Social marketing drives sign-ups at private-sale site Totsy: Social Media Week

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Sixty-five percent of the marketing team at private-sale e-commerce site Totsy is dedicated exclusively to social media marketing, the company's CMO told an audience at Social Media Week on February 10.

Totsy's SEO efforts are limited because its Web pages are encrypted as part of a members-only e-commerce site, so it is “extremely reliant” on positive online buzz, said Christophe Garnier, president and CMO of the site.

The 14-month-old website's marketing team is focused on customer acquisition, much of it accomplished through online word of mouth, he said. A “refer-a-friend” online sharing program has netted 35% organic growth each month since it was implemented, said Garnier.

Totsy, which sells baby gear, clothing and prenatal care products, has a customer database of a half-million, of which 98% are moms. The website runs a weekly Facebook contest, “Mom of the Week,” and an active Tumblr blog to cultivate a “viral” mom community and drive sign-ups. Garnier called the Facebook contest a “tremendous success at generating new members at no cost.” Totsy's blog, outreach to bloggers and affiliate sites also help it improve its SEO to “rank up,” he said. 

Ashley Heather, cofounder and CEO of Dotbox, the e-commerce vendor that hosted the panel, said marketers no longer have to buy as much paid media to attract customers, but can rely on social word-of-mouth tools.

Larger companies, such as 1-800-Flowers, also deploy social media marketing as part of their multichannel efforts, said Jon Mandell, general manager of the company's Celebrations.com site. 1-800-Flowers' customers who visit the site through Facebook see a list of friends' upcoming birthdays and a way to buy flowers through a tab on the social networking website.

1-800-Flowers is running an online contest where the number of Facebook likes for each floral arrangement will determine its next flower collection. Those choices will “make it into print, online, e-mail and our other promotions,” Mandell said.

Social marketing allows the site “to be more transactional, to drive transactions, but we also want to create conversations, engage, respond” and drive word-of-mouth, he added.

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