Speck Products, which designs and sells premium form-fit protective cases for digital devices, wanted to boost its online sales and create a constant two-way dialogue with customers forming a sense of brand community.
So Speck hired Resource Interactive last May to “consumerize and modernize all of our digital touch points,” says Jeanne Hultquist, Speck’s vice president of marketing and ecommerce. Speck had to meet its customers where they are and that is in the social media world.
“We touch all digital touch points and go full throttle because our customers are in that space,” says Jeanne Hultquist, Speck’s vice president of marketing and ecommerce. “Social media is critical to the success of a company like Speck. Since our customers are generally on the leading edge of mobile gadgets and social engagement, we pay close attention to the interactions we have with our Facebook friends and fans. Our fan base is growing at an accelerating rate and we aim for positive and meaningful two-way dialogue with our Facebook followers.”
Speck’s redesigned website/ecommerce platform launched in October and sparked customer engagement through a new brand expression, easier site navigation, more compelling and relevant information combined with a comprehensive and integrated marketing plan that included brand advertising with display and Facebook, performance marketing tactics, and increased presence in social media, particularly on Facebook.
Speck’s efforts paid off in a big way as the company’s online sales soared more than 300% year-over-year in the fourth quarter.
As for its social media interaction, Speck’s Facebook page has become a vibrant communications/sales channel for the company with one full-time person and several part-timers constantly monitoring customer interaction with the brand.
“We wanted to introduce our brand story and allow for a constant dialogue with our customers and they spend a lot of time on Facebook,” Hultquist says. “That dialogue is extremely important to us because we want feedback on products and ask people what they’d like to see next. It’s a dialogue that feeds right into marketing as opposed to being filtered through customer service.”
Speck strives for that “cloak of belonging,” Hultquist says, and judging by its expanding number of Facebook friends, it’s working. Speck began 2011 with about 3,000 Facebook friends and grew to 6,500 on Nov. 1. On Feb. 1 of this year, that number quadrupled to 26,000 and now hovers around 30,000.
More importantly, the weekly level of engagement with Speck’s Facebook friends has grown 10-fold since Nov. 1, and expansion of its social media efforts has deepened its relationship with customers, Hultquist says.
“Feeding the content beast of online, social, and digital is endless,” Hultquist says. “Marketing is about leverage. You retailize them, digitize them, and you have to socialize them. Everything is about asking how can we take this to social because social media has the mindshare of everyone.”
Through Resource Interactive’s Distributed Commerce Platform (DCP) technology, Speck launched a Facebook store early this month. This technology allows Speck consumers to buy products on their own Facebook walls simply by clicking the “like” button on a Speck product page on speckproducts.com.
When a consumer “likes” a product on speckproducts.com, a Facebook stream campaign pops up on their Facebook wall and enables their Facebook friends to buy the product directly from the consumer’s Facebook wall. Without this kind of technology, the only way to drive commerce through Facebook was through images or hyperlinks appearing on a Facebook wall that would drive consumers back to a brand’s ecommerce site. This approach extends the ecommerce experience inside of Facebook based on actions of friends.
Hultquist is excited about the Facebook store since its customer engagement in that space is at an all-time high for the company. Hultquist believes Speck’s Facebook store will grow in importance since most of the innovations in online experiences take time to gain traction with consumers, “but we expect social commerce will play an important role just like social media does today.”
Speck feeds and monitors the following forms of social media:
Twitter: Several daily updates to interact with customers, showcase new cases, share information, retweet pictures of people using Speck cases.
Facebook: Several daily updates with constant monitoring for feedback and to answer questions.
Blog: Updated weekly.
YouTube: Speck showcases its products here.
Instagram: Speck shows fun pictures of the office, cases, cool designs and colors, whatever is cool and visually striking. Updated four or five times per week.
Pinterest: It’s new and Speck is testing it now.
“Being dedicated and committed to social media is the requirement,” Hultquist says. “We engage our customers hourly on Facebook and often on other forms of social media, including Twitter and Instagram.”
Hultquist says her addressable market is a connected user. “No one buys our cases unless they’re in the I-universe or android universe,” Hultquist says.
What’s next for Speck? Mobile.
“We know that a significant percentage of our web visits are from mobile devices so we are optimizing our website for the gestural interfaces found on tablets and iPads, including swiping and pinching and zooming,” Hultquist says. “As for smart phone compatibility, we will be launching a mobile site in 2012, enabling consumers to research our products online.”
Hultquist offers some advice for any company looking to optimize its social media presence: “Be authentic and focus on creating a relationship via two-way dialogue rather than creating a Facebook presence that has a sweepstakes feel to it.”
Use your Facebook page to invite your most loyal customers to take a peek behind the curtain, Hultquist says. Talk about the company, the events taking place in the company, new products, solicit product ideas — anything that creates a sense of community.
“We’ve posted pictures of our annual company meeting, we’ve asked for opinions on new colors for our smart phone cases, we’ve asked what they are giving and asking for gifts during the holiday,” Hultquist says. “We keep our tone and conversation very friendly and real.”