As many of you know I admire entrepreneurs, and family run businesses. If it’s a business in Minnesota…that’s icing on the cake 😉 One of these businesses is Warners’ Stellian – a family-owned retail appliance specialist, with over 50 years of experience and seven store locations in Minnesota. I enjoy tweeting about cooking and appliances, and was receiving great responses from Warners’ Stellian, a.k.a. Julie Warner, Marketing Assistant for Warners’ Stellian Appliance. Through Social Networking Warners’ Stellian is engaging, helpful and fun…you feel like you’re having a comfortable conversation with a member of your own family.
Fun tidbit: Prior to doing this week’s Nanny Nine I got curious and found out something I’m sure not many Minnesotans know…the name Stellian comes from a combination of Steve & Lillian – former owners of the appliance store founder Jim Stellian purchased.
1. How long have you been using Social Networking for your business?
I personally took over all of Warners’ Stellian Appliance’s efforts upon my arrival in September of 2009. I believe we had started using social media that spring.
2. Is your business using Facebook &/or Twitter?
Yes, we use both, though we’ve been more active on Twitter than on Facebook.
3. Facebook vs Twitter – do you like one better? If yes, why?
Both channels differ so much I feel the are an unfair comparison. Facebook is so much more visual and allows us to post all multimedia in one place. Twitter is succinct and efficient and text-driven. And as long as our customers like both, we’ll keep using both.
4. Do you post daily?
I try to keep up with Twitter daily, but I only post to Facebook about three times per week to avoid bothering our fans. I wish there was a formula for the perfect amount. Though I have heard that mornings and weekends are the best time to post on Facebook, because that’s when people are most likely to visit the site and engage. I post about three times per week to our blog, http://blog.warnersstellian.com. I wish I posted daily, but I’m not sure some of the more regular readers would necessarily want that high of frequency. I continue to learn as I go!
5. What is your favorite thing about Social Networking?
I love the ability to connect with our customers and make sure they’re getting the experience that we promise them. Though I’m disappointed, of course, to see any negative experiences pop up in my radar, I love the effectiveness of social networking in allowing me to contact that customer and try to end on the right note.
6. What do you think is the biggest benefit of Social Networking?
Honestly, the biggest benefit of social networking I’ve seen is its effects on performance in search. Our blogs get a stupendous amount of search traffic. Talking to people is GREAT, don’t get me wrong, but how can anyone connect with us if they can’t easily find us — or find the right stuff about us? And, I love social networking’s propensity to display high in search results. What better way for customers to learn about us than in a conversational, human voice, interacting with others?
7. How do you measure Social Networking, and explain.
I monitor the ongoing sentiments about our company, the traffic to all the social media sites and — most importantly — the traffic to our website from those sites. We’ve done some special deals and couponing as a test to see their effectiveness and found little success. I think we find value in participating in conversations happening about us and being present where our customers live. Isn’t that the essence of local business, after all?
8. What is the best moment you’ve had on a Social Networking site?
I usually say our work on the Appliance Stimulus of 2010, so I’ll pick another. My grandpa, Jim Warner — who bought Stellian in 1971 after years there in sales — used to make his kids pass out fliers in the neighborhoods that said, “Just ask your neighbors where they bought their appliances,” because he understood the power of a personal recommendation (he’s a pretty cool guy, huh?). In that vein, I love creeping on Facebook conversations through OpenBook and seeing their friends recommend us, whether for our prices, service, selection, ease, etc. Sure, I might not be able to participate in that conversation, but those are my favorite to see.
9. What is your best piece of advice to other businesses about Social Networking?
Stop asking, “How can I use these tools?” and start from “What are my current issues, and what’s out there that can help me?” Even if you don’t draft up some super fancy schmancy marketing plan, you’ll be most efficient if you jump in with a specific goal (even more specific than “sell more”!) in mind.
Facebook: Warners Stellian Appliance
The Nanny Nine brought to you by the Social Networking Nanny