Speaker Spotlight Series with Rue La La: The Value of 210,470 Facebook Likes

By Sarah Borup ( @SarahBorup)

Rue La La’s fan base is nothing to turn your nose up at. With 210,470 Facebook likes and 23,149 followers on Twitter, they’re doing okay. But, what happens when you put those numbers into context?

Competitors HauteLook, with 70,820 Twitter followers and 388,655 Facebook likes, and Gilt Group, with 136,568 followers and 342,673 likes, come out on top – if numbers alone is your metric.

Tuesday night, a few of us Beantown SHIFTers listened in on Millennial Branding’s Speaker Spotlight Series as Stacey Santo and Colin Hynes acknowledged the numbers game, and reminded us about that good ‘ol truism: quality over quantity. Mary Sullivan (@marys213) left thinking,

“What really became clear was that Rue La La gets social media. It recognizes and understands that having engaged fans is more valuable than having a large number of fans. As PR pros, I know we constantly stress this to our clients, but it’s nice to hear it from the brand perspective.” 

I couldn’t agree more. As a company self-proclaimed as not only using social, but being social, Stacey and Colin had a few more words of wisdom to share.

  • Curation – Branding is about curating a lifestyle. For Rue La La, this translates to making shopping easier and more interesting, and life more stylish.

PR Takeaway: The brand is powerful across all industries, including tech and B2B. Content being shared, conversations carried on and everything in between create a company lifestyle. All PR activities should map back to those pillars, as well as the life the company wants to lead.

  •  Social ROI – Clear objectives lay the foundation for ROI. Rue has an additional customer service Twitter handle, measured on how fast they reply and resolve customers’ issues.

PR Takeaway:  Without a clear vision of what a social channel is being used to accomplish, there’s no chance at quantification. This was a great reminder that numbers aren’t the only metric. Sentiment and engagement count, big time.

  •  Audiences – Knowing your audiences and keeping them happy is at the heart of business, hence Rue’s monthly member focus groups. User experience is a concentration for companies across the board.  

 PR Takeaway:  We have so many audiences in a single day – clients, coworkers, reporters, bloggers, Twitter followers, so on and so forth. While we don’t hold focus groups, we know how to best give the experience our audiences want when interacting with us.

  • Change – Industry change is lightning fast and competitors introduce new things…often.  Another SHIFT PR gal, Linda Battaglia (@LBattaglia), listened closely as Stacey said, “competition makes you stronger and better, and keeps everyone moving forward.”  In Linda’s words, “She put a positive spin on having competition – pretty motivating!”

PR Takeaway:  Learning is continuous, and it happens through curiosity, formal training, experiences and sometimes morphing competitors’ success and making it your own.

All in all, we walked away with new ideas and validations on old ones, as well many reminders that a company must do what works for them. It’s about wearing many hats, but only if you can wear them all well.

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