, engagement and interaction are what brands should strive for in their social media campaigns.

There are four key times throughout the day when bands have a higher likelihood of reaching their followers. In the early morning (when people wakeup), midday (around lunchtime), early evening (right after work), and late evening (right before bed). Posting during these times creates a higher probability that a brand’s post will be seen by its followers, instead of disappearing deep within the timeline.

Posting in the evening seems logical for any brand, but my first reaction was, “Who’s going to do that?” I don’t want to be the person that has to sit around her computer early in the morning and late at night posting new content and responding to consumers. What I have learned from Sarah and Dennis Jenders, my esteemed instructor, is that there are ways to schedule posts. I also learned, though, that as an entry level employee I could actually be that person updating my client’s Facebook at 10 p.m. Websites like HootSuite, which is a social media dashboard, allows individuals and brands to monitor their social media accounts and schedule messages. This makes it extremely easy for brands to schedule 2 or 3 posts a day and not have to worry about the time.

Great news for me, except for the fact that HootSuite can’t respond to complaints and inquiries. Stay tuned next week to learn more tips to help you in your social media endeavors.

Expert Tips From Social Media Gurus

Last week, Augie Ray and Tim Cigelske spoke to my Emerging and Social Media in the Marketplace class. Augie is currently the executive director of Community and Collaboration at USAA. Tim is a senior communication specialist at Marquette. Both are very experienced and extremely knowledgeable when it comes to social media. Below are a few of the key points from Augie and Tim that I believe would be helpful for anyone exploring emerging social media.

 

Mom Test: Would my mom use it?

Augie Ray talked about how he uses the mom test when determining whether to use a certain social media channel. If he doesn’t believe a social media channel will benefit his mother or would be easily accessible by her, he doesn’t use it. This is important because consumers stretch across many different demographics; they are all not tech-savvy, social media experts. It is important when using a new social media platform that it will serve a purpose for you or your organization.

 

Button up Facebook accounts!

Augie Ray also stressed the importance of college students buttoning up Facebook accounts. He believes that Facebook accounts should be used for private purposes while Twitter should be used more professionally. This is important when college students are searching for full-time jobs. Potential employers are without a doubt going to search on Facebook and Twitter and if the first thing they see is a picture of you dancing on a bar, you may have a problem.

 

Engagement! Engagement! Engagement!

One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make is believing that it’s all about the numbers. They want more followers, friends, and likes than their competitors. The problem with this, though, is that they are not engaging with their fans and consumers. In order to measure engagement, you need to gain fans authentically and increase interaction.

 

Social Media is not by itself.

Both Augie Ray and Tim Cigelske talked about that fact that social media is not a campaign by itself. A campaign stretches across many different mediums. Every customer is not connected to social media, so you need to be able to reach them through some other medium.

 

I hope these tips help you in your social media endeavors.