November 11, 2016
Free. Luxury. Leggings.
Those three words got me to click on a Facebook ad, which I never, ever, ever do. Working in marketing means I’m highly aware of sponsored content being served to me in my feeds – as well as everything that goes into the copy, creative and targeting strategy – but it has also left me resolute in my unwillingness to click through. Until Girlfriend Collective’s Facebook game got me.
The brand employs a familiar, clean aesthetic, which is reminiscent of Everlane, Glossier and other startups, and it created a level of visual “trust” based on the other companies I’m already ordering from. That trust put legitimacy behind the promise of free luxury leggings, and confidence that clicking the ad would mean I’d have some sweet black leggings in my near future (and just for the cost of shipping). As someone who lives by the mantra “you can never have too many pairs of black leggings,” I had to know more.
After going through the steps on the website to order my new pair of luxury, eco-friendly leggings, there was one more hurdle. I had to share the offer on my Facebook page in order to seal the deal and place my order. Well, I was already down the rabbit hole, so why not. I caveated the shit out of my Facebook post, and happily received confirmation that my leggings would ship to me in December.
At first, the marketing strategy seemed genius. Many people – women and moms, especially – use Facebook as a community to keep up with friends, share life updates and offer/solicit advice on everything from best places to visit in San Francisco to where to find the best sweater dress to things to do for a company outing and more. And it worked. A handful of my friends – who I am also friends with on Facebook – ordered their own leggings after seeing my post. Everything was working according to the Girlfriend Collective’s grand plan… until people started commenting on the posts. One person – just one – loved the leggings. Others still hadn’t gotten their orders from months ago and had just cancelled them. And more than a couple of people commented that the quality was terrible and they were going to stick with Lululemon.
The strategy is creative and smart. I applaud them for harnessing social media to create trust and a sense of a “viral” demand for the product, but WOM marketing only works well if you deliver on your promise and have happy customers. It works far less hard for a company or brand when all of the social sharing is coupled with frustration, discontent and negative reviews of the product.
My advice to the Girlfriend Collective? Hold off on the Facebook ads and focus on fulfilling orders, smoothing out the kinks in your supply chain and optimizing cost/value on the product. The cost to acquire new customers via social media isn’t high, but it will cost you dearly if you can’t build loyalty with existing customers, maintain a solid reputation and deliver on those three words: free luxury leggings.
In fact, I think there’s an agency in Minneapolis who can help with that… work for trade?