November 02, 2012 / by DannyS

Brands now look at social media much like they have looked at sales, customer service, marketing and PR departments – essential. However, brands continue to attach a strange stigma to social media, or maybe it’s the web as an entirety. I can’t imagine a business having a phone line that they operate with mediocrity – yet, they do so with new media.

Last week I spoke about how small and medium businesses should take a page from the Red Bull book. Unfortunately, I have discovered they take more pages from the Ed Hardy book. It seems Ed Hardy’s social media strategy isn’t as effective at gaining attention as those bedazzled shirts they create are. With website traffic for the US just over 2500 visits and their Facebook fans over a million, there is clearly a misfire on strategical communications. Either they aren’t delivering what the consumer wants or the consumer likes them and then ultimately unsubscribes from their feed.

Small businesses pay attention here. Ed Hardy has a large community that appears to want to engage. This is great! However, the brand is failing to deliver in terms of content that A) the consumer wants to share with their networks and B) is diverse enough to reach all buyers. Currently, they offer four types of content that can easily bore today’s connected user. Changing things up and testing new ideas is strongly encouraged. Always test out ideas and see if there is opportunity for growth!

I did a social media ecosystem competitive analysis of Ed Hardy just to see where they stood amongst their niche audience. What I found is surprising, year over year, their traffic is declining. Digging into the data of their social strategy I wonder, are they misfiring with their marketing strategy and not on par with today’s consumer, and more importantly, the people (millenials – the first generation who natively grew up with a device in their hands) buying their product.

I am not proclaiming Ed Hardy doesn’t know what they are doing – because to be honest, they produce more content from their side than most businesses do. However, it looks like it may be time for a refresh that their consumers would enjoy. Given their market/audience, they could easily tap into their ecosystem such as true rockstars, hiphop starts, UFC and much more. Drive site visits through exclusive content offerings. This same idea can be presented with small businesses and other smaller known establishments. Take the University of Oregon for instance, they dominate NCAA schools with their social ecosystem by delivering updates that you can’t access via ESPN or Sports Illustrated. They give their community the news behind the news.

This is where Ed Hardy could capitalize much like Red Bull does! This is why I suggest taking a page from Red Bull and not Ed Hardy – because if the people aren’t visiting your site, or talking about your brand, can you truly call your social strategy effective?

Danny Schotthoefer is the digital strategist/community manager at an advertising agency in Bozeman, Montana. He is also a TEDx event organizer and an avid Oregon Ducks and Portland Trailblazers fan. You can also find him running via Nike+ and cycling via Strava – he is highly social. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn. Forewarning: He Talks A LOT!


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