July 7, 2011

Advertising Facebook Chats: Considerations for Success

by Kristen Gregory, Manager of Strategic Services at Bronto Software

A week or so ago, I received the following email from Ann Taylor Loft:

Ann Taylor Loft Email

I absolutely love the fact that Loft is trying to interact more with their customer base and is leveraging their Facebook page to facilitate direct communication between their fashion experts and Loft fans. Providing informational tips and helping customers get answers to their summer wardrobe questions is a great way to entertain and engage without pushing sale after sale.

Additionally, I think it's smart that they paired this call-to-action with a reward as well to satisfy the more offer-hungry readers.

Loft also included social elements into this Facebook-focused email with a "Like" call-to-action in the preheader area and a "share" link in the footer, although this could have been included higher in the body to increase probability of usage.

While it was smart that Loft advertised this chat session via email to gain exposure beyond Facebook itself, I ultimately felt that the campaign timing was not ideal. When it comes to short-term events:

1. Try to give subscribers ample notice. I received this email at 3:38 pm the day of the chat session (beginning at 4 pm) - and while some could argue that getting this announcement before the chat began could snag me right then - the real risk was that I wouldn't see the email (and I didn't) until long after the chat had taken place.  Perhaps if Loft had sent a message about this the day before or the morning of as a "heads-up" with a potential last-minute reminder to join, they would have been more successful.

2. Consider audience availability during the event timeframe. I questioned this chat running from 4 - 5 pm EST. I would assume a decent portion of Loft's customers and prospects are diligently working during that time and would be unable to join the chat, even if there was interest. Perhaps a better timeframe would have been right after work or later in the evening.

Do you agree? What experiences have you had with Facebook chat sessions?

Kristen Gregory Manager of Strategic Services at Bronto Software @kristengreg

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Kristen Gregory, Manager of Strategic Services at Bronto Software

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Comments

Submitted by Erika Roe (not verified) on

Great thoughts Kristen.
I participated in a Facebook chat recently and agree about the time of day for this chat. In the chat I participated in BareNecessities.com had an expert who offered to answer customers questions on lingerie. The chat was 1-2 hours and was around lunch hour and ended by 2 pm EST. They notified customers on Facebook to remind them about the chat that day, with earlier messages a few days (not an hour before the chat started), with communications on Facebook up to a week before the chat. They have had several different "experts". They also asked for questions from people beforehand. But there was no reward offered and I didn't see an email about it other than the Facebook messages.

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