First things first, the brands and companies that produce their goods on their own premises and distribute them through their own supply chains and distribution centers are called the D2C brands. This is basically an abbreviation for the term ‘Direct to Consumer’.
These brands are flexible to operate in any given industry and they market their products through various ways such as e-commerce platforms, social media as well as retail stores.
An example of such a brand is that of California’s Daou Vineyards and Winery which manufacture their own original wine and distribute them both offline as well online. They have their own retail stores where they sell their wines offline for the customers as well as online, through e-commerce platforms.
Another example can be considered as that of Patanjali, the Indian origin ayurvedic brand founded by Baba Ramdev. They manufacture a wide array of their own original FMCG products which are mostly herbal and ayurvedic in nature and sell them through retail stores of their own brand, through other anonymous retail stores as well as through e-commerce platforms. This is how flexibly these brands work.
How Do D2C Brands Use Social Media?
Given the fact that today social media is where people spend half of their day, not just D2C brands but almost every company is into social media marketing and studies have proven that it is a great place to market products.
People from different backgrounds can find their desired products with just one click of an advertisement that might have popped up. However, D2C brands mostly comprise new businesses and startups. Thus, social media marketing/selling is the most effective and efficient option for them. Let us have a look at how these D2C brands utilize social media for their marketing.
To Reach a Large Audience
It is important for brands to recognize their audience group. For instance, if a brand like boAt, which deals in audio products, mainly targets the young customer group, they will have to strategize accordingly. They will have to make social media posts that attract the young generations.
The D2C brands like boAt also endorse their brands through social media celebrities, YouTubers, models, actors, cricketers, and influencers to promote their products, who have a large follower base.
In this case, boAt has hired the Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya and the Bollywood actress Kiara Advani as their brand ambassadors who have a huge number of followers on their Instagram profile. This way they can attract the attention of their targeted audience group.
To Grow the brand
While social media marketing, it is important to know what we want to achieve for our brand. Whether it is an increase in sales or an increase in brand recognition. Depending on how the advertisements are made, the posters are designed.
D2C brands generally do not follow a mix of marketing techniques to uplift their branding or increase their turnover. The social media advertisements help the brands to follow a cost-saving mechanism in promoting their brand.
Proving Brand Authenticity
Social media is a place where you cannot lie regarding your products. Today the consumers are well informed and in a ‘caveat venditor’ business environment, D2C brands always get an upper hand once they resort to social media marketing. People believe them.
Brands have to be authentic about the information related to their products and this authenticity brings in a lot of customers. This is a form of confidence that the brands show and market.
For example, the American lingerie brand ThirdLove connects with its customers by creating campaigns where they capture unfiltered and raw footage of women of all shapes from different parts of the world. This is how they break stereotypes and they make people believe what they believe i.e., to sell comfortable lingerie for everyone. This is how brands can connect to their audience through their authenticity.
One of the trendiest ways of the social media marketing that brands use is moment marketing. Moment marketing is the process of marketing products on the basis of taking advantage of a recent event that has earned a lot of attention. One of the great examples of this is the topical advertisement strategy of Amul. They make their ads on the basis of trending topics that are mostly in limelight.
There are many D2C brands that approach customers to share their experience with their products and put that up on their social media feed so that new customers and buyers can have an idea about the product and its quality. This is a common practice in social media marketing.
Points D2C Brands Should Remember While Marketing on Social Media
The Volatility Factor
The D2C brands that utilize social media for their marketing are very much aware of the fact that social media is a very volatile place and the trends change every now and then. What is trending today might not be trending tomorrow and the strategies have to be changed accordingly.
Also, it is important to note that the same strategy would not work for every brand. Different brands with different product backgrounds need to incorporate varying strategies to stand out from the others.
Social Media Criticism
Social media is an independent platform where people express their thoughts independently and without any fear. Therefore, any wrong step from any brand would make itself vulnerable to the audience and might receive a lot of criticism.
For example, the American fashion biggie H&M received a strong backlash in early 2018 when they featured an African American young boy in a green sweatshirt and captioned it as the “coolest monkey in the jungle”. The brand had to immediately take the post off and had to apologize to the audience since this was extremely offensive and racial.
The brands should be aware of the social factors before they market something related to cultural values. For example, Mcdonald's once had created a campaign during the Halloween captioned “Sundae Bloody Sundae” and had received some criticism on Twitter and had to put it down.
This was originally related to a massacre in 1972 when some British soldiers brutally killed some of the unarmed Irish protestors. The original slogan “Bloody Sunday” relates to this massacre.
Therefore, the brands should be aware of what they are conveying to the masses.
It is not important that the campaigns have to be polished and beautifully aesthetic always. Sometimes calling out ugly truths and touching the dirt around the world can also form a connection with the young and rebellious generations.
For example, Ugly is a brand that often calls out stuff that is going wrong around the world through its social media advertisements. This way they make a stand for themselves as well as for what they believe in. This makes the young audience connect to the brand and its ideology.
How are d2c brands using social media to increase their digital presence?
D2C brands are using social media to grow their brand, prove their brand authenticity and leverage moment marketing.
What are some social commerce strategies for D2C brands?
Generate buzz around your product, hire content creators, provide social proof, and create more short-form videos.