Reader Spotlight: Ryan O'Connor & One Tribe Apparel

It is easy to forget sometimes that Website Magazine isn't just a popular print and digital publication on how to achieve greater levels of 'Net success - it's also a community of actual business professionals, ecommerce merchants, service providers, content marketers, designers, developers, bloggers, analysts and others. This is your Website Magazine.

Those that make up this community of 'Net professionals are dedicated to their company's success and seek out information at and our monthly print edition to do just that - but someone, you can learn even more by listening to your peers. In this edition of Website Magazine's new "Reader Spotlight" series, meet Ryan O'connor of OneTribeApparel, and learn more about what makes him and his company so unique!

+ Ecommerce is a competitive space; how does One Tribe Apparel differentiate itself?

We're still a small team so we need to pick our areas of focus and try to excel at them. There are so many marketing avenues available these days that we don't have the resources to participate in all of them. Our two primary marketing focuses are SEO and social media with our number one social channel being Instagram. After that Facebook ads are our primary source of paid traffic and we are just launching on Amazon for the summer season.

We're also fortunate to have a product line that lends itself to photo and videos so we're constantly having a stream of new photos come in from customers, influencers and collaborators and that allows us to produce lots of content. This year a big focus of ours is on more video content as the video's we have do really well on Facebook.

+ Walk us through your technology stack - what software system do you use and what do you like about it?

We host our store with Shopify, and I continue to be impressed with how well they do at staying ahead of the curve with ecommerce trends. For instance, instead of a live chat service we have Facebook messenger enabled for you to contact our team for customer service questions. Our biggest customer demographic is women 18-34 most of who have Facebook so it's a natural and intuitive way for them to communicate with us. You can also choose to have you order updates (shipped, tracking info, etc.) sent through Facebook messenger. We also use a lot of apps from the Shopify marketplace like a stoppable instagram feed from

Some other SAAS apps we use:

Email Marketing: Mailchimp
Team management: Mix between Google docs/calendar & trello
Affiliate marketing: refersion
Retargeting: shoelace 
File storage: dropbox (we have over 10,000 photo's at this point)
Outreach & PR: Ninja Outreach
Instagram schedulling:

+ Are there any other unique or special technologies in place to help One Tribe Apparel accomplish its revenue goals or objectives?

We don't have any custom software we've had built just for us. That being said, we're about to beta test a new Ecommerce CRM that has a lot of product database options I'm really looking forward to testing as we currently have all of our product info like SKU, ASIN, COGS, lead time, dimensions, MOQ, etc. in spreadsheets.

+ What search marketing challenges exist for an ecommerce store and what does an Internet retailer do to optimize its presence on a daily basis?

If you're a small independent retailer like we are then the biggest challenge is being able to beat the dominant players in the space for rankings like Amazon, Etsy, Polyvore and then more industry specific sites like Free People.

This comes down to carefully assessing the keywords you're choosing for your homepage and category pages and picking your battles wisely.

For daily search optimization, we check HARO (help a reporter out) and we have a big list of bloggers in relevant niches we go through to try and set up collaborations.

That being said, with ecommerce I look at search optimization over a longer time horizon. I review our keyword research and targeting 3 to 4 times a year and I have that scheduled out in advance. I also do keyword research for blog & content pieces that we build into our content calendar as well as for any potential new products.

For link building and PR our focus this year is to release 3-4 big pieces of content and then really push them to big media outlets as well as support them with paid traffic to increase the eyeballs and shares. 

We're doing that right now with our International Lookbook where we collaborated with members of our instagram community across 16 countries where they take photo's in beautiful locations and share the stories behind them.

+ You're doing some creative things with Instagram marketing - tell Website Magazine readers how that works? 

To be successful at Instagram you have to be 100 percent consistent in posting frequently with quality content but you also have to try new things. I can't stress enough how important patience is and pushing through as you will eventually have a breakthrough. We recently had our first post to receive nearly 10,000 likes. We had a right combination of a well edited photo, well chosen hashtags and early traction that ended up putting it into the Instagram discover section and helping us gain 3,500 new followers over the two days it was trending: 

The basic outline of our strategy is:

  • Post three times per day (we tried as much as five or seven but found that our engagement goes down)
  • Use hashtags as specific to the post as possible. For example, if a photo is taken in Thailand we'll make sure to have some travel and Thailand specific hashtags we include.
  • Work with 10-15 influencers per month where they post photos in our clothes and tag us.
  • Do two giveaways per month with other brands. These are straight forward where both brands post a giveaway photo and all people have to do to enter is to be following both accounts, tag two friends and leave a comment.
  • Encourage our customers to tag us in posts. Encourage other smaller accounts looking to grow to tag us in posts in exchange for us reposting and tagging them.
  • Reply to every single comment within 24 hours.