How the watch startup MVMT used social media to grow to $60 million

How the watch startup MVMT used social media to grow to $60 million
By Hilary Milnes. Source: Glossy.

MVMT, a direct-to-consumer watch and accessories brand, was launched by two 25-year-old college dropouts who recognized a white space in the industry for a new brand not bogged down by wholesale markups.

Now four years old, it only makes sense that the brand’s growth has stemmed largely from an advertising strategy that relies on social media, particularly Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.

“We noticed early on that we weren’t going to break through the market doing things the traditional way,” said Blake Pinsker, director of brand and retention marketing at MVMT. “Everyone told us it was impossible to build a business through social media, but we saw it as an opportunity to create a unique brand experience.”

MVMT, which did a projected $60 million in revenue in 2016, is testing two new social media ad products to continue to drive growth. On Instagram, the brand was selected to test the platform’s “Shopping Alpha” feature, which lets MVMT tag products in posts that link directly to product pages when tapped. MVMT also runs Instagram and Facebook carousel ads. On Snapchat, MVMT was early to test On-Demand Geofilters in December. The brand bought a geofilter in New York City’s Times Square, which included a 15 percent discount code for those who encountered the filter on Snapchat.

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 2.13.59 PM“We understood that our target market was spending the majority of their time online and on their mobile phones, so that’s where we felt we could best engage with them,” said Pinsker. “Each platform has its own strategy, but we see each as a vehicle to brand ourselves.”

MVMT now has 3.3 million social followers across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, with plans to launch a Snapchat channel this year. Pinsker points to MVMT’s first branded hashtag #jointheMVMT as its earliest social milestone: On Instagram, there are 43,000 posts tagged with the slogan. He said the goal of the hashtag was to build a connection on social media that was effective on a community level, rather than just the brand-to-consumer level. To that end, MVMT has incorporated user-generated content into its product pages that pull from the hashtag.

“Social media commerce and strategies are essential in today’s market, especially for direct-to-consumer brands,” said Esosa Ighodaro, co-founder of social commerce platform Cosign. “Shopping has moved from brick and mortar to online and to social media, which means the brands have to get the product to the consumers faster. Customers want the ability to shop right away.”

Over the holidays, MVMT also saw a lift from paid Facebook acquisition ads, claiming that one out of every 10 people on Facebook saw a MVMT ad on their feeds during the season. The company didn’t share how many of those who saw the ad made a purchase, however.

For the brand, the key to unlocking new customers on social media — something that retailers have long struggled to figure out — comes from balancing paid and organic content across platforms.

“It’s important to keep our voice consistent and important to post consistent quality content in order to build a following,” said Pinsker. “Brands need to continue to build relationships with consumers and seek the most immediate and longstanding ways to do so.”

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