Yesterday I went to IKEA. Just wanted to eat lunch. I’m a big fan of the Swedish home-center. Since we were running late with having lunch, we got offered the special “get-rid-off”-deals: Salmon salad, meat balls and French fries, and all you can drink for only 10.45 CHF. That’s about what a Happy Meal costs in Switzerland. Now I’m even more a fan of IKEA. Even tough we only went for lunch (and didn’t want to buy anything), we walked out with a shopping cart full of things we didn’t need.
IKEA is probably one of the best home-centers worldwide. “Svinde”, “Jutta”, “Fixa” or “Mälmö”. You name it, we got it. And millions of homes around the world as well. IKEA has become the “Apple” of furniture. At least if we look at brand image.
Now, Since IKEA is leader in mobilizing people and make a great job at bringing customers to hear that inner voice telling them: “Oh, it never accrued to me that I need that. But it’s so great I want to buy it”, I was wondering how IKEA was managing their social media campaigns.
Now. IKEA is present in several European countries, Asia and Amercia. While America is a more or less a homogeneous market when looking at languages, Europe is not. This makes it a lot harder to manage marketing and communication at a global level. While products mainly stay the same in every country (with certain adjustments on certain products for specific regions, e.g bigger glasses for Americans, so they don’t have to drink out of vases anymore) marketing is usually personalized for every country and every IKEA store (As far as I know – please correct me if this is not the case) manages its own marketing.
So I strolled around in the social media landscape and found some interesting facts about IKEA:
Huge Fanbase not Managed by IKEA
The passion for IKEA has spread its way trough the web and several forums and websites have been created to help people with their IKEA products. One of the largest sites is ikeafans.com, with over 130’000 fans and followers (according to ikeafans.com). IKEA has managed to build a community of followers, lovers and home-workers. The best thing that could happen to your brand. The wide knowledge IKEA fans around the world aggregated has to be nurtured and harvested. To what extent IKEA does this I would not know. But I hope they have their ears wide open.
No Twitter Policy
Twitter is THE upcoming channel for direct customer contact. And who receives more direct customer feedback than IKEA? Ever taken the wrong screw and weren’t able to continue and needed hours to find that simple mistake? Wouldn’t it have been great to send a short Tweet and a Twitpic and have your problem solved in a couple of minutes, instead of getting all angry at the IKEA desk and looking like a fool when you noticed your mistake? Soooo much potential.
But this channel seems not to be very popular at IKEA yet. Although several IKEA accounts can be found, they belong to separate IKEA stores and there is no common policy on how the Twitter account should look like or what the name is. Every account has it’s own design, logo and specification. It ranges from IKEAITALIA, to IKEAswitzerland, to IKEA_Canton, to ikeadublin and the German site has claimed IKEA_com. The background graphics are either a nice kitchen, some person but mostly nothing. IKEAUSA has not posted one Tweet yet and has not uploaded anything at all (Even tough they have 230 followers). IKEAs Twitter accounts clearly lack a corporate strategy, social media guidelines and it seems as if every country, NO, every shop itself handles Twitter at will. This is very confusing for any customer and not really a big fat invitation to follow IKEA.
Better Facebook Strategy
While there are several IKEA Twitter accounts spread throughout the web, it’s hard as hell to find a corporate Facebook account. Only real account is the IKEA USA account with 84’000 fans. Not bad. It also responds to people individually and is quite active. IKEA USA is making some effort in reaching the customer via social media. For Europe that’s not the case yet. As said it’s hard to find a good strategy for Europe because of the different languages. But I would expect something at least.
YouTube is one of IKEAs bonus points. They don’t have a corporate channel but the hilarious IKEA clips go viral nearly every time. Mostly the ones dubbed with “banned”. The following clip was shown in Germany and the most watched IKEA clip (3 million views). A good YouTube channel wouldn’t hurt tough and tracking would be easier.
Social Media Marketing
For the shop opening in Malmö, the store manager had a great idea. Obviously he wasn’t to familiar with Facebook tough. He created an own account for himself and uploaded several pictures to his profile. People could than tag the pictures with their profile. If you were the first person to tag a piece of furniture, you would win it. This created some hipe, and got people to be displayed in their friends feed box. Problem was, this is not legal when looking at Facebooks promotional guidelines and he could have created a Fanpage instead of an own profile. Great idea tough!
IKEA has a huge fan base spread throughout the world and the Internet just waiting to get to reach IKEA. Obviously marketing politics haven’t considered social media yet, since there seems to be a great lack of strategy, guidelines and human resources when it comes to managing social media. Although certain countries and shops are using Twitter and Facebook, marketing is not coherent and looks like every one is just doing what they want.