Eastwood gets social

Since automotive enthusiasts are so passionate about their hobby, Eastwood had good reason to embrace social networking online back in 2004. The move has helped it engage customers, acquire and retain prospects, and build its brand identity.

In a session at the NEMOA conference in March, chief marketing officer Peter Kosciewicz said Eastwood discovered that page views were soaring, and by checking out its Web metrics, it was able to determine how and where it can engage enthusiasts online: through the blogs and message boards linking back to its Website.

So the company started by adding forums to its Web channel. “We wanted to be involved in, but not guide, the decision process,” Kosciewicz said. “So instead of making it a product-specific forum, we decided to make it solution specific, because there was nothing like that online.”

It then added two blogs to its site. The constant postings to the blogs and forums helped raise Eastwood’s status on the Web. With content constantly changing, it meant stronger search engine optimization.

Eastwood then launched a MySpace page, and began posting videos to YouTube. Both forums allowed it to also expand its unique page views.

Social media efforts do boost sales. Eastwood’s forum members buy 289% more frequently than non-forum members on its list. The site’s product reviews, added in 2004, are 95% positive; customers who read reviews are converting 24% better than those who don’t. Items with reviews convert 37% better than similar items that do not include reviews.

Eastwood is now looking into mobile marketing, Kosciewicz said, since the company has seen forum and blog responses coming from Blackberries and the like. It’s also considering desktop widgets, interactive gadgets users download that help keep a brand top-of-mind, he said.

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