A Real Life Use of Social Media in Our Industry
By Cheminne Taylor-Smith
At the High Point Market we have a clear strategy for social media. We use it to increase brand awareness, to build a community within the home furnishings world, to provide customer service and respond to feedback, and to quickly circulate information about the Market.
There is also a less tangible, but no less important, reason that we use social media tools—and that’s to create excitement about, and enthusiasm for, the High Point Market. We’ve done that at every recent Market, from a flash mob in the fall of 2010, to viral behind-the-scenes videos in April, to our Style Spotters event last October.
Each of those programs increased traffic to the website (www.highpointmarket.org) and pushed the High Point Market brand, but they also showcased the fun and energy that surrounds each Market Week, which in turn allows us to draw in new retailers and interior designers. It’s a lot of pay-off for very little money.
The Style Spotters program featured a new social media website called Pinterest, now one of the fastest-growing sites online. Pinterest (www.pinterest.com) is a website that lets users organize and share photos on virtual pinboards. It works the way a designer’s “mood board” or inspiration board works—you select photos of things you like, or items that inspire you, and you pin them to your board.
Pinboards can have themes—like food, home decor, fashion—or they can focus on moods like “favorite things,” or “everything blue.” You can also follow other users and show your appreciation for what they’ve chosen by “liking” photos or re-pinning them to your own boards.
The High Point Market recruited home fashion trendsetters to showcase their favorite products and top trends from the October show on Pinterest. The Style Spotters were bloggers and interior designers, and they captured images of their favorite finds as they walk the High Point Market. The trendsetters also presented exhibitors with signs that highlighted the Style Spotter’s name with a QR code and URL for the Pinterest board.
The Style Spotters for October were Meg Biram, Mimi + Meg; Jennifer Brouwer, Jennifer Brouwer Design; Heather Clawson, Habitually Chic; Julieann Covino, Create Girl; Tobi Fairley, Tobi Fairley Interior Design; Lisa Ferguson, Decor Mentor; Wanda Horton, Interior Concepts by Wanda; and Elaine Williamson, Elaine Williamson Designs.
Market attendees also participated in the High Point Market Pinterest event, voting on the pinboards and products for each Style Spotter by generating “likes” or by re-pinning. At the end of Market, we tallied those votes on a point system and named Tobi Fairley the winner. A new group of Style Spotters will be named in March for the April High Point Market, and will also include Tobi Fairley as this year’s winner. To view the High Point Market Pinboards, go to pinterest.com/HighPointMarket.
Pinterest is a wildly popular site and the event generated a lot of online traffic for the High Point Market, and also created a “buzz” on other social media like Facebook and Twitter, particularly among interior designers and bloggers. What I enjoyed about it was the sense of sharing and community it created, as participants discussed their favorite products, trends, and companies.
Retailers also could use Pinterest for their own marketing campaigns, perhaps by offering contests for the best boards created from photos of products on your website, or by posting your latest Market acquisitions on a Pinterest board while you’re at Market.
Whatever social media tool or site that you choose, just make sure it fits your company image and brand, that you create your own community online, and that you have fun.