Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest social media star of them all? Well, despite what you might think, it’s not necessarily the one with thousands of followers, as we demonstrated to our client Tricker Bridal.
We were asked to develop a communications plan for this brand-new business – a boutique store selling made-to-measure bespoke wedding gowns – that would reach today’s social media savvy brides.
The owner (and yes, you have guessed correctly that The Boss at Tricker Bridal and Tricker Communications is one in the same, so naturally we didn’t feel under any pressure whatsoever to deliver) had previously made wedding dresses over 25 years ago when the internet was no more than a glint in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye.
But with brides-to-be now listing Pinterest and Instagram over family and friends as their source of wedding day inspo, The Boss understood our guidance that the word-of-mouth methods that had worked before would need to be left in the 1980s along with the Lady Di bows.
Not surprisingly, The Boss popped the question. No, not that question. In this case, the question was - how are you going to build an audience on social channels when I have no digital currency (or indeed no budget to hire a reality television star to “influence” blushing brides)?
And therein lies the issue with social media and understanding the value that it can bring to your brand. Likes, follows and so on and so forth…they’re what we call the vanity metrics. It’s the type of data that will make you feel good, but if you base your relationship on this element of social media alone, the love will never last.
The key thing, if you’ll pardon the pun, is engagement. Great social media content stops the scrollers and provokes a reaction. Perhaps your page has 10,000 followers, but if they’re not engaged with your content and scroll on past without a second glance, it does not make for a happy, long-lasting relationship.
It would be much better to have a handful of followers who feel so passionate about your brand that they like, comment and – crucially – share your content, spreading the word about what you do.
Don’t believe us? Take a look at this graphic from our Tricker Bridal’s Facebook insights page in which we measure performance against competitors, in this case other bridal salons. You can see that Tricker Bridal, a fledgling business just getting its name out there, has a mere 50 page likes when another wedding gown business has over 6,000.
But look at the final column – engagement. Four posts the more established business shared in a one-week period gained a total of 151 engagements, that’s to say that people liked their post, shared it, commented on it or clicked on a link contained within it. Remember that’s from a following of over 6,000 people.
Now look again at the stats for Tricker Bridal. In that same one-week period, it achieved 551 engagements from five posts – from a following of only 50 people. The followers may be small in number, but they are clearly bought into the brand, enjoy the content being produced and are happy to be seen to endorse it.
But the digital success story of Tricker Bridal didn’t stop on social. Brides-to-be were saying I do in their droves to the boutique’s website which we set up prior to the business launch. Social media was a huge driver of traffic – and once brides arrived on the site, they spent a significant amount of time getting to know the dresses.
The analytical information allowed us to improve the experience for both the customer and The Boss: it showed the times when our bridal belles were most active (and allowed us to schedule social posts accordingly) and a simple shuffling in the display order of the dresses ensured that return visitors were seeing gowns that they might not have clicked on previously.
Although the communications industry is moving with the digital times, there’s nothing we like more than some good old fashioned PR tactics too. In this case, we arrange a love-in with the media, sending out a launch press releases for Tricker Bridal on Boxing Day – 24 hours after the most popular day of the year for marriage proposals.
It secured fantastic print coverage in the likes of The Scotsman, The Press and Journal and Society – the lifestyle magazine of the Evening Express – while hand-crafted look books in the form of wedding day photo albums were sent out to bridal journalists to show off the exquisite collection.