Operating social media profiles has become commonplace, if not a requirement, for most of today’s top brands. However, social media networks have some restrictions in their terms of service that mean that brands may not able to directly market to their goal demographics.
Every social media channel has some limitations that prevent children from joining. This means that brands focused on children will not be able to interact with the people intended to use their products.
However, that doesn’t mean that the tools are useless. Companies still need to be on social media channels to prove their relevance and reputation. In fact, with some savvy planning, social media can actually help make sales, even for a children-focused business. How are the top brands for kids navigating that conundrum? Here are three companies that are using social media wisely in this field.
Something to keep in mind for these brands is that even though the products are intended for children, kids aren’t usually the actual customers. Businesses have to keep in mind the parents, relatives, and older friends who will make the purchases.
Clothing company Gymboree has explicitly made parents its social media audience. Children might appear in photos of the merchandise, but many of the brand’s social media posts directly address parents. For instance, Gymboree asks questions, soliciting stories about imaginary friends or inquiring about baby name choices. This sparks engagement, establishing the brand’s profiles on Twitter and Facebook as places where parents can chat with each other.
It also builds an audience of potential customers who will likely want to make a purchase. Once Gymboree has proven itself as a trusted resource, parents and parents-to-be will think of the business any time they need to buy children’s clothes. Even though their own children will eventually grow out of the merchandise sold by Gymboree, parents will know the brand and recommend it to other friends and family as they have need of those products.
One approach to social media is to create a strategy that improves brand recognition for any adults who are on the networks. While it does post about sales or new products from time to time, the toy company uses social media as a way of promoting its more philanthropic and cause-based work. On Twitter, Toys“R”Us often interacts with other accounts, such as @autismspeaks and @savethechildren, or finds clever ways to participate in trending hashtags, such as the launch of the new #Godzilla movie. This strategy keeps the brand name in the public eye and presents Toys“R”Us as more than just a retailer.
One reason this was such a successful strategy from the get-go is that the company had such a well-established reputation prior to the advent of social channels. However, even a newer business can benefit from the additional exposure generated by retweets, shares and conversations with well-known accounts.
3. Random House Children’s Books
Depending on the exact nature of your brand, it’s possible that kids aren’t the only people who will enjoy your products or services. A perfect example of this is Random House Children’s Books. The publishing division puts out many successful kids and young adult titles, but some of them are just as popular with the grown-ups.
The publisher’s success shows how important it is to know your social audience. The people following Random House Children’s Books on Facebook and Twitter might be interested in making purchases for themselves as much as for any kids in their lives. As a result, the posts can assume that any fans are genuinely interested in the titles coming out and the company can focus on building community and sharing news rather than trying to push for sales.
One way the imprint keeps those followers excited is by tying in status updates to industry events. Random House frequents book fairs, author tours, and other press events. Fans can then get behind-the-scenes looks at the people who created their favorite books. By highlighting the human element to publishing, Random House puts the focus on letting readers build connections with writers. This approach is a great fit for the personal and emotional side of reading, which is so often seen as a solitary activity. Social media helps spark conversations and connections for readers of all ages.