Learn about Social Media Marketing Strategy
The following is an excerpt from The Evangelists: Insights from Leaders of the Nation’s Most Beloved Brands. Written by Monica Padillo, this chapter is titled “Reaping the Rewards of Social Media.” In it, Kim Lato, the Founder of Kimstore, is interviewed about how the organization executes its strategy in social media marketing.
Controlling Brand Perception Through Social Media
Thanks to social media, it’s now easier more than ever for brands to reach their target audience and expand their business further. In fact, it was social media that helped Kim Lato establish Kimstore as one of the top e-commerce sites for electronic gadgets in the Philippines.
It was in 2006 when Lato first had an inkling of putting up Kimstore. She was a sophomore Marketing Management student at the De LaSalle University when she struggled to purchase a camera lens from Amazon because the e-commerce site didn’t ship items to the Philippines at the time. Frustrated at the lack of similar online retailers in the country, Lato decided to put one up herself on social e-commerce site Multiply initially focused on cameras, lenses, and other photography accessories. She expanded her line of products to include laptops, smartphones, tablets, and electronic accessories when Kimstore started gaining traction.
Since many people were socializing and transacting through Multiply as well, many people discovered Kimstore and supported it religiously. The support was consistent even when it moved to Facebook after Multiply shut down in 2013 and had an official website a few years after the business was established.
Today, Kimstore continues to be one of the primary and trusted sources of gadgets for tech-savvy Filipinos partly because of its active presence on many social media channels. With Lato being familiar with the social media sphere herself before Kimstore came to be, it was inevitable for the brand to be constantly present online as well.
“We strongly believe in the power and influence of social media. Right now, we have about three million followers on Facebook, more than 200,000 on Instagram, and over 10,000 on Twitter,” Lato said, noting that all of their followers are organic.
Just on their Facebook page alone, Kimstore posts about the latest gadgets, accessories, and promos almost every hour. Aside from the frequency, Kimstore also posts their announcements accompanied by relevant trending posts, as those garner the most attention from their young customers.
With such a large following, it was only right for Lato and her entire team to stay on top of trends so that they could better relate to Kimstore’s followers. It was also appropriate to do so considering that technology evolves as time passes by—a sleek smartphone that is popular today can be considered old and dull next year. Kimstore’s social media team also stays relevant by hosting Facebook Live sessions and implementing other engaging tactics on social media to capture their followers’ attention.
When it comes to maintain Kimstore’s audience, Lato said they’ve identified and familiarized themselves with their target customers from the very start. This is one piece of advice that Lato would like to instill in young entrepreneurs and marketing professionals as well: you have to know your target audience. Entrepreneurs will know they’ve successfully marketed a product when they’ve essentially sold it to their target audience, which in Kimstore’s case was initially college students but now includes all tech-savvy Filipino adults. They’ll also be able to measure their success when their target customers provide good feedback and mention their brand everywhere.
“Social media has big potential but you have to know which target audience would be receptive with your product. Not all people will be receptive to your ideas. You should put up engaging and relevant content for your target audience,” Lato explained.
She added that it’s important for entrepreneurs and marketers to have a social media plan. Of course, this goes without saying, but there’s still a number of brands who believe that simply posting, no matter how irregular and incohesive, is enough. Having a social media plan can largely help businesses improve their brand awareness and properly execute their campaigns.
According to Lato, having a cohesive social media marketing strategy is also essential in controlling the perception of customers about the brand. Kimstore is able to maintain its following and reputation because it has its own marketing calendar where all its tactics for brand awareness, push marketing, and sales promotions are all laid out.
Other brands may get a third-party agency to create and handle their digital content or even not organize them at all, sticking to the traditional means of marketing products and services. With more and more people going online, businesses should capitalize on the power of the internet and social media networks.
Lastly, aside from tapping different social media networks, Lato recommended other companies to consider two highly important factors when taking their business online: content and context. Brands should be able to communicate their message rightly through different social media networks, as well as identify which platform is best for a certain content type to be more effective.
“The goal is to let your brand message reach a lot of potential customers through different social media networks,” Lato said.
However, like all businesses, Kimstore has its fair share of competition in retail. Lato admitted that Kimstore’s main challenge at the moment is how to address the continuous stream of sales inquiries they receive online, which began during the enhanced community quarantine. The company makes up with good customer service in various ways such as shipping items the next day or maybe even the same day customers place their order. Lato believes that all these innovations and operational improvements are key to retain loyal customers, helping Kimstore expand through word of mouth when they were just starting.
“Marketing is all about personal service. Even if you have a good brand and sell goods at a cheaper price, it’s still important to apply good customer service,” Lato said. “I didn’t have a lot of budget when I started Kimstore, but whenever people ask me how I improved our reputation , I’d say it was because of customer service. When customers like what you do, they’ll support you and indirectly become your brand ambassadors as well as they’ll market your brand to people they know.”
Kimstore celebrated its 14th anniversary on November 19, 2020. Its duration in the industry attests to the power of Kimstore’s brand, as well as Lato’s perseverance and hard work to build her business into the most trusted provider of tech devices to this day.
To get more insights from other marketing leaders like Kim Lato, please check out the full book, available for purchase here.
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