"We wanted to be thoughtful about how we could exponentially
increase our reach, so we partnered with an influencer in the teen
space," said Leslie Hall, president at Wet Seal's digital agency
Ms. Hughes, 16, manned the Wet Seal account during the weekend
before Christmas and created a Snapchat "story" documenting those
two days of her life. Unlike "snaps," which are sent from one user
to another, stories can be stitched together from multiple snaps
and broadcasted to a larger audience. They appear in the friends
list section of the app beside the handles of the people who posted
them. The snaps within them stay visible for 24 hours and can be
replayed as often as someone likes in that window.
She added upwards of 15 snaps to the story -- each of which
expired after 24 hours -- in the course of the weekend, including
scenes of making Christmas cookies, playing with her dog, a light
show and outfits of the day that incorporated Wet Seal pieces.
Her efforts resulted in 9,000 new followers and 6,000 views of
the story -- metrics which Snapchat provided, according to Ms.
Hall. She added that the company's partnerships team had provided
guidance on posting best practices and had secured the profile
name, WetSeal, for the brand.
Snapchat didn't respond to a request for comment on its
While 6,000 video views is hardly a big number for a national
retailer, Ms. Hall said that the exposure the content got relative
to the small number of followers the account had -- just 2,000 of
them when Ms. Hughes began her takeover -- was encouraging.
Ms. Hughes -- who also works with Clean & Clear -- said she
was surprised by the enthusiasm from her fan base, which she
describes as comprised largely of girls between 8 and 14 years old
who want to learn about makeup and fashion. She said she received
hundreds of snaps from them while she manned the Wet Seal account.
Though the volume was daunting at times, she responded as much as
she could with selfies that she scribbled the fan's name on.
"I don't really see my audiences unless I have a meetup or see
people outside at the mall or something," she said. "But being able
to open the Snapchats and see [fans] get so excited was so, so
Since Ms. Hughes's takeover ended, Wet Seal has been sending
snaps to its new followers, posting content like an image of two
girls wearing shorts and a maxi dress, but not on a daily
The brand has been trying to "lightly promote that we are on
Snapchat" via other social channels, according to Wet Seal's
VP-marketing and e-commerce Christine MacGregor.