This week I performed a social media audit on Aerie. I already follow the brand on Instagram and Facebook, but was curious what their social presence looked like on other platforms. Aerie is a favorite brand of mine, because of their inclusivity and positivity on all body shapes and abilities. I analyzed their content on top social platforms and compared them to a top competitor, PINK. Curious to see how Aerie performed? Keep reading!
About the Company
American Eagle Outfitters, founded in 1977, is an American jeans and apparel brand for both men and women. The American Eagle website describes their brand as rooted in authenticity, powered by positivity, and inspired by their community. American Eagle operates over 1,000 stores across the globe.
Aerie, founded in 2006, is a brand that was created by American Eagle. Aerie is a brand for women’s clothing, carrying leggings, activewear, swimwear, bras, underwear and more. In 2016, the Aerie brand made headlines when it became a forerunner of body-positive marketing with its #aerieREAL no-airbrushing campaign. The #AerieREAL campaign is about not retouching images, promoting body positivity, empowerment, and confidence.
Competitors to American Eagle include brands like H&M, Forever 21, Abercrombie & Fitch, Aeropostale, and more. Since Aerie is a women’s lingerie, swimwear, and loungewear brand, I thought Victoria’s Secret PINK would make an equivalent competitor here. PINK sells panties, bras, sweatpants, hoodies, accessories, and more.
Target Consumer Demographic
According to their website, American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie both focus on the 15 — 25-year-old consumer. According to Victoria’s Secret 2019 Marketing Report, Victoria’s Secret target market is women ages 21 – 49. PINK targets young female customers, ages 16 – 21, who have a high school/early college lifestyle. Both Aerie and PINK have about the same target demographic of older Gen Zs and younger Millennials.
According to Forbes, the largest customer segment for lingerie is women ages 45 – 54. So why are Aerie and PINK targeting younger women? Their hope is to keep their customers as they grow older. Millennials who turn 30 or 40 in the next year have different ideas regarding body types and diversity than older generations.
Marketing & Sales
A letter from American Eagle’s CEO reports Aerie reached its first billion dollars in revenue, fueled by 24% growth in 2020. The fourth quarter marked 25 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth for the brand. Their marketing focus was, and remains to be, entering new markets, building on core intimates, and growing the customer base.
Aerie’s branding is consistent across all social channels. Their green logo with white text appears as the photo on every platform. Aerie is verified on every social channel as well, shown with the blue checkmark. They have consistent hashtags of #arieRAEAL and #goingOFFLINE on almost every channel. Aerie’s content is highly curated and very on-brand. In the screen-shot from Instagram, you can see the consistency of earthy colors, words of positivity, and clothing.
Social Media Audit
Six social media platforms were analyzed in this audit: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Pinterest. This audit was performed on July 15, 2021, analyzing content and engagement, along with gathering follower counts and hashtag information. A SWOT analysis was performed as well, noting strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to their social media accounts.
Aerie’s Instagram has a large following of 1.5 million and has more posted content than on their other channels, averaging around 14 posts a week. Aerie’s content varies with text, images, video, graphics, and Instagram stories. Engagement from consumers is high on this platform, especially on posts with sweepstake contests. Engagement from Aerie is good with replies to consumers on comments. Their stories are active and Aerie has curated story pins. The most popular content posted is typically flat-lays of their clothing, with tens-of-thousands of likes.
Aerie’s Facebook page has the largest following of their social channels, at 1.9 million followers and page likes. Their content consists of the same content as Instagram and averages out at 9 posts per week. Aerie interacts with the consumers with replies on comments. Their consumer engagement is lower on Facebook than Instagram, averaging under 100 likes per post, and only a few comments and shares. Their posts also contain shopping links to boost web traffic.
Aerie’s Twitter account is has 96.2 thousand followers, and averaging about 10 tweets per week. The content on Twitter mimics the content from Facebook and Instagram, with images, videos, and graphics. There is little to no engagement on Twitter from their following, with an estimated average of 15 likes per Tweet and only 1-2 retweets or comments. Aerie does engage with their consumers with retweets and replies.
Aerie’s LinkedIn profile has the lowest following and content of all their platforms, with 1,165 followers. Aerie uses LinkedIn to post job listings only and not post content of any kind in the LinkedIn feed. There is no engagement exchange between the company and consumer.
Aerie TikTok profile has 129.6 thousand followers and averages at about 2 posts per week. The content is video only and there is no engagement from Aerie with consumers. Aerie’s followers do engage with their posts a little; each post has a few hundred likes and a few comments.
Lastly, Aerie’s Pinterest account has the second-lowest following, at 54.1 thousand. Aerie does not engage with consumers on this platform and their content is pins of shopping links with photos. Aerie uses Pinterest as a gateway to shopping, rather than lifestyle or fashion images.
This SWOT analysis describes what Aerie does well in, identifies areas of growth and potential threats. The strengths that Aerie has is their large following on Facebook and Instagram. They use these two platforms to their fullest potential by exchanging engagement with consumers, posting to stories, and boosting web traffic. Areas of weakness are on Twitter and TikTok. These platforms are not being used as well as they could be. Their Twitter account isn’t used often enough, and the content they post on the platform isn’t native to the kind of content existing on Twitter. Aerie’s TikTok account has highly curated content and mimics videos used in their other platforms. Because of their curation, their content doesn’t feel organic and natural to the platform. Aerie could benefit from reposting content on their account from their influencers. Another missed opportunity is Aerie’s LinkedIn account. On their AEO INC. website, Aerie details their commitment to social responsibility, sustainability, giving back, diversity, inclusivity, and work culture. They could easily post content on LinkedIn about these areas of their workplace. Lastly, the biggest threat to Aerie on social channels is their competitor, Victoria’s Secret PINK. Their social channels have thousands to millions more followers on every channel.
Aerie is a great company and highly curates their content, keeping true to their brand identity and colors. Aerie performs well on two social media giants, Facebook and Instagram. They could improve their strategies and native content to TikTok, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Modifying their content for these platforms and engaging with consumers can boost performance. An important note in this audit was the discovery that on the Aerie website, the social links were linked to the American Eagle social channels. This is a key find that could help boost traffic from their website to their social channels. Hopefully one day they’ll become as popular as the their competitor, PINK!