Let’s Get Social: Lessons Learned from Coach

Designer handbags from Coach aren’t just accessories—they’re a way of life for the brand’s enthusiasts. The retail giant capitalized on this line of thinking last Christmas through a series of social media marketing tactics.

These included an exclusive online social network that made Coach followers feel just as distinguished as their sought-after accessories. This helped to create advocates willing to spread the word to friends, resulting in increased customer loyalty and additional revenue.

The social media marketing tactics
Coach showed great insight and understanding of its target audience, employing social media marketing tactics that appealed directly to its potential customers. Shoppers registering online at Coach.com found many different ways to become a part of the exclusive, online accessories community, including:

  • Coach Clique. This online social network for loyal Coach enthusiasts provides members with access to insider information and advice. And the social media content found in this club not only engaged visitors by creating lifestyle connections, it worked well with Google’s universal search. A few of the benefits of the Coach Clique include:
    • Downloads. Different options included Coach-branded computer screensavers and wallpapers. These were regularly updated with fresh content, keeping registered users coming back to the site to get the very latest designs.
    • Astrological Purse Match. An “In the Stars” page helped visitors find the perfect bag based on their astrological sign.
    • Star Favorites.This page featured star interviews discussing their favorite Coach accessories, while also giving potential online customers the ability to view or listen to video and audio clips of the star’s work. “Mandy Moore’s Fall Favorites” is one such example. Coach streamed audio of the musician’s latest work, descriptions of her favorite Coach items and a link to e-mail the page to a friend.
  • Wish List. Registered customers could create their own wish list, which could then be e-mailed to their friends and family. This made shopping on the Coach site a social event.
  • Address Book. Through this feature Coach.com registered users create an online address book with shipping information for everyone on their gift list. And best of all, Coach sent out e-mail reminders so that registered customers wouldn’t forget to buy a holiday gift for someone on their list. By interacting with their customers, Coach was able to not only entice them to use their site, but kept the conversation going throughout the holiday season.

The revenue
Since launching Coach.com in 1999, the accessories merchant has used successful social media marketing tactics to increase customer loyalty and profits, and last Christmas was no exception. Third quarter online sales were up 68% with a net sale increase of 28%for fiscal 2007.

The takeaway
A carefully planned website aimed at a target demographic has helped Coach boost online visits and sales. Through the Coach Clique, the retailer created a community for its customers, giving them the information they wanted, such as trend news, horoscopes and downloads. And it was this information that kept them coming back for more. Including graphics and video created content was conducive to Universal Search and provided a new way to communicate with customers.

Take a cue from the Coach success story and get to know your prospective customers. Then develop a social media marketing plan that creates an online community built for them. By engaging customers in a way that keeps them coming back, you’ll strengthen brand loyalty and ultimately increase sales.

Lisa Wehr is CEO/founder of digital marketer Oneupweb.

Let’s Get Social: Lessons Learned from the iPod Touch

On September 5, 2007, Apple launched their new iPod Touch. The launch appeared to be carefully planned out–perfectly timed with the beginning of the holiday shopping season, and full of social media marketing tactics. But Apple showed how being quick on your feet and easily adaptable with social media marketing can pay off, big time.

The social media marketing tactics

Apple started the fall campaign using a few social media marketing tactics for the iPod Touch, including:

Video: In September of 2007, the iPod Touch product page featured a video of Steve Jobs announcing its release, introductions to the iPod Touch software and a guided video tour of its features.

“Hot News:” From the Apple site, visitors were privy to a “Hot News” section that included information on the top downloads in iTunes as well as downloadable information for all of Apple’s products.

RSS Feeds: Apple offers several RSS Feeds, which is a standard for syndicating frequently updated content from a site via a newsreader. According to Apple, they actually build RSS right into the system and use it for innovative communication. Examples of Apple RSS Feeds available with the iPod Touch include movie trailers and the Top 25 New Releases (via iTunes).

Support Discussion Boards: Support discussion boards for the iPod Touch were made available on the support page of Apple.com, allowing users and employees to interact with each other and further strengthen their belief in the product and the Apple brand.

However, when a young fan created his own iPod Touch video on YouTube, Apple saw its viral potential and was able to act quickly to add it to their social media marketing plan. They contacted the 18-year-old creator of the spot and gave him the resources and direction to produce a professional version of his video, which they aired on network television. Consequently, both the amateur and professional video are still being replayed by numerous viewers on YouTube and other video sharing sites.

The traffic

The iPod Touch generated roughly 3 million searches in November 2007. Not too bad for a product that was largely rivaled by the iPhone. Its incredible traffic certainly helps to secure its status as one of the 2007 holiday season’s “hot” products.

The takeaway

Apple shows that successful social media marketing requires careful planning, consistency and a large degree of flexibility. They developed and stuck to their original strategy for the iPod Touch, yet weren’t afraid to take advantage of a viral opportunity when it came around.

Look for the next column in the “Let’s Get Social” series to find out more secrets of social media marketing success.

Lisa Wehr (info@oneupweb.com) is CEO and founder of Oneupweb, a digital marketing agency.

Let’s Get Social: Lessons Learned From Pleo

Last Christmas a robotic baby dinosaur demonstrated a social media marketing tactic that can generate a mammoth return: a social network.

When done right, a social network can turn customers into advocates–advocates who sell your product for you. And in the case of Pleo, this social media marketing tactic paid off with thousands of owners logging on, eager to share their experiences with their new robotic pet.

The social media marketing tactics
The online community at PleoWorld.com is made up of several different social media marketing strategies including:

Public forum

This forum allows current and prospective Pleo owners to communicate with each other online. They can post questions, answers and more. The forum enables customer interaction, as well as provides a way for parent company Ugobe to monitor what consumers are saying about their product.


On PleoWorld.com, a “plog” is a Pleo owner’s personal blog. Individuals setup a profile page to register their plog with the Pleo site, and can post about their experiences with Pleo in their online journal. Plogs are open to the public via PleoWorld.com, and each week a different plog is featured as the “Plog of the Week.”


PleoWorld.com hosts several behind-the-scenes videos about the making of Pleo. These videos include interviews with the designers as well as people on the street interacting with Pleo for the first time.


Anytime Pleo is positively mentioned in the news, a link to the story is added to the home page. Also, Pleo offers an opt-in e-mail newsletter to help customers stay in the loop about the latest software updates, news mentions and more.

Flickr and YouTube badges

Flickr, a popular online photo-sharing site, and YouTube, a popular video-sharing site, are featured prominently on PleoWorld.com. Badges for both sites feature screen shots of what can be found about Pleo on flickr and YouTube. Clicking on the badges will direct the user to the Pleo photo and video stream – prompting them to contribute their own.

Twitter feed

Twitter is a free service that lets people keep in touch using the Web, phone or IM (instant messenger). Anytime something is posted about Pleo on Twitter, the Twitter feed at PleoWorld.com is updated. This allows people to communicate with each other and discover what is being said about Pleo online.

Free downloads

Another creative social media marketing tactic that Pleo is using to maintain interest and drive interaction with PleoWorld.com is the occasional free download. Ugobe offered owners a surprise downloadable holiday behavior mode, which made Pleo sing and dance to six popular Christmas carols. These special downloads bring owners back to the site, generate discussion and enhance future selling opportunities.

The traffic
The buzz created by the social network paid off for Pleo. The traffic was at an all-time high after the company’s November 2007 product launch– perfectly timed for the holiday shopping season. And according to the PleoWorld Website, nearly 6,000 people registered for the online community by the first of the year.

The takeaway
Each of the social media marketing tactics listed above were used together to strengthen and further enhance the customer experience with the Pleo brand. But they can also be powerful social media marketing tactics when used on their own.

The key is determining the right mix for your target audience, and remembering that social media marketing is an ongoing commitment to your customers. It is not a set-it-and-forget-it tactic. Be prepared to invest the time and resources it takes to do the job right, and avoid the extinction of interest in your products during the critical holiday shopping season.

Lisa Wehr is CEO/founder of Oneupweb, a digital marketing agency.