'Data Is Not a Conversation' – Nasty Gal's Sophia Amoruso on Social Media 'Expertise'

Entrepreneur
Social media as a business tool is in a constant state of evolution. What works today isn't going to be good enough for tomorrow. Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso shares her experience growing alongside social media as an entrepreneur, and how brands should approach these tools in the future.
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TRANSCRIPT

Sophia Amoruso: So I’ve been on social media for as long as I can remember. I think the first social network I was on was called Make Out Club when I was like a teenager, which was where indie kids had profiles about what kind of like weird hardcore music they liked or something. And the second one I was on was Friendster and then it was MySpace. And MySpace was the website I was fiddling around on in the lobby of the art school in San Francisco where I had a job checking student IDs for 13 bucks an hour wearing a hideous uniform. And was getting friend requests from eBay stores who were promoting their businesses via MySpace. So and so vintage wants to be your friend. Okay so I checked it out and was seeing the prices that these eBay stores were fetching for vintage that I knew where to find in thrift stores. So I thought hell, you know, anything’s better than this lobby. So I gave it a shot.

Social media is a funny thing because anyone who says they’re a social media expert is probably going to have outdated info like tomorrow. So it’s a little bit of the Wild West because there’s always new platforms and those platforms are always changing and the way people use them is always changing. The kinds of people that flock to Pinterest are often different than the people who, you know, become Instagram superstars. So people are making money on it, but all it takes is a phone or a tablet and, you know, savviness to become a social media expert. You know, we’ve always just spoken to our customer just like a real person and I think that’s something that anyone who’s on YouTube, anyone who’s on any mode of social media has to understand to be successful. And if it is something that's that intellectual, you’re probably still not going to get it. I think it’s just something you kind of have to get and be comfortable speaking with people — speaking through the Internet to people like they are people, I guess. And it shouldn’t be that hard, but brands make big money for it, which is crazy to me. And we’re always listening. We’re always listening to our customer. We’re listening to what she has to say to the sentiment. And there’s, you know, sentiment-monitoring platforms in all of these things that we don’t really use just because like I can read what you’re tweeting at us and our team can read what you’re tweeting at us. I guess you can make data out of it, but data doesn’t really build brands and data is not a conversation. I think we’re coming out of an era where marketing, advertising, branding, a lot of that — people were less savvy and brands got away with non-authentic practices, non-authentic modes of communicating with their customers. And, you know, they thought their customers weren’t as smart as they actually are. And people are super savvy right now and they’re only becoming more savvy. And our girls have always been savvy.