Omni approach to social media working for brands

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 126 views 

When Calvin Peters started as social media director for Duane Reade drug stores in 2011, the company’s social media presence had 1,200 Twitter followers and 2,100 Facebook “likes.” There was no specific focus to the engagement including no engagement or action plan.  

As Peters shared with audiences at the SoFabCon blogger/brand conference sponsored by Collective Bias in Rogers May 3-5, he used an omni approach to make Duane Reade a well-established brand throughout social media and Walgreens, with whom Duane Reade is associated, is working to adopt some of the same philosophies and strategies.

Those strategies have proved successful in a relatively short amount of time: Duane Reade is now the most followed drug store on Twitter and has skyrocketed its presence In the blogosphere and on Facebook.

According to Peters, the company now has 39,000 Facebook followers and is closing in on almost half a million Twitter followers and can claim more than one billion impressions on social media (measured March to December 2012).

The first step in establishing any kind of strategy is determining a goal.

Peters said Duane Reade’s goal was to two-fold: increase shoppers’ awareness of the brand and build their loyalty.

Peters launched Duane Reade’s “Get Social” campaign, which incorporated many components of a social media strategy to accomplish the overall goals. The first step, he said, was to create a content social calendar that had both search-engine optimization (SEO) and increased sales in mind.

“We wanted to expand our engagement (and) create excitement and educate with a focus on consumer-generated media,” he said. “Numbers are only one part of our social media strategy.”

It was during this time that Duane Reade got involved with Collective Bias to help drive the consumer-generated media including social media content and utilizing Collective Bias’ Social Fabric Community, which is a group of more than 1,400 bloggers of all styles, backgrounds and niches.

A major component of any social campaign is establishing trust of the brand. This is another reason to incorporate consumer-generated content, he said.

“Ninety-percent of consumers trust their peer recommendations whereas 14% say they trust advertisements,” he said.

The Get Social campaign had a well-rounded approach with four major components:
• Using Duane Reade’s social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to spread the information and establish a growing relationship with new and current shoppers

• Establishing a mobile application that made shopping easier and more social friendly for customers

• Working with Collective Bias to establish brand advocates (real people who truly believe in the brand and are willing to talk about it)

• Establishing Duane Reade’s own VIP Blogger network of brand advocates-current shoppers who are already interested in the brand and who are willing and able to spread the message in a natural way.

Getting Duane Reade’s suppliers in on the plan was another key element to success. The program had to be monetized in a way that made it beneficial for the vendors to become involved, Peters said.

What ended up happening not only was “worth it” financially for the suppliers, but it opened up new social channels for them to share their message.

Peters shared video testimonials of several suppliers who have found success through working with Duane Reade’s Get Social program.

“It helped us develop intent to purchase and brand loyalty,” said Steve Vasquez of PowerCoco. “It helped build in-store excitement for the brand and helped us launch a new sports drink.”

Peters said the key takeaway from the new program was that it generated 2,222 brand mentions and more than one billion impressions at a total cost of 20 cents per CPM. (CPM is the metric used to calculate the cost of an advertising campaign. CPM reflects the cost per 1,000 estimated views of the ad.)

“Traditional media would have cost $7.8 million for each of our brands to have that reach,” he said. This would be $7.78 per CPM.