Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Getting the most out of your social media marketing

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) ensures that all of a company's communications and messages coincide with one another, so a company has a consistent brand. If a company has consistent messaging and all of their communication channels work in harmony, the company's message will have more impact and will reach a larger audience. I took a closer look at three different bridal retailers to see how they were utilizing IMC on their social media networks.

David's Bridal

David's Bridal takes advantage of Integrated Marketing Communications by having consistent imagery and messaging on the Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram, Google Plus and Pinterest page. Each of their social media accounts also have links to either the David's Bridal website, or their other social media accounts. Having links to other accounts helps spread the brand's message and drive traffic to the other networks. If the brand's Facebook followers click on the link for Instagram, they are receiving the brand's message on multiple platforms, which increases the likelihood that the message will be heard.

David's Bridal's social media accounts all use the same image of a bride and groom, so consumers can recognize the brand no matter what network they're on (right). David's Bridal also uses the same font and colors in all of their wording. As you can see from the images on the right, the David's Bridal logo is consistent across all social media networks.

Posting up-to-date content is key to social media engagement, and David's Bridal does a good job of keeping consumers informed. New content and pictures are posted daily on all of David's Bridal's social media accounts. This ensures consumers will continuously check-in because they know they'll receive fresh information.

One way David's Bridal could improve their social media strategy is to take advantage of hashtags. The brand does a good job of utilizing the trend on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, but they're not utilizing the trend markers on Facebook or Google Plus. Hashtags are a powerful marketing tool. If used correctly, they can lead people who don't follow your social media accounts to your content. Brides are searching for content, so it's important that David's Bridal uses hashtags on all of their accounts so they can reach more potential consumers.

Allure Bridals

Allure Bridals does an okay job of integrating their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts, but one of their networks is seriously lacking. Allure isn't taking advantage of it's Google Plus page. Maybe the bridal company hasn't discovered the advantages that Google Plus provides, like boosting content in search results and increasing SEO. Google Plus has the second largest amount of active users of any search engine, so Allure Bridals is missing out on a lot of potential customers by not having any Google Plus posts.

One of Allure Bridals' best examples of Integrated Marketing Communications is on their Pinterest page. The brand has different boards that connect with their other marketing content (below). Some of the categories are, "our allure brides," "our blog: wedding wednesdays" and "allure behind the scenes." These pinned images lead followers to Allure's website and blog, extending the reach of the brand's message.

Part of Allure Bridals' brand consistency comes from the brand's imagery. All of the brand's social network profile pictures are the same, so as soon as consumers see that image, they're associating it with the Allure brand. Also to maintain consistency, Allure uses the same message in their social bios (below, right): "Whether your style is classic and traditional or bold and dramatic --- it all starts with how your dress makes you feel. And nothing feels like an Allure." The consistency on all networks helps drive the message home.

Excluding the Google Plus page, Allure Bridals does a good job of keeping their social media content up-to-date. The brand could improve their marketing by increasing the amount of Tweets they post daily. Because Twitter is constantly updating, a company should Tweet multiple times in a day in order to make sure their content is being seen. Allure is posting on Twitter once or twice, almost every day. By increasing their tweets, they can increase brand awareness.

Although Allure does a good job of leading consumers to their website (above), they could improve their IMC by having links to their other social media accounts. Allure's Facebook page has a link to it's Instagram account, but other than that, there are no connections. Allure could add social media buttons across all of their social media accounts to ensure they're reaching the largest number of people.

Another area where Allure Bridal's could improve is their use of hashtags. The bridal shop isn't taking advantage of hashtags on any of their social media networks. By not using hashtags on all of their content, they're missing out on being part of a larger conversation, and they're content won't be found in searches.

Kleinfeld Bridal

Like Allure Bridal's, Kleinfeld Bridal isn't taking advantage of it's Google Plus page. The bridal brand does have a profile picture that is consistent with the images on the brand's other social media accounts, but they have only posted on the network once. With 135 million active users on Google Plus, it's important for businesses to be present on the site. If business let their Google Plus page lapse, they're allowing competition to show up higher in search results, and missing out on sales.

Of all three brands, Kleinfeld does the best job of integrating all of their social media accounts. Within the past day, the company has tweeted and posted a photo on Instagram about how their Facebook page has reached 177,000 fans (below). By sharing their Facebook accomplishment on their other social media networks, they're reaching more followers and driving their followers to check out their other social media platforms.

Kleinfeld also uses the same images, fonts and colors on all social media accounts, to ensure consistency and branding. The profile picture and background images on Kleinfeld's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google Plus pages are of the company's storefront in New York City, and a simple black and white Kleinfeld logo. The storefront image and the brand's logo help make the social media networks look official and legitimate.

Excluding Kleinfeld's Google Plus page, the brand consistently provides followers with fresh content. Yesterday the company tweeted five times, which increases the likelihood their message will reach followers and their brand will be in the minds of consumers. While some of the company's tweets and social media posts have hashtags, they could include more so they're always part of conversations regarding the wedding industry and their products.

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