Social Media Lessons Learned from Taryn Rose

Last fall, Taryn Rose’s designer shoes and handbags seemed to be well on the way to becoming a hot holiday product.

The company had taken steps to incorporate social media marketing into the mix well before the start of the season—it fielded a personal blog and a MySpace profile. Yet, all of that came to a halt–making Taryn Rose an accessory to social media abandonment.

Taryn Rose is the perfect example of what not to do when marketing through social media. It started off strong, using the corporate website to develop relationships with customers and communicate the passion and history behind the firm’s designs.

But the social media activities were unmanaged and eventually abandoned. Today, several of the elements have been removed from the corporate website altogether.

These include:

–Taryn’s Page. This social media marketing element was similar to a social networking page profile. It included a blog, pictures and a “Talk to Taryn” email link. The blog was updated with recent news as well as helpful information for Taryn Rose customers, such as recipes for relaxing foot scrubs. Over time, the blog turned into a “flog” (fake blog), with undated posts, no comments and very few entries. Today, the blog has been completely removed, replaced with an “About Us” section that inspires no interaction and requires little to no updates on the part of the company.

–MySpace. The company delved into social networking by creating a MySpace profile for the Taryn by Taryn Rose line. The profile offered visitors a photo slideshow of the shoe line as well as personal information about the designer. Visitors could add Taryn as a friend, send messages and post feedback to her site. By January 2008, the MySpace page was down to only three friends, with no links to the company website or comments to the profile.

From August of 2007 to January 2008, the Taryn Rose corporate website experienced no significant spikes in traffic–not a good thing for a retailer during the busy holiday shopping season. The minimal interest in the site was likely the result of the firm’s abandonment of the social media components. If done correctly, these could have sparked interest in the designer shoes and handbags–resulting in important online sales.

What’s the takeaway? Social media marketing is a commitment of time and resources that you are making to your current and future customers. If you fail to make good on this commitment, customer loyalty and future sales could suffer. Before launching any social media marketing efforts, make sure you have the time, resources and content to do the job right.

Also, while MySpace seems to be a popular first step to integrating social media marketing into the mix–it may not be the right step for you. Social media marketing is much more than a MySpace or Facebook profile. Get to know your customers and evaluate the kind of content that you have to share with them before you create a corporate MySpace profile. You may find that it makes more sense to implement a blog, podcast, videos on YouTube or several other social media marketing tactics to build a relationship with your target audience.

Lisa Wehr ([email protected]) is CEO and founder of Oneupweb, a digital marketing agency.