Interview with Morning Brew- Party City’s New and Improved Social Media Strategy - Julie Roehm

Illustration: Dianna “Mick” McDougall, Photos: Party City

It was a great time chatting with the folks over at Morning Brew to discuss Party City’s social media strategy. We discussed all things marketing and social media — from influencers to shopping trends, and our partnership with Pinterest. You can read the entire conversation here or check out some excerpts below:

“Party City didn’t have much of a social media strategy before the pandemic, according to its CMO Julie Roehm. When she joined the company in December 2019, she set out to change that.

“When I started, we as a company had been in social briefly with Pinterest and some of the normal Facebook ads, but it hadn’t really been a primary strategy,” Roehm told Marketing Brew. “They were just sort of dipping their toe [in].”

Only a few months after the start of her tenure, Covid swept through the country, keeping people in their homes and forcing even more eyes online.

Coincidentally, one of the first things Roehm did at Party Cityeven before the dramatic shift in consumer behaviormoved most of the retailer’s media budget to digital platforms, including Pinterest, Instagram, and TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, and Google, she told us.

In the past year, the share of its budget spent on social in particular has doubled, Roehm said. This January, Party City’s paid media-buying efforts led to a nearly 10% increase in traffic compared with that month last year. From 2020 to 2021, paid social traffic improved 30%, Roehm told us, primarily driven by Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Gift that keeps on giving

Party City’s social strategy goes beyond paid advertising. For instance, Roehm established the company’s first internal influencer team and forged partnerships with creators like “mom influencers” Maria Bailey and Ashley Lyn.

“I’m so glad we did because…during the pandemic, we leveraged that heavily,” she explained, relying on influencers to tell the brand what they needed to pull off pandemic-era celebrations. That information inspired Party City’s party kits for events like birthdays and graduations.

With stores shut down temporarily in 2020, Party City promoted those kits on social media, sending them to influencers who could “talk about it in their own words, through their own terms,” Roehm said.

In one example, Party City mailed out a DIY balloon garland kit to test how easy it was for influencers to assemble the product on their own, and whether or not they found it worthy of the ’gram.

“Social has been a gift that keeps on giving for us,” Roehm said, explaining that Party City’s influencers not only post content for the brand but also provide feedback about what’s working and what isn’t. “It helps us a lot to refine our go-to-market positioning and strategy.”

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