As per Wikipedia, Internet Marketing Communication or IMC is “an approach to achieving the objectives of a marketing campaign through a well-coordinated use of different promotional methods that are intended to reinforce each other.” Furthermore and very key in IMC, “Instead of simply using various media to help tell a brand’s overall story, with IMC the marketing leverages each communication channel’s intrinsic strengths to achieve a greater impact together than each channel could achieve individually. It requires the marketer to understand each medium’s limitation, including the audience’s ability/willingness to absorb messaging from that medium.”
So, when brands take an IMC approach to reach a particular audience on various channels, they must understand that their potential audience is found across various channels, but each channel, according to the above definition, has different uses and thereby, limitations.
Let’s further delve into three brands of which I am a regular customer, Nordstrom, The Luxury Closet and most recently, since I’m deep into renovating my new house, tilebar.
Nordstrom has a comprehensive website with an active and user-friendly e-store. The Nordstrom website sets the tone. Currently, they’re running their bi-annual Anniversary Sale. With the website setting the tone, the social sites should follow accordingly with that message.
They generally post once daily to their Facebook page. They receive many comments and respond to them in a timely manner. They also respond with a specific team member, adding personalized attention to the experience.
Here’s an example of this:
With their 441k pins across 67 boards, they don’t show one board at all for their signature Anniversary Sales events on Pinterest. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is held twice yearly, once in the summertime, the other, early in the year, following the Christmas holidays. The same holds true for the Instagram account. Many posts, though not one with these two particular blue shoes as pictured below show advertising the Anniversary Sale as they do on Facebook and Twitter. They should have such a pin on Pinterest and post on Instagram so that it will fall in line and be consistent with their most recent messaging on Facebook and Twitter. YouTube displays several recent videos, all within the last two weeks, yet these are not associated with the same message throughout.
Nordstrom uses hashtags (#) exclusively on Instagram. They not only fail, but miss a great SEO opportunity here. According to seoperson.net, “You will be able to promote products and services much more effectively, making the most out of this powerful social networking tool in order to attract new customers and maximize profits.”
Overall, while Nordstrom is active throughout various social media channels, only 2 of their various social sites are reflecting the message being displayed on the website right now. All platforms should reflect the same message. Per Silverpop, “When you build consistency across all marketing channels — with a cohesive voice and brand appearance — you’ll build trust and pave the way for stronger engagement and increased sales.”
The Luxury Closet is an online retailer selling second hand high-end items from Dubai, UAE. I’ve managed to buy many haute-couture brand items from this site with a much lower price than the actual retail. From experience, their customer service is excellent, they provide many images of an item so the buyer can make an informed decision prior to purchase. They follow through with consistent posting and email marketing campaigns.
With a website and blog that are updated regularly, the Luxury Closet shows consistency in its message. For example, entering the spring bridal season, from Facebook, to Twitter, to Instagram, Pinterest and Tumbler, the Luxury Closet has posts and pins regarding weddings, sharing the same images throughout.
Finally, since I’m all about house renovations to my recent home purchase, Tilebar has proven to be a good source of ideas. I may very well buy product from them as the finishes become ready to be added.
Tilebar posts regularly with a consistent message through all their social media platforms. The same posts are shared and carried across Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It seems organized and easy to follow, a definite plus.
They err, however, on their Google+ page by having a link to what may perhaps be their old company name. Check it out below. Not good. Also, though they display a social icon link to their YouTube, as evidenced by the below image, the page is blank. Hello? Why show a link, then?
While they could improve on their hashtagging, as they only do so on Instagram, overall, they have a consistent message and IMC approach throughout their social media channels vis-a-vis their website as well.
According to Business2Community, driving users to social channels, in general is simple. “Every time you share a link to your site on a social media account, you build links for Google to index. This also helps you boost your ratings in SEO, as social media accounts are considered quality sources. Of course, you want to make sure that your social platforms are of good quality and remain in good standing so as not to jeopardize your site’s ranking.” The more you post and share to other sites, the more engagement you can churn out. All three companies post regularly, unfortunately, not always with the same, consistent message.
Many of my business networking colleagues think social media’s just fun and games. There’s really nothing fun and game-like about developing a clear marketing strategy employing all the tools available today, fully recognizing that your competition may be using these tools more effectively than you, thereby, they’re gaining more market share, while you’re being left behind.
As we can see from the above examples of three tested and true companies, if it’s challenging for them to stay ahead of the game, being consistent with their message and posting, etc., imagine a small company operating within a limited budget?
Time to get with the program…