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Social Media Spotlight on: Waterstones

Social Media Spotlight

Written by Alun John

Alun founded Marketing Tom and delivers some of its courses.

December 5, 2017

On our Social Media courses we cover channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogging and we try to make sure that we keep content as up-to-date as possible. This means keeping an eye out, and making changes, to all sections of our presentation as and when required. So, when Facebook adds video capability to Facebook covers or when Twitter expands the character count to 280, we make sure that this is reflected in our course materials. On top of this, we also try to make sure that we present our students with as broad an array of social media examples as possible. We show them what Marks & Spencer, Foster and partners, Riverford, Imperial College, Maersk, the British Museum, General Electric, Square and many more are using social media channels.

One company that I have used over the years, and whose social media presence has caught my attention again recently, is Waterstones. This is a company that uses a number of different social media channels to reach out to it’s target audience. We can see that they use it for customer acquisition, retention and conversion. With channels such as blogging, we can also see that they are also considering content marketing/search engine optimisation. As I have done with both Starbucks and Flavourly, I would now like to highlight how they are using the social media platforms.

Blog – The Waterstones blog comprises 309 blog articles. It looks like it is updated quite frequently and, obviously, the main focus for Waterstones is to introduce you to new books and, ultimately, to sell them. It would appear that each blog article offers a brief introduction/overview and then excerpts are taken from each book to give you a flavour for what you can find inside. It looks like each book has a “related books” link from where you can buy these books. The blog approach is very straightforward but nonetheless works well and is really nicely presented. And, let’s not forget that there is a clear link to the blog in the top navigation bar this site.

Twitter – Over the past month or so Waterstones has been quite heavily promoting the latest Philip Pullman book, Book of Dust. What we have seen is the way that this Book launch has taken over many aspects of their Twitter account, from Twitter header to tweets and even a takeover of the Waterstones profile picture. Today, we can see that the Twitter header announces the fact that Book of dust has become their book of the year. I do like this idea of the events, product launches and even exhibitions being focus of entire twitter accounts. So, what sort of tweets are Waterstones crafting for their account?

This tweet is timed to appear just when people are making their way home and, probably, checking their social networks. It invites them to hop over to Instagram where they can get preview photos of this book.

We discussed the Waterstones blogged before and here we can see your tweet which invites us visit the blog to see excerpts from Nadia’s Christmas book.

Here Waterstones are using a timelapse video to show the painting of a shop window. It’s really effective and definitely captures the attention of Twitter users – it’s not the first time I seen Waterstones using this.

I am a big fan of these Twitter collages and book images work particularly well, as you can feature the book cover and offer a glimpse inside. This can work equally well for products, conferences and much more.

Quotes also work very well on Twitter and it looks like the current style for Waterstones is a silhouette of the person, a black background and the quote in white (or vice versa). Note also how they have used the popular #onthisday hashtag and a “day hashtag” – this is ideal for pulling traffic into your tweets. This tweet has garnered a number of retweets and likes.

Video is getting more and more important on Social Media and I just love this use of it. Here, guest reviewer Siândolph ? from the Cirencester branch of Waterstones gives her thoughts on a couple of books.

I also love the use of backgrounds that they use to display their books. they all seem so fresh and clean. And notice, in this example, the mention of author and Man Booker Prizes and tagging of publisher in the image.

This is just a very brief look into the Waterstones Twitter account.

Instagram – if the success of an account can be measured in followers and the number of likes, then this account is very successful. Not surprisingly these Instagram updates feature books, 947 of them at least!

These Instagram updates are varied and include single images, multiple images and video.

And, if you’re doing Instagram updates don’t forget: appropriate/engaging image, a sprinkling of hashtags for virality and a couple of mentions!

I hope you found that interesting and please let me know if there any techniques used by Waterstones that you particularly like.

Related Articles
Social Media Spotlight On: Flavourly Craft Beers
Social Media Spotlight On: Starbucks

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