Elevating Altar'd State's Social media ROI
Altar'd State is a women's fashion retailer with 80+ stores in the United States and an eCommerce website. The brand constantly strives to contribute to the world around them, whether it’s with charitable donations, positive messages in their stores or enabling store associates to volunteer in their community. The brand’s mission to “Stand Out for Good” is their strongest point of differentiation among their competitors in the fashion space. Their business has scaled quickly, and they made a conscious effort to devote almost all their marketing efforts to social media, given their millennial target audience. Altar'd State came to Ignite looking for a partner to help them increase sales and donations through increased real estate and eCommerce traffic, while also elevating their brand ethos of “Stand Out for Good.” We support their internal team with strategic consulting, program ideation, editorial planning, content creation, community engagement across all their social channels, paid media buying & optimization and reporting.
Altar’d State came to us looking to build a social media strategy that aligned to their overall business and marketing goals. Their mission is to build a strategic and effective presence on digital and traditional networks, centered around the target consumer and their shopping habits. To support this mission, we developed three social media objectives 1) Build awareness among our target audience 2) Grow affinity for Altar’d State by creating deep connections with our audience and 3) Activate ambassadors, which includes both the target audience and employees, to advocate on behalf of the brand.
The Altar’d State target audience is females in their early 20's to early 30's. She lives in the United States; however, we place a greater focus on the mid-west and east near store locations. She is interested in charity/volunteering, trendy clothing, pop/country music, DIY crafts, faith, animals and beauty tips.
Strategy and Implementation
To increase sales and donations through increased real estate and eCommerce traffic, we developed a social media strategy that outlined our objectives, audience targeting, content creation, community engagement guidelines, ambassador activation, ad unit creation & optimizations and success KPIs.
We follow Forrester’s P.O.S.T methodology when developing our social strategies, which means we start with ‘People’ first. We built a detailed persona, named ‘Kaitlyn’, based on the demographics and psychographics of our audience. Based on data from a tool called GlobalWebIndex, we were able to identify where she engages on social, and how she interacts with brands. Kaitlyn spends an extensive amount of time on social media (2.5-6 hours/day) and is a multi-networker, with 8+ accounts. We decided to focus on the channels where Kaitlyn is most engaged: Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Utilizing the platform’s targeting options, we implemented the Facebook pixel and Pinterest tag on Altar’d State’s website to re-target visitors with the product catalog. We also developed Custom and Lookalike Audiences based on website visitors.
To grow affinity for Altar’d State, we needed to develop content that created a shared connection between the brand and Kaitlyn. Our content aligns to three pillars: 1) Charity & Faith 2) People & Culture 3) Store Experience & Fashion. To create this mix, we work closely with their internal design team to re-purpose assets from photo shoots and create original, social-first content. We create 40+ pieces of social content per week. Each piece is optimized for the channel and created with the post objective (ex. engagement, traffic-driving) in mind. In addition to the ongoing content, we create different content series focused around holidays and promotions, such as Christmas, Semi-Annual Sale and National Day of Prayer. We created Canvas ads to support Christmas and Spring, their biggest seasons. We are constantly testing new content formats as they are being released. We utilized Facebook and Instagram Live throughout Cyber Monday with five video segments promoting the Christmas season. Each Live video was followed by product tagged photo albums featured in the videos, so our fans could easily shop what they had just previewed.
To foster a relationship with our fans we are in the channels throughout the day engaging with comments and questions. We help them find products, be their fashion consultant and listen and engage with their prayer requests. We use comments to help us with ideas for future content. We also relay the feedback from our audience to the larger internal team to give them insight into what is and is not working to help inform overall marketing and business decisions.
Altar’d State has passionate fans and employees. We knew it was important to leverage them to further gain awareness of the brand and attract new customers. From our research, we found out that Kaitlyn values endorsements from friends and influencers. Given this insight, we encourage user generated content through social programs and integrate UGC into our content mix regularly. The second piece of our strategy is to implement influencer programs. During key seasons, we work with influencers who align with the Altar’d State brand to support our messages and drive sales.
Ad Units & Placements
Our paid media strategy supports our primary channels: Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, as well as two types of social content: critical and high-performing. Critical content supports sales, key seasons and brand messages. High performing content is content that exceeds our engagement benchmark rate within a few hours of being published.
Evergreen ad units included link posts, dynamic ads and shoppable posts that integrate the product catalog. In addition to these units, we test new ad units as they launch. We noticed that our Instagram Stories were gaining significant traction, so we started promoting Stories. We have also promoted the Canvas Ads on Facebook and through Instagram Stories which found to be very effective in driving both engagement, online traffic and sales.
Driving foot traffic remains a high priority so we geo-targeted in-store traffic ads and implemented offline conversion tracking to help quantify the ROI.
Finally, our ad placements focused on prime inventory within the Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram feed.
Optimizations & Success KPIs
We optimize the paid media content daily based on the post objective, top performing targets, creative performance and success KPIs of engagements and website traffic. We are constantly A/B testing copy and creative to gain greater insight into what is resonating with Kaitlyn. We then reallocate budget based on the best performing targets to increase efficiency and maximize the paid media spend.
Utilizing this strategy, we were successful in driving a significant amount of socially-attributed sales between January 2018 – December 2018, with a 30% increase on return on ad spend from the previous year. This resulted in a 88% year-over-year increase in last-touch sales attribution from social media, comparing January –December 2018 to January 2017 – December 2017. Revenue was driven via socially-attributed purchases, 78% of which came from offline, in-store conversions. Socially-referred online purchases increased by 77% year-over-year.
In addition to driving revenue-based objectives, the social strategy was effective in garnering impressions and broadening awareness of the brand 11% year-over-year. The community also became heavily engaged with social content generating millions of interactions with the brand.