Social Media Case Study: Target’s Awesome Shop

Target has a brand new e-commerce site called the “Awesome Shop”. The standalone site is updated daily and includes social integration by using data driven from Pinterest as well as from Target.

The site has a fantastic layout and easy to read descriptions for each item. Essentially, Target has taken data from Pinterest and combined it with their own to create an easy to read layout. The user can search for items by category (food, beauty, home decor, etc) or by “top pinned” and “highly reviewed” items from the social community. Once you click an item, you see the product rating (Target’s data), the total reviews (Target’s data), and how many times it has been pinned (Pinterest data). The user also has the ability to pin the item directly from the site, and view ‘more details’ which redirects to the Target website where the user can make a direct purchase.

The standalone site with social integration is in its beta form but don’t be surprised if this becomes a permanent fixture, not only for Target, but for other big box retailers. A site with social integration allows brands to look at new data to help identify consumer trends. By using Pinterest, Target is adopting a network that they know their key demographic, 18-29 year old women, is already comfortable with.

The “Awesome Shop” website was developed in a couple of weeks by an internal team called the RAD (Rapid Accelerated Development) group. This is a small agile team that can create and test new projects. The importance of a team like this will surely rise as other companies will want to experiment with other social networks and technologies, so that their consumers will have the best socially powered shopping experience.

The fact that Target chose to integrate Pinterest speaks volumes of how they think social media can directly influence a purchase. When people ask you, “What is the ROI of social media?”, point to this example. If a brand has an engaged community and they provide the right value at the right time, consumers will BUY!

The simplicity of the site and the perfect combination of social data with 3rd party data make this a truly “Awesome Shop”.

A Creative Use of Social Media: The Twitterview

Everybody knows Twitter is a great way to communicate with other people who have similar interests. It’s incredibly easy to search for certain users, follow trends, and use hashtags to join in on topical conversations. One of the ways we use Twitter at Silverback Social is to initiate meaningful conversations.

We started our own Twitterview series centered around the hashtag #SSTwitterview. Our goal is to interview individuals who are “doing” social, who are entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We don’t actively look for people with a lot of followers; instead we look for people who provide value to followers on a consistent basis. If you provide good content to your audience we are interested in learning from you. We hope to help businesses large and small understand certain strategies, platforms and trends within the social media and digital ecosystems. The Twitterviews are personalized for every person we interview. We typically end them by asking interviewees a personal question centered around their personal life, and sending them a personal “Thank You” through Vine or Instagram. Keeping the interview short, fun, and informative is the recipe to a great Twitterview.

On Wednesday we conducted a Twitterview with Chris Horton of SyneCore Tech, an integrated digital marketing agency based out of Minnesota. Chris is a Content Creator and Digital Strategist at SyneCore Tech, and he graciously took some time to answer a few questions we had about social media, content marketing, business objectives, and more.

The answers Chris provided were incredible. Even while using only 140 characters, Chris responded to each of our questions with valuable, pertinent information that painted a vivid picture of his thoughts and opinions.

SyneCore Tech even jumped in on the discussion from their company’s Twitter handle!

This Twitterview was a major success for both sides. Chris was able to amplify his reach on Twitter and share some seriously useful knowledge, and we at Silverback learned a ton from SyneCore Tech and gained a number of new followers who were listening in on our conversation. Plus, SyneCore Tech made an AWESOME Instagram video recap of the whole experience!

Having a #social party over at @synecoretech as our own Chris Horton rocks out his first #twitterview...cue the Rocky music!

A big THANK YOU to Chris Horton at SyneCore Tech for partying with us during our Twitterview. Check out their blog here.

Caring is the New Business Model of Success

We live in an age where brands can’t fake it anymore. Among successful social media campaigns, the trend is a storytelling element that speaks to the voice of the brand. The slightest sense of BS is sniffed out and dismissed by the social media community. So I started thinking about companies that not only focus on profit margins, but actually prioritize the customer experience…and that’s when I saw the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

A quick synopsis of the movie: An 85-year-old sushi chef, considered the best sushi chef the world has ever known, has had the same routine for over 70 years. He is a man constantly perfecting his craft; a man that loves his work. The lengths Jiro and his employees go to create the best experience for their customers is the definition of ‘going the extra mile’. Everyday either Jiro, or one of his sons, goes to the fish market to find the best catch of the day.

Two things stand out during this process:

  • If Jiro does not find a fish to his liking he simply won’t buy a fish.
  • The fish vendors prefer to sell Jiro their fish not because he pays the most, but because of Jiro’s expertise and his respect for the fish. They know he will prepare the fish the way it was meant to be prepared.

In a scene where the director interviews a highly regarded rice vendor, who exclusively sells to Jiro, the rice vendor explains that he could have sold his rice to the Hyatt hotels but refused because they didn’t know how to cook it properly. The rice vendor valued trust and quality over profit.

The customization or personalization of customer service is a telling sign that the company cares about the overall customer experience. This is part of the recipe for a successful business model.

When Jiro serves sushi he pays attention to the hand the customer picks the sushi up with. He then serves the rest of the meal to your preferred hand. Jiro gives women slightly smaller pieces of sushi than that of men so everyone finishes their meal at the same time.

It’s Jiro’s focus on personalization that enhances his customer service, which in turn allows him to charge high prices.

The amount of discipline, dedication and attention to detail adds to the overarching story of Jiro’s sushi. Companies need to effectively storytell, consistently, over time, to build trust and loyalty with their customers. When a company best tells its story, that’s when the customers will be able to relate to a brand, and that’s when a company can charge higher prices. The customer will be willing to pay if the relationship is worth it.

“Once you decide on your occupation you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job, you must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and the key to being regarded honorably. I’ve never once hated my job, I fell in love with my work and gave my life to it.” —Jiro Ono

What brands do you see effectively storytelling?

Do you think “caring” matters in business?

What brand who you relate to the most?

Three Things Every Millennial Must Know Before They Work at a Start-Up

When I graduated from the University of Arizona in May 2011, I never would have thought I would be working for a startup company. I had this idea in my head that startups were centered around an idea that had a cool chic logo, and eventually got bought out for millions of dollars. 

I guess I didn’t realize that startups depend on sweat equity.  Without hard work the whole business fails.  Now you may be rolling your eyes saying,

“tell me something I don’t know”

But what people don’t realize is that going the extra mile is a requirement in the startup environment.  You can’t show up at 9am and leave at 5pm on the dot everyday. I realized pretty quickly that if I didn’t put all of my effort into a project I was not only hurting myself, but the whole company as well. If I don’t do the best possible job, I’m only creating more work for my

co-workers when they can be doing 100 other things that can help the business flourish and grow.

Here are three things that every millenial should know before you accept a role at a start-up.

1. All hands on deck!  

At Silverback Social we have 5 employees.  If one person does not come to work, his or her absence is felt tenfold because each employee is an integral part of every project. To do the best work possible participation, feedback and constructive criticism are essential. I can’t even begin to tell you how many things we’ve discovered through an open dialogue.

2. Be patient.   

You have to see the big picture when working at a startup. The startup ride will be bumpy, tedious and arduous.  There are so many things to work on when starting a company from scratch, whether it be writing the company handbook that outlines rules and procedures for employees or creating a document on how to successfully on-board a client. At Silverback Social it took us some time to understand who was good at what, but we all eventually found our roles, which allows us to do client work as well as produce the Westchester Digital Summit.

3. Company culture is important.

I believe that a positive company culture at any business spurs creativitys and passion. The culture at Silverback Social is fun, energetic and extremely focused.  Any and all ideas are listened to and discussed.  This is what makes my experience so unique.  All of my ideas are heard and the good ones are executed on behalf of our clients.  We are challenged to create blog posts, hop on a podcast and think outside the box.  When I wasn’t satisfied with doing community management I was open about it and created a new role for myself, Social Engagement manager.  The company culture and environment made me feel comfortable enough to be that open without being confrontational.


 What’s your experience been? Are you a millennial at a start-up too? Are you loving it or hating it?  Comment below, and let us know! 




The Inaugural Westchester Digital Summit Through the Eyes of Silverback Social’s Social Engagement Manager Josh Fenster

I learned that Westchester has an appetite for digital knowledge.  When envisioning the Westchester Digital Summit, I imagined an event that would be a prime hub of learning, teaching and networking.  Not only did this idea become a reality, but also the response and engagement was truly inspiring. Our amazing panel and breakout sessions that were run by industry leaders, helped people of all ages grasp social media and digital marketing concepts. I hope people walked out of the summit with a sense of paranoia, with a sense of “what else do I need to know to improve myself or business”.  We have just begun to provide Westchester County with the social media and digital tools to forge, manage and maintain personal, long lasting relationships in today’s ever-changing business world.