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Hi-Fi CorporationA number of South African big brands are making their way on to the social web. Only a handful are coming close to making a good shake at it. The rest are not doing too well at all.

The change of mindset required for social media can be almost impossible to fathom for a business and the bigger the business the more difficult it becomes.

One brand that is taking small steps and taking the time to come to grips with how it works is Hi-Fi Corporation and being engaged is beginning to show positive results.

According to Digital Manager, Anne Schmidt, Hi-Fi Corp’s Chief Executive,  Allan Herman is fully committed to the company going Social.  This is probably the most critical starting point for any social media plan to go forward.

With this in mind Anne set up a Facebook page in December last year.  She admits that they were not entirely sure where they were going to go with it.  But an idea surfaced early in the year and in April  “Funky Friday” was launched.  Every Friday there is a give away.  To be eligible for the prize requires that the page be liked a form filled out.  The winner is announced toward the end of the day. The campaign when it started was supported with a national radio ads.  Anne says that support from suppliers (who sponsor the give-aways) has been tremendous.  They are very excite to be on board.

At the launch of Funky Friday their page “likes” were in the 400 range.  3 months later this has increased 700%.  Pretty spectacular result.  But the be all and end all is not just the number of likes. The goal of course is conversation and looking through their page they are doing admirably with a very high level of engagement. As a result they have a growing base of customers that are having a conversation with their brand.

An amusing anecdote on the growth of their page is there was very quickly a high demand for a way to connect up through mobile devices.  Most businesses today still block access to Facebook so potential likes by corporate office workers were stranded behind firewalls.  Mobile access was set up through a mobi site and a majority entries are now through this service.  Ironically Hi-Fi Corp themselves ban access to Facebook at the office.

As regular readers will know I’m a strong advocate for freeing up access in the work environment as a critical step in becoming truly conversational as a business.

Once a social media programme gets going the next immediate concern is resources, particularly if the programme enjoys some success.  The greatest investment in social media is time and then patience.  To this end an additional person was hired to address the need for additional resources.  Petri Kaparos joined them just as Funky Friday launched. So although they don’t have a dedicated social person or team there is at least a recognition that additional resources will be a must going forward.

I was particularly impressed that Anne understands the need for the Hi-Fi Corporation brand to be represented on the social web by an in house team.  “Outsourcing doesn’t make sense” she says.  And quite right.

Anne says that content is their challenge going forward – how to produce content that will continue to keep their brand engaged.

Future 

Having now experienced some success they are keen to capitalize. There is talk of using Foursquare and going e-commerce but these are all plans in the future.

The immediate future will involve continued engagement through their Funky Friday campaign while the internal brainstorm continues for content roll out.

But Hi-Fi Corp is firmly on the road to social and even with a limited plan they have enjoyed success.  Once they have a firm handle on where they are going the cloud will be the limit.

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