Every 5 to 7 years, new opportunities come around where intelligent marketers can find a level of scale without taking on outside debt, or spending a bunch of money which allows them to go on to create a 7,8, or even 9-figure enterprise.
Over the years I've come to realize that anything is possible in this digital age, but the key is finding an edge: what is working now, moving quickly to action, and iterating accordingly.
In this article, I'll share a case study from Tabs Chocolate. Have you heard of them?
Tabs are a single-product DTC brand that sells 'aphrodisiac' chocolate designed for two for $29.99 - A high price point for 3 pieces of chocolate.
Founded in 2021 by undergrad Oliver Brocado, while in the initial stages of growth, Oliver ran into a problem. Due to the nature of the product, Tabs had restrictions on their advertising ability which prevented them from following the regular advertising playbook used by DTC brands. To succeed they had to get creative with influencer marketing.
Oliver and his team bootstrapped Tabs from 0 to over 100,000 customers in its first year of business without spending a dollar on paid ads. Just $30,000, scrappy marketing strategy, and out-of-the-box thinking.
Within the first 3 weeks of launching, Tabs sold out and reached $100k in revenue before switching to a preorder model.
Around 4 weeks in, a TikTok influencer's post did 8,000,000 views, and 2,000,000 likes resulting in $50k in revenue that day alone.
Last year, Tabs hit 500 Million views on TikTok and are on track to exceed 1 Billion views and $ 10 million selling chocolate!
Regardless of your growth stage, this is a great case study on Algo-hacking. I’m going to walk you through the exact marketing strategy. Leverage it to cut through the noise, generate vitality, and turn views into revenue.
Here’s the formula
As a caveat, this strategy works best with a strong product-market fit, and communication mix.
To start, look at TikTok as your top-of-funnel brand awareness. Focus on optimizing for virility FIRST. Then sales, Second. To do this you’ll need there are 3 Pillars:
First → Content creators
Second → Memes
Third → Influencers
This gets you in front of an unprecedented amount of people for very little—to no—money.
Pillar #1 Content Creators
We've all heard it before, "influencer marketing doesn't work for us"
But the truth is, with the right approach and technology, you can drive significant amounts of revenue by going viral on social platforms through influencer marketing.
TikTok is a blue ocean of opportunity with just over 1 billion monthly active users as of September 2021. Tapping in properly allows you to reach millions of people without spending a single dime.
Most brands have one brand account and fight like hell to break through on a platform with billions of daily views and a linear brand tone and messaging. They pay influencers to post in an effort to scale reach and run ads to retarget the traffic.
To solidify pillar 1, you'll need a two-punch strategy with your UGC.
When it comes to UGC, I don't mean the traditional sense of influencers. You'll need people who create content. Once you onboard them with product and key info they'll set up a brand page and you'll give them free rein and control to be the mastermind of the account.
You don't need to hire an agency or overpay. You don't script content, focus on optimizing for quantity and ultimately scale.
Use Social Snowball, via Shopify for frictionless logistics and management for affiliates and creators.
Once you succeed with one creator, repeat the process over and again with people from various backgrounds, qualities, and content angles. Doing this allows you to tap into a more dynamic range of taste clusters uniquely specific to demographics. (You can find creators by searching UGC, and TikTok content creators on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook groups. )
"Your goal isn't to have one brand account but essentially a content studio with hundreds of different creators all making different videos, because at the end of the day, you can't know what will go viral the only way is QUANTITY and scale."
Now, take all the content creators and put them into a community platform like Discord. Once you get content that performs well, take the viral asset and share that with your community of content creators. This allows them to share and ultimately extend waves of virality by feeding the algorithm what it wants.
There you can also funnel new updates, automate social posts from your company account, and more. The Server is yours to build, as you grow your community optimize retention by creating challenges, giveaways, etc.
The most successful case study of this strategy at play is the infamous Andrew Tate and "The Real World". By leveraging this strategy he become the most Googled man on the planet providing core content that creators can repurpose and build to create new content.
Other DTC examples using this strategy include Mini Katanas and Lavender Crush Slime
So, rather than one-post deals with algorithms, your UGC has a reoccurring model where creators are constantly churning out content on the brand's behalf to the point where they have their own subsidiary brand page that follows your brand page and site.
Subsidiary examples: Tabs Chocolate co, Tabs chocolate company, Fun Tabs Co,
There are hundreds all pointing back to your site and with billions of users, you stand the chance of breaking through the noise. After all, Quantity x quality = success. So while most focus on only one variable you've created a machine that allows you to scale cheaply.
Reply to comments with Video
As people start to engage creator assets, creators can then reply to comments with video replies, here they can handle objections, by answering the questions that come up in comments.
Have your marketing team, create a 1-sheet that outlines all the core information & FAQs needed to ensure efficiency.
Extend the Life of Viral Posts
Take the winners and distribute to your affiliates in Discord each with their own IG and YouTube account for reels and shorts blasting the most viral extending the potential across platforms.
Pillar #2 Memes & Meme Pages
Memes, more specifically meme pages are typically under-leveraged, the key to success is you need a good product for it to work well. Tabs is a good example of a great product fit for meme pages.
Instead of paying Facebook high CMPs, pay a fraction of the price for the same reach, and same quality traffics. Take viral content and turn to them into a meme, get the pages to change the link in their bio for 24hrs along with the post.
Tabs spend 6 figures on memes and have generated $3 Million in revenue from meme pages alone. If you have the right product this is a great way resource.
Pillar #3 Influencers
With big influencers, you're paying for their brand rather than their distribution. There are also challenges are scaling as most influencers don't reply, or charge too much. And the ones that do reply, can sometimes steal your products and wash your investment.
Fortunately, TikTok is democratizing influencers, so rather than paying for their brand, and their overpriced distribution, leverage Micro-influencers with 20,000 to 200,000 followers to access their distribution networks.
17% increase in influencer marketing revenue
9.8x return on investment
If you want to dive into how they structured their influencer marketing program (and why it worked), you can read the full case study here.
The Wrap Up
The success of Tabs came about from years of experience, trial and error, and ultimately gaining the ability to spot opportunities and act on them. Tabs didn't reinvent the wheel, the driver of success was able to recognize opportunities and act on them quickly.
Where most brands want to flip a buck, patience differentiates you. Like Tabs, this will help you build a proper brand.
In general, train your frame when consuming content so you can start to recognize early signals of opportunities. If you wait to hear about it it’s already too late.