Social Media Audit
For this midterm assignment, we were asked to choose a brand/organization that does a good job on social media. I chose to research REI, Recreational Equipment, Inc., an American retail store catering to the outdoors and the environment. The company is run as a consumer cooperative where customers are encouraged to become members.
Why did I choose this: I chose REI because they not only offer great products for everything outdoors but have a strong commitment to being a good steward and promoter of the environment. In addition, it helps that my family has been a loyal member of the co-op for as long as I can remember. I love the store and feel good when purchasing items knowing that my purchases benefit more than just the company. The benefits go from how well they treat their employees to giving back and supporting outdoor activities and movements to helping sustain a clean environment. By being a member you have a sense of community with other like minded consumers. These are core values that I believe in and support. So, it was an easy choice for me to make.
What platforms does REI have a presence on: REI has a presence on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube where they post regularly as well as interact with their followers.
Describe REI’s voice:
REI’s voice can be described as unique and inspiring. Based on REI’s mission statement which includes, “we inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship”, I believe their voice to be mindful, strong, unique and powerful as it relates to caring about the environment and the outdoors while promoting their brand. REI comes across as being authentic in their core beliefs and values and does a good job of making their customers feel a part of that same community which looks to improve the lives of others through quality, service, and respect.
How often do they post, times of day, days of the week: I reviewed REI’s posts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube. However, Pinterest is not nearly as popular as the other platforms. On Instagram they post about two to four times a week including reels, pictures, and videos. On Twitter they post anywhere from once to four times a day with the posts falling between 9am and 4pm and most any day of the week. On Facebook they don’t post at set times of the day but typically post about five days a week. On Pinterest their posts come at normal times but much less than on other platforms. Lastly on Youtube REI posts a video generally once a week.
Have they run any contests: REI just completed a sweepstakes contest at the end of January. They have run some contests in the past including one in 2018 when they ran a summer contest tying back to their successful Force of Nature campaign.
How do they engage with their consumers: REI has shown continuous engagement with their consumers. They are constantly providing information that’s sharable. They promote on many digital platforms as opposed to just concentrating on one platform. REI also engages with their customers through their core principles of giving back, having great customer service, replying quickly on their platforms and occasionally posting coupons.
Good and bad examples from REI: A good example from REI was when they launched a campaign called Force of Nature. This campaign concentrated on women and how being out in nature was beneficial in more ways than just exercise. It included a $1 million investment into 26 nonprofits that support women in the outdoors, the development of 1,000 new events for women and the expansion of available high-tech gear for women. The campaign took off with more than 470 million non-paid, earned media impressions. A bad example from REI was when they let their CEO go on Reddit to answer questions about why they closed on Black Friday. Their closure made positive headlines and was a big hit on social media. The CEO thought he’d go on Reddit and answer any and all questions thinking that being transparent would be a good thing. In this case there were scores of negative comments and questions about how the company paid their employees that came from REI employees. This may have not been the best idea to offer up the CEO on a forum like this. Although all companies have some disgruntled employees, the vast amount of REI employees are generally happy to work there
REI has a good reputation as a retailer that’s caring and a good world citizen when it comes to promoting a healthy environment. This comes through in how they manage their social media presence. Their presence on all social media platforms through their posts promotes more of their mission rather than any single concentration on specific sales of their products. They successfully weave in their product offerings through the continual promotion of their outdoor mission on social media. They are able to do this through the use of beautiful high quality pictures and video of the outdoors from all over the world which are then posted on all the platforms they utilize.