Tabs Chocolate was founded in 2021 by two University of Michigan undergrads, Jake Lewin and Oliver Brocato. Tabs is an edible dark chocolate shared by two partners in order to enhance their sexual experience. While looking to grow their brand, Oliver ran into a problem. Due to the nature of the product, Tabs ran into restrictions with advertising.
This meant they weren’t able to follow the regular DTC playbook or performance marketing tactics used by brands. They had to get creative–And it paid off.
Oliver said, “Tabs is an adult product, so paid ads were never really an option for us. We really only had one route to take which is influencers and organic. From the get-go, influencer marketing has been our primary source of traffic.”
After switching their manual influencer marketing program to Social Snowball, and working with agency Legion Social, Tabs amplified content across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and other channels to see a 17%+ increase in influencer marketing with a 9.8x return on investment, plus 10+ hours saved weekly.
In this article, we’ll share exactly how. If you’d like to read the whole story, check out the full case study.
Scaling Revenue Without Traditional Advertising Channels
Considering the natural virality of the product, the sexy snack brand gained a lot of traction with their homegrown influencer campaigns, and fast. As they continued to scale their influencer efforts, organization proved to be a daunting task.
“We work with a lot of content creators, affiliates, and influencers. Organization is definitely something that has been tough. We used to use spreadsheets and it was a bit of a mess,” said Oliver.
Organization was tough to not only manage affiliates, but also manage payouts to every influencer. Influencers are typically offered commission on the sales they refer, and many influencers desire different payment methods for their commission.
Oliver expanded, “I used to get anxious at the end of the month because I’d have to sit down and find out everyone’s PayPal information and make sure I’m sending them the right amount, there was a ton of back and forth. I had to hop on phone calls with a lot of the creators and would block out multiple days every month just for that.”
On top of organization and payouts, when using a sheet, Tabs had no way to accurately track and measure the revenue attributed to creators. Oliver said, “tracking influencer sales was also very difficult. TikTok doesn’t let most micro-influencer accounts put a trackable link in bio so UTM links weren’t really effective for us.”
For performance based partnerships, figuring out the correct payout amount was a near impossible task. It was nothing shy of a nightmare for Oliver and his team.
Building and scaling influencer marketing with Legion Social
After partnering up with organic marketing agency Legion Social, Tabs began migrating their influencer management over to Social Snowball.
Right off the bat, Oliver saw how much easier organizing Tab’s influencer programs would be.
“It can auto generate discount codes without cluttering the discounts tab in Shopify, so now we are able to more accurately track attribution from our micro-influencer campaigns. Being able to create mass discount codes at scale has been really nice. Social Snowball took care of the entire process with one click.”
Tracking influencer revenue and mass generating discount codes was suddenly much easier and more accurate than it had ever been. After setting everything up and letting the campaigns run for a few weeks, it was time to pay the creators for their hard work–with one click. Oliver was blown away with how easy it was to send payouts.
Having all these new tools at their fingertips, Legion Social helped Tabs implement a more unique creator marketing strategy. They organized a team of 100 micro-influencers in a Discord group, and gave them access to Tabs’ top performing videos to use as inspiration for their own content. Each creator made a new Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube account, and would post multiple pieces of content on each account daily.
Not only were the teams at Tabs and Legion Social happy with Social Snowball, but the creators were thrilled with how easy it was for them to track their referrals and payouts in their affiliate interface.
Nikolai Hauck, Cofounder of Legion Social, “within a month of implementing Social Snowball, Tabs saw a 17% increase of gross merchandise value at a 9.8x return on investment.”
Legion Social’s army of creators’ content amassed over 22M views in that first month.
Running a program of the scale Tabs Chocolate does has typically resulted in lost data and attribution, but this has no longer been an issue since they implemented Social Snowball.
Social Snowball is now a key piece of Tab’s tech stack. They are finally able to manage and track their complex influencer program structure with ease.
Influencer marketing should be a core revenue channel
Social Snowball is now a key piece of Tabs’ tech stack and Legion Social’s process to influencer marketing. They’re able to manage and scale the influencer marketing program with ease.