10 Reasons Why Scotch&Soda Should Hire Me

 

Background – It seems anyone who belongs to Generation Y is assumed to have superior social media skills, I disagree. Sure we know how to use a computer better than our grandparents and most likely all have Facebook and Twitter accounts but that’s like saying all Baby Boomers are hard workers because they grew up in an Economic boom time. We may be more inclined to use technology on daily basis but knowing how to put it to use in a business sense is not a skill assumed at birth.

Social media is seen to the general public as a Facebook and Twitter account with a man behind both to upload photos like any other teenager does with their personal account.  This is far from the case. These platforms, along with many others, provide an amazing opportunity for brands to interact with their fans. Done right these conversations begin to spark up more often and the tie between company and customer becomes more and more personal. The end goal of these efforts is an army of brand advocates who are not only proud to buy your products but happy to convert their friends into fans as well.

As a company Scotch and Soda focuses on their product first. This motto has paid off in spades, having some of the nicest/ best fitting clothes i’ve ever seen (no joke). If you have ever ate at a restaurant where the food was so good you would literally hound your friends to go there and tell anyone who would listen to you how amazing the food was then you know how I feel about these clothes. Everything from how they present the them in the store to it’s atmosphere makes you want to throw out your whole wardrobe and start over with everything from S&S. This feeling is what inspired a burning desire to try and help the company get their product out to as many people as possible. The following list is how I can help and why they should hire me.

1. I love the brand. – As you can probably tell from above, I’m a big fan. The sad thing is I only found out about this company a few months ago by stumbling upon the store in West Edmonton Mall (Canada). The reason for this post is because I know there are hundreds, even thousands of people who would fall in love with the clothes like I did if they were introduced to them.

2. Conversations are being left behind. – There are currently dozens of conversations happening all over the internet that are being ignored by the company(Probably not intentionally). People like me who are passionate about the company are taking to the internet to show off their affection for the brand. These conversations can be found on individual blogs (by simply doing a blog search on google for Scotch and Soda), on photo sharing sites like Instagram and Flickr, and of course social networking sites like Twitter, and Google Plus.

To say that these conversations are happening is probably common sense but to actually interact with these people and lead them somewhere or help them become better brand advocates is where I think the company is missing the boat.

3. Twitter could be more effective. – Specific to the efforts made on twitter.com I think the company could be more conversational. Lately they have started moving more towards interacting with personal users with @ mentions but in the past they were using the feed specifically to broadcast messages. Constantly pushing content on followers is not an effective way of influencing them. To get an idea of what kind of effect the account is currently having on followers you could use sites like Klout. With a basic Klout search you can see that the true influence of the company is about 380 followers. It is important to know who those people are and at least show you appreciate them because they are the people who are going to help spread your brand to their followers and friends.

Beyond knowing who you influence on twitter it is important to have a strategy of “acquiring” customers or being able to start them on an acquisition funnel so you can build a longer term relationship. Currently if a user follows a link from twitter to the blog there isn’t even a share button on this page. It’s great that the traffic is being driven back to the website but you should at least provide the opportunity to collect some information in the form of subscribing to the blog. Also making it easy for users to share this content is imperative.

4. Facebook efforts could be improved – With nearly 37,000 likes they are obviously doing something right but the sheer number of followers/fans is not the most important stat, it is engagement. So with every post, tweet, how many people are retweeting, liking, sharing, this is what actually matters.

The like us, we like you campaign is cool. Personally I don’t think that type of campaign is scalable however it could prove different. The obvious flaws are there is no real description on the Facebook page as to what like us? we like you too means. After searching the internet I found that the idea is to thank the customers or Facebook fans by randomly displaying the names in the flagship Amsterdam store.

I like the idea with the Black Dresses tab better. Here there are ten black dresses with half of the image covered, to see the full image and all the dresses you have to like their page. I think this type of withheld information requiring action should be used widely across all forms of advertising. Personally I would like to see Facebook as a landing page for Scotch and Soda that they direct traffic too from shared video content. Currently they have a few videos out that are well shot, mainly displaying clothing on their flagship model however I think the focus should be on building anticipation in these videos and linking to the Facebook page where a user can like the page and reveal the rest of the content of the video.

5. Engagement is low – As mentioned before this should be a priority. I find it interesting that the “social media” staff doesn’t look at their channels on weekends. But aside from @ mentions and answering Facebook posts there needs to be an underlying strategy of sparking interest and leading customers through a funnel. This process that requires interaction from them and leaves you with some information from, hopefully, a new customer.

7. Advocates like me are looking to help spread the word – currently the only thing I can do if I want to tell my friends about your site is tweet about it or post it to facebook. A key idea when asking someone to share your content is keeping in mind that people share things because want to look cool. This isn’t a problem here because your product is great (not necessarily the content but the product). To take it a step further if a user can make his friends look cool then that content or idea is much more likely to spread to many more people.

The exclusive content could be anything, a pre release video, early access to a certain line or clothes, a sale etc. As an example I’ll use a VIP sale. On the site you could mention that you will be handing out personal invitations to a VIP sale for brand advocates or anyone who is talking about S&S online. You could even come up with a hashtag for the event. You might not invite everyone who tweets but give priority access to those who go the extra mile, writing blog posts etc. These people who get personal invites can then invite three friends to view the sale as well. This way someone who makes a Facebook post about S&S gets invited and hands out 3 invites to close friends who might also appreciate the sale. You could continue this further with people who received an invite and purchased something also get three invites. Because people have something of value to give away to their friends they will share it.

8. There is no funnel. – A campaign like the one previously mentioned might generate a lot of traffic and buzz about the company but if you let all of those customers and people get away I would consider it a overall failure. Just because a person got an invite doesn’t mean you should give away this exclusive content away for free. Landing pages are one thing that is currently overlooked at S&S. If one was implemented before a user got access to this exclusive sale then you could collect information on them and have a direct means of contact. This eventual list should be your most engaged users because they are  already qualified. On this landing page you could simply ask for email, or anything you want, including whether they prefer shopping online, what is currently their favorite clothing brand, where did they hear about scotch and soda etc etc. The important thing here is to split test different pages especially with the more questions you ask.

9. Their reach could be expanded – As mentioned before Facebook and Twitter are a great start. The efforts on these platforms is definitely more good than bad but there are a few other main platforms that should be considered. For one a location based service like Foursquare could be an awesome tool to link online traffic/customers to offline stores. Tumblr is an awesome blog site that is hugely popular and has powerful sharing capabilities. Also having a presence on Instagram would mesh perfectly with the brand especially with so many customers already sharing and tagging S&S on the site.

10. The price is right and I can implement it all. I’d love to help implement some or all of these new ideas for free. I really do want more people to find out about the great clothes/ I would also like to gain some credibility in the field incase I ever decided to pursue a career in social media consulting.

(I offer all of these suggestions respectfully as the company is huge/ they make great products and have done A LOT of things right over the years.)

 

 

 

Dying in limbo, Inception style.

You would have to of seen the Leonardo DiCaprio movie Inception to understand the title. To be honest the movie was so confusing I’m probably not the best person to explain it to you. The just of it was being in limbo means you could never make it back to real life and were inevitably doomed. The movie isn’t great but it’s an awesome business analogy.

Being in business limbo means you aren’t necessarily failing, or you don’t know you are, but you also aren’t winning either. It’s the state where your too nervous to check your stats or implement any sort of metrics because you know they aren’t great. Your well aware of this but you push forward doing what you were doing anyway because it’s less painful. Maybe you even “try harder” with your current strategy.. ah that’s the key, why didn’t you think of that earlier!

Quoting Eric Ries from his book The Lean Startup, “If you cannot fail, you cannot learn”. Ignoring the facts or not having any facts to ignore in the first place isn’t doing you any good. Very few people get it right the first time or don’t pivot their businesses at all while they are growing. There is no shame in altering your course if you find out something isn’t working. Need some proof? The founder of Sony started out making rice cookers. Western Union originally boycotted the thought of a telephone becoming mainstream. Bill Gates’ first company called Traf-O-data, focused on collecting traffic data and creating detailed reports for engineers, ultimately failed. Ironically Jack Dorsey (founder of twitter) was also fascinated by the flow of traffic and spawn the idea for twitter from this. You don’t need to be reminded how all of these stories ended up.

Personally I would chalk up businesses or ideas that go into limbo to a lack of passion. Telling a grown man that his business isn’t going to work out unless he is passionate about it is like a 14 year old boy telling a girl that likes him it will never work out. She hears those words and thinks to herself, “he must like me”. Likewise, the business man hears the advice and thinks to himself, “yah for most people, not me”. The reason I know this is because I was one of those people. Somehow I thought that I would be different that the million other people selling software online or who has an idea for a niche social network. While I don’t deny that networking is extremely important and success can be found even if the site doesn’t scale I realized I don’t really care to tweet about and comment on blogs about principles of networking all day. Meeting people is awesome, talking about the best ways to do it all day, not so much. The key was I realized this quickly, I didn’t keep banging my head against the wall hoping one day something would click and all of a sudden I would love it.

A number of companies share this idea, some have even made it mantra’s to live by; “fail fast and fail often”. When used effectively your company stays in-tune to the needs of your customers and is always learning and adapting. This relates to a question I recently read on twitter for a startup enthusiast (I forget who). The question was; What is the best way to deal with arguments between cofounders? Answer: If the basis of the argument could be solved or identified with metrics they should look to this first. A test that had physical results was the most effective way of backing up an argument and would usually settle things. If not, they would usually both have to compromise.

The reason this answer is so interesting is because most people don’t do it. They sit around arguing hypothetical solutions. Even worse, when asked how a new feature is working will give vague answers like, “pretty good, people seem to like it”. That shouldn’t be a satisfying answer for you. In this scenario how do you know where you can further improve on the feature? You don’t. It’s all guessing games. You aren’t failing here because of ignorance not because of anything positive. Again, if you can’t fail how do you learn???

A popular excuse companies have for not using social media is they don’t want people posting negative comments on their Facebook wall. If your company sucks or a customer had a bad experience they will find a way to get their voice heard whether you have a Facebook page or not. The only difference is, if you aren’t using social media you are ignorant to the problem. Wouldn’t you rather be aware of whats going on so you can offer solutions and try to mend relationships? I’d hope so.

Don’t limbo!