The “Paint and Sip” industry is surprisingly large and growing dramatically. It contains both corporate players (who tend to not have the sip part) and dozens of fast-growing creative franchises. These venues combine art or craft, wine, instruction and social interaction with peers to deliver a unique, warm, fun and connected experience in the form of a class.
This success story is about an Arts & Crafts Entertainment franchise located in central Texas. While the franchise is growing and expanding, it is constantly looking to increase its awareness and attract new first-time customers to its offering.
Developing and maintaining a good social media marketing campaign is normally a long and time-consuming commitment. Beyond that, the constant challenge is to drive engagement with your business by providing an endless stream of content that captures the attention and the imagination of your prospective customers.
The business was on a limited budget, and realized that a Facebook advertising campaign to drive interest and engagement to their website was likely to be cost prohibitive; 1500 new customers viewing their site each month would likely cost more than $1000.
The business has only a handful of employees, all of which are very busy. While fully acknowledging the necessity of a social media marketing strategy, the reality is they were constrained by manpower and hours.
The owners of the franchise decided to try the Social Flash MOBILE product as a solution.
It was inexpensive, easy to use, and it had the potential to push most of the heavy lifting in the Social Networking world to its very happy customers and their network of friends to “get the digital word out” about their art studio experience.
The venue dedicated one iPad with the Social Flash MOBILE application installed on it, and had a few additional personal iPhones also install the application as the download and installation is free. In the event the iPad was not available, they could quickly log into their account from an iPhone and take photos.
As with most things in life, a bit of practice went a long way. The workers got more skilled at “capturing the moment” in terms of experiences throughout the class. They became disciplined to take photos with each class event.
One of the workers at the venue oversees capturing some photos for each class. This was historically done anyway, but in a more random fashion. Consequently, the content was sitting on different mobile phones and iPads. With the Social Flash MOBILE application, this helps keep all the content in a centralized cloud storage area that can be accessed at a later time.
The photographs are snapped with the Social Flash MOBILE application on the iPad or iPhone, and automatically branded with the studio name and logo. Campaigns can be easily constructed to switch between various campaigns – a swipe gesture on the iPad is all it takes.
The photos are shown to the customers, and they are asked if they want a copy of the photos sent to their mobile phone (or to their email). The number is typed in, and with the click of a button these photos are routed through the Social Flash Media Marketing Platform and received by the customer. The studio staff, full of enthusiasm, mentions that sharing these photos on Facebook or Twitter will really help their business.
The customer receives the photo link on their smart phone. Dependent upon the promotion settings, the customer could be asked if they wanted to be included on the mailing list for monthly updates or watch a short promotional video before continuing on to their photo(s). When they arrive at their photo page, the customer is presented with the choice of sharing the photo image immediately to their Facebook or Twitter personal account. This is, once again, initiated with a simple click of the “Share” button.
When the photo image is posted, it also contains key traceable information so the business can track how successful the post was in terms of engagement (Likes, Comments and Shares). The post also contains information about the venue and a link that takes curious and interested people to the web page of choice – such as a schedule of upcoming Arts & Crafts classes.
At this point, the shared post is taking a unique and magical journey through the social network gaining virality along the way. As far as the venue’s next steps, it checks the analytics reports to see how successful it is doing with engagement.
There are several reasons why this social awareness effort works so well. No doubt, it all starts with having a great product offering and having lots of happy customers who are proud of their artistic accomplishments. All the social marketing in the world is not going to save a bad offering. Looking at why this was so successful comes down to three key factors:
CONTENT. The first building block for success is the photography itself. If done right, they capture customers in the experience. This is very important as people, particularly on social media, like to share their experience with others – some near, like neighbors and co-workers, and some far away – siblings, old college friends or parents. So, capturing photos of both the experience AND their accomplishment – the masterpiece creation – are key to social sharing. Using Social Flash’s MOBILE offering running on an iPad or iPhone, it’s extremely easy to use, it “brands” the images with the business logo and it sends them instantly to their customers.
VIRALITY. The second building block for success is the simple mathematics of virality in social networks. While this venue has between 5,000 and 10,000 followers on its Facebook page, that is no match for the leverage that comes from the social networks of its customers. Almost 100 of the photos taken and sent to customers were shared on social media. The average person has 338 friends in their personal social network on Facebook. By sharing those photos, that establishes a reach into the sum of all those networks as a starting point – a viewing potential of more than 30,000 people. Now, more than 1,800 Facebook engagements occurred – Likes, Shares and Comments. For those friends of the customer that did engage, the originally shared post will now appear in their news feeds as content they also “liked” or “commented” on. Which means potentially another 50,000 to 100,000 Facebook users. This is the second-order impact of virality. Of course, this can go on and on, which illustrates the power of this medium.
TRUST. And finally, the third building block for success is trust. Though mentioned last, this is incredibly important and not meant to be downplayed in any way. Stacy Wood from North Carolina State University has conducted research and found that the value of recommendations from ‘everyday people’ has potential impact on the brands. Consumers are bombarded by thousands of messages every day which make authenticity, believability, trust and credibility of these message questionable. Along comes a photo from a person in your personal social network, an “everyday person” who paid to have this experience, endorsing it. This person is likely relevant, connected and trusted. He is NOT a paid actor/sponsor putting in the good word for compensation. Trust is key in the short-term as it causes more social interest and engagement, and in the long-term as the social endorsement is far more likely to cause a person to act – in this case to book an upcoming class!
The business used the Social Flash’s iPad/iPhone application to take more than 500 photos their first month using the Social Flash Mobile at their location. This translates to 17 photos each day, even when including days they were not open.
They sent more than 600 copies of the branded photos to their customers through the Social Flash Marketing Platform by typing in the cell phone number or email address of their customers and clicking the SEND button.
As you can see from the analytics below, 86 of those photos were shared on Facebook and another 10 shared on Twitter. This whole process created more than 4,650 brand engagements for the month and more than 1,500 people clicked over to a selected web page to learn more. With Social Flash Media’s MOBILE offering, they began converting their customers into product ambassadors and leveraging their personal social network.
Each customer, on average, has more than 338 friends in their personal social network. Using simple math, at the most basic level the customer posts had access to an estimated 30,000 impressions. Given there were more than 1,800 engagements (Likes, Comments, Shares) on Facebook, then these shared photos found their way into personal social networks of the friends of their friends, and so on.
With the cost of less than $100 a month for Social Flash Media’s AWARENESS package, this has proven to be an indispensable tool for outreach to raise social awareness, exhibit social endorsement of the business and drive more than 1,500 people to click over to the website and learn more about their upcoming events.