Case Study: How A Retailer Found Mobile Success On Facebook Through Socks And Stories

By Justin Lafferty 

Many companies have tried myriad ways to find success on Facebook through mobile, but outdoor clothing retailer SmartWool has done so by tapping into the fact that its customers are always on the go (but with their smartphones), and allowing fans to tell stories. SmartWool’s mobile daily likes grew 1,313 percent during one holiday campaign. Additionally, 75 percent of the traffic during the campaign came from mobile devices.

Molly Cuffe, SmartWool’s senior manager of global brand communication, spoke with AllFacebook recently about how the company reached out to its fans and customers through mobile. Last year, the company held a campaign called Share the Joy, where SmartWool fans picked Facebook friends whom they thought would appreciate gifts. If their entries were chosen, then the original fans received SmartWool gifts, too

Cuffe said the campaign, which has been active the past two holiday seasons, was a hit on both mobile and desktop. She told AllFacebook that mobile daily likes grew 1,313 percent during the 2012 campaign, and desktop daily likes rose 113 percent. From 2011 to 2012, SmartWool saw a 67 percent jump in entries, with 75 percent of all traffic coming from mobile.

Cuffe pointed out that mobile did not take away from desktop, as the company’s people talking about this metric rose 330 percent through the 2012 campaign, and overall, its PTAT is 25 percent higher than it was before the campaign.

SmartWool’s main fan base is the outdoorsy types who enjoy getting away from it all and being active, but Cuffe knows that they keep their smartphones with them on their journeys. Cuffe also noted that the company has a dedicated and loyal fan base, so for the Share the Joy campaign, the goal was to encourage its already pleased fans to spread the message about SmartWool’s products.

Cuffe talked with AllFacebook about the company’s mobile mindset:

When it comes to social efforts, there’s no question about it: We are thinking mobile first because our consumers are on the go. We want to be there. For us, it’s really more about helping people do more of what they love to do. Also, we’re an incredibly joyful brand, and a spirited brand, and we want to encourage people to celebrate their triumphs, whether it’s climbing a mountain or running their first marathon. Snap a picture and send it to us.

The company doesn’t advertise much, Cuffe said, and it has a word-of-mouth referral rate of 96 percent. Through SmartWool’s Facebook page, the company engages with fans by sharing their successes.

By sharing stories of these triumphs, as Cuffe said, SmartWool has been able to grow brand recognition and loyalty, as fans can occasionally see photos that they sent in on the company’s Facebook page. SmartWool has also put content curation in fans’ hands through apps built on the Friend2Friend platform, such as Fanalog (where fans can create catalogs of SmartWool products and have a chance to win what they pick out), and Strip to Your SmartWool (where fans submitted photos of themselves wearing nothing but SmartWool products), which Cuffe feels leads to mobile success:

We always try to make sure that whatever we’re doing has some meaning and has some relevance to their activities. For us, our fans really are as passionate and as engaged as they are, and we want to make sure that we’re giving them a platform they want to use. We’re making it easy for them.

Readers: How do you reach out to your fans through mobile?