Red Heart Yarn on Social Media
If you are a crafter, knitter, crocheter, or anyone who knows or loves one, you are familiar with Red Heart Yarn. In the yarn business for over 75 years, Red Heart Yarn is part of the Coats and Clark family of brands. Coats and Clark began in the 1800s originating in Scotland, making thread and needles. The Clark family expanded to the US, opening a cotton mill in New Jersey and quickly adding others in the Eastern states, eventually becoming the #1 needlecraft company in the United States. I had the fantastic opportunity to talk with Coats and Clark’s Crafts Consumer Marketing Manager, North America: Carrie Leahew, about the company’s web marketing strategy.
What is your policy regarding customer service via social media?
If a consumer contacts us via private message or through wall post the social media community manager determines if this is something she can answer or if it needs to go to our customer service department. We strive to answer our consumers back within 24 hours of the original contact.
Do you have a person or team on staff to respond to social inquiries, or do you outsource?
Red Heart has a team of people who are responsible for social media and a customer service department that helps answers queries that the social media team cannot answer.
What percentage of your marketing budget goes to traditional marketing, and how much to web marketing, and social media in particular?
40% of the marketing budget is for digital marketing activities. This year we increased our social media budget to 10% of the overall marketing budget.
I’m sure you have seen marketing evolve, especially in the last 5 years. What do you think has changed the most?
What do you like about marketing via social media? Is there any aspect that you feel does not serve your company well?
I love getting immediate responses from consumers on the things we are posting. Engagement is the most important metric for us on social media, so the more people interact with us through social media the more we feel we are getting out of it. Social media has been an important marketing channel for our business being in the craft industry, and I can’t think of one negative thing about it for us. Our consumers love making things, sharing photos and experiences through social media and we love seeing what you are making.
I personally think that your industry lends itself incredibly well to social business, and social media in particular. What platforms (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc) do you feel have the greatest impact on your sales?
I think they all collectively have an impact, but in the last 12 months Facebook has had the most growth going from 100,000 fans in January to over 280,000 in December, and that is sure to have an impact on sales.
Does your company use social business platforms such as Salesforce or something similar internally to communicate rather than email?
We do have Microsoft Outlook 360 which has a tool called Lync that we use to communicate a lot with video chat, IM and screen sharing.
Do you establish the same social media policy and efforts across all of your brands? Why or why not?
Yes, we are working towards establishing the same core social media policies across all our brands. It is important to be consistent in the manner in which we interact with the consumer from a corporate brand perspective.
Red Heart Yarn provides thousands of free patterns, plenty of social media interaction and a lot of great ideas on the website and across their social media profiles. Their fans are prolific with their photo sharing and very vocal on Facebook and Pinterest. The Red Heart site is very interactive, and appears to be where the brand chooses to spend the majority of their web marketing budget.
I am so glad Carrie Leahew was able to share a bit of their social strategy with TKG. It is fantastic to see a brand that is well over 200 years old able to adapt and grow with the way marketing has changed, especially with such rapid change in the last 20 years. Not all brands of the same age and scope have been so adaptable. The web, with it’s ever changing uses, trends and potential will continue to be a great way for Red Heart to market their brand, especially when they are so willing to go with the current trends. I look for the rest of their brands, especially Coats and Clark, to follow close behind.