At The Home Depot, Senior Director of Social Media Melanie Babcock says her team acts as an internal agency.
Her team handles content creation, social strategy, paid media, channel management, analytics and social listening. But, their primary goal is to support the business during different sales times of the year and to promote specific products.
“We work across the entire company to help drive business. As a social team for a retailer, our responsibility is to create a great experience for our customers as well as drive revenue,” Melanie says.
To drive revenue, her small content team relies on multiple sources.
They not only create content themselves, but also pull from a database of existing content. She explains that with years of creating assets for signage, magazine print ads, and banner ads, her team can pull assets from their content developers and modify it to work well with social.
They also work with vendors, agencies, and a wealth of bloggers.
“We keep a database of bloggers we've curated who we know are good at certain things,” Melanie says.
A blogger's writing style and reach are less important. I'm more interested in their ability to create really good content.
She says they can be good at anything from idea generation, styling, photography, DIY, safety protocols, or an expert with certain equipment. And some boggers are great at taking photos to help the consumer understand how to do a project.
“A blogger's writing style and reach are less important. I'm more interested in their ability to create really good content.”
But to be a part of their content mix, The Home Depot asks bloggers to first be a part of the database so they can sort them against certain projects and themes they have in mind. With a dedicated blogger relations team and agency, Melanie says someone is on the phone with bloggers every day, building relationships and establishing trust.
They also have very specific content guidelines on things like demonstrating proper safety, using a tool correctly, styling requirements, and using products solely from The Home Depot.
Melanie says, “We don't want to put them in a box. We want them to be very creative, but we do have very specific requirements that we need to follow to make the content fit our high standards.”
But The Home Depot's content is about more than just DIY projects.
Even though we're different departments with different missions and different content, the customer sees us as The Home Depot.
They also work with the PR department and “Team Depot” foundation to develop a mix of stories about their history, inspiring things that happen in and around their stores, and some corporate communication. They upload calendars into their Sprinklr content management system each week, and Melanie's team runs daily review processes on what they submit.
“At first, we had a discussion around if those three teams needed different presences on social media. But we made the decision to combine PR, Team Depot, and social into one content strategy. Even though we're different departments with different missions and different content, the customer sees us as The Home Depot.
“We're all learning from one another,” Melanie says.
Especially with The Home Depot's deep relationship with channel partners at Twitter and Facebook, Melanie's social team is able to bring a lot to the table in terms of content strategy. With account managers getting on the phone or in her office daily, Melanie says she considers them a part of the team.
“I tell them exactly where we stand, and they help me solve problems,” Melanie says.
She says their content strategy has done a great job of proving the value of social as a respected channel within The Home Depot.
“I've been in social since 2007, and social media has always sort of been an underdog in the marketing mix. And at The Home Depot, it's not — it's a primary channel, and I'm happy and thankful that I'm part of that.”
Follow Melanie on Twitter and ask about her pet greyhounds. Melanie's been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2014.