By Jonathan Beskin
When subscription boxes first entered the marketplace, they quickly became a major hit. With what seems to many like overnight success, the subscription box method began to trend due to their themes and overall value. One of the value points in a subscription box is monetary, where the consumer pays a relatively low price for a higher price of goods, often times three to four times the value.
Today, subscription boxes are still in high demand as the industry continues to grow. With an increase in demand, also comes an increase in competition, making it more difficult to stand out from the myriad of competitors. Now, with over 18.5 million subscription box shoppers in the United States alone, how will brands set themselves apart from a crowded market? The answer is through social media; a relatively simple yet often overlooked tool. Through three simple steps, subscription box owners and aspiring owners can increase their awareness around marketing subscription boxes for profit generation.
Step 1: Solidify Your Concept and Brand Development
When it comes to selecting a subscription box, it’s likely the consumer wants to know as many details as possible. What is the monthly price? What products will come in the box? Is there a minimum commitment? One of the most important questions a potential customer may ask is: what is the concept of this subscription box?
Customers are looking to understand and identify with the brand’s core concept and values. Ultimately, this is why they will choose one box over another. Branding can easily be done through social media. Keeping carefully constructed captions and colorfully creative images that are consistent is key. Social media branding is one of the first ways that a customer will engage with a brand. This engagement continues when a customer purchases and opens their first box, but it begins with their first visual impression.
Furthermore, social media allows businesses to not only create a brand narrative, but allows them to repeat this narrative as often as they want- instilling the company’s messaging into the mind of the customer.
Step 2: Hashtags
Something so small yet so important in social media is a hashtag. Hashtags are more then just “buzzwords” to put at the end of a caption. Every hashtag is essentially a sharing device; making a post public to anyone who searches the same or similar hashtags. This means the more hashtags posted, the more exposure, and greater potential of followers and possible customers.
A good rule of thumb when posting hashtags is to stick to tags that are relevant to the brand. For example, if someone owns a pet subscription box, it is important that to stick to hashtags surrounding pets and their owner interests. Another good rule to follow is to post hashtags already featured in many other posts. The more a hashtag is featured, the more popular it is, the more likely it will be seen by a large audience.
Alternatively, creating a unique brand hashtag specific to the subscription is a great way to encourage user engagement. This is a tactic to help brands to stand out and strengthen the narrative they provide to their consumers as discussed above.
Step 3: Customer Engagement and Appreciation
Social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram are joining forces with a number of businesses, including some of the biggest corporations such as AT&T or McDonalds. One of the social media tactics that some of these big brands understand is customer engagement. Photo contests, collaborations, and share campaigns are all designed to increase customer engagement and organic interaction.
As a business owner, it would be wise to network with other businesses through social media channels. Liking and commenting back to customers, as well as replying to their inquiries whether they be positive or negative shows strength in a brand. A company that addresses the concerns of their customers who publicly engage them shows care and concern. Running specials, promotions, and contests that show customer appreciation creates an environment where customers feel comfortable allocating their dollars to a brand they believe in.
In conclusion, social media is an asset often overlooked. For subscription box owners or those thinking of starting in the subscription box business, social media is one of the first tools a brand should take advantage of. The variety of tools available through social media allow business owners to increase revenues and customer loyalty.
Jonathan Beskin is a dynamic business executive, entrepreneur and investor with over 15 years of marketing, sales and leadership experience. Beskin founded SinglesSwag, a monthly subscription box for single women in May 2016 with less than 50 subscribers in the United States.