Photo Credit: Hypebeast.com
A guide to how direct-to-consumer (dtc or d2c) brands are taking over social media marketing to build up a loyal community of purchasers
The pressure is always high for direct-to-consumer (DTC or D2C) companies. Without a divine balance of brand awareness, community loyalty, and product photography, profits fall, and DTC companies scramble. Jumping into a highly saturated market, regardless of industry, means they must adapt or die.
One marketing method that has become a godsend for DTC brands today is social media. Social media platforms provide the perfect environment for DTC brands to jump in, dominate, and stay relevant. A sound strategy often results in overnight sell-outs from community-building viral content — the ideal formula for a DTC business. The thousands of DTC clothing, lifestyle, and beauty brands taking over social media platforms are social proof.
All consumers, regardless of demographic, spend their time and money on social media. According to Grin, “One of the main reasons that users engage on social media is to draw inspiration for their next product purchase.” Clearly, a DTC marketing compass should always point to social media.
Bye Bye Middleman, Hello DTC
For DTC companies, externally sourcing product production, supply chains, and distribution centers is a strategy of the past. DTC brands divert away from the costs and control of a middleman by selling products directly to consumers, now primarily on social media.
The clothing brand YoungLA utilizes Instagram to announce and promote new clothing launches directly to its consumer base of over 900,000 followers. The company’s loyal community sells out each drop within minutes. Without a retailer or distributor, the company can meet tight deadlines around product launches and communicate authentically with consumers to deliver impressive results.
Social Media: A Community Building Madhouse
E-commerce businesses, DTC or not, must make sales without any in-person communication. When DTC brands use social media correctly, they create an authentic relationship with consumers, conveying the same persuasive environment as in-person. Engaging on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook allows DTC brands to build massive communities willing to buy.
Connection alone isn’t enough. DTC companies must deliver some value in the form of social media content. Long-form and short-form videos, carousel posts, story clips, and static images are just a few formats available across platforms to communicate a product’s value efficiently and authentically.
Regardless of how big or small a DTC company is, Instagram offers ease in digital marketing. With built-in e-commerce features, the platform is one of the most popular among all DTC brands. The options for content creation are limitless. With short-form videos, static posts, Instagram Shop, carousel posts, Instagram live, and stories, brands can maintain fresh ideas to share their products with consumers.
On TikTok, short-form vertical videos take the spotlight. DTC brands primarily utilize the casual environment of the platform to their advantage, focusing on more personal content and user-generated content (UGC). TikTok is popular among all age ranges, making it the perfect avenue for communicating with hard-to-reach audiences.
Photo Credit: Brunetteshavemorefun.ca
A brand that wants to tell a story or have an influencer tell a story about its product will find YouTube beneficial. Brands can post commercials, launch longer video campaigns, and work with influencers on organic product reviews. Repurposing Instagram Reels and TikToks on YouTube Shorts can give brands even greater reach.
Influencers are the most significant advantage for DTC brands using YouTube. With a deep understanding of their audience, influencers can have power over their followers’ purchasing decisions. Users develop relationships with YouTube influencers they trust and become willing to act upon their product recommendations. Choosing the right influencer for a brand can generate a loyal audience that purchases for years, resulting in a high return on investment (ROI).
Facebook Groups have become vital for DTC brands to build intimate communities. On Facebook, audiences segment themselves into Facebook Groups. Within the groups, people share or discuss topics they are interested in. Most DTC businesses use this feature to create their own Facebook Group surrounding their product. Companies can also promote their products by posting within groups related to the product.
A company that sells children’s clothes could post within mother-related Facebook groups about new clothing launches. A DTC company with a location-based market can post in Facebook groups of people who live in a specific state, city, or neighborhood.
Content Creation or Bust
Once a DTC brand decides which social media channels best suits its products, target audience, and content-creating ability, it must start making content. Any photo, video, or graphic posted online via a social media platform is considered social content or content creation. Brands can use content to convey the value of a product and give an incentive to purchase. To build a loyal audience willing to buy, a DTC company must include the following in its social media content strategy:
- An attention-grabbing hook that the target audience relates to
- Copy or visuals that induce a fear of missing out
- A clear and concise call-to-action (CTA)
Brands can utilize product photography, videography, and UGC to incorporate the above elements into social media strategies.
Product Photography and Videography that Sells
Compelling product photography and videography can convert viewers into purchasers. Eye-catching photography and videography can capture consumers’ attention. When combined with informative messaging, content can persuade viewers to purchase.
When a brand accurately portrays a product through photos and videos, it leaves consumers with minimal questions about it, ultimately shortening the customer journey. According to Cherrydeck, “The goal of product photography in e-commerce is to visually provide enough information and context about the product in question, answer potential buyer concerns, and convert them into customers without further consultations.”
UGC for Communicating Value
When consumers create UGC, they’re making authentic, free content for brands that is persuasive in nature. Brands that use UGC lessen the hassle of looking through reviews or enticing customers to write testimonials. Plus, consumers are inclined to purchase a product when they see influencers or friends they trust using it. One setback is that while brands can incentivize people to create content, they have no control over the results. Many perks outweigh the risk of using UGC, including high ROI, low cost, and low effort.