April 23, 2012, 10:37 AM

Finding the right social marketing strategy

An IRCE speaker talks about the link between social media and branding.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Lead Photo

Tom Funk

To capitalize on the power of social media to engage consumers, e-retailer Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. has developed a multi-pronged approach to building its brand and its online sales, says Tom Funk, senior marketing manager, digital and direct, for the e-retailer’s Specialty Coffee Business Unit. Funk will share tips on effective social medial strategies at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012  in a session entitled “The many flavors of a social strategy: What will work for you?

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, which has about 2 million fans on Facebook and is No. 99 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, organizes its social media strategy around four primary goals related to promoting its brands, providing customer service, gathering customer feedback and generating sales. The goals are:

● Brand management. In using social media to get consumers more engaged with its brands, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters publishes daily content to social networks, engages consumers in one-to-one online communications, offers free product samples and presents a range of sweepstakes.

● Customer service. “Like all retailers, we’re finding many consumer questions and issues have migrated from the call center to the social networks,” Funk says. “So customer care agents are a vital part of our social media team.”

● Customer feedback. “I’ll share some great examples of how our Facebook fans have helped shape our adoption of new logos, slogans and other marketing decisions, as well as provide valuable testimonials,” Funk says.

● Sales. While social media can help to amplify and spread promotions and launches of new products, some social offers are more effective than others, Funk says. For example, the retailer’s Café Express Savings Club, which presents special promotions to customers who place recurring orders, has generated about seven times as many sales per posted deal on Facebook than other social marketing efforts, he says. Recent promotions by the club on Facebook have included 15% off gift baskets and a sweepstakes for a free Vermont ski trip.

Funk will also provide a peek into two new social marketing tactics the retailer is exploring: refer-a-friend programs and advertising on Facebook.

Internet Retailer’s editors asked Funk to speak not only because of his work at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, but his previous experience at e-commerce services provider Timberline Interactive. Before joining Timberline, Tom spent six years as web manager at The Vermont Teddy Bear Co., and sister brands including Calyx & Corolla and PajamaGram.

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