John Fluevog Boots & Shoes Ltd is one of a growing number of companies which are known by their social media campaigns as much as they for their product.
The relatively small Canadian footwear company claims its sales rose 40 per cent in 2009, the first full year of its social media campaign that includes a popular Facebook page and interactive website.
Encouraging customer feedback is a big part of the Fluevog’s social media strategy as is holding online votes about new shoe designs to see which ones get produced.
More importantly John Fluevog Boots & Shoes has identified its young and hip target market and pitches to in a way so they not only want to buy the shoes, they’d want to work for the company.
The Facebook page is active and not just a fan-site that people “Like” and forget. Staff contribute with information, competitions and light-hearted banter while receiving feedback in way of product reviews and the sort of fan mail and pics you’d see on band Facebook pages.
The company website is much the same and takes the user beyond product information to make it a fun online destination in its own right. You can design an ad to win $1000 or vote for other entries; download iPhone wallpaper and take part in its Opensource Footwear scheme, where user ideas lead to shoes designs. In other words it’s encouraging people to send in their creative ideas for no reward other than possibly seeing them incorporated in a finished product – this is the most popular page on the website.
Most importantly customers can purchase boots and shoes online, which at the end of the day is what the whole campaign is about.
Interestingly, Stephen Bailey, who oversees marketing and social-media at John Fluevog Boots & Shoes says the company doesn’t invest in paid advertising in social media. However, his own work has shown, an effective social media campaign does need a certain amount of investment in time and creativity, which can pay off with a loyal client base.