During the year, Rev-A-Shelf uses social media to promote events, many involving its promotional Rev-A-Truck, which motors around North America to kitchen and bathroom distributors’ showrooms. “It allows customers to come in, view products and interact with the displays,” McPeek says. “We promote the truck’s appearances on Facebook, Twitter and our Web site. It’s in Sioux Falls today; we’re doing live updates inviting people to come if they’re nearby.”
Rev-A-Shelf is likely to increase its use of some social media marketing tools in the future, McPeek adds. For example, the company expects to use Twitter more, particularly after glimpsing NKBA’s Tweet Wall at KBIS. “They had a huge screen up, and showed all tweets coming in from those tweeting,” she says, laughing. “Some were tweeting, ‘Wish I were there.’”
The company plans to grow its use of Facebook Gallery, highlighting unique applications featuring its products, and plans to continue using YouTube not only to promote events, but to spotlight its instructional videos demonstrating correct installation of its products.
YouTube is being used in other ways as well. Rev-A-Shelf has a showroom video on YouTube that depicts how its products are used in consumers’ daily lives, McPeek says. YouTube is also used to showcase what the company calls “KBIS Live” or “Closet Show Live” video interviews. These are interviews conducted by designers, show attendees and publications, in which representatives of Rev-A-Shelf discuss their products and the way they are used.
In addition, QR Codes are destined to shoulder more of the marketing load in the future, McPeek says. “Our ad in KBDN was among the first to use QR Codes. When people ran their smart phones over the codes, they were sent a link to our Web site, and a page about a featured product, with detailed specifications. We also used a QR Code to link to a video showing how many items could be stored in one of our pantries. That was also up on YouTube.”
The only real concern Rev-A-Shelf experienced regarding entering the social media marketing space was its desire to make sure the company allocated an appropriate level of time and attention to the effort, McPeek says. “We have started with the marketing department having rights to it, and are looking to expand the responsibilities into the customer service department,” she explains.
WORKING WITH DEALERS Some manufacturers are leading the way when it comes to working with their dealers and distributors on social media best practices. Le Sueur, MN-based Cambria, one of the few quartz surface plants in the world, works with its exclusive partners to develop a social media strategy. This allows Cambria to grow a social media base while benefiting from an online network of enthusiastic word-of-mouth marketers. Cambria’s Lexus Partners are provided with social media contact information to seek help with any questions that may arise.
While many manufacturers report some level of social media marketing integration between themselves, dealers and distributors, consensus exists that more is needed. “There’s a lot of opportunity to really link the sites more effectively,” Rohl says. “Integrating with the networks of designers, of showrooms, would bring benefit to everyone.”
For his part, Marquez believes that kind of integration would give “manufacturers a local dimension to their own business, and help the end user identify with the manufacturer through their local dealer or distributor.” Dealers and designers would also gain greater exposure, as they would be promoted as the source for in-demand products – particularly beneficial in the cases where they may be exclusive distributors of these products.
While social media is clearly a growing marketing avenue, both manufacturers and designers/dealers are still exploring ways to use this to maximize their exposure, creative expression and sales. And, while there are many different schools of thought on the best way to do this, there seems to be one common thread echoed by the companies: To achieve high levels of success, companies must not just dip their toes in the water, but rather must dedicate and immerse themselves in social media.