Its Facebook page clocks in at 185,297 likes, making it one of the top five most liked retail pages in New Zealand. Add a successful Pinterest presence, YouTube channel and Twitter to the mix and you’ve got an unexpected social media success story.
Mitre 10 general marketing manager Dave Elliot says there’s no great secret behind having a strong social media presence. It’s a matter of being genuine.
“We pay a lot of attention and care to how we use [social media] and what we post to ensure the social contact we have is not an advertising platform by any means, but a way of having a relationship with our customers. We add value to what they’re doing,” he says.
Mitre 10 general marketing manager Dave Elliot
He gives an example of a customer photo Mitre 10 recently republished which featured a woman crossing the road to Mitre 10 while cradling a baby llama in her arms. It was aptly captioned, “Why did the llama cross the road?”
It racked up over 1000 likes, and hundreds of llama-inspired puns cropped up in the comments.
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously and have a bit of fun,” Elliot says.
Mitre 10’s tactic of coming across like a friend offering advice and sharing funny photos seems to be working. The store’s sales were up 10.1 percent last year, cracking the $1 billion mark for the first time.
Chief executive Neil Cowie told the New Zealand Herald Mitre 10’s ‘Easy As’ campaign that appeared on TV, in store and on social media helped pushed retail sales.
The ‘Easy As’ videos have hundreds of thousands of views and show basic DIY jobs that all people need to do at some point, such as how to fix a hole in the wall or how to build a deck.
The videos are still incredibly popular, says Elliot. More ‘Easy As’ YouTube videos have been downloaded in January this year than in the first 12 months of the campaign.
“How to build a deck” with DIY instructor Stan Scott is currently the most popular video on Mitre 10’s YouTube channel, with 296,937 views.
Mitre 10’s regular Sunday ‘Show us the results” posts on Facebook have also been popular. In this campaign, Facebookers are encouraged to post a photo of a DIY project which they’ve completed over the weekend.
Elliot says people on social media will grab at an opportunity to share their successes, so the posts let them to have a moment of pride as they are congratulated by Mitre 10.
“It’s about giving them confidence going into a project and the satisfaction of a job well done going out. It’s a great feeling isn’t it? It’s part of our ethos and what we’re doing on Facebook,” he says.
The social media campaigns are part of the strategy Mitre 10 launched in 2013 to grow its digital platform.
Changes made that year included a responsively designed website which would automatically adjust to a user’s device, and wi-fi connected kiosks in stores that showed content.
Elliot says over 50 percent of people on Mitre 10’s website and social media access the platforms via mobile and tablet, compared to around 14 percent a few years ago.
He says Mitre 10 is pleased it moved forward when it did, as it’s important for retail businesses to keep evolving at the same pace as their customers.
“Retail is a response to culture, so therefore you’re responding to what people are doing. If people are using Google watches and Google Glass then you need to evolve,” he says.
Here are some tips from the man himself on having a strong social media presence.
- It’s always good to be there first. We were reasonably early adopters of digital and that’s what we focused on doing. In the digital space, it’s good to try and identify where the future lies and have the first mover advantage. Getting that awareness and preference of users is key.
- Everything we do on social media is seated in our brand framework. We have a very clear idea of who we are, what we do and the kind of experience we want to give our customers. Be clear on why your brand exists and reflect that in different channels and media.
- The way you act on social media should be the way it is in real life. Be genuine.
- Monitor your different channels and set goals. We have a dashboard in the office with TV screens showing what our social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, is saying. We like to ensure we remain above the 6 percent engagement rate [on Facebook].
- Deliver what the brand promises and be useful and relevant for those accessing your social media, because that’s the reason they’re accessing it in the first place.