Welcome back for week four in our “Learn From the Pros” Blog Series! This series is designed to promote the sharing of information across our customer base so that we can all learn from each other as we navigate the various ways Social Marketing can be leveraged for brand success.
This week we’re chatting with Jessica VandenHouten from Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company. We’ve been working with Jessica and her team for just about a year now, and are excited to share her thoughts on how contests & sweepstakes have helped her achieve Jewelers Mutual’s brand objectives. Jessica brings some terrific insights to the table, so we hope you enjoy!
Votigo: How long have you been with Jewelers Mutual?
Jessica: Over six years.
Votigo: What is your role there? How did you get started in Marketing? What were you doing before that?
Jessica: I’m our Brand Communications Manager. As far as how I got started in Marketing, it’s something I knew I had a passion for even in college and knew that is where I wanted my career focus to be. Before taking on my role at Jewelers Mutual, I was working in marketing communications for a natural health company in consumer packaged goods, as well as in the health insurance industry and in radio.
Votigo: What are your biggest goals & initiatives for Jewelers Mutual in 2017?
Jessica: Especially from a social media perspective, it’s about increasing brand awareness. Most people don’t know jewelry insurance exists or understand the importance of getting the right coverage to protect their jewelry. We continue to look for new ways to reach our audience in places they already are – social media being one. How can we engage consumers with the right content at the right time and move them from awareness to consideration to purchase. Then continue to delight them as a customer to retain them for life. The ultimate goal. We continue to listen to the voice of the customer and garner those insights to deliver the best experience possible.
Votigo: How often do you run contests or sweepstakes currently? What is the strategy behind your chosen frequency? And what platforms do you run them on?
Jessica: We tend to do at least one large-scale promotion a year but sprinkle in a few smaller social-based giveaways that are highly shareable and simple ways to engage with and delight our audience throughout the year – around 1 per quarter. We dabble across a few platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc..) as they provide great ways to test the effectiveness of each channel. However, our most prominent is Facebook, which is where we have the largest audience and most engagement.
Votigo: Can you share your thoughts on these social platforms in regards to your business? Do you tend to engage with one more than the others? Why?
Jessica: We’ve determined our objectives and core content focus for each of the channels we manage. LinkedIn is focused mostly on corporate news and recruitment. Twitter is most-often used for education and time-sensitive info, finding and sharing trending topics and identifying influencers. Instagram and Pinterest are used for content with strong visuals like our blogs, infographics, etc. We tend to focus more effort on Facebook because of what the platform allows us to do. We test ad messages and content to various audiences and we’re able to promote relevant content to key target audiences. Of all our social channels, both Facebook and Twitter drive the most traffic to our website so it’s a great opportunity to use those channels to enhance brand awareness and initiate the buyer’s journey toward purchase.
Votigo: Is there a type of campaign that you would like to run but haven’t yet? Why not?
Jessica: So far, I’m happy with the types of campaigns we’ve run. I’d be interested in running a video-based campaign knowing how increasingly impactful video has become for consumer engagement and in making content so incredibly shareable.
Votigo: What solution do you use for your contests & sweepstakes? Do you prefer a full-service offering or a self-service platform?
Jessica: There’s value in both. It ultimately depends on the scale of our promotions. Some of the smaller initiatives are simple enough to be more hands-on and run in-house. Larger scale campaigns utilizing more channels or additional partner involvement may require more support to administer or more advanced solutions for hosting the campaign. Finding a good balance of the two allows us to have some control over the process without becoming overwhelmed with the full development and management of it.
Votigo: What piece of advice would you share with someone who is just starting out with social contests & sweepstakes?
Jessica: Start small and test, test, test. Determine your goals and objectives before diving in. Do you have a social channel where you have more engagement from your audience? You may want to start there knowing they may be more receptive to participating and sharing the promotion. Experiment with different channels, different types of campaigns, different incentives and see what resonates best with your audience. Make sure you have the tools in place to be able to measure your results. Most applications, even self-service solutions offer some level of analytics. Once you have a couple campaigns under your belt you’ll have a sense of what to look for and a benchmark for which to measure future campaigns against so you can determine if it was successful.
Votigo: What are your favorite blogs or books on Marketing or your other interests?
Jessica: It seems something changes with social daily so it’s so important to stay on top of it as much as possible. Some of my go-tos to help keep me up to speed or just provide great inspiration and motivation include Social Media Examiner, Millennial Marketing, Hubspot, Simon Sinek, Marketing Profs, Seth Godin to name a few.
Thanks for participating in “Learn From the Pros”, Jessica!
-The Votigo Team