DIY Stores Among the Most Socially Active Retailers

Published on Dec 27th, 2016

By Alla Bryne

As the holiday shopping season wraps up, we examine why smaller DIY and home improvement stores are outperforming major retailers on social media. The trend toward crafting and do-it-yourself projects seems to resonate with shoppers across social networks.

In November, Hobby Lobby, Lowe's Home Improvement and Michaels Stores ranked amongst the top 10 U.S. big box and department stores for social media interactions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Hobby Lobby experienced a 276% growth over last year, Lowe’s Home Improvement was up a whopping 947% and Michaels Stores had 68% growth, reflecting renewed consumer enthusiasm for the DIY and home space.

Notably missing from the rankings were major retailers Target, Walmart and Best Buy, driving just 338K consumer engagements on social in November and declining by more than 50% year over year.

What's with the shift from major retailers to these niche stores? Consumers appear to be responding to the do-it-yourself nature of these stores, which are promoting cool crafting projects and inspirational images, many of which come from customers.

In 2016, Hobby Lobby experienced 1.2 million total actions on Facebook, 1.8 million total actions on Instagram and 12K total actions on Twitter. The arts and crafts store posts a great deal of content and much of it is practical advice for decorating, gift ideas and DIY projects. It caters to consumers' creativity and allows them to recreate magazine-worthy ideas in their own homes without spending a fortune. On Instagram, they also do a great job of regraming their shoppers' photos, so instead of seeing unrelatable models, you're witnessing real customers, which makes the brand more accessible.

While Lowe's doesn't post as much content as their competitors, it still had an impressive year with 2.3 million total actions on Facebook, 473K total actions on Instagram and 22K total actions on Twitter. What Lowe's does best is offer tips and solutions in almost every post. The home improvement store has a video series called #LowesFixInSix, where they offer a household tip, such as the best way to store your Christmas tree lights, in six seconds. It's those sorts of quick, problem-solving posts that engage their social community.
Michaels Stores had a really big year on social media with 2.2 million total actions on Facebook, 3.6 million total actions on Instagram and 30K total actions on Twitter. They have a brilliant campaign named #MakeItWithMichaels in which actress Busy Phillips has crafting competitions with various celebrities, including Snoop Dogg and Jason Biggs. The videos, promoted on the crafting company's social accounts, are funny and engaging and show just how simple homemade projects can be. One can't help but think, if Snoop Dogg can make his own ornaments, why can't I? Michaels also features regrams of their customers' projects on Instagram, which not only provides inspiration to other shoppers, but also shows them interacting with their community.
The impressive growth of these stores points to consumers rewarding retailers who add value to their shopping experience, offer inspiration and engage with consumers in an authentic manner. Shoppers want to feel like they are being offered more than products, but also ideas on how to make the most of them. Customers appear to be inspired by the DIY trend and want to try to make improvements and create things themselves. They also value feeling part of a larger community of crafters, who they can relate to and share in their accomplishments.

To compare how retailers performed last holiday season, check out the Holiday Retail Leaderboard from 2015.

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