BostInno’s State of Innovation is a month-long feature on mobile, marketing, retail and e-commerce, and higher education innovation in Boston. #BSOI will include research reports, indexes, and more exclusive content for Channel members and the State of Innovation Forum on June 27th. Contact us to learn more

In tandem with BostInno’s upcoming State of Innovation series, we conducted a survey of consumers in Boston, finding that more than 30 percent of shoppers prefer interacting with brands on Facebook and Twitter. For retailers, though, how do those social media fans translate into sales?

With 1.7 million Facebook fans and 170,000 Twitter followers, it’s clear that Life is good is on to something. As one of the leading lifestyle brands in Boston, Life is good’s Head of Marketing, David Oksman, chatted with BostInno about how the company translates those likes and retweets into sales.

“It’s super simple,” says Oksman. It starts with the branding, he explains. Since its inception, Life is good has prided itself on being a lifestyle brand with a simple goal: to spread optimism. Sure, they sell t-shirts and hats, but it’s their mission to create more positive-thinking people that truly drive their brand.

“Social media is a super awesome way in which we can inspire people,” says Oksman. As such, Life is good posts content like graphics and quotes on social media hoping that their community members reflect on it. It’s a space for community members to engage and connect with others.

Oksman uses the example of a recent Life is good post with the quote: “Don’t be sad that’s it over, smile that it happened.”

“They share it and feel connected to Life is good,” explains Oksman. The post fosters the emotional connection, and the “selling really kind of takes care of itself.”

Life is good can track how “likes,” and social shares on a certain post relate directly back to sales, but Oksman iterates: “The point is not to do it for the sale, but to do it for the connection and engagement that it drives for our community.”

Consumers want human, authentic brands, explains Oksman, and he agrues that companies shouldn’t use tools like social media simply for commercialization.

“Brands need to focus on the opportunity to connect based on their purpose, not based on their products,” says Oksman. “It’s counter-intuitive.”

But it works.