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Hello Molly director Echo Liu reveals how the brand has reduced cost per acquisition.

What's the background to the business?

Hello Molly was born out of the belief that every girl should have access to on-trend, must-have wardrobe essentials that don’t break the bank. What started with two dreamers packing orders in a crowded living room has now grown into a massive operation with offices across three continents and customers on six (we haven’t quite cracked the Antarctic market yet). Since launching in 2012, we have shoppers in more than 130 countries.

When did you start using social media to grow the brand?

We began our journey into social media with Facebook when we launched in 2012. Being the most popular platform at the time, it was instrumental in growing the awareness of Hello Molly, showcasing the brand, our products and our campaigns.

How has this changed or or developed?

Our first foray into social commerce was with Facebook. Producing both relevant and engaging organic content as well as utilising paid avenues, we grew our following rapidly and today stand at over 864,000 followers. As the Facebook algorithm changed and many brands feared this would disrupt their marketing strategy, we worked in true start up style and innovated.

We assessed what parts of Facebook still brought in revenue and scrapped what was no longer working then headed straight for the emerging Instagram platform. With a specifically dedicated marketing budget focusing on influencer placement and content creation, we made Instagram a key facet of showcasing new products. Online stores sometimes have the short end of the stick by not having a physical presence but we used Instagram to bridge this gap.

Today, we have an in-house creative team that works across our digital assets and Instagram to both create content in house and curate trending and influencer content. Influencer placement and content is a two pronged approach for us - we use it to gain exposure amongst pre-existing, highly engaged audiences to grow our own following and to repost the content on our Instagram account creating synergy and variety in our social strategy.

What is your current presence in the social media space?

479,000 on Instagram, 864,000 followers on Facebook, 28,000 on Pinterest and counting.

What was your first successful social media initiative or campaign?

Our first successful campaign was our '7 Days Of Love Valentines Day' campaign which we launched February of this year. 7 Days Of Love was a week long campaign which involved daily competitions for our followers to enter to win prizes. We collaborated with many of our amazing suppliers and involved them in the competition to cross pollinate audiences and really grow our engagement and reach.

We've always integrated social into our marketing but this was one of our first stand out, interactive campaigns. Noticing the change in the Instagram algorithm, we wanted to really push engagement on our page. We also wanted to give our followers something to engage with and look forward to during the week long competition.

What have been some successful campaigns since?

Our International Women's Day event included a social media campaign to spread the reach and awareness of the event and the charity we were supporting, Dress For Success. Our influencers who attending the event were encouraged to share pictures from the event under our campaign hashtag, with our campaign message reaching close to one million Instagram followers organically.

What content gets the most traction and engagement?

One word: puppies. But in regards to more product related content, our influencer posts and videos get the most traction and engagement on our page. Influencer posts add the lifestyle element to our garments; the influencers we work with are very carefully chosen to represent the Hello Molly brand so our customers really get a sense of how and where to wear our styles, along with styling inspiration.

For us, these posts see some of the highest levels of engagement! Videos are great as they really show the vibe of a product. Our customers get to see how the garments move in a quick, motion form which engages them as soon as they scroll down their feed. They see our gorgeous dresses in motion and stop. Videos really are responsible for the greatest reach on our social media.

Has your social media strategy changed since inception?

In the beginning when we first launched, our social media strategy was about growing our audience, and introducing as many potential new followers to the Hello Molly lifestyle. We wanted to reach as many people as possible and grow our audience. Now in our sixth year, we are more established in the marketplace and while our main focus is always about reach, our strategy has also evolved to include paid advertising which allows us to utilise social media as a sales and traffic tool as well as a reach tool.

We are also investing and paying a lot of attention to the branding aspect of our channels, making sure they all speak the same language and really showcase who Hello Molly - and the Hello Molly girl - is. We are focusing on content and engagement as our ROI, and really investing in our existing followers, keeping them loyal and engaged.

Do you invest in advertising on social media platforms?

We do. With the Facebook platform, where you effectively bid on people as opposed to intent, targeting is paramount. The most efficient resource that we've found at our disposal is being able to sync dynamic custom audiences into Facebook from external sources as well as creating custom pixels for various actions on our website instead of just the standard conversion/add to cart pixel.

We've been able to achieve tremendous reductions in 'cost per acquisition' by employing this granular level of targeting. This also gives us full autonomy over what dimensions we're slicing our audiences in since we're dynamically syncing into Facebook with a set of attributes. This can be further extrapolated by creating look-a-like audiences off the back of those and rapidly testing creative messaging for each subset.

Have you done any influencer marketing?

From day dot, influencer marketing was always a big part of our strategy. It is the perfect way for us to reach new eyes in the social media space but also work with girls who represent the Hello Molly brand and showcase our styles. We have reached so many new audiences, acquired new followers and have established great relationships with these ambassadors.

We measure the ROI based on a number of factors; follower growth from the influencer posts, sales of the style showcased and then in turn if we repost, did it received good engagement from our social media audience? If our collaboration meets these objectives, it is a successful partnership and we know that the influencer audience has really responded to the collaboration!

Do you have any future changes to your digital strategy?

We see Youtube as our next great venture, as that is where our audience is spending a lot of their time. We are working on a series of Youtube video launches, along with a push to grow our audience in that space and a focus on more Youtube video advertising. Watch this space.

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