In today’s competitive landscape where “global”, “growth” and “scalable” are on everyone’s mind, it’s easy for companies to forget the importance of doing business at the local level. It’s even easier to forget that social media can help in major ways.
From restaurants to plumbers, thriving on a local level is crucial to the bottom line. Take the wedding industry for example. Brides-to-be and grooms-to-be have to focus many of their searches locally for services like hair, makeup, florist and band/DJ. Yes, it’s a $58 billion business in the United States, but most of that money is spent in local markets.
That brings us to Arhaus, a home furniture retailer headquartered in Boston Heights, Ohio. Curalate partnered with Arhaus to tap into the talent, content, and social superstars in their own neighborhood — and the result was a successful partnership with a local wedding food vendor that paid serious dividends.
It all started with Arhaus’ Social Media Strategist, Angela Harrell, who spends her days building positive brand sentiment and awareness on Instagram, Pinterest and the company’s blog. When posting to social, Angela keeps a close eye on likes, comments and engagement to provide timely responses and to familiarize herself with Arhaus’ most loyal fans.
Over time, Angela noticed that Main Street Cupcakes, a local bakery, was consistently interacting with Arhaus’ Instagram posts. Angela made sure to send some social love back their way in the form of likes and comments. Sarah Forrer, the owner of Main Street Cupcakes, appreciated it, and a partnership soon became a reality.
The two brands may seem like an unlikely pair, but Sarah found that Arhaus and Main Street Cupcakes had similar goals, visual styles and demographics. From these shared KPIs, came #thehappiesthourwedding, a photoshoot combining the best-of-the-best local businesses in the area. Main Street Cupcakes supplied the cake, Arhaus the staging furniture, Black Dog Photo Co the photographer and Lovely Invites brought the promotional pieces. What emerged were gorgeous lifestyle photos of Arhaus furniture — which is much better to share across social channels than boring stock images.
All the vendors involved promoted the photo shoot to their over 47,000 fans. Arhaus promoted the images on Instagram, and one of the images (featuring its Portsmouth Settee) was among the most engaged images it shared on Instagram over the past few months.
“When it came to participating in the #TheHappiesthourWedding photoshoot, it immediately felt like a natural fit,” said Harrell. “All the vendors involved focus on quality and beautiful design, elements that are engrained in our brand story.”
Meanwhile, an Arhaus blog post — “Wedding Trends from Arhaus with Love” — featured additional photos from the shoot and utilized Curalate’s Reveal, allowing consumers to shop the pieces directly from the images. Reveals for #thehappiesthourwedding have gained the most impressions (total of 3,503 impressions across all 9 Reveals) to date. Not only were the images a hit on Instagram but by utilizing Like2Buy and Reveal, Arhaus extended the life and engagement of the great content they created — and used it to drive purchases.
“Curalate has made it really easy for us to connect with customers, influencers and partners,” said Harrell. “User-generated content has become a big focus for us-when potential customers see how our pieces look in other people’s homes, there’s nothing more authentic than that.”
Authenticity resonates with consumers, they’ll be the first to tell you if they feel talked to and aren’t buying your schtick. They’re also the first to advocate for your brand and spread the word. Ask yourself what your brand voice and/or personality should encompass. Need ideas? Think about the people in your neighborhood or town. And don’t write off local businesses because you think they won’t help you become a viral sensation, or you think they’re in an unrelated industry.