It is no surprise how fast social media has become an important piece in every company’s marketing plan. However, what may come as a surprise is how the success of the plan is estimated to change. How many likes or followers a company has no longer automatically grants social success. The relationships built between the customers in terms of “comments, shares, downloads, retweets, subscriptions, lead generations, or anything else that prompts human beings to take action” are beginning to show a company’s true success.
Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms with over 1.15 billion users. It is an important platform to take advantage of because it “provides an excellent means by which a company can not only demonstrate their expertise in any given area, but they can actively create a brand personality”. One company that has been successful, but could still use some improving on Facebook is Ten Thousand Villages (TTV).
Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade, independent nonprofit, charitable organization (501(c)3) that is dedicated to offering unique handmade gifts, jewelry, home decor, art and sculpture, textiles, serveware and personal accessories. Each item sold at TTV helps to improve the lives of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans that represent the diverse culture in 38 countries including Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. (Ten Thousand Villages, n.d.).
Ten Thousand Villages joined Facebook in 2009 and as of December 2014, they have 42,682 “likes”. Since Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade company, the majority of the posts discuss the countries they work with or highlight the artisan groups that make the products. They also include information and links to articles when the store is mentioned in the news. Each posting has a picture included, which helps draw attention to the information being presented. The company puts a lot of emphasis in educating consumers about its mission and what their purchases mean for the artisan groups.
They also offer sales promotions on a regular basis, which include discounts, sampling, and occasionally a sweepstakes or contest that the customers can enter. The discounts are usually 20% for a specific country or artisans group and can only be used online. Ten Thousand Villages also includes links to its official website and to its other social media sites to make it easier to connect with customers on each page. The company has also incorporated Instagram on its official Facebook page.
Ten Thousand Villages has also created several other pages for its individual stores. These pages do not have nearly as many “likes”, but it is an easier way for the customers to connect with their local stores. These pages do not post every day, but they tend to include more pictures of items available in the store in addition to the posts about the countries and artisan groups they work with.
Ten Thousand Villages has done a great job managing Facebook, however, they are not currently taking full advantage of the platform. TTV is very active on Facebook, but the company does not post every single day. It is very obvious that this store is well liked because it has hundreds of positive reviews. However, the majority of the reviews are only “liked” by the store and the responses are very professional instead of personal. If a customer posts a specific question or concern on the store’s wall, TTV does a great job of addressing the question or concern, but does not try to continue the conversation. When customers comment on a post, the store likes the majority of the responses, but does not engage with the customers unless they have a question. All of these improvements could significantly enhance the traffic to its sight and improve customer relationships.
The psychics at Verticalresponse have created a pocket guide for companies looking to improve engagement and break through the social media clutter. Ten Thousand Villages could benefit from adapting some of the “do’s” such as responding within an hour and removing some of the “don’ts” like ignoring its audience.