In 2017, Shimano started using new methods to execute social media. Nowadays, social media became part of their strategy to increase the Shimano Service Centers to the highest level.
There was a need among retailers to get support for social media. These same retailers function as the eyes and ears of Shimano. They have direct contact with the consumers in their retail stores. On the one hand this benefits the retailers, because they can utilize the knowledge of a big organization on a regional level in the form of online support. On the other hand, this benefits Shimano they will be better able to communicate with consumers on a regional level.
During a conversation with Apostle, we came up with the idea to spread ready-made social media posts via the Facebook pages of our retailers. Within that moment, there were about sixty retailers that were licensed by the Shimano Service Center. However they were not able to help in the same time. Thanks to the Social branding platform of Apostle we solved this problem. “With this tool we can set up ready-made messages for retailers that they can easily approve on their smartphone in no time. We decided to test this with a small group of retailers”, says Erik-Jan Brunninkreef, manager retail services & concepts at Shimano.
Getting retailers on board
Erik-Jan and his colleague Tom de Louw, responsible for the marketing of Shimano, visited various retail-store owners with an extensive Powerpoint to convince them. Soon they discovered that they could do this in a more practical way. Thus, they decided to guide the retailers - by themselves - through the proces of publishing with a smartphone app. In the meantime, the number of Shimano Service Centers increased to 160. Activity on the social media app became part of the yearly audit to keep this quality mark.
Retailers can still make the decision to whether they want to participate in this or not themselves. But their decision, next to many other criteria, counts during the yearly assessment that determines whether the retailer can maintain the quality mark. Thus, Shimano gave a clear signal that the implementation of social media became very important for their organization and that they take it into account during their assessments.
Shimano benefits from the extra awareness that is created through the contribution of the local retailers that use their social media accounts as publication channel. These retailers benefit from a continuous stream of professional designed social media messages and they obtain a lot of knowledge. They are welcome at Shimano for trainings and social media advice. This creates a support base for a target audience of retailers that are busy enough running their own businesses.
“You need to believe”
“The management of social media needs to become part of the standard activities of retailers and that is why we ask to share our messages at least once a week”, says Erik-Jan. The number of messages is available for publications is higher.” We try to use a frequency of four social media messages per week. To be honest, we did not always meet this. But we observed that continuity plays an important role in the proces of keeping retailers engaged. Technic plays an important role, but commitment too. You need to believe in it to make it work.” They certainly believe in it, because in the meantime Shimano also started using the same method in other European countries.