Top Social Media Engagement Lessons From JetBlue, Fab.com, Kirkland’s & Zappos

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After hearing a lot about crisis communications case studies via social media for companies such as HMV and Burger King, I started thinking that there must be other cases out there of how companies got into some social media pitfalls and then used these lessons to improve their companies.

These examples, I thought, could help the rest of us small businesses learn how to prevent, deal with and learn from PR disasters & crisis communications situations and come out the other side as better business people.

Without further ado, here are some examples from the likes of Jet Blue, Fab.com, Kirklands & Zappos that I found, that I hope will help you become more PR & crisis communications savvy on social media.

Leader in Managing Public Image: JetBlue

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In February 2007, JetBlue made the grave errors of not providing over 1000 customers with adequate information as they sat on the runway for over 8 hours at JFK due to a severe ice storm, frozen wheels & the inability to return to the gates due to a lack of availability. What made the situation even more frustrating from passengers was JetBlue’s inability to book alternate flights for many of the passengers due to the storm.

What JetBlue Did Next: Using Social Media to Mend Customer Relations

 JetBlue shocked everyone by issuing a heartfelt apology. Using both traditional channels and YouTube, JetBlue’s founder and then- CEO David Neeleman issued the apology, taking full responsibility for the mishap and expressing genu­ine regret. He then created the JetBlue Customer Bill of Rights with the promise to handle future issues exponentially better.

Turning another PR crisis into an opportunity

When JetBlue pilot Captain Osbon experienced a mental breakdown in April of 2012, JetBlue tweeted updates and created a live-blog, keeping customers in the loop and creating the sense that JetBlue and their custom­ers were in it together. As a result, JetBlue won first place in the consumer-decided Simpliflying Heroes, demonstrating the power of social media in turning potential disasters into PR wins.

The lesson: Use social media to respond quickly and accept responsibility for your failures

For JetBlue, by re­sponding quickly and providing customers with real-time, honest information, even major crises like Captain Osbon’s in-flight medical emergency provide the potential for positive customer relations.

To sum up: use social media to respond quickly and honestly, while also keeping track of how your customers respond. You can simultaneously retain existing customers, cause those customers to spend more, and gain new customers who see your brand effectively engaging in customer service.

Leader in Generating Revenue: Zappos

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Using Social Evangelism to Drive Revenue

Zappos allows buyers to easily share their purchases across Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, with im­pressive results across social networks. For each ‘Share’, Zappos earns $33.66 on Twitter, $2.08 on Facebook, and $0.75 on Pinterest in incremental revenue. Facilitating the social endorsement doesn’t rely on Zappos’s social media presence but rather on the social media presence of their customers.

To top their social-friendly website, Zappos also leverages social media with custom sites like Pin­pointing, which utilizes Pinterest users’ posts to make shopping recommendations for them. This initiative, combined with encouraging and facilitat­ing social sharing, allows Zappos to generate both quantifiable ROI and more comprehensive ROF (Re­turn on Fan).

The lesson: Use customer endorsement to drive sales through social

While a strong social presence is essen­tial for overall success, what sets Zappos apart from other companies successful in social engagement is their ability to leverage consumers to sell products for them.

Leader in Leveraging Facebook to Increase Website Traffic: Fab.com

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Creating a website with social built-in

Fab.com has done everything from facilitating and incentivizing social endorsement to actually creating a live “newsfeed” on the site using Facebook Open Graph. This Newsfeed populates in real-time with user activity on Facebook, creating a constant influx of new user generated content and allowing users to browse and buy this socially shared content directly from Facebook or their website. Using these tactics, in just four months Fab was able to double its referral traffic from Facebook and ex­pand its membership from 1.8 to 3.2 million users.

The lesson: Incorporate social media into your website

Fab. com created a website entirely integrated with the social world and doubled its user base with a large percentage of high lifetime value customers. The more social value Fab creates – such as adding recommendations based on friend’s purchases in the live stream – the more users will purchase their products and share with their social graphs.

Leader in Generating Leads: Kirkland’s

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Kirkland’s spent 2011 growing their social media following with a focus on Facebook: they now have over 580k Facebook ‘Likes’. Upon reaching their de­sired audience size and seeing higher traffic to and increased social spending on their site, the company shifted their attention to cultivating their following by creating valuable content.

Embracing social commerce: Kirkland’s Dream Room Giveaway sweepstakes

Kirkland’s used the sweepstake entry-for-email transactional method to create great value for both fans and the company. Fans entered their basic in­formation without ever leaving their Facebook page, combining Discovery (newsfeed), Interaction (pro­motion), and Transaction (entry-for-email). Using this value-creation tactic, Kirkland’s was able to gather 16,400 fan emails, 2,269 of which were new to their database.

$0.66/new qualified email address and other quantifiable benefits

The Kirkland’s Dream Room Giveaway led to over 2,000 qualified (qualifying a lead was based on the average spending for each email obtained through Facebook) new emails obtained at an average price of $0.66. More than just lead generation, the Dream Home Giveaway campaign offered returns not directly linked to monetary gains, with an increase of 40% in new Facebook ‘Likes’ and 47% more people ‘Talk­ing about’ Kirkland’s for the month of August.

The lesson: “Free” offers in social can drive ROI with the right exchange of information

The value of social media amounts to far more than driving direct sales and managing customer re­lations. By creating a free offer in exchange for an email address, Kirkland’s was able to cheaply drive qualified leads, filling the sales pipeline and driving revenue further down the line.

With every single one of these case studies, you can learn not only how and what to do regarding PR & crisis communications scenarios, but also how to better leverage social media to increase web traffic, generate leads and revenue without having to resort to using promotions such as contests just to drive engagement and conversation. You can use them as a means of nurturing leads as well.

What’s your favourite case study that’s taught you something new about utilizing social media?

For more on social media tools and the importance of leveraging platforms to create effective campaigns, check out my post on Tips on How to Leverage Social Media to Effectively Promote Events.

-Lilian

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Optimize Your Social Media Strategy With Google+

Recently, I started looking into learning more about Google+. With new business opportunities and more chances to place content on different platforms, I decided to also expand the social media platforms that I was syndicating content on.

After using the platform for a period of time, I wanted more info on what I could be doing better, so I did some research. I’ve put together this post for anyone who has ever thought about using Google+ but doesn’t know where to start.

Here are the tips that I learned after reading the ‘How to Optimize Your Social Channels for Lead Generation’ e-book:

1)      Complete the About Page: The about page is a fantastic opportunity to give a quick overview of what your business is all about. You can also link back to specific pages and services from this page directing potential customers to the most important pages on your website.

Take advantage of the fact that Google+ allows you to use bullets in your description which makes it simple to create an easy to read list of your products and services. You can also include links to specific pages and a contact form.

2)      Google Events: The Events feature which allows G+ users to send out customized invitations to anyone regardless of whether or not they are G+ users. It syncs beautifully with Google Calendar and shows up automatically when a user confirms for an event. In addition to sending out invites to webinars, work functions, parties, etc., Google Events can also send out invites for Google Hangouts.

The “Party mode” feature of Events allows everyone in attendance to instantly upload pictures to the same album using the Google+ mobile app, creating a living, real-time photo journal of a specific time and place.

3)      Post Often and Optimize: It’s important to include keywords within your posts so that they will show up in your followers’ search results. Google’s search algorithm includes personalized search results specifically pulled from Google+ activity. The more relevant and content-based your Google+ posts are, the more search results you are likely to show up in.

4)      Claim your ownership of content. Google Authorship is how Google authenticates and will increasingly begin to “trust” you as a quality source of content.  You set up Google Authorship  identifying yourself to Google through your Google+ profile and then link back to it from your content and vice versa. Google authorship is the easiest way to take advantage of the SEO benefits of Google+. Doing so will allow the author’s picture to show up next to his blog posts in Google search results, causing higher rankings and click through rates.

5)      How to Claim Google Authorship through 2 Easy Steps:

Step 1: Add a link to your Google Plus profile on each of your blog posts.  On each of your blog posts, add a link to your Google Plus profile with “rel=author” attached to the end of thelink URL. E.g., https://plus.google.com/111498947729292607681?rel=author. For example the end result would look like this: “By Jason Miller”

 Step 2: Link from your Google Plus profile back to your blog.  After you add a link to your Google Plus profile on each one of your blog posts, the last step is to link from the opposite direction, from your Google Plus profile to your blog. You do this by adding a link to your blog in the “Contributor to” section of your Google plus profile.

 I hope this helps those of you struggling on how to use Google+. I know it opened my eyes on how to effectively incorporate another social media platform to my strategy for my business.

-Lilian

PS. Stay tuned on here for more marketing tools & tips, social media advice & how-tos as well as fun posts on unique interior design & architecture and commentary on Victoria’s food scene.