Ice cream vendors don’t tend to make the news all that often. Granted there was the rare exception last summer when a shop in Covent Garden started selling ice cream made with breast milk, but that really is the exception rather than the rule.
Hokey Pokey ice cream is an Indian ice cream retailer however that have some good lessons to share about the use of social media for brand building and word of mouth generation.
As with many small businesses they didn’t have a lot of money, yet wanted to make a splash and acquire some great new customers. Here’s the 7 step process they followed.
1. Monitor conversations
2. Identify influential individuals
3. Find common interests amongst these individuals
4. Target specific influencers
5. Recruit them
6. Incentivise them
7. Measure performance
The first step was arguably the most important. They spent six months doing a whole lotta listening to what was going on and being said about ice cream on social media. They ended up monitoring nearly 1 million conversations over a six month period to gain a thorough understanding of their customers world.
From that they created a database of users, with attributes such as the number of times their messages were forwarded, how many connections they had and the number of comments or replies each message generated. It gave them a great understanding of just who the most ‘influential’ people were.
The next step involved identifying the best candidates based upon this information. They went for candidates with four main characteristics:
1. Activeness, which was defined as the number of times the influencer and his or her network of friends “see” and “share” a message.
2. Clout, which was defined as the number of connections and followers an influencer has.
3. Talkativeness of the receiver, which was defined as how often the influencer’s message is being “retweeted,” “hashtagged ” or shared.
4. Likemindedness, which was defined as similarities and common interests shared by the influencer and his or her network friends.
So after identifying influential people on social media, the next step for Hokey Pokey was to narrow this field down to those interested in ice cream, before then trying to engage with them and recruit them as ambassadors.
Of course the important process of getting these folks to share Hokey Pokey content was still to come. For this stage they devised two campaigns:
- Creations on the Wall
- Share Your Brownies
Both of these required the ambassadors to create their own ice cream creations at their nearest Hokey Pokey store, and then share their creations via their social networks. A crucial part of this phase was to train staff so that they could help the ambassadors create the best possible ice cream marvels. They could then name their creations, identify themselves with them and post the recipes for them on the wall of the store. Regular customers could then purchase their creations, or shop from the regular menu. Hokey Pokey then asked their ambassadors to take their creations online, sharing them via their networks on Facebook and Twitter. There was a gamification element to it, as points were awarded whenever followers bought one of their creations. These points could then be used for discounts and other prizes.
Last, but certainly not least, came the measurement of the campaign. Whilst there was measurement of comments and other conversation style metrics, the most important metric used was the financial tracking of sales. As a result of the campaign, Hokey Pokey saw sales increase by 40%, with Facebook shown as the largest contributor to this success.
There are obvious challenges facing small businesses in getting a good return on their social media work. This case study shows that it can be done, providing you go about things in the right way.