Use your social channels as, well, a channel
There’s a problem with email.
Let’s look at the facts:
- Email is still really, really effective as a marketing channel.
- People don’t like to admit they buy from emails.
- Everyone gets too much SPAM in their inbox.
- People follow brands on social media to get coupons and discounts, and to know about new products (no, it’s not your 🔥memes that get them to click ‘follow’).
- Some people really do like hearing from brands, particularly cult brands.
That last point is key — there’s a benefit to cult brands in that I like hearing from them. Ostensibly, the reason I’m purchasing is because I like what they offer. However, in some cases, the product is relatively similar to competitors, but their capital-B Brand is the true differentiator.
Thirdlove is a cult brand. They launched as a scrappy startup, with a single point of differentiation and a Goliath to take down. They used that to build a cult brand against the previously-unshakeable industry titan, Victoria’s Secret. Nandini Jammi wrote up a great case study on this.
Contrary to their claims, Thirdlove bras are not really that much different than Victoria’s Secret bras. I’ve tried both. While they do fit better, Thirdlove’s products don’t last much longer and aren’t cheaper.
But does it matter, really? With the prices and products relatively equal, I’ll likely pick Thirdlove next time. I like their brand; I like their marketing messaging. However, I unsubscribed from their emails ages ago — but still follow them on Instagram.
Let’s take a look at Soylent. Having made my first purchase from the brand, I didn’t know if their emails would be spammy or annoying. I felt I had enough of a ‘sense’ of the brand to be pretty sure they wouldn’t send me anything too overbearing or irrelevant.
At that point of purchase, I was really interested in getting new product notifications — specifically because I haven’t bought Soylent before for one reason: they were only offered in 400-calorie sizes, which is too much for me for a single, drinkable meal.
As I do every few months or so, I was clicking around the site, hemming and hawing about trying to make the 400-calorie bottles work for me, when I saw the perfect new product. It had a smaller size, with only 180 calories but with the same nutritional balance and vitamins the original had.
I was immediately sold and went to the shopping cart to check out for the first time.
The perfect ingredients were there for me to want to sign up to hear from the brand: I was excited about my purchase and I trusted their messaging for the most part. But…..
I still couldn’t bring myself to check that ubiquitous box.
Conversely, if there were an option to like or follow their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter page, I would have done that.
It’s a much lighter ask, psychologically, to add a brand to your social media feed instead of giving them your email address for unfettered SPAM.
Typically, links to social media are little icons at the footer of the page:
This is a lot of scrolling, only to tell me what I already suspect about any brand — they have social media. So what? Who doesn’t?
These icons are divorced from context and separated from any benefit that you may get by following the brand on those channels.
Make social media follow links contextual — then make it matter
By placing the social icons at the same point where you ask the customer if they want to opt-in to messages, it’s clear what benefit they will get in that moment. Instead of social as a generic concept, it will be clear that social will be for getting “news and exclusive offers.”
When a customer is checking out, give the customer more choice on the channels they choose to opt-in to — not only email, but social, too.
The tricky part here for Soylent (or any brand) is ensuring that their social feed does, in fact, communicate the things I’m interested in and following them for — namely new products and discounts/promotions… in addition to the fun capital B-Brand stuff too.
(No hard feelings, Soylent — unless I don’t like this new product.)
Victory is a hypernetic solutions consultancy. What does that mean? We use cross-functional expertise to solve the big, complex problems businesses and organizations face. We like to bring in smart people like Angela to help us do just that.