Interview: Carla McRae from OddPears on art as content

If all your content on social media is doing is hounding your audience to buy your product, then you’re going to have a bad time. Finding ways to supplement brand-heavy content with non-branded imagery is crucial to striking the perfect balance between constant brand awareness and content that drives sales.

One brand that has found the happy medium is Melbourne-based sock company Odd Pears, who use their feed to feature popular and emerging artists and keep their audience up to date on what’s inspiring them. I caught up with Carla McRae, Odd Pears’s content queen, to talk about how their strategy came about and what it does for their business.

Sharing art has been a large part of Odd Pears’s strategy from pretty much the very beginning, what made you decide this was an important part of your brand?

Carla: We wanted to differentiate ourselves from other sock companies. The ‘fashion sock’ angle is played out, and looking at socks from an art perspective and focusing on the actual design felt like a way to enter the market in a more interesting way. It was a way to introduce consumers to design and appreciate it in a way they might not have already!

Was this the golden key to collaborating with other artists?

Carla: In a way, yes! I think by demonstrating that we had a good understanding of the art and design processes, we created a gateway to collaborating with artists that felt natural.

How important has this been to growing your fanbase on social media?

Carla: It’s been pretty key! Art is for everyone, and our socks are for everyone too. The art/inspo posts break up our product shots and general plugging, but also showcase what we’re inspired by, the kind of work we’re looking at and, in the end, what informs the new sock designs! Collaboration has been a key point for sure too, opening up fashion sock consumers to new art and creatives that they might not have known about before.

Do you find your art content is an important aspect of your strategy to building traffic to your site and drawing people over the line at the checkout? Do people come for the art and stay for the socks?

Carla: It is a useful traffic driver to the site. By writing blog posts about popular creatives (and emerging ones too!) it gives people another reason to visit the site. As for conversions, that’s still fairly driven by online advertising, email campaigns and general product plugging. Some people might come for the art and stay for the socks, but we’d be kidding ourselves if we thought every person who read a blog post would meander to the check out by themselves!

Do you stick to a weekly formula/schedule? Or are your posts more off-the-cuff?

Carla: As we’ve grown and tested out different strategies, our posting has become very regimented. We’ve filtered it down to 2 posts per day, alternating between our own content shots, regrams, inspiration, relevant quotes and blog posts. I find it less stressful to organise posts at the beginning of the week, load it all into Hootsuite and know that I’m good to go for the next 7 days.

A snapshot from the @oddpears Instagram

Where are your favourite places to discover new art, for those who might want to include art-as-inspiration into their social strategy (or, you know, just cause they love art)?

Carla: I am on Instagram quite a bit, always scrolling and exploring. I have also been an avid Tumblr user for the last 5 years or so and have a good backlog of blogs that I follow. They’re a combination of modern and contemporary art, design and photography content. A lot of the major US galleries like MoMA have great Tumblrs, and even Ace Hotel! Other good sites that I like to frequent are Sight UnseenIt’s Nice Thati-DDazed, etc. just to stay up to date with general pop culture stuff.

Any favourite apps or programs that you use to collect, curate, edit or schedule your content?

Carla: Hootsuite is super great for scheduling! I’ve come to rely on it heavily. Also, keeping a record of your scheduled content is helpful in Google Sheets. We do this so any of us can access a list of scheduled content and see what’s up. This simple combination pretty much works for us at the moment, but holding out for a time when Instagram will automatically post all by itself!

Instagram: @oddpears
Twitter: twitter.com/oddpears
Facebook: facebook.com/oddpears
Pinterest: pinteres.com/oddpears
Tumblr: oddpears.tumblr.com

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