How an online shoe retailer tripled its sales with YouTube

Sometimes with social media you don’t need to do it all yourself. Instead of starting a blog, you can comment on someone else’s or write a guest posting for a blog with a following in your niche area. Likewise with video, you can sometimes work with someone who already has a large YouTube following, and have them market your products to their audience.

Often social media is about getting people to talk about your stuff – finding the influencers in your market, making it easy for them to talk about your products, and giving them an incentive to do so.

Blair Fowler – also known as juicystar07 – is a teenage YouTube phenomenon. Her YouTube Channel at currently has over half a million subscribers and over 95 million video views. She talks about fashion and make-up to her vast audience of 13-17 year old girls.

Shoes of Prey is an Australian online shoe store that enables visitors to design their own bespoke shoes, which are hand made and shipped all over the world. Put them together, and you get more web traffic in two days than in your company’s entire previous history.

Shoes of Prey arranged a giveaway with Blair – a competition for her followers, with a pair of shoes as the prize. She announced this to her viewers with a YouTube video.

On 17th March 2010, Blair’s giveaway video was the 5th most viewed video on YouTube, and the most commented on video worldwide. In the week to 20 March 2010, it was the 2nd most discussed video worldwide. It had over 450,000 views and more than 90,000 comments, each of which is a potential customer who had visited, designed a pair of shoes, then written a description of those shoes and what event they would wear it to.

Design-your-own-shoe entrepreneur Michael Fox said the following week on his blog:

We’ve now had over 700,000 visits to the Shoes of Prey website, and 500,000 of those came last week! The traffic sent by the traditional fashion magazines and newspapers that have covered us over the past 5 months looks like the flat line graph on a heart monitor after someone’s had a heart attack!

In addition to blogging about their experience, they went to work on capitalizing on the success of the video by enhancing their other social media. This included monitoring mentions on Twitter and making it easy to share designs on Facebook, resulting in converting that extra traffic into sales and a permanent 300% uplift in sales.

Now, teenage girls discussing shoes and lip gloss and prom dresses are really not my thing. I suspect they may not be yours. That’s not the point. If someone is using social media well, with a large audience, and a good fit with your product, they could be a brand ambassador for you. “Join the conversation” has become a tired, overused, banal phrase. Of course you should do that. But if you can find the influencers and give them something to talk about – and make the most of the resulting traffic and chatter – you can achieve that Holy Grail of marketing: word of mouth.

Find out more about marketing yourself with video in Chapter 8 of Get Up to Speed with Online Marketing.

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