“Break it down – Stop, Hammer time!”
Although MC Hammer’s classic tune isn’t exactly Home Depot’s theme song, for these purposes it may as well be. After analyzing the brand’s social success, we broke down the contributing components by way of marketing factors and social networks. In between online marketing, of course, they have to stop for – you got it, hammer time.
The world’s largest home improvement retailer has been around since 1979 – long before Google! Through the years, they have not only effectively transitioned into the Internet-era, but learned how to thrive. Home Depot’s strong focus on customer service has likely aided their social adoption: more ways to reach and serve customers means higher customer satisfaction and increased visibility.
Home Depot is well-known for building, painting, storage, décor and tools – hammers included – and now they can add social media to the list. They are successful in social media marketing for several reasons. They maintain an incredibly active social presence, regularly engage their audience, capitalize on timely events and add value. They also create original content on their blog, “The Apron.” We provide a more detailed analysis below.
Here’s how you can emulate Home Depot’s success in social media marketing:
Maintain an active social presence. The definition of “active” varies across social networks – what works on one network may be overwhelming on another. For instance, Pinterest does not have any limit to how many pins is appropriate – in fact, the more pins, the better. Engagement on Pinterest results from optimized boards and a wealth of quality pins and repins.
On some social networks, however, such as Facebook, there is a point in which you go from being an “active brand” to an overbearing one. We recommend one to three posts per day from a brand Facebook page. Similarly, a top priority in blogging is quality. Unless your company has the manpower to create copious amounts of quality content every day, one post a day will still suffice in increasing visibility and thought leadership.
There is no recommended limit of tweets per day on Twitter. As shown below, tweeting several times a day has proven beneficial for Home Depot. They currently have over 116,000 followers and frequently ask questions, include multimedia features and utilize trending hashtags.
Engage your audience. The most important part of being engaging is interacting! Social media is unique in its ability to connect you to people you may never reach otherwise. The methods in which to go about engaging your audience will vary depending on your products and services. Before beginning efforts to garner engagement, however, it’s best to determine your brand voice and goals, as well as audience demographics. This will help you shape your social presence.
Home Depot has established a lifestyle brand around all aspects of home building, maintenance, décor and gardening. They understand their target audience and therefore are more effective in marketing to them. With over one million fans on Facebook, their content on the social network includes consumer polls, helpful tips, product/service promotions, “Tell us Tuesdays,” and “Mystery Product” guessing games.
Capitalize on timely events. Whether it’s a national holiday or industry-specific season, there’s always something to celebrate or integrate into your messaging. If your profiles and posts are correctly optimized, this increases the likelihood of trending content.
Spring is a big deal in the home improvement industry. Home Depot created the campaign “Dig in & Save” around the seasonal concepts of spring cleaning, gardening and house projects. They encourage their audience to join the conversation using the hashtag #digin, promoting it across all channels – including a blog series on transforming backyards with their Garden Club. Their timely videos displayed at the top of their YouTube page demonstrates their ability to keep up with the trends!
Add Value. Social networks provide the ability to do so much more than just promote your products/services in one-way ads. It allows brands the opportunity to bring more than just sales to the table in that once you understand your audience, you can become a resource for them. Betty Croker has that down pat – their audience can use their Twitter page as a Q & A for baking tips!
Home Depot has created a similar digital environment, especially on Pinterest. Staying true to their home lifestyle brand, they have boards ranging from “Summer Celebrations” and “All About Paint,” to “Gift Ideas” and “The Eco Friendly Home.” Many of the pins – such as all of the recipes in the grilling board – are not selling any of their products. Yet they’re included to add value for the consumer, in hopes that next time they need a new grill or replacement parts, they’ll remember where they got their favorite recipe. This is a beneficial strategy all brands can learn from.
Have any other brands you think we should examine? We’d love feedback in the comments below!