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How Chubbies uses social media to build its brand

June 15, 2016 07:00 AM
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Content and commerce work together to drive customer loyalty and engagement with Chubbies Shorts, Tom Montgomery, co-founder of Chubbies, said at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition last week.

The 5-year-old men’s casualwear retailer has about 2 million followers across social media channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. And those followers are loyal. Each week, Chubbies receives more than 1,000 photos from customers through social media. For instance, customers will post pictures of themselves in Chubbies’ apparel and use the hashtag #chubbies. The e-retailer sifts through the content stream tagged with the hashtag on each social media channel and posts some of the photos and content on Chubbies.com and its social media channels.

“We rely on this user-generated content to curate our social media accounts,” Montgomery said.

Each week Chubbies has about 3,000 shares of editorial content, such as blog posts, via social media. The e-retailer also has up to 200,000 engagements with social media posts and 5-7 million video views each week. The most recent photo on Chubbies’ Facebook, for example, has nearly 2,000 likes and 400 shares.

To create a community, the key is to know—and convey—the core of your brand, Montgomery said. “It must be emotional, easy to understand, easy to communicate and authentic.” For Chubbies, the message is the feeling of “Friday at 5” any day of the week, and it sells customers clothing and content that exude that idea.

Words associated with Chubbies’ brand include: weekend, fun, freedom, humor and authenticity, he said.

Relatability is important, he said. It’s one reason Chubbies doesn’t use professional models or actors in product photography and marketing, and instead uses real people—often customers. It’s also why the retailer doesn’t shoot high-budget videos for its social media posts.

“Traditional TV spots aren’t relatable because people can’t go in their backyard and shoot a video like that,” he said. “It’s all done on a small budget with ourselves, our customers and our friends as the actors, directors, cinematographers and everything else.”

Finally, the e-retailer asks for content on social media and sometimes rewards customers for their engagement. For example, Chubbies will have such promotions as “Chubster of the Week,” where the consumer with the most-liked photo receives a free pair of Chubbies shorts. The promotion reads: “If you want to be the Chubster of the Week, post rad photos of you dominating life in Chubbies and tag us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”

Chubbies recently suspended the “Chubster of the Week” campaign, however, after management determined it had become stale and engagement tapered off.  Switching up marketing promotions helps restore momentum to engagement, Montgomery said.

Last month, Chubbies said revenue from customers’ repeat purchases jumped 70% since it automated its loyalty program in 2015. To track and scale the surprise gifts that are a part of it loyalty program, Chubbies uses an automated system to cycle through 200 gifts aimed at rewarding customers’ first and subsequent purchases, up from the two gift options it offered for the past four years.

 

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