Spend any time searching for the fashion brands with the most impressive social media accounts and you’re guaranteed to come across some very well-known, high-end names. Per Luxury Daily, a publication that covers all-things luxury marketing, the top social campaigns from the first quarter of 2015 belonged to Christian Louboutin, Kenzo, and Harrods. Industry buzzed-about Twitter moments included Burberry showing looks before they hit the runway and Marc Jacobs broadcasting an exclusive presentation live from Manhattan.
But does that paint a complete picture of brands who crush the social-media landscape? Maybe not. It’s important to remember that while brands that have gained entrance into Instagram’s exclusive one-million club are obviously quite social, follower count is only part of the whole snapshot of a brand’s social media success. Take Lilly Pulitzer for example, an American brand that hasn’t cracked top lists—yet—but is pretty much killing the game.
Lilly Pulitzer’s resort 2016 presentation in New York City
Social networking has been a part of the company’s DNA since the very beginning. “Lilly’s suice stand was the original social media outlet,” Jane Schoenborn-Paradis, vice president of creative communications, explained to Glamour from the company’s Pennsylvania headquarters. “Her network of friends and that juice stand became a conduit for information. Everybody wanted to come visit for the gossip from the night before. The second they landed in Palm Beach, they’d go visit Lilly.” The brand even credits its initial expansion in the ’60s to Pulitzer’s own social web—she’d open stores where she had close friends and built-in support.
Fast-forward more than 45 years and Lilly Pulitzer is still an early adopter of social media. Its Facebook page was launched in 2007, and a dedicated social media role was created at the company in 2012—impressive when you realize that many other brands simply tack helming Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms onto traditional PR or marketing roles. Here, three mores reasons Lilly Pulitzer is really owning social media.
Executives care about social media and stay up-to-date on what’s happening.
For any companies to win at social media, the entire team needs to embrace it—including those who sit in a corner office. It was the brand’s president who initially pushed for a Facebook page after seeing a marketing team member on their personal account.
The company’s weekly recap, sent to all staffers on Monday mornings, contains typical numbers and reporting but also dedicates space to social intel. “It shares the most pinned image and the most liked Instagram to help everyone understand what the consumer is reacting to,” Schoenborn-Paradis said. “It shows the temperature of our entire social audience and her engagement.” Schoenborn-Paradis continued, “Internally, it helps for everybody in the company to understand not only what she likes but how many people we’re talking to, which holds a lot of weight.”
There’s a conversation between fans and the brand, plus a special peek into formerly unknown.
While most brands share art-directed campaign images or pictures of a designer’s latest sketches, the team at Lilly Pulitzer uses their social platforms to actually talk with its hardcore fans.
“We like to talk with her, one on one,” Pulitzer’s president shared. “One of our favorite things to do is tweet back in a timely way, responding to her and engaging in a conversation,” she said. “Brands can’t just expect to throw things out there. To not have a conversation back and forth doesn’t seem fair.” In other words, share a photo of your Lilly birthday dress and you just might get some cheerful wishes in return.
Lilly’s custom Snapchat filters are available to shoppers in-store and will be available through the holidays
Treat the Costumer is a brand credo.
In the same way Taylor Swift’s cemented her place as the pop star who’s awesome to her fans, the Pulitzer team shares a page from that playbook.
“We don’t do a lot of discounts, but we do love to send out gifts!” Schoenborn-Paradis explained. “We’re more into the surprise and delight of that, so we’ll just DM people. We have no fear of reaching out to people like that, and everybody’s so happy when we do.”
As for follower count, the brand is growing on all platforms. Lilly Pulitzer currently boasts 570,000 followers on Instagram, which may seem low when contrasted with those of popular names like Chanel and Gucci (5.6 and 4.8 million, respectively), but consider this: Lilly’s likes in relation to follower count is often higher than these brands—approximately 6.7 percent of their followers double-tap in comparison to Chanel, whose figure is 1.3 percent. When it comes to the magical social media term—engagement—it would seem the brand’s hard work is paying off. “On Snapchat, we have a 95 percent engagement rate, which we’re delighted with. In terms of the number of people we have who are viewing our snaps, it’s lower than Instagram, but the engagement is just so high!” Schoenborn-Paradis shared. Pretty good for a brand that started out as a simple juice shop, huh?