Getting “REAL” with Social Media Campaigns

Unless you live under a rock, you know that social media is now the cornerstone of any good marketing campaign. Everyone and their great grandma is on a social platform which means your target audience is just on the other side of the screen. With a stellar social media campaign you can reach every audience your brand is targeting. The question is how to stand out amongst every other brand? The answer is to get creative and do something different. Content needs to be share worthy and engaging to your audience, and a great example of this is the AreieREAL campaign. Looking at their perceived goals we can more closely understand why this campaign has been so successful for them over the years.

The AerieREAL campaign stared about 7 years ago. As someone who used to work for Aerie several years before this campaign debuted, I can say they needed to do something to generate more of following. They needed to strike out and do something different, and there is no doubt they have been very successful doing just that. Starting with goals that were measurable and attainable is an important way to begin. Increasing brand awareness is has to be the first goal to begin with. Aerie is under the AE (American Eagle) brand, but in order is stand a part from the umbrella company they needed to reintroduce who they are. The AerieREAL campaign is all about promoting body positivity and diversity and encouraging their competitors to do the same. Creating brand awareness meant showcasing their products with through their ambassadors or “role models.” These role models are diverse influential women who represent Aerie’s diverse customers. A key performance indicator (KPI) that can be used to track brand awareness is tracking impressions, or how much the content is being viewed compared to number of followers. Another indicator of success is number of profile visits compared to followers.

#AerieREAL has been used over 290k times on Instagram alone, which can be a metric used to track how successfully they are engaging with their audience. Increase audience engagement is a great goal for Aerie to set. True engagement with a brand can lead to profile visits which we hope lead to conversions. A great way to measure this is to look at mentions, shares, and likes compared to the numbers followers you have. It goes without saying that generating sales and brand loyalty would be obvious goals to set with a new campaign. After all, for all the good Aerie aims to put out into the world they are still a business and aim to make money. Offering sales or advertisements and measuring whether these ads converted to clicks and sales will tell them if they are succeeding with their goals.

What stands out to me in Aerie’s campaign is their role model/ambassador program. They really stepped out to fight the mold of what people were used to seeing in underwear ads or models in general. They want to make sure their customers see themselves in the ads. I know that when I’m shopping for swimsuits I want to see the swimsuit on different body types so I can determine what it might look like on me. We can tell that Aerie is certainly doing something right especially when a big competitor with a “secret” takes a page from their playbook. The other day while I was shopping online for swimsuits I noticed this competitor was using more full figured and plus sized models as well as their famed “angels.” To me, this really says something about how Aerie is redefining their piece of the industry. Another reason I think they are such an engaging brand online is because they showcase user generated content. Right now they are encouraging their followers to use #AerieREAL to be featured on the Instagram stories. This is a great way to generate brand engagement while reaching potential new customers.

It’s funny for me to look back at my summer job with this company because while the products haven’t changed much it feels completely new. Let’s be honest, I was in it for the American Eagle discount and the occasional bra and loungewear set. Now, I’m proud of having worked for this company because of what they stand for and their true “realness.”