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Duane Reade’s Prescription For Social Success: 5 Questions With The Brand’s Digital Manager
As part of the Walgreen’s family of drug stores, New York’s Duane Reade Pharmacy is a frontrunner when it comes to creating relevant and actionable conversations across social platforms. Last year, the brand surpassed one-million Twitter followers, and has since doubled their following.
According to Duane Reade’s Public Relations and Digital Communications Manager Calvin Peters, Walgreens sees Duane Reade as a strategic partner.
“The New York metro area is key in determining social strategies and tactics,” said Peters. The digital communications manager relies on what he defines as the “Parallel Persuasion Equation” approach to drive Duane Reade’s digital marketing initiatives.
“It’s an equation based on brand advocacy, brand voice, PR integration and conversation relevance,” explained Peters, “In other words, we generate tangible revenue because we are able to seamlessly reach our customers across various platforms, whenever and wherever they are, with authentic and relevant consumer-generate-media they crave and have now come to expect.”
Peters says the primary components of Duane Reade’s social strategy include being relevant, timely and mobile-first. “We’re very nimble, very focused and conversationally-relevant,” said Peters.
As the point-person for Duane Reade’s full scope of digital and social efforts, Peters agreed to answer Marketing Land’s five most pressing questions about his team and their execution methods.
5 Questions with Duane Reade’s Public Relations and Digital Communications Manager Calvin Peters
Calvin Peters: I’m responsible for a dual role within the company as the Public Relations and Digital Communications Manager. It facilitates us being able to easily initiate campaigns involving the corporate website, social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and our Duane Reade VIP Blogger Team, in addition to tying in traditional PR tactics to help drive the digital and social momentum and content generation.
The nature of my position lets me leverage traditional PR, social and digital marketing channels, allowing campaigns to be consistently executed by integrating multiple communication channels in a comprehensive manner.
As far as my team, we have a small group and wear many hats. We also work with several different agencies. Duane Reade handles all the content, while the agencies help manage editorial calendars. The Duane Reade VIP Blogger team also plays an integral role.
Amy Gesenhues: How does the VIP Blogger team fit into your overall strategy?
Calvin Peters: Duane Reade’s VIP Blogger Team includes a group of advocates we work with on a regular basis who create authentic consumer-generated media via their own social platforms, including blogs, vlogs and Google+.
They are involved in most all of the campaigns we launch, creating posts like this one during our #DRLegWear campaign:
In all, there are 15 Duane Reade VIP Bloggers who cover a variety of categories, including beauty, eco-friendly, sports and snacks and food.
The content created by our VIP team really sets the foundation. They move the needle for us, and not just on a social level, but a PR perspective as well, helping generate interest from journalists.
Amy Gesenhues: Last year, Duane Reade surpassed one million followers on Twitter. How do you measure the ROI of your social platforms and connect revenue to your digital campaigns?
Calvin Peters: It took us approximately six-months to reach the two-million follower milestone after hitting a million. In regards to qualitative results, we’re focused on and monitoring tangibles like being picked up by major media publications and other important trade outlets on the PR side.
For digital and social quantitative results, we look for successes such as tangible sales increases year over year correlated to our campaign social data.
Our May 2014 #Eyes4NYC social amplification program for the RoC beauty brand assortment of anti-aging products has shown great results with the user-generated content. This campaign helped generate over one-million page views and 221 total impressions on various social platforms, including Twitter and Facebook.
Here’s a graph showing how sales aligned with our blogging activity around the RoC campaign. Adjusting for seasonality and trend, RoC product sales were significantly higher during the campaign period compared to the 13 weeks preceding the campaign.
Calvin Peters: The #DRLegWear and #DRLegCandy campaign. It ran from October of 2013 through November of last year and resulted in 150 million impressions on Twitter.
We hosted a photo contest during the holiday season, asking entrants to showcase the legwear product of their choice in their holiday party attire.
— Duane Reade (@DuaneReade) October 24, 2013
Social influencers also purchased the products and talked about their holiday outfits, which helped drive 90 Million total impressions on blogs and other social platforms.
In all, there were more than 5,000 pieces of content generated via blogs, Facebook and Twitter during the campaign, with more than 200,000 total blog page views.
Amy Gesenhues: What advice do you have for brands that need to grow their social engagement numbers?
Calving Peters: Social is Local! Speak directly to your consumers in a direct and relevant way throughout the purchase funnel, essentially allowing your digitally savvy consumers to act as co-marketers for your social brand initiatives.
Our social tone and voice is strategically NY-centric, witty and fun, and it’s consistent across all of our owned social channels. In addition, we approach social with a mobile first focus across platforms as most social channels are now engaged via a mobile device.
I have learned to be always on, nimble and timely with content and social execution across the board.