Connecting With the Next Generation of Shoppers on Social Media

How Poppi pioneered social reach to reach new audiences


With the rise of influencer marketing, more brands are converging online and using the unprecedented influence of creators to reach broader audiences. Sponsored ads amid user-generated content are transforming to a b-to-c relationship as prospects buy directly through social posts and platforms. Allison Ellsworth, co-founder, and chief brand officer of Poppi and TikTok star Larri Merritt (@Larray), sat down with Adweek community coordinator Netta Thomas during our Elevate: Future of Shopping event for a discussion about the impact social media has on shopping.

Pioneering social reach

Before launching Poppi in March of 2020—and before even taking the product to consumers—Ellsworth said she started working with content creators, something she said was somewhat of a novel concept before TikTok exploded in popularity later that year.

“We did that before we ever did a paid ad, before we ever did any PR or marketing or anything like that,” she said. “We did it that way because we knew it was the way of the future and how you can truly and authentically connect with the community.”

Ellsworth’s risk of diving headfirst into influencer marketing and social media for her brand paid off. Today, Poppi has nearly half a million engaged followers across social platforms.

“Social media proves to impact consumer shopping habits. So don’t be afraid to test the waters with amazing creators for something new that’s authentic,” she said. “You never know what’s going to work, so test different things, be creative, and have a little fun.”

Creating authentic partnerships

On the creator side, Merritt said influencers should be bold and show up as their true selves to find authentic brand partners to build long-lasting relationships with.

“Don’t be afraid to have your own voice and create your own brand image,” he said. “I personally think that brands who go out of their way to help creators that obviously fit their brand is way more impactful than just brands that look for anybody to promote their brand.”

According to Merritt, part of curating that authentic relationship is brands giving creators permission to sit in the driver’s seat of their content creation.

“Allowing the creator to create the content with a little spice of throwing in the brand never hurts anybody. It honestly pays off for everybody at the end of the day,” he said.

Enjoying Adweek's Content? Register for More Access!