Keds canvas sneakers have been around for almost 100 years, so it’s no surprise that it took them awhile to get their social media sea legs. But now, Keds is ramping up its social presence and making great strides (yep, pun intended).
Stephanie Brocoum joined Keds as the VP of Marketing in mid-2012, right when the brand had decided to re-position itself as the go-to for teen girls. “Keds had been lost in the marketplace and was chasing an aging consumer base,” Brocoum says. So, she knew that Keds needed to follow its teenaged audience online and initiate a social media strategy. Keds now has an in-house social media team made up of two people, compeltely dedicated to its social channels. The Keds design team creates content to be spread across the various platforms. And, everyone at Keds helps with social, whether by participating in a contest or sharing content to extend a campaign’s reach.
Keds started with Facebook. “Our Facebook audience was unrepresentative to the size of the brand,” Brocoum notes. “We had to go after building our audience in a block-and-tackle kind of way, and had a lot of success with engagement contests.” Once this engagement-centered strategy really got off the ground, they combined the organic posts with Facebook advertising targeted to girls most likely to be Keds fans. Keds went from 173,000 likes in October 2012 to over 936,000 likes in March 2014.
Of course, it helped that Keds landed Taylor Swift as a spokesmodel. Swift has incredible sway over the pre-teen and teen girl demographic, and has been able to attract new likes and followers. “Girls are discovering the brand because of Taylor, but they’re staying because they love the product,” Brocoum says.
Keds expanded from Facebook to other social platforms by first looking to see where teen girls were sharing and interacting with products. Instagram was an obvious platform, where teen girls are constantly sharing and engaging with brand content.
“On Instagram, we had tremendous growth,” Brocoum says. “A year ago we had 1,200 followers, but now we have more than 112,000 followers. It’s the perfect channel for us. It’s colorful and fun and there’s a low barrier to participate. Girls kind of welcome you onto their phone.” Brocoum thinks the amazing growth happened because of the behind-the-scnes photos of upcoming products as well as, of course, the occasional puppy photos.
Brocoum and her team also figured out that teen girls love to create and share their own content. She knew that the best way to encourage engagement was to create a hub that would act as an intersection point for content and engagement that could also like to Keds products and retail partners. That’s where Tumblr came in.
The Keds Tumblr, called Bravehearts, is a source of style inspiration and acts as a place where girls can make and post their own content using Keds’ Tumblr tools. Keds partnered with digital agency Firstborn to create the Tumblr account, where girls can create their own “brave goals,” check out Keds’ spring look books, or check out an inspiration wall that includes Taylor Swift GIFs.
Keds has only been on Tumblr for about siz weeks, but they’re already pleased with the growth. Brocoum and her team love that you can track conversions on Tumblr and are picking ip momentum.