When reading Ben Shields’ chapter, “Designing Social Content,” I couldn’t help but think of the Free People brand. For those that don’t know, Free People is a clothing brand targeting females in their 20s, with a bohemian feel. As they put it on their website, their audience is, “a 26-year-old girl, smart, creative, confident and comfortable in all aspects of her being, free and adventurous, sweet to tough to tomboy to romantic. A girl who likes to keep busy and push life to its limits, with traveling and hanging out and everything in between. Who loves Donovan as much as she loves The Dears, and can’t resist petting any dog that passes her by on the street.”
A very specific type of person. With this specific type of person Free People wants to reach, they absolutely have to actively keep their social medias on brand. Shields states that the building blocks of social content are message, voice, and share proposition. In describing each of these, I will quote Shields,
“Message—What exactly are you trying to communicate to your audience?
Voice—The expression of your brand’s personality through content. Personality is who you are; voice is what you say.
Share proposition—The reason why your audience should share your content.”
Though these 3 ideas are not immediately relevant with every brand—i.e. they are not saying “this is our message, this is our voice, and this is our share proposition!”—they are ideas that are always taken into account when posting.
Let’s look at their instagram:
Free People’s Instagram bio immediately says who they are and who they are trying to reach. They also advertise their alternate Instagram dedicated to workout wear, their snapchat, and their website for continued interaction. Through these things, as well as an initial look at their feed, Free People stays true to their voice.
As we click into a post, we see that their voice here is also consistent. The photo, though just a picture of a cat, is on brand with the lounging around (beautifully) aspect of their brand, and makes the user click to see what the caption might be. “Our dreams just came true” with a shocked cat emoji and a shooting star is not something you’d see posted on, say, Adidas’ Instagram, but is very appropriate for the voice of Free People. This is also an example of shareable content, as it advertises free shipping. Certainly the 104 comments are full of people tagging their friends to alert them of the free shipping. These posts can also be sent through direct messaging, screenshotted and texted, or simply for providing information to share with friends. There is a call to action within this post, and it definitely qualifies as shareable content.
On Free People’s Twitter:
We have a tweet that shows someone working for their brand, whom represents their brand, and providing a link to an article about her and her style. This is a great example of an articulated message. The caption gives the user a clear idea of what will be in the link and who they are looking at. At this point, they can choose to read more or move on.
As an added portion, I would like to share a piece from their youtube channel:
As if their social medias weren’t enough, Free People has a youtube channel with tons of content furthering their brand. Feel free to check it out if you want to see more. However, the most interesting thing they’ve done, in my opinion, is a series of short films. About 3 years ago, they were consistently putting out short films that essentially embodied the Free People girl. There were about 10 of these at one point, though they deleted most of them (I don’t know why). My friend and I were obsessed with these short films—they were always so beautiful and dreamy, and had no motivation other than that. They always had some little storyline, usually a love story. Of course, this is a crazy tactic. Getting Free People buyers to interact with them EVEN MORE, and showing a life that the buyer, if falling under their audience, would absolutely want. With the main character clothed in Free People.
That’s all I have to say about Free People. Thanks for having a read.