Exercise 1: Online Reputation and Marketing of Threadless.com

What are people saying about this organization online? What tools are they using to talk about the organization?

I chose to analyze the online effectiveness of the clothing retailer Threadless. Their unique concept involves designs submitted by customers and artists that are then voted on to be made into the t-shirts available for sale on the website. I felt like this company would be a pretty good example of internet branding and marketing since their target demographic is essentially young, hip, avid internet users who would find it important to feel a strong connection to the company and be repeat customers.

As a frequent customer of Threadless myself, I was already familiar with some aspects of their online marketing, such as their Facebook page, Twitter account and Flickr stream. I was also familiar with their weekly Ustream show “Tee Time with Bob and Kristen” which ran from about January through June 2011.

To further analyze their internet presence I consulted reputation monitoring websites such as How Sociable and Keotag. Through these websites I discovered more great attempts at reaching out through the screen to their customers such as the world wide Threadless Meetup day, July 28, 2011 organized through Meetup.com and their Vimeo channel.

 

I also browsed the Threadless Facebook fan page and used previously mentioned reputation monitoring websites, and a Twitter scanner called Backtweets, in order to get an idea of what people and customers are saying about Threadless on their own.  The vast majority of the comments that I found were positive and involved people posting about their favorite tees or posting pictures of them in their favorite tees as well as spreading excitement about sales.

Is the organization responding to these people through social media? If so, how effective do you think they are?

Threadless seems to be very prompt at responding the questions posed via Facebook and Twitter. This dedication illustrates their respect for and connection with their customers. They wouldn’t have t-shirts to sell without users submitting designs and other customers voting on them. Being open and accessible is really the least they can do, and they seem to go above and beyond.

Here is an example from their Facebook page of how quick they are to respond to inquiries:

What social media tools is the organization using to proactively communicate with their user base (rather than just responding)? How effective do you think they are in building relationships and engaging their customers online?

According to How Sociable, Threadless has a “visibility score” of 807, and appear to be most active on the websites where the company has a large presence such as, Facebook, Vimeo, Flickr, Twitter, and Meetup. A similar competitor, TeeFury has much less web visibility with a score of only 283. While their score is miniscule compared to a large company like Google with a score of 24,997, they also appeal to a smaller audience but clearly have a dedicated fan base.

Threadless seems to care strongly about their relationship with their customers, and take their online presence very seriously. On Facebook and Twitter, they interact with their customers by posting interesting statuses and building enthusiasm for their events and sales. Also, while they broadcast the last episode of “Tee Time with Bob and Kristen” on Ustream back in June 2011, it is a perfect example of the kind of relationship they strive for with their customers. The interactive webcast aired live on Ustream, hosted by Threadless employees Bob and Kristen. They would interact with the users who tuned in and chatted with them on the Ustream chat window. Bob and Kristen would announce Threadless news, tell stories and jokes, and also ask trivia questions. Trivia winners won the opportunity to spin a prize wheel for free shirts, gift cards, and other Threadless merchandise.

View the last episode of “Tee Time”

Overall, Threadless is a friendly and accessible company with a quality product.

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