Founder of Arlo Wolf Eyewear Speaks Up About Influencer Marketing
There has always been an element of “influence” involved in brand marketing. From the days of newspaper listings and black and white TV advertisements, right up to the arrival of the Internet. Our advertising platforms and even marketing techniques may have changed, but fundamentally, the ability to influence has remained a crucial part of successful marketing.
It’s little surprise that influencer marketing has exploded in recent years. With the average person spending two and a half hours per day on social media, it has opened doors like never before, both for the consumer and for the brand.
For Manchester entrepreneur Matt Newton, who owns Arlo Wolf eyewear, influencer marketing is crucial to compete with other brands. First arriving on the scene in 2016, Arlo Wolf has gone from a small-town eyewear brand to a fast-growing international name, already doing international shipping with a growing audience.
We caught up with Matt and asked him a few questions about how he did it. Here he is!
First, tell us a little about your company
My company is Arlo Wolf Eyewear – we are a fairly new but successful online retailer of prescription glasses and sunglasses.
We allow customers to match their specs to their look with a unique pricing structure, which allows them to own multiple pairs of glasses. So far, so good.
To what extent has social media helped your brand?
Social media has helped our brand grow and develop immensely over our three and a half years of trading. From a business point of view, paid adverts and influencer posts allow us to reach huge amounts of potential customers cost effectively. I think a key part to social media is the interaction which you have with your followers. It allows them to provide feedback, ask questions and help us get to know them better. Once you have a good following, it also provides validation to the brand, as potential customers see paid ads and realize that it is a legitimate company.
Influencer marketing is clearly on the rise. How has this worked so far for Arlo Wolf?
It has worked really well. We have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic influencers who really share our values and believe in our products. This means that when they do share images and stories, and their wanting to wear our product is genuine, and I think that resonates with their followers, which gives us a better chance of our business appealing to them.
Would you recommend influencer marketing to businesses just starting out?
Definitely – it is a hugely cost-effective way of reaching a targeted demographic compared to traditional marketing methods. From a business point of view, be prepared for the potential impact on your sales figures and stock levels. There is nothing worse than receiving a large amount of orders and not being able to either fulfil them or have to delay shipping them. (It hasn’t happened to me fortunately, but it’s been close to panic stations at the time!)
Likewise, be prepared to respond to customer comments which may occur at any time. Unanswered comments and questions reflect badly on the business and taking the time to answer that one question (even at 11pm) could help many other customers who need the same information.
Could you give a few tips on building a social media marketing campaign?
The important thing is consistency across not only all social channels but through to your website as well. This is something which as a business we need to improve on, so we are far from perfect. I didn’t realize how much you could filter your audience, using all available data is key so that the customer base who visit your website are then re-targeted and tracked using paid adverts. I use a marketing firm called FireCask – who help a lot with marketing campaigns. It’s not a bad idea to get outside help where it’s needed. So many companies do that these days.
What are the main things you’ve learned from this?
My main learning point is that you need to have everything in order. You can have an influencer post about your products, but if your social media channels are uninspiring or unrelatable, then that customer probably won’t follow you. Likewise, if your pixel for retargeting isn’t correctly organized, then it is easy for customers to forget about the brand and lose sales.
What is the most effective way to reach your target audience on a digital platform?
I think it very much depends on your target audience. Instagram is our most effective way as our customer base is predominantly between 18 and 34 and engagement levels are high. Using influencers as well gives us good images to use which really help on Instagram.
What’s your experience with using social media to analyze your competitors?
I think it’s very useful to see what sort of campaigns our competitors are running and take inspiration from them when required. It’s really useful to read comments and feedback to see where we can do better than our competition and to gauge what potential customers want from an online glasses experience.
What social media platforms do you find work the best for you?
We tend to operate across the three main platforms – Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Instagram is by far our most successful platform for engagement and promoting new products, particularly when using influencers. I often find that twitter is used by potential customers who have a query which they want answering. I think as the demographic for Facebook has changed, it has moved more away from advertising products to a more fun based “meme” approach. Looking at our competitors, I also think Facebook users are more likely to comment and complain on paid posts, rather than other platforms.
Is the use of social media the best way to generate leads these days?
Again, I think you need to have all your ducks in a row to successfully generate leads. Social media has been (and will continue to be in my opinion) a complete game changer for lead generation, but this needs to be backed up with relevant and informative email marketing. I think that if people open an email they are more likely to read it, whereas on social media it is very easy to scroll through without actually taking any information in.
Word of mouth is also key – there is nothing like an individual who has had a good experience telling someone else about it. I also think review websites are becoming key, too. This offers validation for the company and is becoming used more regularly.
Anything unique about Arlo Wolf which works well?
We are unique in our field as for each order we receive, we donate a frame to someone in need via a charity called Sight2Save who are running some amazing vision correction projects all over the world.
We also offer our customers the opportunity to try before you buy for free, I think that really helps to build trust. Customers like the freedom to make choices, if you’re giving them that, they are more likely to enjoy your brand.
You can check out Arlo Wolf’s Instagram feed here.