Like most young businesses today, One Kings Lane has had to evolve to remain competitive in a rapidly changing market. Founded in 2009, the company thrived early on as a flash sale site for home décor, a clever twist on a popular new service. Two years ago, it was valued at $900 million. But as interest in limited-time sales declined, the company struggled.
Following a series of layoffs, the online furniture marketplace has managed to bounce back over the last year, recasting itself as an inspirational—and aspirational—lifestyle brand. The key has been pairing smart, engaging content with what senior manager of content and social strategy Rosie D’Argenzio calls "complex social connections" with customers. The strategy has driven eight times as much traffic to the site and year over year growth of 125 percent on social channels such as Instagram.
Through clever user-generated content and campaigns featuring influencers like model Coco Rocha and entrepreneur Dylan Lauren, a vivid brand personality has emerged, one that customers are connecting with.
One Kings Lane has managed to effectively utilize social channels like Pinterest and Instagram, something that many companies struggle with. What’s your secret?
A lot of times, brands just talk at people and don’t actually listen to the feedback. We try to use our social channels as a two-way conversation with our audience and give them what they want. As a company, if you're all about your own agenda, and you're not listening to your consumers, then inevitably people will stop coming back to your social channels.
Compelling content is one way to retain consumers. What else can marketers do to create advocates on social?
We like to reach out to people on social who are interacting with us and feature them in our user-generated content so they feel appreciated for engaging with us and helping us share our content and our products. Not only is that really what the social channels should be an extension of, but also it's a nice acquisition strategy as well. They’re telling their friends and casting a wide net.
Even the most unique content can get lost in the digital noise. How do you ensure that your campaigns are finding an audience—the right audience?
The world that we live in, you have to pay to play at a certain point to identify the right people. We do a lot of targeting. Often, what we’ll do is take an organic piece or an idea and use it as a testing ground. When we have something we feel confident is resonating based on the engagement metrics, we'll do a paid push around that.
You’ve mentioned that One Kings Lane likes to take a conversational approach in its social channels. How did you develop that voice? What’s the key to finding the right tone?
A lot of it just develops organically. We do kind of have this "her" in mind, someone we are targeting and trying to communicate with. We tailor the image and the tone of our content to her. If you look at the content and look at what's resonating, you can come up with the kind of person you think you're speaking to.
Our on-site voice is different from our Instagram voice and different than our Twitter voice because the demographics of those channels are very different. I think paying attention to who your demo is on these channels is big—trying to imagine who you think that person is and talking to her like a real person.
As a digital medium, social allows for that kind of testing. How important is experimentation to One Kings Lane?
Social is such a new medium; I think we're all trying to understand it. It's also constantly changing: Our strategy three months ago is different than what it is today.
You really have to give people a reason to continue coming back or to follow you. As a brand, you have a duty to continue to give them fresh, exciting ideas. Part of our approach is being agile, but part of it is taking that risk because with social, you get an immediate read—if your audience is into it or not. You can immediately pivot if you need to. If you're just constantly giving out the same thing and you don’t take risks, you'll see your numbers plateau. If something fails, at least there's something to be learned.
To find out how to master your social strategy, visit SteelHouse now.
This article was created and commissioned by SteelHouse, and the views expressed are their own.