A social media audience audit is a great exercise and opportunity to review a company’s digital assets for enhancement and refresh. Here is an example to browse for the iconic for profit brand, L. L. Bean. I would like to share this article for insight and education.
Target Audience: L.L. Bean’s audience is vibrant with a love for the environment. Customers are typically looking for out-door adventures in scenic locations. The primary demographics for L.L. Bean’s target audience are college educated men and women in the age category of 35-54. A thrust to grow geographically presents new pop up store locations for more customer access (McCormick, 2014). The marketing objectives leverage their social ecosystem in the following digital channels: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the L.L. Bean e-commerce store and other channels.
Digital Conversation: In a robust effort to grow L.L. Bean’s brand, a multichannel strategy as been in force since 2008 to engage more customers online. To build brand awareness sites such as Facebook, Twitter and other networks such as Pinterest, a quest for creative content with text, images and video are harnessed for customer engagement (McCormick, 2014). They recently deployed a Google+ platform as well. A diligent social media policy recommends a periodic audit of social media channels to evaluate digital effectiveness.
#1 L.L. Bean, Website: URL: http://www.llbean.com
Themes: The e-commerce page focuses on the “shipped for free” and “guaranteed to last” brand promise. When the shopper opens the page, a menu is presented at the top to get the buyer to the particular product.
Audience Sentiment: The storefront would be greatly improved if the shopper receives service seamlessly. Recently, a customer needed to get to Facebook to communicate their shopping issues shown below. As I went back a few hours later the post is not showing. They reached out to the shopper to get her satisfied. This is an area that suggests a special location for posting for customer service ordering issues with a real-time function such as a live chat box.
Group Dynamics: The page does not directly promote social media until the shopper scrolls to the bottom of the page. A browser may sign up for email notifications. The “What’s New” menu at the top offers more engaging content. If a customer has time they may find it but not easily.
In reviewing several of their social media channels, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ all emphasize community and customer engagement. For Facebook & Google+, the content themes utilize digital photography of videos of special places of beauty, social stories of customers committed to hobbies and upcoming events. Their Pinterest boards show nice synergy with great opportunity for additional market reach (L.L.Bean, Pinterest, 2015).
L.L. Bean, Google+: URL: https://plus.google.com/+llbean/videos
Themes: The digital community for Google+ is more robust with a higher level of video themes. L.L. Bean’s inventory of products is marketed through the lens of a camera. It is geared to more instructional videos and product advice to engage the person who is looking to purchase apparel or sports equipment. The themes are not static and are changing to add great value to their product lines. There is a seasonality tone to this network. Some indications observe that some of the content is outdated with earlier videos needing a refresh.
Audience Sentiment: The sentiment is very positive, with approximately 3,448 followers and over 2 million views of their videos (L.L.Bean google+, 2015). The platform is more personalized as it links the browser’s google circles and friends serving as a brand beacon to reinforce their mission and value proposition (Solis, 2011, p. 98).
If there are markdowns or new product launches for upcoming events, like back-to-school, it will upload here in the Google+ social platform.
L.L. Bean Twitter: URL: https://twitter.com/llbean
Themes: Twitter is the fastest marketing strategy to capture audiences (Schaefer, 2014, p. 125). L.L. Bean can harness this platform for both promotion and customer communication. Twitter offers a great venue for building their brand for upcoming local events. For example the tweet on the Maine Lobster Festival utilizes their hashtag: #TheWayLifeShouldBe (L.L. Bean, Twitter, 2015).
Audience Sentiment: There are many followers to their twitter handle as they promote the brand through imagery and catchy creative content with eye-catching photos. Their twitter feed has great accolades and opportunities for growth.
Group Dynamics: The tweets average around 3-5 per frame and therefore show a minimal amount of response from browsers. The content aligns to their Facebook pages as well.
Discrepancies: In evaluating each of the digital assets for L.L. Bean, there are limited postings to indicate which customers have or will buy a product. Facebook shows good and bad postings of a Mom that endorses the school backpack that she did buy for her child. I did not notice a button to allow a tweet for that buying behavior. One comment that is an issue is that a Facebook customer, wanted to be part of the Red Sox gift card raffle this weekend but due to his lack of a Twitter account he is not able to opt in. It is imperative to respond to customer questions as you always service and respect the voice of the consumer. L.L. Bean will need to continue to bind the customer to their products as this may be the difference in a lost lead and/ or lost revenue.
Opportunities: L.L. Bean scores well for marketing initiatives showing a commitment to guarantee and quality. They have many social media channels that are creative in content and presentation. One first marketing initiative is a contest in Pinterest to innovate the best board for back-to-school college weeks ahead. These type of initiatives create a strong brand persona for their products.
Some areas do need improvements for customer service. Customers desire oversight and sharing content back and forth with shoppers is critical service. They are slower on real-time personalization to the customer shopping experience. A real-time ratings and review program would of importance to increase customer feedback. For L.L. Bean to maximize their opportunities, they have to post more and be active on all of their social networks to elevate their daily posts, utilize their social media to convert followers to customers (Lachance Shandrow, 2013). The marketing team must be skillful at conversation, authenticity and driving data (360i, 2013).
Participation: In browsing their Facebook community for a week, the emphasis is centered on a holistic marketing approach. Their involvement in branding is deployed by uploading video themes to solicit the buyer to engage in outdoor sports, pet ownership or social stories of real people. The goals of their Facebook page are to engage their followers for social media connections and ultimately click the white shop now button.
The Twitter promotion for Maine day shows many people tweeted and real-time photos have been uploaded. The Facebook community operates favorably as it has a purpose as cumulatively, 500,000 people have clicked likes and comments. Many participants are clicking “likes” but not a great deal of conversation being exchanged back and forth.
To continue to foster their brand recognition, the L.L. Bean Bootmobile travels to greet physical communities. For this last week, on July 29th at 7:30pm, the boot truck reached out to a group of runners for a 10k road race (L.L. Bean, 2015). This announcement started conversation as many people added locations where they saw the truck.
This marketing strategy fosters the brand’s promise to reach out to customers for appreciation. By connecting out to their audience both virtually and physically the brand represents the pinnacle of their core values (Solis, 2011, p. 103). Neil Perkin suggests that the company must continue to reward people’s motivations and actively make all L.L. Bean’s media vibrant. A call to action for content that is always on the brand is paramount (Perkin, 2010, p. 2). This audit will propose a plan of market initiatives to build more relevance and organic growth to L.L. Bean.
See below another company from London, England called Burberry, that utilizes progressive social media technology to meet their marketing objectives.
References from talented authors and links for further study:
Christopher J. (Chris) McCormick – President and CEO, L.L. Bean (2014). San Francisco: Boardroom Insiders, Inc. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.snhu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1657237695?accountid=3783
Image Credit. Social Media Audit (2015, July 31). Retrieved from http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=aaplw&p=Social+media+Audit+images
Lachance Shandrow, K. (2013, September 16). 10 Questions to ask when creating a social-media marketing plan. Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228324
L.L. Bean (2015, July 29-August 2). Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/llbean?_rdr=p
L.L. Bean (2015, July 31). Google+. Retrieved from https://plus.google.com/+llbean/posts
L.L. Bean (2015, July 30). Twitter. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/LLBean
L.L. Bean. (2015, July 29). Website. Retrieved from http://www.llbean.com/?nav=gn
L.L. Bean. (2015, August 1). Website. Retrieved from http://www.llbean.com/?nav=gn
Perkin, N. (2010, July 21). 10 key principles behind digital community. Retrieved from http://neilperkin.typepad.com/only_dead_fish/2010/07/10-key-principles-behind-digital-community.html
Schaefer, M.W. (2014). Social Media explained. Untangling the world’s most misunderstood business trend. Lexington, KY: Library of Congress.
Seven Habits of Highly Digital Brands [360i.com blog entry]. n.d. Retrieved from http://www.360i.com/reports/7-habits-highly-digital-brands/
Solis, B. (2011). Engage, the complete guide for brands and businesses to build, cultivate, and measure success in the new web. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.