Community Manager Secrets: An Interview with Warby Parker
Four UPenn students, Neil Blumenthal, Dave Gilboa, Andy Hunt, and Jeff Raider met at business school and founded Warby Parker in February 2010 with the mission “to create boutique-quality, classically crafted eyewear at a revolutionary price point.”
Just two years later, the eyewear company has built a larger-than-life brand and amassed a sizeable following, selling trendy glasses for just $95 each and matching every purchase by donating a pair of glasses to someone in need.
Social Media Manager Jen Rubio says that social media, word of mouth and the company’s content strategy have enabled the company to grow quickly while also building relationships with its customers.
“Content strategy is one of two core things that my team focuses on,” she says. “The other is interaction — customer experience, proactive outreach, influencer relationships. Our content and editorial strategy are the driving force behind all of our editorial, events, campaigns, and exploration of new platforms.”
We recently caught up with Rubio to pick her brain on content.
(Editor’s Note: Impressed? Nominate Warby Parker For A Contently Award!)
Contently: What kind of content does Warby Parker produce on the web?
Warby Parker: We have showrooms inside boutiques across the country, but we’re primarily e-commerce and all of our products are sold directly to customers on our website. On the social front, we’re very active on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram and are working on expanding our YouTube presence. We post photos, videos, news, links, etc.There’s always a ton going on at Warby Parker, which means there’s a lot to share. I always cover our events on social media, whether we are taking over the New York Public Library for a guerilla presentation during Fashion Week, transforming a massive SoHo garage space into a holiday store made up of yurts, riding custom bikes outfitted with our sunwear around Miami for Art Basel, or launching a showroom with Ashton Kutcher in LA. (That’s just from the past few months!)
A lot of brands see social media as a one-to-many broadcasting tool, but we’ve used it for thousands of one-on-one conversations with our potential and existing customers. It enables us to become entwined in every step of the customer’s experience. As an online business, we never see the majority of our customers in person, but we’ve had more frequent and more in-depth conversations with them than one would at a brick-and-mortar store.
On Twitter and Facebook, we personally address each message we receive, which can add up to hundreds per day. You wouldn’t ignore a customer who calls or emails in, so why would you online?
Contently: I noticed that the Warby Parker’s Zagg Pepper Tumblr blog is about much more than eye wear. What’s the strategy there?
Warby Parker: Zagg Pepper is our place to post about the people, places, companies, and things that we love. I think it’s important for our blog to not be so promotional and to have a space where customers can see the things that inspire us—we work hard to give our brand a personality, and our Tumblr is one place where we can showcase that.
Contently: What types of content have been the most well-received or gotten the best results? What’s flopped? And why?
Warby Parker: Our favorite content is user-generated. We have a home try-on program — the first of its kind in the U.S. — that lets our customers try on five pairs of glasses for five days for free before purchasing. When our customers receive their frames in the mail, we encourage them to post photos on our Facebook Page, so that our community can help them pick the pair that looks best. As a result, the majority of posts on our page are user-generated, and it’s made for some great conversations (and ultimately, conversions). Through this program, we were able to develop an amazing community on Facebook and Twitter by answering the simple question, “How do I look in these glasses?” Purchasing eyewear is a social activity — most people want feedback from friends and others, and social media tools help us ensure that shopping for Warby Parker glasses is social and fun.
Posts that come across as very promotional get the least engagement. By fostering and encouraging user generated content as opposed to creating filler to drive ineffective engagement, we created true organic brand awareness that’s unrivaled by traditional advertising tactics.
Contently: How do you determine the level of success for the content that you produce?
Warby Parker: On Facebook, we look at Reach, Engagement, and Virality as measures of success for original content. The new Insights tools make it very easy to measure the performance of each piece of content we post and adjust our editorial strategy accordingly.
We measure success on Twitter more on a one-to-one basis: What is our response time? Are we getting to every single person that talks to us? Customer experience is a cornerstone for our company, so we measure success on a one-to-one basis instead of focusing on how many times our broadcasts are retweeted and how many followers we have.