It’s unlikely that people would consider a strong link between the DIY store B&Q and the concept of social media, but as a company B&Q use social media to its full advantage. From communicating with customers to creating community groups; they even have their own blog that publishes interviews with B&Q staff and runs competitions.
Like most stores nowadays they have their own Facebook and Twitter page, useful for promoting their products and interacting with customers. Their Twitter page makes it clear that they want to hear from customers as well as help them – “We’re here to inspire & help you create a home you’ll fall in love with. What home improvement projects are you working on right now? Let’s chat!” – But B&Q have taken social media a step further from just Twitter and Facebook. What makes B&Q stand out from the average stores use of social media is their ‘Streetclub’ website and ‘Social Hub’ section, which is much like having their own blog.
Firstly, Streetclub, in a nutshell, uses the power of social media to encourage customers to connect with their neighbours and surrounding area. The free webpage is especially ideal for community groups or small villages, providing a space for them to ‘talk, plan and share’. It is essentially a modern day community noticeboard. Members can talk about issues that are affecting their area and decide on the best way to solve them as well as helping each other out with smaller DIY jobs. Despite the majority of members being linked through an interest in DIY, Streetclub can also turn into a social event. Because everyone from the area is on the same social page, it means it is easier to organise social gatherings. Overall, the social media club brings back a sense of community for the public. As for the business, they will attract more customers through word of mouth about the unique web page.
On to the Social Hub section of B&Q’s website; it is fundamentally a blog made up of posts straight from the business. Posts range from job advertisements (such as their latest graduate scheme), competitions to entice customers, a chance to trade in items for B&Q vouchers and interviews – with the latest post being an interview with a store manager. The effect of interviews with B&Q staff makes customers feel more relatable to them and give them a better insight into the store. Similar to the overall result of the blog, customers feel a connection with the store and it’s staff instead of just being seen as a person buying an item. The competitions promote the use of social media by directing customers to the B&Q Facebook and Twitter pages. The blog site gets customers involved as well as informing them, and similarly to Streetclub, it creates an online community. The high use of social media results in customers seeing B&Q as a fun experience; a company who is interested in their wants and needs, rather than just a store they run into when they need something DIY related.
B&Q’s social media expands their business from a DIY store to a place to communicate with others, gain tips and share knowledge. The encouragement of creating online communities links the traditional community spirit with modern day ways of communicating. Taking advantage of social media makes consumers more aware of what the store has to offer and adds an element of nostalgia as B&Q’s use of social networking takes us back to a time when neighbours helped each other and became good friends in the process. In short, B&Q uses the increasing expanse of the Internet community to help build a real community of loyal consumer followers.