Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Facebook Page Strategy - Shoes of Prey

Facebook is a fantastic tool for staying connected with friends, and it's proving to be a fantastic tool for us to connect with our Shoes of Prey customers. Since our launch nearly 4 weeks ago Facebook is our top referring site having delivered 8.4% of our total visitors. The key to this has been our Shoes of Prey Facebook Page. I thought I'd share what we've been doing with the page and would love your comments:

1. Strategy
We want to use our Facebook Page to have a conversation with our customers. Many of our customers use Facebook so it's a convenient place for them to talk to us. The benefits of conversing with our customers are fairly obvious but the main ones are:
  • getting feedback on our product and website
  • being able to discuss and get feedback on new product ideas
  • developing our brand through discussions around women's fashion
  • involving our customers in our business so they want to tell their friends about it.
I did some reading about Facebook Page best practices, this white paper by Digital Ministry is excellent if anyone is interested in reading more.

2. Content and Posting Frequency
We're still experimenting with the types of content we post to the page and how frequently we post. We started by averaging a post a day, but engagement quickly dropped off so we thought perhaps that was too much. So now we're aiming for 2 posts a week. For now we've broken down the types of posts into:
  • Discussing fashion trends - we'll link to some of Jodie's fashion related Shoes of Prey blog posts.
  • Recent shoe designs - we'll link to interesting designs that customers have created.
  • Recently made shoes - we'll link to some of the shoes that have been made using the site.
  • Shoes of Prey in the press - these posts have had the best response so far, probably because a lot of the pages members are friends of ours! We think mentioning these is important as it helps to build our credibility.
  • Product improvement discussions - these posts will be used to get feedback from customers about ideas we have to improve the site.
It's still early days for the page so we'll probably experiment with other types of posts and measure the response they have to determine what is most interesting to people.

3. Recruitment
A Facebook Page is only useful if it has members. Here's how we've gone about getting to 900 members in our first month:
  • We launched the page 2 days after launching the Shoes of Prey website and our first recruitment drive involved me inviting all of my Facebook friends, including my male friends to join our page! I was worried that was being a bit spammy but my friends have been a huge support to us sharing their ideas on this blog and in person, and being beta testers while we were getting things up and running so I figured they might be interested to join our Facebook Page. The advantage of having a reasonable number of people join the page early is that when people like or comment on a post on your page, that action goes into their news feed and appears on their wall so their friends are exposed to your page.
  • We've placed a link to our Facebook Page on the Shoes of Prey homepage. Driving people away from our website isn't necessarily something we always want to do, but for our business we think long term relationships with our customers is important. So far our average sale has come a week after the customer first created an account with us, so building trust with our customers and reminding them to come back to our site is important to us. Those things are that much easier to achieve if someone becomes a member of our Facebook Page.

Engaging with our customers via Facebook is only new to us. We'd love to hear your thoughts on our strategy in the comments.


  1. There could be issues with posting shoes that people have designed, even if it is anonymous. (I know that I wouldn't be happy if my design was published without express permission - I would find it creepy.) I'd make sure that you include permission to do so in your Terms and Conditions.

  2. It's a good point. Our Terms and Conditions do allow for us to do this, but there's a difference between being allowed to do it and customers being happy for us to do it.

    Do you feel it would be less creepy if we did it only with designs that you had ordered rather than designs you'd saved to your account? Or would you still feel that was an invasion of privacy? We actually plan to add photos of all the shoes we have made to our gallery, and soon we'll be adding photos of shoes into the designer so when you design something you can see photos of shoes with similar features to what you'd designed. We think that will be a significant improvement to the designer. However if people feel that would be an invasion of their privacy we may have to think through asking more clearly for permission to do this rather than just having it in our Terms and Conditions... thoughts?

  3. I would only do it with designs ordered, because designs saved in my account that show up make me think of actual people fishing around in my account and thinking "those are good" (even though it's just done by a computer).

    A few options that come to my mind are as follows:

    1. Make it an opt out thing at the order page, like "We like to show other customers how creative their fellow shoppers can be by anonymously featuring some of the actual designs that people create in our web gallery. Please tick the box if you want to keep your shoes out of our gallery".

    2. You could market it as a plus - like "OMG those are awesome shoes... can we show others what a great creative mind you have and display these on our website?" at the time of ordering. This would be like (1) above, but an opt in instead of opt out option.

    3. For the photos that you show people who order similar shoes, I'd do what Amazon does, something like "Other customers who ordered these shoes (or similar) have come up with these great designs". If this screen / popup shows up at the time of ordering then it is okay in my opinion because the customer feels that it is a 'private' message to them at the time rather than just a broad, untargetted message.

    Of course, this whole discussion could be irrelevant - by the time that you have sold 5000 pairs of shoes nobody is going to be able to say "those are my shoes" without you saying that someone else designed them.

  4. Some more excellent thoughts here, thanks! I agree with you, there's definitely a distinction between shoes designed and shoes ordered so we should steer clear of doing anything with shoes designed but not ordered.

    I might do some random surveying of people to ask what their thoughts are on us using photos of the shoes we've had made for them. Hopefully the consensus is people won't mind and are happy that this is covered in the T&C's, but we should definitely check if that's the case, and if not, your 3 options are all good potential solutions. :)