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I’ve been feeling in a home improvement mood lately.
Perhaps just because it’s January, perhaps just because I like the way I look with a tool-belt strapped around my waist. Either way I’ll be growing a bristly moustache, keeping an assortment of spare nails in a coffee cup and seeking out US home improvement store Lowe’s for all my hammering and buzzsawing needs.
This article will take a look at how the almost 70-year-old hardware chain has recently made tremendous strides in its social media reach by treating social media not as a single entity, but by realising that audiences use different channels for different reasons and tailoring its content accordingly.
So pour some three-day old coffee into a cup that’s never been cleaned, pop your squared off pencil behind your ear and let’s begin.
Lowe’s has managed to find its own highly successful niche in the six-second long social video format. Lowe’s realised you can’t just trim down existing adverts to fit the remit, you have to create brand new content. Not just any old content either. In order to attract attention, raise awareness and achieve the golden chalice of virality you have to create content that is entertaining, engaging or useful.
Lowe’s has managed all three in its series of #lowesfixinsix. Sorry, that’s quite difficult to read. Lowe’s Fix in Six.
Throughout 2013 Lowe’s produced this series of brilliant how-to videos that became essential viewing for life-hack fans worldwide.
You can clean crayon off surfaces with WD-40.
Use a wrench (or spanner as we prefer) to help budge immoveable screws.
If you’ve run out of AA batteries, just wrap tin foil around some AAA batteries.
Although the ‘temporary fix only’ statement should probably be adhered to.
I could watch these all day... Well there’s 55 posts from Lowe’s on Vine, so a rough calculation means I can watch them for five and a half minutes anyway. That might sound paltry, but compared to other brands on Vine, they are as prolific as Roger Corman.
Lowe’s Vine account currently has 15,000 followers and most of its Vines achieve between 500–1,000 likes and revines. Not staggering numbers, but then Vine hasn’t been around that long and this channel probably doesn’t attract hardware enthusiasts in their droves.
What Vine does for Lowe’s however is create engagement through helpful advice, charm and creativity. Its value goes beyond its number of followers.
I talked about Lowe’s Pinterest page in October 2013 in five brands that are nailing Pinterest. In the article I discuss how Lowe’s rarely pins its own products but instead creates a ‘vast mood-board’ of ideas and creative jumping off points for budding DIY enthusiasts from a variety of resources.
The brands that show the biggest engagement on Pinterest are the ones who repin from other sources.
A particularly brilliant feature is the Build It! board, where customers who have used Lowe's' products for their DIY projects are showcased.
The strength of Pinterest is being utilised to the full here. Showcasing the customer’s efforts makes the user feel like the brand has a vested interest in their project and creates a deeper level of connection.
This board currently has 3.4m followers. That’s only 100,000 less than the total amount of followers that Lowe’s entire Pinterest account has.
How else does Lowe’s utilise Pinterest to its fullest effect?
It remains topical. Here’s Lowe’s partnership with Pantone, revealing 2014’s color of the year. (Radiant Orchid, I know you chomping at the bit to learn.)
It goes off on tangents, that although are still vaguely relevant to its audience, shows a desire to entertain and engage far beyond its own marketing strategy.
Lowe’s even manages to sneak in a sense of humour too.
Lowe’s is one of the few brands that uses Facebook in a truly meaningful way.
Providing original content that hasn't been recycled from its other channels.
Also by providing as much engagement as it possibly can with its 2.7m followers.
In fact almost every comment left under its daily posts seems to receive a reply.
That’s an extremely dedicated social media strategy right there. It will be interesting to see how much of an effect recent Facebook newsfeed changes will have on Lowe’s Facebook page. It will be a shame to see this vital source of engagement curtailed through no fault of its own.