If there’s one person who understands how to market like a pro on Pinterest and Instagram—and how to get buy-in from an entire organization to do so—it’s Eleni Tavantzis, Senior Manager of Social Media and Public Relations at Lilly Pulitzer. Since joining the brand in 2013, this social rockstar has taken the contemporary fashion label to new heights through a combination of smart, data-driven campaigns and, yes, a dash of Cura-love.
Recently, we sat down with Eleni to get some color on Lilly Pulitzer’s most fruitful social initiatives of 2014 – and what she and her team hope to achieve in the coming year.
1. If you had to describe Lilly Pulitzer’s social strategy in three words, what would they be?
Colorful. Creative. WILD.
2. Do you consider yourselves content creators or curators?
A little bit of both! There’s always a delicate balance between creating content that inspires your audience to share and then curating what they choose to share with you.
3. What was your favorite social initiative of 2014 and why?
National Wear Your Lilly Day (AKA the first day of summer) was by far my favorite. We created a grassroots campaign on Instagram that got some of our favorite brands (think Barbie, Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom) as well as bloggers and influencers to spread awareness around the holiday on their Instagram feeds. What they shared was a custom painting created by one of Lilly’s print designers (did you know all of our prints are done in-house by a team of artists?), which they posted to Instagram on June 21st. It felt like we took over everyone’s Insta-feed that day!
4. What’s the most important lesson you learned about your social strategy over the last year?
It’s not set in stone. Talk to people in the industry, read as much as you can, and follow your instinct. You know your brand and business best – make the right strategy choices for that. I know that can be a little scary, but what I love about Lilly is that our brand is all about creating your own path and bucking the trend (phew).
5. What’s on your social wish list for 2015?
Increased organic reach on Facebook would be nice! Aside from that, what I love about social is that there are smart people who are working on creating the next tool that I didn’t know how I could live without, and it feels like there’s innovation and change each day. My wish is to spend more time paying attention to those and to see how they can complement our Instagram-first, visual social strategy.
6. If you had to give one piece of advice to a brand that’s looking to get more out of their social strategy, what would it be?
Get WILD. Well, first, make sure you love your social strategy and it works within your department and overall goals. Then, get WILD and get creative when it comes to how you reinforce your strategy. Try. Test. Learn. Try something else. Also, make sure you have a focused strategy. Pick the places, ideas and platforms where you can win, and double down there. Find your place to shine.
Looking for an adventurous, forward-thinking way to get your fans involved with your brand? Eleni and her all-star team recently whisked away some of their favorite influencers—including Gal Meets Glam, Happily Grey and Aureta—to Palm Beach (i.e. Lilly Pulitzer’s command center).
“We gave them a Lilly insider perspective of the island, showed off our favorite spots, and shared fun stories from our brand heritage,” Eleni explains. “The goal was to highlight and live the resort chic lifestyle. All of it ties back to our annual theme: “Spill the Juice.” We’re all about spilling juicy secrets and giving our fans the scoop on what they might not know about our brand.”