Emerging TechUser Experience

Feed Your Friends

June 27, 2011

5 Ways to Increase Facebook and Twitter Friends Using Rately

We recently launched Rately, a social shopping tool for consumers.

However, here’s a little secret…

Rately is a really fantastic tool for any brand or eCommerce site that’s looking to engage with its customers or prospects using social media (Facebook and Twitter).

Everyone’s familiar with the race to accumulate millions of Facebook friends and Twitter followers. But then what? It’s like inviting a lot of people to a party. You have to feed them.

In this case, Rately makes it very easy to do just that. Not food or cocktails, but information. You can use your own site or really just about any site on the web to create uniquely interesting, fun, and engaging questions. If you’re running an online store, you can use products from your own site to put together interesting content for your friends and followers.

For several of these examples, I have decided to use Room & Board as my example (found at roomandboard.com).  I’ve been looking to create a little sitting area in my house and now is as good a time as any to explore what might be available.  It’s also known as shopping while working.

Here are those five ways to surprise and delight all of those Facebook fans and Twitter followers (and lets not forget that these Rately questions can work just as nicely in an email or posted to your brand’s blog as I’ve done below).

1) Provide a Show and Tell to feature new products

Your best customers are also likely to be among your Facebook fans and Twitter followers. One of the easiest ways to use Rately is to simply create questions that feature your newest products. In this example, I just searched on the term “new” while at their site and lo and behold, here’s a nice question featuring a selection of new pillows:

In the furniture business, you’re likely to have a lot of the same pieces over time. Ergo, it’s very important to trade in accessories, like lamps and pillows, in addition to actual new pieces.

2) Feature a particular brand of products

Most retailers have so many products, from so many manufacturer brands. Rately can be an easy way to feature a particular brand or manufacturer of products. Maybe it’s just a once a week celebration of a great brand that you’re happy to carry in your store.  One lesson that every brand knows – it’s important to celebrate and repeat the brand story – essentially the origin of the brand.

Room & Board features furniture designed by Charles and Ray Eames, manufactured by Herman Miller.  Charles and Ray Eames designed these molded plastic chairs, introduced at the Museum of Modern Art in 1948. They come in lots of great colors and happily Room & Board also has lifestyle photos of these chairs around a table that I can include as well.

3) Merchandise great products together into a look

So you have a loyal shopper who is looking for for some options for the awesome table she bought last week?  Rately can be a great way to literally put together an outfit. What was the starlet du jour wearing last night on the red carpet? In the furniture business, they’re already well aware that it’s the rare customer who has the vision to pull everything together without a bit of design inspiration. Rather than requiring a lot of graphic design help, now you can use Rately to create rooms on the fly, so to speak.

Room & Board already has an inspiration gallery wherein they feature a photo of a room where you can see how several products come together.  What used to take days and professional graphic design help can now be done by anyone in minutes. Just create a Rately question and you’re off and running.

4) Feature your best selling products

Best-sellers, must-haves, essentials-it takes a lot of work to make a product a best-seller, and it’s important to keep the momentum going.  Rately is the perfect tool to make sure your clients, fans, and followers have the latest information on the season’s essentials.  The tool opens up the conversation to brand advocates who can chime in with their own personal advice and style recommendations.  In this instance, I couldn’t find the best sellers on Room & Board, so I’ve just taken a search result from Saks.com – men’s watches.

5) Merchandise and feature assortments of products, such as specific gift or holiday related items

Say you have a customer who is hunting for the perfect gift for a friend and is having a hard time narrowing down the choices?  With Rately, you can assemble a variety of options, post the choices with a question, and help that customer make a decision.  I’ll use the MoMA store as an example for this question.

We’re coming up on the 4th of July, so perhaps you would like to remind your Facebook fans of how many red white and blue items you have in your store (and how great they would be to purchase for the holiday).

Here’s a simple example:

Conclusion

So, if you’re managing an eCommerce store or managing a brand, Rately gives you a free tool for creating and sharing content and most importantly generating positive Word of Mouth advertising that drives consumers back to your site.   You can now merchandise and editorialize to your heart’s content.

And, don’t forget an important fact. With every Rately question that you ask, you’re also creating a search-friendly page that features your products. So, the next time a consumer goes to Google and searches for an item you carry, you’ve just improved the likelihoood that she will find you.