Challenge Accepted Kenmore: I will check out your social networks.

By Nicole Fletcher

So I was hangin’ out relaxing all cool last night when a Kenmore commercial came on. Surely I was impressed at the capacity of the refrigerator, all chrome and sparkly – I mean wouldn’t you be? You can fit anything from a pizza to a teared wedding cake in there…and don’t even get me started on that salad crisper. I digress..the end of the commercial came and what happened, you ask? Well as is the latest trend, a flurry of social icons: Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, came into view. Take a look at the call to action…pretty weak if you ask me. Do they want me to go to Sears, check out the sears Facebook page or their own? I went ahead and assumed their own and they better well have something awesome waiting when I arrive. And so, challenge accepted Kenmore, I WILL check out your social networks.

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Facebook seems to be everyone’s fan fav these days so I’ll start there. I found them and was immediately disappointed at their profile picture. So many pixels of real estate wasted. No call to action, no cool design, nothing. And what’s worse? The non fan landing page (the page that people who do not yet ‘like’ the page land on) is the wall. Ugh.

They do though have some custom tabs so I thought I’d check those out. One is called Live Studio. I don’t know why. I assume this was supposed to be the non fan landing page as there is a call to action to like the page. I get it…but strike one as that was not set up correctly. That button at the bottom though generates a popup (pictured below) asking the user to like the page from it as opposed to the conveniently located like button already statically up top. Doesn’t seem like the best expenditure of developer time to me. That said, maybe I just don’t know what Live Studio is (and everyone else does?) and maybe I’m not their target market..but regardless of those issues, applications on Facebook should be designed to take advantage of the real estate you’re give to work with…and there’s not a lot. You, as a brand, want to get something  out of someone landing on your page. They’re there for a reason. Now, it’s your job to get them to stay…and come back..time and time again. Mind you, they have 300,000+ likes, which is impressive…but arguably, it’s pretty easy for a brand like Kenmore to get that many likes by virtue of their age and brand reputation. It takes more than that to have a successful social strategy and to actually see a ROI from your social efforts.
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As for twitter and youtube…I was slightly more impressed. Their conversations and uploads were recent, helpful and informative..which is good. I must say though I’d still like to see some sort of solid campaign/strategy out of them instead of posting random videos here and there with tips, commercials etc. There seems, yet again to be no clear call to action and while I certainly appreciate a tip here or there, I’d like to know more about the tips I’m getting into before watching the commercial. Finally a really important thing to note: unless your twitter handle/facebook url is your name EXACTLY, you have to write that url in your print and television ads. If you don’t, this is what happens. @kenmore is not @kenmore connect. Make that clear people.
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One last thing I’d like to note is that brand voice is a really important part of your game plan. Don’t have too many people posting. It tends to kill that ‘voice’ you’re trying to create…if you’re trying to create one..which you should be. Kenmore’s voice is fine…it sounds like Kenmore. Do I think creating brand personalities that make users feel like they’re talking to a person is more effective? Yes…but this will do for now until they solidify their strategy.

Remember there’s a difference between doing social media for the sake of doing it and being strategic about it. The later will surely give your brand a better chance at seeing a return. As a parting note, don’t drive traffic to your social sites if you don’t have anything going on. Don’t put those icons in your tv commercials if you’re not ready to receive that traffic (I’m not saying Kenmore is one of these brands mind you..they have some work to do but they’re ready for the traffic). Don’t advertise social if you’re not going to deliver (I was at House of Blues the other night and saw a poster advertising foursquare specials…but there were no specials). Conversely, if you do advertise in print and on tv, you’re lucky. Take advantage of those mass audience channels. Get something measurable back for the cost of those ads. Drive traffic to those sites. Get those emails and likes and follows and as such, get the most out of your entire marketing efforts. Remember, social should weave through all channels…from print and tv, to PR, web and word of mouth, it’s now the name of the game – evolve or become extinct, the choice is yours.