When asked to give an example of a strong organization (in terms of social media) and a weak one I started thinking of companies that I am familiar with. I work in the arts, so big art brands like Winsor & Newton, Golden, and DaVinci Paints came to mind. Then I started thinking, what about the suppliers of these supplies? If you talk to any local artist about where they get their supplies, you’ll find that many have started to do mail order after hearing about better service and prices from retailers outside of Ottawa…
Curry’s Art Store is an arts supply chain located in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. Founded in 1911 it is a name that artists are familiar with, especially those who live in Ontario. (I’m originally from the Maritimes and even I knew about Curry’s before I moved here.) I believe they are a strong organization because they have a long history of providing excellent service and goods. However, after some research I have found that their social media strategy is pretty good for an Ontario based family-owned company. Here’s why:
They picked social media platforms that make sense for an art store! Plus they keep them updated!
- YouTube channel: Their YouTube channel features a variety of videos that cater to their clientele (visual artists/learners) from art lessons to supplier videos. For example:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnqKp4knGOk
- Instagram: Again this visual platform caters their visual artist/learner customer base. Instagram is a great way to show images of what their followers can make with their art supplies, but also photos of:
- student/employee/trending artwork
- store announcements (new locations, etc.)
- Twitter: They make regular tweets, but also do a fair bit of engagement with their audience by retweeting follower tweets as well as retweeting other “artsy” local events and organizations. By doing this they are likely to build community relationships by showing their support (and in turn gain new customers).
- Facebook: Similar to their twitter page, Curry’s makes regular posts on facebook and shares follower posts often. They respond in the comment section as well as present fun things like giveaways through facebook. Most recently they had a drawing contest, asking followers to post a drawing and the winner would win a prismacolour set.
Furthermore, their website is a community:
What I mean by this is that you can create an account and join their Artist Community. I think this is wonderful. Members can ask questions (forum style), look through newsletters, resources, etc. You can really feel a sense of being part of something and being heard as a customer with this website feature.
OK, so for the flipside…
I feel that our family-owned local supplier here in Ottawa, Wallack’s, could learn some pointers from how Curry’s is doing things.
Wallack’s currently uses Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest. So they do have a social media presence, but it is their use of these platforms that I believe is a bit problematic:
Facebook/Twitter: Posts on both are the same pretty much, with little interaction. Unlike Curry’s there are few comments made, reposts, or retweets. The majority of posts are specifically about the store only (sales and art classes), which could lose customer interest really fast.
Linkedin: I am not sure if a Linkedin account is even beneficial, their profile is quite bare. It just writes about their history and what they are.
Pinterest: I think the Pinterest account is a great idea. It is a site that a lot of people use, especially the DIY/Art crowd. However their board is quite bare at the moment with only 10 pins.
Recommendations and first steps for Wallack’s:
I think Wallack’s should develop a plan that pushes them to use their current platforms more fully. That is, make regular posts, tweets, and pins. As well as, keep it engaging. Make reposts and retweets and share interesting images and/or articles that are not necessarily Wallack’s related.
The objective is make their customers feel important and considered in their supply decisions. At the moment they do not really engage with their followers online, which I feel is a shame. They could show support of other art events and organizations like Curry’s does, which I am sure would attract new customers. As well as give local customers a reason to shop locally rather than order online from elsewhere (like from Curry’s).
Once they’ve found a rhythm on the platforms they already use, I feel that creating a YouTube channel and Instagram account would be beneficial since much of their clientele are visual learners and are attracted to visual art.