NDD243 (13 Posts)

As I was browsing the news this morning, I saw that the Disney Store is celebrating its 25th anniversary today (I’m writing this on March 28th).  In the retail world, that’s quite a milestone!

While the Disney Store employs many business practices that I admire, there’s one thing in particular that really makes them stand out from other retail establishments – how social they are.

While the cast members in the actual stores are quite social, that’s not exactly what I was referring to.  I’m talking about the Disney Store’s presence on social media; specifically Facebook and Twitter.  Let me illustrate:

Facebook – The Disney Store’s Facebook page has been liked almost 600,000 times at this point.  While that’s remarkable, what really impresses me is that they still remain “social” with their fans.

Below is a screen shot I took from their Facebook page.  At the time I took the screen shot, there were 138 comments to a post they made about their 25th anniversary and the commemorative Mickey Mouse Ears that were being handed out.  (Click here to see a picture of the mouse ears.)

Credit: DisneyMBA.com

You may look at the first comment shown above and ask, “What’s the big deal?”

It’s been my experience that Facebook users with extraordinarily large fan bases (e.g. celebrities, large companies, etc.) limit their presence to just posting status updates or pictures.  Normally the comments on those status updates and pictures are only made by the fans and not the actual user.  I think it’s neat that the Disney Store took the time to chime in on their fans’ comments by thanking everyone.

Now, the second comment shown above really blew me away.  I can’t tell you the last time I saw anyone with such a large Facebook fan base write a comment in response to an individual fan’s question.  I’m amazed at how something as simple as being social in “social media” is a novel idea at this point.  Regardless, this is a great way to connect with your customers and demonstrate your gratitude for their support.

Twitter – From what I gather, people either really love Twitter, or they hate it.  I love the idea of Twitter because it makes people very accessible (at least in theory).

Many companies use Twitter as a one-way broadcast medium where they’ll share news of special offers, new products, or other information that will hopefully inspire customers to buy from them.

Very few companies view Twitter as a platform that gives them a two-way broadcast medium to be “social” with their customers.  As you can guess, the Disney Store is an exception to this rule.

In the screenshot below (click it to see the full size image), you’ll see exactly what I saw the instant I pulled up the Disney Store’s Twitter page:

Credit: DisneyMBA.com

The first tweet is a re-tweet of a customer that was obviously excited to get the 25th anniversary commemorative mouse ears mentioned above.  I see that as a neat way to give a shout-out to a loyal customer that reached out to them with excitement over this momentous occasion.

The second and third tweets are perfect examples how the Disney Store responded to two separate customers that had questions about their purchases.  The first one wanted to know if you could combine a discount code with a free shipping code because she was having trouble with them on the website.  The second one wanted to know about the expected shipping dates of the “One More Disney Day” shirts.

As you’ll see in the fourth tweet, they announce their 25th anniversary celebration and offer a special 25% discount code for online purchases.  What a neat way to celebrate!

What opened my eyes to the Disney Store’s extraordinary social media practices?  As you’ll see below, I recently posted a Tweet about how I was excited to receive a tea set that I ordered online from the Disney Store – and they responded!

Credit: DisneyMBA.com

In my opinion, the Disney Store is one of the very few companies that gets what social media is supposed to be about (a back and forth exchange similar to a conversation you’d have in real life).

If you walked up to the customer service desk at a store, only to find that no one was there to help, you’d probably be upset at their lack of service.  If you tracked down an employee in the store, only to have them ignore you as you ask a question, you’d probably be appalled.  Even though social media interactions are virtual, the same rules of engagement should apply for businesses.

Disclaimer: with the thousands of fans and followers that the Disney Store has in the social media world, I’m sure many conversations get lost in the shuffle.  So if you try to test my analysis, resist the urge to show me examples of where someone has been left hanging.  When you have so many voices talking to you at once, it’s inevitable that a few won’t be heard.

If you have a story about how you’ve enjoyed interacting with Disney over the various social media platforms, I’d love to hear about it.  Feel free to drop in a comment below!

Contributed by Derek Hoffman (NDD #243).  Derek is the creator of DisneyMBA.com and writes business-themed posts for The Disney Driven Life.

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