If you visit Babe's Instagram page @babedotnet you're going to be bombarded with pastel colours, 90's aesthetics and probably more than one picture of Paris Hilton. Clicking 'follow' on Babe's social media pages is like simultaneously entering Elle Woods', Cher Horowitz' and Regina Georges' bedrooms: sparkly, fluffy, sickly.
Babe is the feminist offshoot of The Tab, an 'all university' student run online newspaper that started in London, and has recently crossed over to the USA. Babe's homepage corresponds with their social media aesthetic, that is to say; absolutely everything is millennial pink.
However, the articles posted on their website couldn't be further from this sparkly fantasy. Babe tackles hard hitting issues. At the time of writing, just a glimpse at the home page offers me headlines such as 'Just a bunch of times brands really fucked up their 'feminist' campaigns' accompanied by multiple updates on Taylor Swift's sexual assault case, and a cursory scroll of their Instagram account leads me to images posted in support of LGBT rights and against transphobia, whilst their Facebook wall is filled with feminism-themed memes. Babe may be cute on the surface, but it never lets you forget that underneath the 'tackiness', they provide news coverage of issues that really matter.
I spoke to their US based editor (and covering social media manager), Amanda Ross, to find out how they achieve the balance.
What do you think is important for a brand to take into consideration when planning a social media campaign or strategy?
Staying true to your audience is the most important part of social media for a brand, which I think a lot of companies lose sight of. Whoever's consuming your main content, be it video or articles or whatever, are the same people taking in the social posts so it's critical to all be in the same voice. There can't be some crazy disconnect because social media is the shop window for your entire brand.
What makes your brand’s social media different from the rest?
We think of Babe is more or less a person, not a company -- and that's what we try to drive with all of our social posts and plugs and memes. We're not some corporate media entity trying to appeal to the ~teens~ with plugs like "What do you guys think?! Let us know!" We say bad words and talk to our readers in the comments and call rogue people out. On social media, Babe talks like your friend, albeit your coolest and occasionally loudmouthed friend.
What does your brand place most emphasis on in its strategy; content, images or video?
We're really focused on all three because honestly there's no way around producing maximum amounts of everything. Media is so saturated with publishers all trying to get through the same door that you've really got to be pushing EVERYTHING in order to appeal to the max number of people in your audience. We put out original videos daily, memes, meme videos, and, of course, written content and fans respond well to all of it.
How would you describe your social media aesthetics? Do they align with the brand?
It's all pretty feminine with a humorous twist, which is definitely on-brand for Babe.
What’s something you think other brands get wrong about social media?
Everyone needs to up their audience interaction. It's so good for our brand (and our hearts, tbh) when you reply to someone's comment or like their photo and they start freaking out because Babe talked to them.
Do you use a content calendar/do you plan your content or is it spontaneous?
We have a scheduler sheet to make sure we know exactly what piece of content is going out when and then marking it off when it's actually scheduled and subsequently published. Often, though, we'll do some spontaneous posting or live-streaming from events on Insta or start live-tweeting on Twitter.
Tell me a fun fact about Babe.
Everyone's always pretty shocked to hear the Babe staff consists of, like, four people; considering our reach and the millions of hits and video views we do every month. We're very DIY at the moment, which is why I think we connect so well with our readers -- we're them, they're us.
Which brand’s social media presence inspires yours?
I love Into The Gloss and Glossier's approach: they're a mix of aspiration and attainable which is really the sweet spot of media right now, especially with the commerce tied in. Merchandising is something we're foraying into soon and they set a great example.
What’s been your favourite piece of creative work to date?
Our original, fictional video series, Is It Just Me?, is so fucking fun and has amassed such a following. There's even a Facebook group with thousands of members where viewers dissect episodes and discuss their fan theories. We love how much they love the show.
Thank you, @babedotnet and Amanda!