Localizing a locally owned business: Social Media Community Building & an Austin Introduction
Campaign Expertise: Social Media Marketing , Media Relations, Partnership Development, Content Marketing, Blogging, Local Store Marketing, Email Marketing
Furnish 123 is an innovative idea in furniture retailing focused on simplicity, independence and value. The store aims to make furniture shopping exciting, fun and affordable and less intimidating for a generation of social media savvy shoppers. Featuring a vast collection of quality home furnishing, Furnish 123 offers a simple display and a straight forward no hassle one-price price strategy per category. The store is owned and operated by the owners of Gage Furniture, Austin’s oldest furniture store.
When Furnish 123 Austin recently opened, they needed a public relations and social media firm that would help help educate the Austin community about its opening and differentiate the Austin store from its other nationwide Furnish 123 chains. The Gage family, with over 70 years of experience selling furniture in Austin, wanted the Furnish 123 store to stand out as a truly uniquely Austin store. While Furnish 123 Austin is not an impersonal chain store. It was tailored specifically for Austin by Austin people. The goal was to promote the store’s simple retailing model while communicating its strong Austin roots and ownership.
- I. Localization
Jetté Momant PR & Event Productions developed and initiated a Local Store Marketing plan to reach out to local area businesses, neighborhood associations, apartments, condos and universities within a 10 – 15 mile radius of the store.
- II. Local outreach to loyal Gage Furniture patrons
Capitalizing upon Gage Furniture’s 70 year involvement in the Austin community, Jetté Momant PR & Event Productions crafted “A New Year, A New Way to Shop” email campaign letter which thanked Gage patrons for their loyalty and introduced Furnish 123.
- III. Media Relations Strategy to introduce Furnish 123 to Austin
To introduce the new store to Austin and explain the concept and that it was locally owned, we devised a media relations campaign that included a press release, a Fact Sheet on the new store concept, a backgrounder on the Gage Family (Gage Furniture and Furnish 123 owners) store and merchandise photos.
- IV. Social Media Marketing
The Gage Family is about building genuine relationships with their customers and within the Austin Community. They wanted to apply the same strong relationship building practices online via social media.
The Gage Family is about building genuine relationships with their customers and within the Austin Community. They wanted to apply the same strong relationship building practices online via social media. To provide Furnish 123 direction and a consistent voice, we engineered a social media marketing/business plan and a 12 month social media content calendar. We made certain the content was relevant, helpful, informative , engaging and consistent.
Then, we launched Furnish 123’s social media and crowd-sourced review channel profiles, including: Twitter, Facebook and Yelp. Instead of fans being greeted by a content heavy wall, their first impression of the Furnish 123 Austin Facebook page is a branded welcome page that introduces new visitors to the concept. We constructed this landing page to encourage additional “likes” and engagement.
Rather than just broadcasting about the brand or asking potential fans to “like” Furnish 123, we utilized updates to ask questions such as:
- how Furnish 123 could serve the community
- what types of furniture items people were looking for
- how we could help improve furniture shopping experiences
We shared room design tips, information about local shows, local designers to check out, F123′s ACL & SXSW pics, and Austin area nonprofit causes.
The channel was also employed for customer service: addressing concerns, answering questions, etc.
Rather than just broadcasting about the brand or asking potential fans to “like” Furnish 123, we utilized updates to ask questions about how Furnish 123 could serve the community
Since they have to take an express action to “like” a page, Fans and Followers are often qualified leads and potential customers. People who opt into the brands social media channels are looking for online community interaction with other fans/followers and want to build a relationship with the brand. Jetté Momant PR & Event Productions delivered relevant content that kept fans and followers engaged. There was a low attrition rate on all social media channels and significant growth.
Furnish 123 Austin experienced return on investment from engaging in social media which was measured not only by the growth of fans and followers, but instead by “heads in beds and booties in seats”: the volume of people that came into the store to make a purchase after engaging with the brand online via Twitter, Facebook and reviewing Yelp feedback. The Furnish 123 staff did a wonderful job of asking customers how they found out about the store and store promotions. Often, it was via the different social media channels.
Furnish 123 Austin experienced a strong return on investment from engaging in social media which was measured not only by the growth of fans and followers, but by the volume of people that came into the store to make a purchase after engaging with the brand online via Twitter, Facebook and reviewing Yelp feedback.
- V. Email Marketing
Jetté Momant PR & Event Productions set up Furnish 123’s email list and crafted content to share relevant information as well as receive and respond to customer feedback.
Our firm currently oversees all email club promotions, communications and list management. We created an e-club reward system that instantly gives new email club users an exclusive deal (2 free throw pillows or $50 off of $300). Users can also provide Furnish 123 instant feedback via this system to help ensure customer satisfactions. We create targeted content and leverage the email club to provide exclusive insider information to subscribers such as Groupon and promotional alerts, contests and behind the scene looks at Furnish 123 local artists and designers.
Furnish 123 earned the permission of its Furnish 123 email subscribers to send email to their inbox. No Furnish 123 email club member is sent email without them first opting in. Therefore, since they have chosen to receive communication from Furnish 123, the club members are prime leads for Furnish 123. We help to nurture these leads by sending targeted content with premium offers rather than a monthly newsletter. Each email had clear calls to action rather than the multi-messaging that email newsletters tend to have. This results in actual product purchases at Furnish 123 by these club members and has contributed to approximately 1,400 subscribers.
Total Twitter Followers: 105
Total Email Club Members (as of 9.24.2011): 1397
Total Facebook Fans:743
Facebook Fan Engagement:
Total Wall Views: 7,084
External Referrers Include:
- The Furnish 123 Austin Website: 470
- Search Engine Referrals (Google, Bing, Yahoo) : 301
- (Majority from Google: 250)
Post Views (number of times Fans & Non Fans have viewed a News Feed story posted on the page): 97,911
Feedback ( number of likes and comments made on News Feed stories posted on the page): 1, 100