In this interview series, we are talking to founders, CEOs, and ecommerce business leaders about how to use social media to grow your ecommerce business. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Stacy Reed.
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was a kid, I got a package in the mail, and I thought it was weird because I was like 10 years old and didn't really get mail.
When I opened the package, it contained a bunch of snacks. Still confused, I finally opened the letter that was inside the box, and it was a letter from Stacy Madison, founder of Stacy's Pita Chips. In the letter, she said that she had created a new snack brand, and to get her product out there, she decided to find the address of everyone she could find with the name Stacy and send them samples of her new products.
I didn't realize it at the time, but it was such an impactful campaign because it made me feel like I was part of an exclusive Club of Stacys around the world that was able to try this product first. It left a long-lasting impression because whenever I see those snacks in the grocery store, I think about that experience.
That’s the earliest story that I can trace back to how I fell in love with marketing, and I believe that lasting impression helped me decide to pursue it as a career.
Can you share the most exciting story that has happened to you since you began at your company?
The most exciting thing that's happened since I started my company was being able to leave corporate to be a full-time entrepreneur. I left Zappos in April of 2022 to fully bet on myself and bring the vision that I have for my company to life, and I've been able to work with some amazing people and amazing CEOs with big visions that are truly creating life-changing brands.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson did you learn from that?
At my first marketing job out of college at a business law firm, we hosted a lot of events, and I would manually collect attendees' email addresses in Excel to email them these digital business guides we used as essentially lead magnets. This was before email service providers like ConvertKit were a big thing.
So one time, I was trying to email guides to the people who had attended the event in Outlook, and I accidentally CC’d everyone instead of BCC’ing everybody, which led to some angry emails. So now, even 10 years later, I still quadruple-check when CC’ing anybody.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
The most exciting project I worked on by far was the launch of the Clueless Crocs when I was leading paid social marketing at Zappos.
That campaign was so exciting, 1) because of the nostalgia and 2) because it took a combination of our best marketing efforts to bring the campaign to life and sell out. It was a combination of influencer marketing, Facebook and Instagram ads, Twitter ads, organic social, Google ads, email, billboards, and more to bring a campaign to life on that large of a scale.
We used the best of what we had ever done to sell out an exclusive product, and it was very successful.
This helps ecommerce brands to understand that marketing isn't just one thing, it really takes a collection of efforts to bring a product to market and sell it out.
When CEOs think about their marketing strategy, they should be looking for ways to bring their best marketing efforts together in order to create something greater. It's about testing, learning, and iterating on what works so that you can use those learnings to take your sales to the next level.
What are three traits about yourself that you feel helped fuel your success?
I am very ambitious. I have been everything from a yoga teacher to a makeup artist to a podcast host to a marketing consultant, and what makes me successful is that I don't allow fear to keep me from going all in on something I’m passionate about.
I also take the initiative to build relationships with other people. I'm great at building relationships, and that helps get my name in rooms that I am not currently in. Because of the relationships I've built, I have secured clients, speaking gigs, and many other opportunities. Whether it's having virtual coffee chats, attending local events, or joining communities with people that have similar ambitions, I make the time to really build and nurture relationships.
I prioritize managing my energy. Being a CEO requires you to show up a lot, and for me to show up my best, I have learned that I need to ensure that not only am I sleeping enough, but I am actively practicing yoga, doing my meditations, and showing up for therapy every week. I make it a priority to invest in self-care so that I can have the impact that I want to have.
What was your original vision for your ecommerce business? What pain point(s) were you trying to solve for your customers?
My vision for my ecommerce consulting business is to be a resource for online product brands that are looking for the information that they need to take their sales to the next level.
There is a lot of information that you get access to when you work directly with Facebook on ad strategies simply because when you have the budget to get Meta's attention. With access to the right information, online brands—particularly black and brown-owned brands—can grow the business they desire that not only serves their customers but also creates wealth.
I help my clients focus on the right marketing strategies, systems, and support they need to exponentially increase their sales without the side of CEO burnout.
How did social media help you grow your business? What were your strategic objectives, and how did you implement your social media plan?
For my business, social media is primarily a lead generator. I leverage Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to increase the reach of my podcasts, lead magnets, and workshops so that my ideal clients can find me when they need my services.
As a service provider, I focus on social media as a top-of-funnel strategy to create content that drives traffic to my weekly podcast episodes and email list.
Which social media platforms have you found most beneficial for ecommerce specifically?
I have found Instagram and Facebook to be the most beneficial platforms for ecommerce brands because they not only have a lot of users but typically have a demographic that aligns with my client’s target customer base.
With Facebook and Instagram ads, ecommerce brands have the best opportunity to reach their target audience and create connections at scale through storytelling. Unlike Google ads, Facebook ads allow you to connect with people in a quick yet impactful way through social storytelling.
What social commerce trends are you most closely paying attention to, and how are you preparing to leverage them for growth?
I am paying more attention to influencer marketing this year because ecommerce brands have a great opportunity to boost their influencer marketing efforts with Facebook and Instagram ads.
Meta has built many different tools for ecommerce brands to help maximize their influencer marketing efforts with ads because this is a growing trend that connects brands with customers in a more authentic way and drives sales.
The best way to leverage influencer marketing to drive ROI is by incorporating actionable content into your Facebook and Instagram ad strategy.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen when companies try to use social media to promote ecommerce? What can be done to avoid those mistakes?
A common mistake I've seen companies make when it comes to social media and promoting their ecommerce stores is boosting posts on Instagram or Facebook instead of building their campaigns within Meta’s Ads Manager.
Boosting posts are a waste of money because they essentially tell Facebook to show your post to people who are more likely to comment, like, and share, not necessarily to people who are more likely to purchase.
To avoid this, ecommerce brands must invest in the expertise that it requires to build their campaigns strategically and correctly, so they don't waste their money on things like boosting posts.
Based on your experience and success, what are your top 5 ways to use social media to grow your ecommerce business?
1 . Drive organic traffic to your email list. We don’t own these platforms, you own your email list.
2 . Focus on maximizing the top 1-2 channels that your customers actually use instead of trying to be on every channel.
3 . Leverage Facebook and Instagram ads to increase your sales, not your follower count.
4 . Maximize influencer content by using it in your Facebook and Instagram ads.
5 . Stay on top of your data so you can ensure your efforts are leading to sales.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would start a movement of marketers that also love yoga. A movement of marketing that is not stressful.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Listen to my podcast: Roadmap to $1 Million.
Learn more about our marketing consulting: Stacy Zeal & Co.
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