With more than 60 stores across the UK and Ireland, and a more than 150-year history, House of Fraser is a retail outlet that has seen it all. The company has become something of a household name in the areas it serves, and has continued to see success primarily because it has been happy to change with the times and evolve as the industry has dictated it to.
In Part II of this two-part Q&A, we speak to Andy Harding, Director of E-Commerce, about what House of Fraser is doing in social media, and what Harding believes to be the way of the future for the channel.
Read Part I to hear Harding’s thoughts on the in-store experience and evolving customer expectations. (And for any of you who don’t know the brand, take a trip to London and you’re bound to run into one of the company’s brick and mortar outposts. It’s pretty much the Macy’s of the UK.)
Q: Let’s talk about social media. We’re nearly all using it by now, but can you tell us a little about what House of Fraser is doing in this channel that is perhaps unique?
A: There is nothing I can share with you at the moment as it isn’t in the public domain yet. However, we have recognised that social media is not about Facebook and Twitter. Once you do that, then the next
steps are clear.
Q: How did you arrive at your social media strategy? What are your goals with this channel?
A: By trial and error in the most part but also with the help of some clever agency people whose names will remain secret! Engagement is the most important thing. Find the influencers and make sure they are influenced in a positive way. This will ensure that you improve the important customer metrics like NPS, and customer satisfaction, which are much harder to measure.
Q: With Twitter and Facebook, how often do you post? Who is posting? Are your posts typically promotional, content based or both – and which do you tend to do more of?
A: Daily posts on both and they tend to be a mixture of content and promotions, surveys, competitions etc. We try to focus mainly on engaging content more than on offers and discounts.
Q: How do you get people to “Like” and “Follow” House of Fraser on Facebook and Twitter?
A: Provide them with content that they like! We do not buy fans – our fan acquisition advertising budget is £0. If you want to get 10 million fans it’s easy – give away a free TV with every ‘like.’
Q: Have you seen any measurable revenue tracing back to your social media efforts?
A: We are beginning to. Interestingly Pinterest is the channel that is delivering the best revenue and return.
Q: House of Fraser has a pretty active blog. What’s the strategy there? How did you get it to where it is and what sorts of resources do you employ today towards it?
A: We have a content team that produces content across all of our channels and that includes the blog. We listen to what our customers tell us they want to hear about and try to drive our strategy from there.
Much of it is about trial and error though – some of the most engaging blog posts have been the ones that we would never have predicted to be!