A few weeks ago I received a tweet from the Gas King Twitter account informing me that I won 1000 KickBack points (which is equal to 10 dollars). A few days later I swung by Gas King and spent 3 times as much as the points were worth. That in itself is a small benefit for Gas King. The longer term benefit is that, while I have rarely shopped at Gas King in the past, I will likely go to Gas King more often in the future.
I was really impressed with Gas King’s effort to engage with their current and prospective customers, that I wanted to find out more. I interviewed Tracy VandenBiggelaar, the Marketing Assistant at Gas King.
Why did Gas King decide to begin using social media?
To celebrate our 25th Anniversary Gas King launched and gave away our new Williwa slush beverage during May long weekend 2010. Along with print and radio advertising we decided that social media might be an effective medium to spread the word about this new product and promotion. It also gave us an opportunity to judge how effective and useful social media might be for future promotions as well as day to day conversation with our current and potential customers.
What social media tools do you use to reach out to customers and why did you select them? Facebook (facebook.com/GasKingOil) and Twitter (twitter.com/Gas_King). We felt those were the most familiar/easiest to learn and use and would reach our customer base most effectively.
How long have you been using these tools?
Since May 2010.
Can you share a social media promotion that has proven successful and why?
The original Williwa promotion was very successful, partly in thanks to the social media campaign. Over 13,000 Williwas were given away over the long weekend.
We are preparing to make an announcement later this year and planned our current promotion to help increase the audience that will see this announcement. Giving away KickBack points to our Facebook fans and Twitter followers has also been helping steadily grow our fan/follower base. It has also generated more re-tweets on Twitter and comments/likes on Facebook.
What resources do you use to stay current with social media and online marketing?
I have done some online research through blogs and websites. But most “research” at this point has just been observing how other businesses and people are using as well as adjusting our approach based on the feedback we receive. I may also attend the social media course you are offering at the college. It was mentioned to me when it was offered in the fall but I wasn’t able to attend that date.
What are some challenges that you see in using social media?
The biggest challenge I have noticed is learning the most effective types of posts to use, which generate the most feedback and customer interaction. Also learning the right balance between conversational posts and advertising/business related posts.
Are there some other social media tools that you would like to experiment with?
At this point I feel I am still learning the most effective ways to use Facebook and Twitter and think it would be best to get a good handle on those first, but would consider other tools in the future with some initial research and learning.
Next week I provide some strategies for local businesses to leverage social media more effectively.
If you are a Lethbridge business and would like to share your social media story on my blog, please let me know.