Hey all. You know, if there is one thing I’ve been blessed with in this world it is good vision. I’m not saying I can spot a fly on a deer’s nose from five football fields away. But I can definitely see the deer, and I might even see that he is annoyed.
Even though I don’t see glasses as something I’ll be needing anytime soon, I can definitely respect the process of wearing/owning them. Finding the right pair can be daunting for some, especially now when many of us are still going through quarantine. A lot of places are still closed, and many prescriptions are getting harder and harder to fill.
In my social media class through SNHU, we recently examined a case study focusing on the eyeglass retailer Warby Parker. They were started in 2010 with the business model in mind of online distribution, as opposed to going and picking up a pair from a brick-and-mortar store or warehouse.
You might be thinking to yourself, that’s impossible. How would I know which glasses are right for me?
And that’s the beauty of their business. They have what is called the “Home Try-On Campaign.” In our text, Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change by L. Meghan Mahoney and Tang Tang, the solution to this perplexing issue of buying glasses from home was to create an online glasses business in which “consumers are able to order five pairs of glasses online, which are shipped to the customer’s home to try on at no charge. Consumers are then able to pick the pair that best suits them and return the remaining pairs at no charge” (18). This not only gives consumers some options, but it also is a superb business model to follow.
Now the company was not alone in spreading the word about their campaign, which is still thriving and now has over one hundred employees. They used social media to help market their concept/business. What set social media apart from traditional marketing was that the company was able to get better insight into what consumers wanted as far as choices and needs, “Social media provides new opportunities for getting to know your consumers on a much more intimate level” (16). They even had customers spread word by providing testimonials and posting pictures of themselves in the glasses until they found pairs that best suited them.
This not only opens limitless new means of people hearing about the company, but it also encourages the customers to be repeat consumers, since it initially is adding to their social media followings as well. With a traditional market it would’ve been less personal, and the customer would only have themselves and close friends to share the purchase with.
This is a smart move in promoting transactional communication with customers. It not only gives the consumer a voice, but it also opens up forums to potential customers about what it is they want to see with their purchased eye-wear. The testimonials are also a huge selling point, as consumers can see it through the perspectives of other customers, as opposed to paid actors in a commercial. And of course, speaking in the now, this also opens up a whole new world of vision to some consumers who may not be able to get out as much anymore because of our current unsafe conditions.
User-generated content gives these purchases a more intimate feel. This is why many businesses are now promoting through social media. According to the text, “social media provides a space where marketers and consumers coexist. It allows marketers to focus their attention on customers who are already interested in their behavior and would be more impacted by media messages that are consistent with their current cognitions” (17). This definitely goes beyond the world of buying glasses as well.
I, for example, have no interest in buying 90% of the toys being advertised when my daughter is watching television. However, if a toy was marketed to me on social media and has actual consumer reviews from kids roughly her age, I might be a little more interested. This is how we bought her bed recently. We researched and found over 4,000 reviews about how much kids enjoyed a particular bed that had a slide attached to it. We bought it, and my kid loves it.
In Maryam Moshin’s article “10 Social Media Statistics You Need to Know in 2020” (I’ll provide a link at the bottom of the page) she discusses further why it is becoming more and more important for businesses to advertise through social media. The latest trend is that more than half of social media users use some form of online social media to research a product before they buy it, “More buyers are joining social media networks and looking for reviews and recommendations. That’s why it’s essential to have a prominent online presence on various social media platforms. The key is to find out which social media platform your target market is using most often and how to make the most out of it” (Moshin). This essentially is why it is so important to advertise through social media for businesses of all sizes.
I myself have promoted short stories and artwork through paid ads on Facebook and Twitter with some moderate success. I will definitely be employing these types of ads again when I begin promoting my novel.
Because it is important to draw up interest in a new product, whatever it may be. And as we all know, as featured on TV isn’t always what you get. But with online promotions through social media, we the consumer have a better idea of what we are going to purchase. As the Warby Parker case shows, people are willing to promote and help a business grow if they themselves have a general interest in a better business model, and if they can also have a voice in what future consumers will purchase.
Thank you Warby Parker. If I ever need glasses, I’ll know where to begin the search.
Mahoney, L. Meghan, and Tang Tang. Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change. John Wiley and Sons, 2016.
Moshin, Maryan. “10 Social Media Statistics You Need to Know in 2020.” Oberlo, 7 Feb. 2020, https://www.oberlo.com/blog/social-media-marketing-statistics#:~:text=Social%20media%20statistics%20from%202019,population%20(Emarsys%2C%202019). Accessed 2 July, 2020.