This week's Ask the Brand come to you from Stacey Santo, the Vice President of Marketing Communications at Rue La La. She is responsible for managing Rue La La’s consumer, digital, and corporate PR strategy!
At what point in your marketing strategy do you incorporate Social Media – is it considered from the beginning, or do you find ways to fit it in later?
From the very start, Rue La La has been built upon friends telling friends about us. Social media and word of mouth marketing have been at our core. So no matter what our marketing initiative, social media is integrated from the beginning. We view social media as more than marketing—it is one of the most important ways to gain feedback from our Members (and then incorporate that into our daily business). Our primary goal is to drive engagement and provide unique ways for our Members to connect with the brand.
How big is your social media team?
Our social media team consists of roughly 10 people from across the organization—including marketing and PR, UX, copy, and creative. We meet each morning to discuss our social topics for the day, and we're constantly sharing social programs we admire with each other.
In what capacity does Rue La La work with bloggers?
Our team follows many bloggers we admire, and we're always looking to create unique ways to leverage their voices in the Rue La La experience. We have partnered with bloggers in a variety of ways over the last few years, from offering a unique blogger affiliate network to creating boutiques curated by some of our favorite influencers, like Anh of 9 to 5 Chic, Mrs. Lilien, and Lauren David Peden of The Fashion Informer. We've also been featuring bloggers on our own blog, The (Style) Guide. Our members (and our team) always love to see the blogger's unique style come through there.
How do you select bloggers to work with?
There are a lot of different factors we take into consideration. For our guest editor positions, we look at the blogger's voice and point of view, and their use of imagery. We ask ourselves if their blog aligns with what our members are looking to discover. And, of course, we look at a blogger's engagement to ensure the partnership is as successful (and we'll work together to determine programs that will best engage their community and social channels as well as ours). Lastly—and most importantly—we align with bloggers that complement the Rue La La experience. It is critical to us that our blogger programs be authentic — this will always provide the biggest payoff to our members (and to the blogger's own audience).
What value do you think blogger collaborations have, as compared to traditional marketing?
Bloggers are incredibly creative and talented, and the team is inspired by our favorite bloggers every single day. And since we are constantly striving to in turn inspire our members, blogger partnerships are an accessible and fun way to do that.
How do you measure the overall value of bloggers and social media?
Although standard web analytics and social tools track traffic and social engagement, we look at our measurement of value with bloggers slightly differently. For us, the value is in the authenticity and uniqueness of the partnership. We value working with bloggers to create highly engaging content that may introduce their followers to Rue La La. An authentic and high-quality post that ties back to our brand from an influential blogger is one of the absolute best ways to introduce Rue La La to an entirely new audience.
Do you have any tips for bloggers looking to engage with brands? How can they make themselves more attractive to brands?
First off, don’t be shy. Reach out to brands you want to work with. We always look at the emails from bloggers that come through our firstname.lastname@example.org inbox. When reaching out, outline a specific idea that you have in mind – it will help to get the conversation started. Know the team you are reaching out to. Make sure the brand is aligned with your blog and that your content is going to be the right fit both visually and in terms of content. Be mindful of the amount of giveaways on your blog as well. Giveaways are a great way to generate engagement (we also participate where it makes sense) but too many can dilute your personal brand and point of view.