Could you imagine having to manage 225 Facebook pages, 100 YouTube channels and 30 Twitter accounts? Just a few months ago, Reebok was facing the notion
that its social media presence had ballooned to that size. The athletic shoe and apparel company had to figure out how to slim it down.
"We wanted to have a singular, consistent brand voice on each platform," Tyler Bahl, Reebok's brand engagement and media manager told an audience at this
month's BlogWell conference in Chicago.
By working with the social media sites themselves and its own branches all over the world, Reebok managed to consolidate its social media presence into
just a handful of pages that use targeting features to zero in on the audiences it's aiming to reach.
In 2007, Reebok launched a campaign called Run Easy, intended for casual runners who tend to be put off by the "go hard" advertising directed at hardcore
enthusiasts. More than 80,000 people signed up for the campaign, and it gained 16,000 Facebook fans, in Reebok's first real crack at a Facebook campaign.
Eventually, that campaign ended and those fans were folded into Reebok's main fan page, which launched in June
2008. But accounts grew.
In 2009, Easytone, a line of shoes for women, got its own Facebook page. The following year, Zigtech, a line of shoes for men available only in the United
States, South Korea and Russia, launched its own page. Before long, virtually each new Reebok product was getting its own Facebook page and regional pages
were popping up at a rapid clip. Fan-created pages were joining the mix, too.
The company's social identity was fragmented, Bahl said.
Pulling it together
The first step in streamlining that identity, he said, was a brand audit, with the goal of becoming "globally owned and locally supported." Rather than
bring in an outside firm to do the audit, Reebok's social media team searched through tons of data on the Web.
"You name it, we searched it," Bahl said.
For pages created by Reebok employees—which turned out to be about 30 percent of them—the team questioned what role they served. When it came to
user-created pages, team members asked what was missing from Reebok's official pages that warranted someone creating his or her own. The company even
looked at competitors' pages.
After the audit, Reebok chose to roll its Facebook presence into just three main pages: Its main page, a women's page, and one for its Reebok Classics line, whose consumer base is quite different from the regular Reebok line.
Facebook has strict and rather complex guidelines for rolling pages into other pages, said Angela Scibelli, brand engagement coordinator for Reebok. So the
company worked directly with Facebook to make the process move faster.
Paring down to just three pages meant the demise of a plethora of pages specific to particular countries or regions, but Reebok figured out a way to
continue focusing posts to specific customers who speak a certain language or live in a certain region.
"All of our markets can post to these pages by simply geo-targeting to their market," Scibelli said.
Not all the regional pages went away, however. For example, Reebok's page for India, a country
where the company has the No. 1 athletic brand, has about 1.6 million "likes." So it isn't going anywhere.
Bahl said senior management has given the social media team the go-ahead to pull down any new brand pages that pop up in the future, as well as YouTube
On YouTube, Reebok opted to put everything into just one channel. Putting videos into too many different
boxes means fewer people will see them, Scibelli said.
"There's a snowball effect when it comes to video views," she said.
Tabs across the top of the page enable the company's various markets to target videos to people with specific interests or in their region.
Twitter made things a bit more difficult. A tweet is a tweet; you can't send it to certain followers based on location. Most of the old accounts remain
until Twitter gains that feature.
"In the meantime, we're focusing on our two global accounts," Scibelli said. Those are the Reebok and Reebok Classics accounts.
The right tools
Using a posting tool from Buddy Media, Reebok can enable employees in all its global markets to post content to Facebook, and directly to their customers.
People posting an item in French aren't going to clutter up the feeds of people looking for posts in Chinese, Scibelli said.
The only problem with that approach, she said, is that it means content for some is limited.
"We have fans on our page who don't get any messages from Reebok," Scibelli said. "That's what we're trying to fix right now."
The tool also gives the corporate team a way to quickly review and approve content.
"We can see, specifically, who is posting to each page," she said.
The company has developed its own, branded link shortener, reesha.re, which keeps its analytics protected, unlike bit.ly.
The company uses Sysomos for analytics, which means data from every region can be pulled into one place.
"We can see which content is working in which markets," Scibelli said.
Matt Wilson is a staff writer for Ragan.com.