Today’s guest post is written by Anne Weiskopf.

A little more than a week ago, I wrote about the discount chain Loehmanns, sharing wonderful childhood memories of shopping with my mother.

The intent was to let them know their direct marketing efforts (which I continue to receive) only serve to remind me, a long time loyal customer, that I can no longer take advantage of their fabulous clothes and sales. (Loehmanns closed their last store in Massachusetts in 2010 and do not have a  website enabled for ecommerce.)

My goal was not a “gotcha” moment, I wanted to understand why they were still sending me coupons, and if it was a mistake, give them the heads-up so they could save money and customer good will. To ensure Loehmanns saw my post, I tweeted it to their  Twitter account.

The post generated a lot of feedback. The comments shared Loehmanns childhood experiences as well as advice about ways in which they can re-engage with their loyal (and store-less) customers.  The respondents demonstrated a high affinity for Loehmanns.

On the whole, the related tweets focused on the disconnect between Loehmanns’ marketing and operations, and lack of customer engagement:

Speaking of disconnects, on Monday night I finally received a response:

At first glance I thought Loehmanns was tweeting the entirety of my post, which surprised but delighted me, as it demonstrated confidence to share it with their followers. Imagine how surprised I was when I realized it was framed as an endorsement, misrepresentative of my original post.

To give them the benefit of the doubt, I responded seeking clarification, but received no further communication from Loehmanns.

Every brand knows loyal customers are the best advocates for your company. With the ubiquity of social media, their voices are amplified.

Loehmanns is well aware that moms represent a significant business demographic as shoppers, but also as the ones who will pass the tradition of shopping at Loehmanns to their daughters. This was the common thread in my blog post and the comments from readers. It is also the lead clip on their own video.

Here’s something else Loehmanns should know about moms. They tweet!

According to a just published survey by Media Post:

  • Moms tweet a lot. The highest percentage (36.3 percent of moms) report tweeting 10 to 20 times a day.
  • Information is queen. The number one reason most moms tweet (43.2 percent), is to share information about products for kids and other moms – a fact that should be of considerable interest to companies and agencies alike. This is followed most closely by moms’ wishing to interact with other moms (21.8 percent).
  • Moms want to see you tweeting. Asked how they decide whom to follow on Twitter, the vast majority (78.2 percent) said they follow companies that interest them. Furthermore, 95.7 percent of moms who follow those companies do so to find out about new products, discounts, and coupons.
  • Tweets drive sales. The best news for those marketing to moms is that 73.1 percent of moms indicate that they actually purchased a product as a result of another mom’s Twitter recommendation.

Speaking of moms who tweet, it was a Mom, on Twitter, who is also a marketing professional and long time Loehmanns customer who discovered the answer to one of my questions:

And how did Suzanne know this?

Agreed, Suzanne, getting a social media manager in place at Loehmanns is a very good idea. Here are some more recommendations for Loehmanns and other brands who use Twitter and other social media tools as part of their marketing efforts:

  1. Be careful not to attribute a quote from a customer (on social media or any channel) that is taken out of context.
  2. The person tasked with managing a Twitter stream must be deeply engaged with marketing and other areas of your core business. If they are not, they should understand how to interpret a post directed at the company and find the right individual to respond to external messaging.
  3. Social media is about conversation and community. Having framed the quote as an endorsement only draws further ire from the original blog poster as well as those who made the comments. These are people active in social media- the people who can and do influence others by making their voices heard. Read the posts and the comments and respond accordingly.

And on a final note, Happy 90th Anniversary Loehmanns. May you have many more.

Anne Weiskopf provides sales and business development services to agencies and companies who are in the social media and technology space. She blogs at Rip Off the Roof.

Photo credit: Flickr – Creative Commons. Ky Olsen