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A little taste of my Social Media love…

On “Target” With Social Media

on June 5, 2014

Target LogoTo put it simply, I have a divine love affair with Target. I visit my local Target on an incredibly regular basis, I use my Target card for all my Target purchases and I love to sift through their weekly ads. Most recently I adore using their Cartwheel app – it’s so simple and the savings really do add up!

So, when we were asked to take a look at a company’s social relationships this week, it was only natural for me to select Target. Target has more than one million Twitter followers and nearly 23 million likes on Facebook – needless to say, they are huge!

Right off the bat I noticed that Target is pretty good at responding to Tweets thrown their way – one user Tweeted a misspelling on one of their signs at his local store and Target said they would pass the information along.

Target Signs

As I continued to look at their “replies” on Twitter, it’s clear that they are not interacting with every user that attempts to engage with the brand. As you can see below, there have only been four Tweets from Target (mentioning a user) in the last 19 hours.

Target Hours

However, looking through their Twitter feed, when they reply to their followers, their tone is positive and light. Target has a reputation of being “cool and current” among its customers and their Twitter posts reflect that image very well.

Target FacebookJump over to Target’s Facebook page and you’ll find more the same. However, they generally only post one update per day or every other day on their Facebook page. These posts range from products that you can purchase at Target to their various community outreach and volunteer programs. Their Facebook platform seems to be a bit more “sales” orientated than the “conversational” tone of their Twitter profile. However, I don’t view any of their posts as an “in-your-face-buy-our-products” approach – it’s sales with some heart and soul!

In terms of engaging with their customers on Facebook, they are again doing a pretty decent job. On one of their most recent posts, someone left a comment about Target not supporting our troops. Their response was great – they called the user by name, explained a bit about their stance on the subject, posted a link to their corporate policy site and signed the post with a real name. All of these combined make the response seem personal and not a computer generated template response – it might not have changed the users mind, but it perhaps set the tone for other users with similar questions.

Twitter ConvoThere was one rather large thing that caught my attention while sifting through Target’s Twitter page (it hasn’t appeared on the Facebook wall just yet). I noticed that in a number of their “conversations” people were mentioning something about a loaded gun being found in an aisle at a Target in South Carolina. Users were tweeting directly at Target with hashtags like #GunNuts, #OffTarget and #MomsDemand – see the screen shots for more.

In VERY recent news, it has been reported that a “real hand gun was found in the toy aisle of Target on Seaboard Street” in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The story was first reported online at 12:51am on Thursday, June 5th by WMBF News. Currently, Target has not acknowledged any of the Tweets about this incident on their profile. It will certainly be interesting to see if Target actually does address the issue or if they will take the “pretend it’s not there and it will go away” approach.

All in all, Target’s interactions with their followers via Facebook and Twitter are good but not great. They could stand to take a page out of KLM’s approach to Twitter and respond to more of their followers in a timely manner. It can get quite complicated for a company as large as Target to reply to each and every mention of their name; however, by bringing in employees from various departments to partner with their social team, the task might not be quite as great.

Ta-ta for now!


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15 responses to “On “Target” With Social Media

  1. Hi Lacee,
    First off I have to say love the title of this post and I love Target! I follow Target on Facebook and I think a lot of their posts are really cute. I love their “Target Truth” posts, I can totally relate! While I like these posts I agree with you, their interaction with their audience is good, but not great. I hope that they address the gun issue. A lot of people lost some of their hope in Target when their financials were compromised. This issue could continue to hurt their audience’s trust…which we all know is very hard to earn on social media! Come on Target…give us the download!

    • Hi Alexis!

      Thanks for the compliment! I love me some Target – in fact we were just there this evening! I used my Cartwheel app and my Target card and saved over $12.00 on my purchase – BAM!

      I agree that a great deal of people lost some faith in Target with their security breach; however, I think that they handled it relatively well. I didn’t look through their social profiles during that time though, so I don’t really know how they handled it that way. Hopefully this current issues is a one-off situation and they can move past it quickly!

  2. Justin says:

    Thanks Alexis. I’m a Target fan too. When I am in the US I often visit the local Super Target. Man, that place is huge. Anyway, I think firms need to include social media in crisis planning. It would be interesting to know if this is the case at Target. Cases like the “loaded gun” allegation are a good example of a crisis you’d want to respond to fast.

    • Hi Justin!

      Love Target! I’m glad you get to experience its wonder when you’re visiting the states! I agree with your point though – social is becoming such an important pieces of the corporate puzzle and they need to be included when things turn sour. Folks now days are most likely going to take to social when sticky situations arise and the crisis management team is going to need the social team on their side – they’ll need to squash rumors and put out fires before things get out of hand in the social world!

  3. I love Target, and surprised to see they don’t have a 24/7 social media response team, like KLM. I think nowadays these big brands need to be active all the time on each platform, because it keeps their reputation at a high. It’s good to know their tone with the responses they do are in a positive and kind tone. I don’t see why Target hasn’t got a social media hub on hand to deliver any updated information and answer any questions. My only thought could be that Target is so successful that they show little interest in what happens on social media. I don’t really understand it, I “assumed” Target would have one of the best social media presences, similar to KLM.

    • Hi Gavin!

      It kind of surprised as well that they don’t have a more consistent presence on their social profiles. You would think that, with a company so large and so “in touch” with what’s current, they would have a team dedicated to round-the-clock monitoring. Target definitely presents themselves as a mainstream, current and up-to-date company on the cutting edge of new things – I assumed they would be a bit more cutting edge in the social world too! Not to say that they are terrible, but there is certainly a great deal of room for some much needed improvements!

  4. As everyone else has pointed out, I think that responding to a gun crisis should happen right away. Any allegation of a gun near a child, or a loaded gun is extreme and even if they mentioned that they were looking into it, it would be better than ignoring it completely. I think that sometimes in a panic people do forget that there are people on social media waiting to see what happens. I do think that companies sometimes are too cautious and choose not to respond when they should just let the public know what is going on. They are a great company and it seems like they are doing a lot of things right. I took a look to see if anything has been updated or if they had posted anything, and they still haven’t on June 6 at 11:22pm. So it seems like it is something they don’t want to address on social media at all. This would be a great opportunity for them to learn something new that they should be doing. Great post!

    • Hi Amanda!

      I definitely agree that some sort of statement about the gun issues should have been shared on their social profiles – especially have users started spamming Target’s post with accusations and anger. There’s a good chance that no one was monitoring their social profiles when these users went on their spamming rampages, but you would think that some employee somewhere saw it in real time! Maybe Target corporate didn’t want to get their hands dirty on this one and is hoping that, since no one was injured, the situation will simply disappear. In all honesty, this is probably what will happen. I don’t recall hearing anything about the issue on the national news or in other national outlets – Target probably just wants to sweep it under the rug and move on. Is that right? Probably not. Is that what’s going to happen? Sadly, probably so.

  5. Hi Lacee, nice post! I like Target a lot, but I’m afraid if I like their social media pages I’ll be even more inclined to go in there for one item and walk out with 20 unnecessary other ones!

    My guess is that they are working with their crisis and legal team to investigate the situation and to draft a response that is both appropriate from a legal standpoint and conversational enough to fit with the rest of their posts. We deal with this all the time for one of our clients, and we can get in BIG trouble if we speak before like 10 people within the organization all approve the exact copy of the response. I don’t think they aren’t purposely ignoring it; they’re probably just waiting for a reactive statement to be drafted for the media and then customized for social media.

    • Hi Lexi!

      I totally understand your problem! Sometimes, I just go to Target because I’m bored. With no intention to buy anything, I still wind up walking out with a cart full of stuff I probably didn’t need.

      I think your point it quite plausible – I know that if something like that happened at Disney World, there would be a hundred people that would need to “approve” the communication. I’m honestly leaning more towards the thought that Target just wants to pretend it didn’t happen. It doesn’t seem to be a nationally broadcast story at this point, so maybe they are just going to ignore it and hope that it’s quickly forgotten by others.

  6. Lacee,

    I love Target and the way they are on social media! It’s by far one of my favorite companies and I have been hooked by several outfits they’ve posted on Twitter and Instagram, just ask my bank account.

    The gun situation is interesting. It’s on the store managers at that particular Target for allowing something like that to go unnoticed. I don’t know how much Target, as a corporation, should say about it before they investigate why it happened. That being said, them saying they are looking into the situation, why it occurred and what they can do to prevent it in the future would be a positive step in diffusing the situation before it truly gets out of hand.

    • Hi Casey!

      I’m sure our bank accounts have very similar feelings towards Target!

      I agree that it seems to be more a localized situation at this point – I have not seen any type of national attention on the topic. I’m sure that Target corporate is just hoping that small town America moves on from the situation – if the rest of the country hasn’t heard about it, why post something via their social accounts and stir up trouble? I personally don’t think that’s the right approach at all, but clearly someone at Target does!

  7. tjstrese says:

    Hey Lacee! Great post and great look to your blog! I don’t know if this space theme is new, but I am dying to steal it now ;). Last semester, someone did a report on the Target supplemental app “Cartwheel” and I was impressed, so I was eager to learn more about their social today. (Did you do the report on Cartwheel?) I was impressed with what I read but do want to talk about content creation a little. Specifically, some of the challenges that Target faces. First, I wonder if posting every other day on Facebook actually IS a good strategy. With big retailers like Target or Walmart or Amazon, do you REALLY want to see them in your feed every day? Maybe not. Maybe too much causes people to unlike or unfollow. Second, I think Target and other retailers face a very interesting challenge of having such a diverse “buyer persona” (to steal a little from the other course). Imagine having to come up with content when your customers are anyone from a college student to a grandmother looking for a gift for her new grandchild. Must be quite the challenge. How would you attempt to address this? Do you think Target has done a good job of this?

    • Hi Jake!

      Thanks for the kind words! I changed the look of my blog last semester I think – they are all running together at this point!

      I remember someone doing a project on the Cartwheel app as well – I don’t think it was me though! Then again, it very well could have been! How terrible is that?! I don’t even remember our projects! However, I used my Cartwheel app and my Target card today and save over $12.00 on my total! BAM!

      I think I do have to agree with you – I don’t think that their every other day posting schedule is necessarily bad. I think we would probably get annoyed with multiple posts each day from them clogging up our newsfeeds. I agree that coming up with content to entertain and interest the various demographics that shop at Target could get complicated – I think they are doing a fine job at it now, but requiring them to post more frequently might cut down on the quality of their content.

      However, I think that they should be interacting more with the folks that choose to comment on their Facebook posts. In addition, they should really be more active on their Twitter account and respond to many more of the followers on that platform.

  8. lleithauser says:

    Oh my goodness, I love Target. I recently moved and am FINALLY close to one… a Super Target at that. I use their Cartwheel app religiously, but I can’t say I’ve really paid much attention to their social media efforts. It’s interesting that they remained silent about an emerging news story like that- I can understand keeping mum until all of the facts were in, and it’s certainly a better stance than letting a community manager jump in and make regrettable comments, but there comes a time where a statement needs to be made.

    Random question- how do you feel about overusing exclamation marks in social media posts for brands? Years ago, a friend brought to my attention how often I ended sentences that way in ‘professional’ emails, and since then I’ve been overly aware of that. In fact, exclamation marks are probably the most-often edited parts of the posts I make on behalf of clients. I go back, reread, and realize it sounds too excitable. Target seems prone to this as well. Do you think that it can turn a decent post into something childish or less effective?

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