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Victoria?s Secret heats up social engagement with Summer Hot List

Victoria?s Secret is ramping up two-way communication with its fans by asking social media users to vote on finalists for the brand?s first Summer Hot List on Instagram and Twitter.

The lingerie retailer?s strong social media presence has been a hit with customers and has increased commerce opportunities with frequent posts about sales, new products and behind-the-scene snaps from its Angel ambassadors. Asking consumers to determine the winners for the Summer Hot List, which spans categories such as hottest spa and hottest brunch spot, is a smart move by the brand to offer fans a one-on-one connection and continue driving loyalty.

?It is always a win whenever a brand proves to its fans that it is listening, and most importantly, that its fans? voice has an impact,? said Amir Zonozi, chief strategy officer at Zoomph, Reston, VA. ?Ryan Bonifacino, CMO at Alex and Ani, has a philosophy I have fallen in love with: ?No Tweet goes unresponded.?

?The smallest effort in showing you care goes such a long way for your audience,? he said.

?While you should respond and engage with as many of your fans as you can, it?s most important for brands like Victoria?s Secret to understand: who their active audience is, the influencers within this active audience, how they can engage with these influencers, and most importantly, how they can create a stronger relationship with that influencer and their audience.?

Additive content
Victoria?s Secret strives to showcase lifestyle content as well as its products on its social media pages to provide consumers with an all-encompassing experience. Frequent posts include exclusive footage of catalog shoots, curated items for getaway weekends and pictures of its well-known Angel models.

The Summer Hot List serves as an optimal way of continuing this lifestyle push by lending support to various hotspots and locations, and asking fans to vote on their favorites. Each day, the brand posts a category with two pre-picked options for consumers to whittle down to a winner.

?The right social media channel to ask your fans' opinion should be the channel where they share their opinions with you most,? Mr. Zonozi said. ?While using Instagram might not initially seem like the best option, if you think about it: the platform hits its target demographic, provides them easy entry and engagement within Instagram?s closed loop, and allows them to easily access via mobile. 

?Creativity flourishes when constraints are applied, and this was definitely the case here - you can even see they reaffirmed the campaign hashtag by listing it as the ?location? and in the caption. The more user-generated content your fans create, the more data you can analyze to better understand them and their needs.?

Categories so far have included hottest festival, date spot, weekend trip, music scene, workout, spa and more. Victoria?s Secret adds instructions on how to vote to each post, which invites users to use the designated hashtag for their top pick and leave a comment using it.

For example, the brand encouraged fans to choose the hottest night out by asking them to comment using #VSLovesMiami or #VSLovesLA. Similarly, the hottest city escape was determined via the #VSLovesSF and #VSLovesMontreal hashtags.

Voting is also available via Twitter.

Victoria?s Secret claims it has been scouting the top parties, destinations and beaches in preparation for the Summer Hot List, and hopes its fans will join in the final selection round.

Reaching younger consumers
The retailer?s focus on social media points to its desire to continue marketing to a younger demographic active on mobile. Victoria?s Secret also includes the Pink brand, which is geared towards teens and college-aged customers.

It has been ramping up its mcommerce efforts, particularly before major holidays, and is also ready to experiment with any new social platforms.

This past January, Victoria?s Secret's ran ads for its Pink Date bra within Cosmopolitan magazine's content on the Snapchat Discover platform, reflecting its potential to help brands narrow in on a targeted group of consumers (see story).

Ahead of Valentine?s Day, the brand also added a new component to its digitally enabled catalogs that enticed consumers to take a quiz to see their ideal bra size, type and fit, boosting its mobile merchandising capabilities in time for the holiday, a favorite with lingerie fans (see story).

Ultimately, the Summer Hot List will likely promote even more user engagement with the brand on social media, especially as its posts typically garner over 100,000 likes.

Another way of driving engagement would be to offer a possible incentive or contest for a few lucky customers who vote for each category, such as a coupon or gift with a future purchase.

?It?s not necessary for them to offer some sort of incentive for engagement, but what is necessary is knowing what it takes to get your audience to engage,? Mr. Zonozi said. ?At Zoomph, we call it ABE, ?Always Be Experimenting,? ? Victoria?s Secret should experiment with different elements within its campaigns to understand which variables create the largest impact.

?Keep the variables that reward the behaviors it wants to encourage, and weed out the variables that do not work to its benefit until it has a winning formula.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York