Everlane, the 5-year-old direct-to-consumer apparel start up, is bent on making its presence on social media as personal as possible.
The San Francisco-based retail company, founded by Michael Preysman in 2011, posed a question to its 160,000 Facebook followers on Thursday, October 20.
“We’re thinking about starting a Facebook group. Need your help first though,” the post read.
By the following Monday morning, the post had almost 600 likes and 82 comments. For the most part, the brand’s Facebook fans who responded were on board with the idea. While a few suggested a full-on publication or some other forum other than Facebook, most expressed an interest in having a place for discussions with Everlane and like-minded shoppers around topics like sustainable fashion, transparent retail, fashion trends and designer bios. The potential for recurring Facebook Live streams was floated around.
This in-development Facebook group is the latest example of Everlane pushing the community-minded aspect of its social platforms.
In January this year, the retailer launched a private, secondary Instagram account, @EverlaneStudio. The account was created to showcase new and upcoming products to a group of followers who had been approved by the account admins in order to get customer feedback and offer sneak peeks and early launches. It now has 5,800 followers (the main @Everlane account has 274,000). In June, Everlane again took to Facebook to tell followers that if they commented on the page with their Snapchat handle and a shoe, bag or shirt emoji, the social media team would send “exclusive” snaps related to those categories.
Young retailers born in the internet age have embraced strategies that focus social media efforts around a community dialogue. Brands like Everlane and skincare brand Glossier have turned to Instagram comments and Snapchat Stories to get direct customer feedback on business decisions like product launches and packaging design.
“It’s a micro-community that we’re hoping to build,” Everlane’s head of social Red Gaskell has said regarding the brand’s community-facing strategy. “We want to know these followers, and we want them to be able to get to know each other.”
As platforms like Facebook and Instagram increasingly become pay-to-play, however, Everlane has had to get creative.
“As we continue to see social platforms shift to become more like traditional advertising, brands have to be more innovative around how they foster community on social,” said Taylor Malmsheimer, senior research associate at L2. “You can tell Everlane is thinking critically around how to use social media.”
Customer engagement has always been the sole metric that Everlane tracks on social, as the retailer looks for ways to get customers more involved with the brand on different platforms. CEO Michael Preysman said in a previous Digiday interview that he wasn’t interested in pushing people to buy through social media. The company doesn’t try to link sales to social content.
“We don’t see that social buy buttons are the future that everyone is talking about,” said Preysman. He added that social media endeavors don’t need to be justified by how much they move the needle on sales.
Instead, Everlane is focused on building a relationship with its customer, who today has more options to choose from when shopping online than ever before.
“No social platforms right now are a place where consumers are in the buying mindset. It’s about engagement and awareness,” said Malmsheimer. “Having a customer that’s willing to participate is valuable, and not easy, either.”