How Socially Responsible Businesses can Use Social Media to Attract Teens and Search Engines

 

            A recent article in the Huffington Post utilized research from Mintel to conclude that if marketers in the organic and sustainable industries are “hoping to woo true environmentalists with your green products or services, you should aim for social media tactics that target young people, who have larger circles and are more prone to take action” (Smith, 2013).  Using this direction as the guiding force, in the presentation below, I will offer a brief analysis of PACT Apparel Inc as a business within the organic and sustainable industry.  I will also discuss the current state of its social media presence and make suggestions on how this presence may be increased by using social media tools to appeal to teenagers and search engines.  To strengthen my presentation I have included my revealing interview with teenagers, where I used a pair of PACT socks as inspiration to generate ideas from the teens about how socially responsible brands might use social media to reach people their age.

Analysis of PACT

PACT’s straight-forward apparel line has included fair-trade organic cotton underwear, socks, and tees.  PACT’s organic and sustainable platform is described as “an apparel company with a line of premium organic cotton basics that offers consumers sustainably manufactured products connected to powerful social and environmental causes” (Whitcher, 2011). To illustrate PACT’s marketing challenges, it is essential to note that none of its products are new to the market, nor do they have a particularly unique look when compared to its non-organic competitors.  Moreover, perhaps surprising to some readers, the organic undergarment product category is becoming an increasingly competitive marketplace.

For instance, when “organic underwear” was used as a keyword phrase on Google on 7/2/2013, PACT was displayed in a PPC ad and within the first earned listing.  However, this first SERP (search engine results page) was crowded with many of PACT’s competitors’ earned and paid media, which included pictures from Google’s universal search feature.  Furthermore, when these critical keywords were entered, PACT’s only content-based listing is buried on the third page in the form of a blog post from 2009 on Greenbiz.com.  When Google was used to conduct a keyword search for “organic socks” on the same date,  even worse results for PACT were revealed, as the brand only appeared as a PPC ad and did not appear at all within the editorial section until the second page in the form of a 2011 blog post by EcoTerre.com.  This lack of authority on SERPs, coupled with PACT’s rather low number of Facebook likes (7,408) and Twitter followers (1,948) indicates that, while PACT’s current use of social media tools is most likely reinforcing relationships and social connections, there are missing elements of social media that could be implemented to overcome its above stated marketing challenges.  The two elements I will suggest below would not only increase SEO, but attract an influential segment of PACT’s target market.

Suggestions for PACT

            An underlying theme in my suggestions for PACT will center on its current lack of frequent and sharable content.  For example, PACT’s official website, although visually appealing, lacks relevant and ongoing content, which hampers its ability to effectively contribute to SERP authority.  On the other hand, PACT’s Facebook page is relevant and contains ongoing content; unfortunately, this content is not indexed by Google.  For these reasons, a relevant, keyword-rich blog, which contains frequent posts, is a key element that should be added to PACT’s social media strategy.  Huffington Post’s marketing contributor, Jeff Quipp, explained that “the more blog posts (read: content) a site has, the more opportunities for that site to rank in Google’s search results. And, the more pieces of content on the site, the more likely that content will be shared through other networks and social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn” (2013).  Especially for a socially responsible company, like PACT, content on a blog would come naturally since it involves itself in so much more than just selling its product.  Additionally, to create inspiration for the blog’s content, as well as generate brand preference among teenagers, PACT could provide PACT branded photo-kiosks at teen-centered activites such as proms, high school sporting events, and concerts.  The relatively inexpensive photo-booths could be managed by teen volunteers and incorporate three rules: (1) Leave your own clothes on (2) Show us how to wear PACT creatively (3) Share your creativity with the world.  The photo-booths’ touch screens should be web-enabled, so teens could use Instagram, Twitter, etc. to share the user-generated images with their own followers and friends.

Whereas the sustainable and organic industry used to be ripe with opportunity for businesses like PACT, the strong entrance of multiple competitors has created marketing challenges that could be effectively combated with a comprehensive social media strategy.  In this article I proposed that PACT integrate a content-rich blog and a user-generated social media presence to appeal to teenagers and search engines alike.  The suggested blog, which would provide frequent, rich content about product-related causes, as well as the social media-enabled photo kiosks could work together to effectively increase PACT’s SERP authority, provide compelling snippets to be shared in the social media landscape, and generate a strong brand preference for PACT products among teenagers.

 

End Note: This article, by no means, is intended to represent an integrated marketing communications plan, nor does it even begin to skim the surface of all the brand-building tactics I would recommend for PACT.  If you are a marketer at PACT, or manage a socially responsible business like PACT, I have more ideas for you! Please message me at seacatanna@gmail, @AnnaSeacat, or send a smoke signal to horse country (that’s Lexington for those of us who are ignorant to all things equestrian).

 

References

Pact Apparel, Inc. (2013). Official Facebook page. Retrieved on July 1, 2013 from

https://www.facebook.com/wearPACT

Quipp, J. (2013). When It Comes to SEO, Content is King. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jeff-quipp/seo-content-is-king_b_3180096.html

Smith, N. (2013). Social Media’s Green Marketing Works Best on Younger People, Trends

Company Says. Huffington Post. Retrieved from

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/23/social-media-green-

marketing_n_3138502.html

Whitcher, L. (2011). Revelry Brands Acquires PACT Apparel, Inc: Acquisition Augments

Revelry’s Portfolio of LOHAS Companies. PRNewWire. Retrieved on

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/revelry-brands-acquires-pact-apparel-inc-

136069748.html

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Ethan McCarty

Digital strategy | Social business | People-centric biznology

Alana Harris Photography

some of my favorite photos and their stories

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A Friendly Debate about Modern B2B Marketing

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