What are some of the best ways to get your business and your brand in front of potential customers who spend more and more time on social media?
In this episode, host Francois Marchand is joined by Monica Warren—Founder of Pretty Perfect Style—to talk about how to take your social following from zero to thousands.
- Monica’s background [1:20]
- Jewelry designer and founder of Pretty Perfect Style.
- Started making her own jewelry 13 years ago after taking a free jewelry making class and fell in love with it.
- During 2020 she fell back in love with making jewelry, rebranded her jewelry business and started Pretty Perfect Style.
- How did Monica go from having no followers on Instagram at launch to having more than 21,000 followers today? [3:40]
- She was very consistent – she decided to post once a day for the first 90 days after launching.
- Consistency is important so that people see you regularly.
- The approach to increasing the followers: hashtags were key for her in the beginning, following people in her specific niche and interacting with them and their content. It built a camaraderie with them.
- She always replies to her customers – customers love it when a brand replies to them.
- Post good pictures and good quality reels.
- What are some creative ways Monica has stood out and differentiated Pretty Perfect Style on social media? [9:16]
- She makes sure that she tries to use a lot of colour – having a brand theme for your posts is good.
- She uses a lot of colour to get people’s attention when they’re scrolling
- Find whatever it is about your brand and its personality that is going to get your ideal customer’s attention.
Your goal when you’re posting is for people to stop their scroll.Monica Warren
- What is more important to Monica: Converting sales on social media or building a following (which may not always be about sales)? Why? [13:22]
- Because she’s a business, she wants the sale. But a following is important because it gives you more brand exposure. But her goal is always to take as many followers as possible and convert them into purchasing something.
- A following is great, but if it’s not converting it’s just vanity.
- That’s why it’s important that it goes back to consistency – always making sure that you’re staying in front of them and putting your best self out there.
- What’s a best practice for someone who wants to promote their products on instagram? [15:14]
- Monica has a store through Shopify which allows her to sync and have a shop on Instagram.
- If you can get the Instagram shops, then absolutely do it. A lot of her sales come from instagram without the customers ever leaving Instagram.
- Trends to eliminate the barriers to purchase [16:53]
- The more steps somebody has to take, you might lose them.
- Instagram shops (Facebook too) are going to be the future given people’s short attention spans. People want to purchase something quickly.
- Monica is also curious about some of the other trends that are coming out with AI.
- Are there platforms that Monica hasn’t explored yet that could be a huge opportunity for her in the future? [19:34]
- She wanted to hop on the TikTok trend.
- She’s also looking into live stream shopping.
Each social platform requires a different type of posts. Even though you can repurpose content, it’s really best if you want to make an impact to post content specifically for that platform.Monica Warren
Meet Our Guest
Monica Warren is a jewelry designer and founder of Pretty Perfect Style, a unique and handmade statement jewelry brand. Monica started making jewelry in 2008 after taking a free class in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio. After one class, she knew making jewelry was her new creative passion and started a jewelry brand in 2009. After many years of on-and-off wins and losses, she paused in 2017, and decided to rebrand in August 2020. She took all the trial and error and mistakes from her first business and launched Pretty Perfect Style in the midst of the pandemic to much success. She attributes her initial success after relaunch to her constant presence on Instagram and continues to grow on and off social media.
A following is great, but if it’s not converting it’s just vanity.Monica Warren
Resources From This episode:
- Subscribe to the newsletter to get our latest articles and podcasts
- Connect with Monica on LinkedIn
- Check out Pretty Perfect Style
Related Articles And Podcasts:
Read The Transcript:
We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.
Francois Marchand: Social followings. Having a strong presence on social media has never mattered more for ecommerce businesses. But how do you collect thousands of followers when you're basically starting from scratch? What are some of the best ways to get your business and your brand in front of potential customers who spend more and more time on social media?
Welcome to The Ecomm Manager Podcast. Our mission is to help you succeed in your ecommerce journey with helpful, actionable advice from the experts who made it big. I'm your host, Francois Marchand.
Today, I'm joined by Monica Warren. She is the founder of handmade jewelry brand Pretty Perfect Style. We'll be chatting about how to take your social following from zero to thousands - fast and easy. So stay tuned to discover best practices on getting started on platforms like Instagram and why being social on social media is actually the key to building your brand and growing your sales.
Monica, welcome to the show. So happy to have you here.
Monica Warren: Thank you so much. I'm excited to talk to you today.
Francois Marchand: Before we get started and talk about our main topic for the day, spoiler, it's about building a social following for your ecommerce brand. Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you're from, and how you got started in ecommerce with this vision for this company, Pretty Perfect Style?
Monica Warren: Sure. As you said, my name is Monica Warren and I am a jewelry designer and founder of Pretty Perfect Style. And I actually started making jewelry about 13 years ago in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. And I was literally bored after work, and so I decided to take a free jewelry making class. And so I want to do something creative.
So I took the class and kind of the rest is kind of history from there. After I took the class, I fell in love with making jewelry. And so Pretty Perfect Style is actually my second jewelry brand. I started jewelry brand in 2009 called M Renee Designs. Learned a lot, griped my knees a lot, failed a lot and decided to take a break after I was a little frustrated as an entrepreneur.
Took a few years off, and then during 2020, I fell back in love with making jewelry. Rebranded, got a totally different vision, and I started Pretty Perfect Style. Like I said, it was in about August of 2020. So that's how we got here.
Francois Marchand: I wonder what was going on in 2020. Everybody was inspired to do stuff at home. I wonder if that had anything to do with it, a little situation called the pandemic?
Monica Warren: Yeah, I definitely felt like that fueled me. I was at home being, I don't like to be bored as you just heard. And I'm always been super creative. And so I'm spending all this time at home trying not to lose my brain. I live by myself, so I don't even have anybody to talk to unless I'm like social media or calling people on the phone.
And I was really like, I'm going to make the most of this time. I have all this extra time. I can't socialize like I want to. I'm a pretty social person. And so what do I love to do? And I always thought in the back of my head, my first jewelry business didn't go the way that I wanted it to go. And I was like, this is the time. I'm reclaiming that.
So let's start this over. Let's get some more clarity. Let's get some more vision and let's go for it. And so that's how I rebranded and started again in 2020.
Francois Marchand: That's fantastic. Come a long way since then. You're talking about that lack of socializing, that lack of interaction with people. What makes Pretty Perfect Style kind of unique is that within this time span from 2020 till now, you started a company from scratch with no followers on social media, especially Instagram, which is where I think you excel and you've built that into having more than 15,000 followers today.
So my question is, how did you go from having no followers at launch to having more than 15,500 followers today?
Monica Warren: So one of the main things is that I was super consistent. And so, as I said, when I launched, we were in the midst of the pandemic. And so one of the things that I told myself I was going to do, and I said, I'm going to post every day for the first 90 days. Because people don't know me, they don't know my brand, but I know if they just see what I'm doing, that they'll catch on and they'll start following because I know my work is good.
And so that first 90 days I posted every single day, weekends, holidays, like it was almost like a regimen and schedule. And so what that did is that really helped me cause it gave me that foundation, gave me a time to introduce myself and it also gave me the discipline that I was going to need further down the line to continue being consistent.
And so a lot of times with social media, especially Instagram, there's so many people on Instagram. You can scroll and see a hundred brands within an hour. So I believe that consistency is always going to be important because even if you may not see me today, you're going to see me tomorrow. And so eventually you're going to keep seeing me, versus if I was posting maybe two or three times a week, you may not see me the first or the second time.
You may see me once a week, maybe, but if I'm posting every day, you're going to see me eventually. And so that consistency was absolutely key in getting to start building my following. And I still post around 90% of the time. I'm still posting every day.
Francois Marchand: Yeah. I was looking at the feed just a couple of days ago and I was like, okay, so there seems to be a schedule or somewhat of a regular schedule for Pretty Perfect Style, at least daily, sometimes twice a day.
We're talking about consistency and I get that, but you're starting out from zero with no followers. And how do you get it in front of people's eyes? What are some of the effective strategies to build that following? Is it hashtags? Is it piggybacking on someone else's trending keywords? What was the approach to start getting that follower count to go up?
Monica Warren: So I definitely feel like hashtags are important. When I first started, I felt like they were more important back in 2020 because Instagram has changed so much, of course. But definitely hashtags. Also following people that were in my specific niche and then also interacting with them and interacting with their posts, liking their posts, commenting on their posts.
And what that did was almost built a camaraderie with us. And so all of a sudden there's this new brand posting on all their pictures and giving genuine comments, not fake ones, but genuine comments. So they're like, okay, who's this? Oh, I go to our page. Oh, I like this stuff. I'm following. So now I have some of the big brands in my niche following me.
And so now other people notice that sometimes customers will look at one of their favorite brands, they'll look at who they're following and they'll look at who they're commenting on. And so that was also big, making sure that I'm interacting with other small jewelry brands. And also always reply to all of my comments.
So, and I think that is really big, people leave comments and I sometimes see like brands don't acknowledge them. But a customer or a potential customer really values that when a brand that they love is actually replying to them, they're like, wow, okay, I actually am being acknowledged by this brand.
And that's always something that I say that, a Macy's may not reply to your comment. But, when someone, another brand that's a small brand does reply to your comment, it gives you some level of more like know and trust with them. And it's definitely noticed by potential customers. So I definitely say hashtags, following other jewelry brands, creating like a small community of jewelry brands where we support each other, replying to comments, obviously posting good pictures and good quality reels that's, yeah.
That's huge. And so also with all those things being consistent.
Francois Marchand: I mean, it's social media. If you're not being social with your potential audience, your potential customers, you're not building anything. You're just pasting, you're just doing basically billboard advertising, it's postered, right? They'll see it, but what's the incentive to interact?
There isn't one, or if they leave a reply, like you said, and you don't communicate back to them, they're gone. There hasn't been a connection there. So it's interesting because fashion is such a huge element of a visual platform like Instagram. There are so many fashion brands out there.
What are some of the creative ways, like we talked a little bit about interacting with other fashion brands to build that communication, build that following, but what are some of the other creative ways that you've used for Instagram to stand out and make Pretty Perfect Style, unique in that space?
Monica Warren: I definitely feel like one of the things that I make sure that I do on my Instagram is try to use like a lot of color. Like you go to my page, like color is the first thing you see. You're like, Whoa, it's colorful. It's pretty. It's happy. And now I do that on purpose. So I think having some type of brand almost personality for your pictures is good.
And so I've seen other fashion brands do it so many different ways. But like I said, when you're on Instagram, you're going to see so many different brands. And as the Instagram "coaches" always say, your goal when you're posting is to, for people to stop their scroll. So what are you posting where people are actually going to stop and take some time and engage and look.
And so one of the ways that I do that is by using a lot of color. My jewelry is very colorful, on its own. And then I use a lot of colorful backgrounds. And when you're scrolling, my pictures pop. If you see them, you almost have to stop and say, Oh, wow. And a lot of times people will say this picture makes me so happy.
Like it's so many colors. And I'm like, yeah, that's exactly what I want. So I definitely feel like finding whatever it is about your brand and your brand personality that is going to get your ideal customer's attention. Like I said, my people love color and that's why I always design with color. And like I said, I have colorful backgrounds on Instagram.
And so that's one of the strategies I use just to get people's attention and keep them on my Instagram page.
Francois Marchand: Yeah. How important is it, we're talking about getting people to stop and pay attention to pictures are very colorful, the product looks beautiful. How important is it to show people, especially yourself, like you're the face of this company?
And you'll see, if you look at Pretty Perfect Styles profile page that every seven or eight posts or so, Monica shows up. So how important is it for you to show yourself within the context of your product?
Monica Warren: I think it's very important. It's not definitely something that I try and make more time for, but every once in a while, I just want to pop in and say, Hey, this is me.
This is who's making all of your jewelry. A lot of times people will follow your brand, they have no clue who's making it. And along with that, if you are making things yourself, like I make my own jewelry. It's important for people to know that. So this isn't stuff that's, shipped over from another country, like I am making this by hand.
And so once they can see my face and they hear me talk about it and I describe how I designed this and how I put this together, then it gives them a sense of connection to know that something that is going to be delivered to them and that they're going to wear every day, they can put a face to the person that actually put it together.
Like that gives them like a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling. And so I try and pop in as much as I can. I try, I was on a once a week live schedule and that was pretty good. I'm trying to get back on there, but I do think it's important for people to see me, see my face, see me smiling, see me crack a joke every once in a while, just so they get to know me because I am obviously the person behind the brand.
Francois Marchand: It shows a story behind the brand, shows the attention to detail, the level of care that your product needs and has the amount of love that's been put in the product. Again, like you said, it's something that if it's from a faceless kind of corporate setting, that works for, big enterprise and that's fine. But for a small growing business like yours, that personality is so important to show, especially on social media, because that's the whole point.
So I wanted to know then, because you're selling product, obviously. So social media is a great vehicle for telling a story, showing the product and kind of giving people a place to interact and connect with you and with your brand, but what's more important for social media, converting that into sales or building a following that doesn't always generate a sale in the end?
Monica Warren: I definitely think because I am a business, I want the sale. No, this isn't, yeah, I'm not on here to just be cute. A following is important because obviously it gives you more brand exposure. It introduces you to people that you would have never ran into in real life. So absolutely that's important.
But my goal is always take as many followers as possible and convert them into purchasing something. Definitely conversion is huge. And so that plays a huge part in the things that I post, what I choose to post. And when I do a live, what I want to talk about, what sales I may want to run. And so at the end of the day, a following is great, but if it's not converting it's just vanity at that point.
Although I'm always trying to grow, my focus is always going to be like, how can I take these followers and turn them into somebody that either purchases something or even just ask the question, sends me a DM, make some type of personal connection. Because sometimes you may have somebody follow you and they may not purchase for eight months.
Sometimes somebody may follow you and purchase something the same day. So you never know where somebody is on that journey and when they're gonna pull the trigger and actually buy something. So that's why it's important that it goes back to consistency, like always making sure that you're staying in front of them and putting your best self out there.
Francois Marchand: So what does the customer journey look like for a follower of Pretty Perfect Style? It discovers your brand on Instagram and then, maybe the comment, maybe they see your face and they want to communicate with you. How do you direct them to the purchase portal? Is it through links in the description of the items?
Is it link in bio? What do you think is a best practice for someone wanting to promote their products on Instagram and then, have them go through the funnel?
Monica Warren: I do have a website, of course. So I do reference back to my LinkedIn bio. One of the things that I absolutely love though, is I have a store through Shopify and that gives you a chance to sync and have Instagram shops.
And so that is huge. Once Instagram shops came out, I really felt like it almost trained people on Instagram that they don't have to get off the website. And so they can buy something on Instagram. And so once they are trained in that way, they're used to it. So I always say, if you can get the Instagram shops, absolute do it.
Cause a majority of my sales now come from Instagram shops, which means people aren't even leaving Instagram and going to the website, but they're purchasing. But they're purchasing right there on Instagram. So I always reference the website. You can click the link in bio if you want to purchase or always say you can tap to shop.
So once you tap the picture, then it will highlight any of the products in that picture. And then they can actually go and shop and purchase right there on Instagram.
Francois Marchand: Do you see that being that trend of social commerce, this kind of one click? There's no hoops to jump through because you don't have to follow the breadcrumbs of going from social to a landing page, a website to, you know what I mean?
The journey gets longer and as further along as a customer goes, the more of a chance they have to balance, right? So you want to reduce that bounce entirely. So do you see that as being like a growing trend, an established trend and what other trends could be coming our way in that vein to just eliminate the barriers to purchase?
Monica Warren: Definitely felt like that is where we're going. Definitely. As you were saying, the more steps somebody has to take, you may lose them, if they're on their phone, somebody may send them a text and then the next thing they forgot all about what they were going to do or where they were going.
And so I definitely feel like Instagram shops, Facebook has the same thing where you could shop on Facebook. I feel like that is going to be just future as short as people's attention span has, it works really well. And, this, like I said, the sync through Shopify, I'm super grateful for it because people, like I said, can tap and then they just purchase it and then it's over.
And I think that's what people want. People don't want to have to, as you said, sign up for this or click this or go down and they don't want to do all that. They're like, I like it. I want it. Click. It's shipped to me. I really think that started with Amazon as we were talking about, like in the midst of the pandemic, Amazon made it so easy for us to buy something and then get it at our doorstep in a day. And so I think after that people were like, I'm not doing a whole lot of anything to purchase something and what the quicker, the better.
So I definitely feel like that's a trend. I am curious about some of the other trends that coming out with AI, making this crazy blown like it is now. That's one of the things I'm studying up on because that's not my area of expertise. I know that there's some AI stuff is offered on my website that I've been like slowly dipping into.
And so that's really interesting and exciting to learn and to go about. So I'm really anxious to see what else they have coming out with those trends.
Francois Marchand: No, the future is bright. We have to keep in mind too, like we talk about AI a lot. Many of the features within available ecommerce platforms out there or tools already have AI elements built into them that help you optimize the customer journey and your conversion rate, improve your sales, gather data, and just make better decisions.
So obviously, definitely you're right. This is a huge trend that we have to keep. I was also curious because we talked so much about Instagram and obviously this is where you excel. Are there platforms that you haven't explored yet that you think could be a huge opportunity for you in the future?
Monica Warren: Definitely. I always wanted to really hop on the TikTok trend. But just because I'm always so busy, I wasn't able to really dive in like I wanted to. And so the one thing that I've also learned is with each social platform requires a different type of posts. Even though you can repurpose content, it's really best if you want to make an impact to post content specifically for that platform.
So I know TikTok is a little bit different than Instagram. It's a lot less picture heavy. It's more about like processes and showing an actual journey of how it makes up, how does you make it? TikTok is one of those things that I still want to dive into. Again, each social platform has different things that are best to post and how many times you post a day.
And so I'm still learning a little bit about TikTok before I decide to just jump in. And so, yeah, but that's definitely one of the social platforms that I would like to get more heavy on this coming year.
Francois Marchand: Yeah, that's another huge opportunity for ecommerce brands out there. Some of them have jumped on at others, like you are still discovering what the opportunity is for TikTok.
What about live stream shopping? Seems to be a big thing, especially in public Chinese market. Where you just basically host what used to be like infomercials, I guess, the shopping channel, you do your own using a social platform, either YouTube or doing, a Facebook live where you can show off your products and people can just do that instant one click, no stopping shopping kind of situation. And you can do scarcity. You can say, I only have about 15 of these items. They can all be unique. Have you looked at that at all?
Monica Warren: I have looked into it. Again, that's something that I need to do more research. I've actually been contacted by a few smaller live shopping.
They're like channels that are specifically for live shopping. And so I was trying to do some research on that a couple of weeks ago, but I have seen people do a Facebook live where they're doing a live shopping. I definitely would like to get more into that. I'm not necessarily timid about it, but I feel like there's so many rules.
Francois Marchand: Yeah, that's for sure.
Monica Warren: So that's definitely something that I would also like to get into is the live shopping, because I've seen some people have really good success with it. And I'm in a ecommerce group and with a bunch of entrepreneurs and it's like some people really get it. And then some people are like, okay, let me do all the research before I make a decision about it.
Francois Marchand: That's right. For the time being though, Monica, you've got a great thing going, Pretty Perfect Style. Congratulations on all your success with your brand. They've wonderful products, if you want to check out with what Monica is doing, where can we find Pretty Perfect Style online?
Francois Marchand: Awesome. Monica Warren, thank you so much for being part of this episode of The Ecomm Manager Podcast. I want to thank everybody out there for tuning in. If you liked this episode, please leave us a review, subscribe, get notified every time we release a new episode.
And if you'd like to stay in touch with all things ecommerce, head over to theecm.com/subscribe to join our newsletter community.
Until next time. I'm Francois, Editor of The Ecomm Manager.