6 Ways to Win on Instagram for your Brand

Instagram strategies

Instagram, a visual social platform, known for memes, gifs, and lifestyle-focused posts is where fashion industry pros live, collaborate, and grow relationships. It’s a place to build your brand from a visual standpoint, and allow your audience to see the story you want to tell.

There are many “tips and tricks” posts out there about using Instagram for your business. But we want to go beyond just “tips and tricks”, and instead delve a little deeper into strategy and tactics to show that…

True success is found through well thought-out planning, consistency, and dedicating time to make sure the channel grows for your brand and your business.

Here are 6 ways to grow your brand within instagram

Hashtags:  We all know that hashtags allow us to associate our Instagram posts with a category, an event, or a point of view. Using them is a great way to help your posts get found.

But how many of you are using them for search, discovery, and engagement? Hashtags can be used to your advantage to identify and connect with new customers, editors and other media, collaborators, and retailers. The thing here that you have to remember is that you need to take the offensive. Rather than just using hashtags in your posts and hoping you’ll be discovered by the people I listed above, you have to carve out the time to go find them yourself.

What are some ways to do that?

  • Search for your competitors, potential collaborators, complementary brands, and people who have already bought from you on Instagram and see what hashtags they’re using.
  • Make a list of the most commonly used hashtags (separate by industry hashtags and customer hashtags) in excel.
  • Search each hashtag and look at “Related” and add any relevant tags to your excel sheet.
  • Regularly search each hashtag, look at the posts under “Most Recent” and open them up. Start engaging with the people who are posting with these hashtags.

Posting Times: Keep in mind the posting times that appear to work best for your audience.

The goal is to test what does work by trying a few different days and times with a similar kind of post and then determining the ones that work the best. This way you aren’t wasting time on posts that aren’t going to reach your audience. However, keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily the case with partners or influencers you work with. Their posting times will vary against yours, and that is great. It means you’re reaching a wider net of people and hopefully gaining followers too.

Notifications: We all saw the “turn on notifications!” posts that lasted way too long across Instagram. While we tended to ignore these for the most part, I would suggest turning them on for a select few top people.

The goal with doing this is to be notified of a few things:

  • When top competitors post a picture, you can be notified to check it out and then observe who is commenting and liking, and how well their different posts are working for them. Take note of types of posts, times of posts, hashtags used, etc. You can start to do some great customer research this way too.
  • When your favorite editors or bloggers or podcasters post a new picture, you can be notified and then leave a thoughtful comment that helps to start building that relationship.
  • When top complementary brands or possible collaborators post, you can be notified and then leave a thoughtful comment that will be seen by the followers of that brand; hopefully they’ll click through to your profile and check you out too! Which would be great since you have the same customer.

Competitor’s Followers: This one is tricky and should definitely be approached with care. But checking out the followers of your competition, clicking through to their profiles, and engaging with them can be a great way to build your following. One big point I’d like to make here:

  • Do not just open up the list of followers and immediately follow all of them.  This is lazy and often a waste of time.  It’s certainly harmless but in terms of the time and energy that the brand/business is spending, it’s pointless.
  • Instead, take time to go through the lists of followers of your competitors, open them up, see if they seem like a desirable follower for your brand and start engaging — follow, or comment, or like a few of their photos.

Strategy and Tactics Take Time: This is something a lot of us don’t want to hear. Clearly, the strategies and tactics listed above are not something that you can do in five minutes time. They take a lot of time and patience. If you decide that Instagram is going to be your main social channel (as many fashion brands do), then it’s important that you take the time to really use it. If you’re simply posting your pics with some hashtags and occasionally commenting things like “nice!” or “love this!” on other people’s posts, then you don’t have an Instagram strategy. You have a social media hobby.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

6 Specific Ways You Can Promote Blog Posts to Get More Reach

promote blog posts

You have a dedicated blog for your brand and you are penning thoughtful blog posts on a weekly basis. But then what? How do you make sure that your audience is discovering the blog posts, reading them, and following through on your specific Call to Action?

There are 6 areas where your business can dedicate time as part of your distribution strategy for your blog. The main areas are the organic channels you can use within social, supplemented with some paid support, and last but not least, email.

And one thing to remember, social media doesn’t mean as much without great content, so your blog posts are amazing fodder for it. The key is to ensure that your posts and distribution are in line with one another. Some musts:

  • Using key visuals from the posts
  • Linking directly to the content
  • Making sure there is no teaser content that appears to be bait and switch

Be honest and authentic in your distribution and always a/b test where possible to make sure the content that is working the hardest is the one you spend your time (and money) on.

Facebook (and Facebook Paid) – Assuming your brand uses Facebook to distribute overall brand content, it is a great place to promote your blog posts. Although the channel has become more of a media channel where paid media is necessary nowadays to get more eyeballs on your brand’s content, it is a cost efficient place to spend media dollars. You can a/b test different ads and see which ones work for which target audiences. In addition you can dedicate certain dollars to different audiences in case you have more than one.

Twitter – A place where customers typically go to get news and articles (in real or near time), it is a great way to distribute content related to cultural awareness and topical conversations already occurring in the space through relevant hashtags to your blog post.

Pinterest – A channel known for great referral traffic, your blog posts can go further as long as you supplement them with great visuals to use on the channel. Typically it’s good to use vertical visuals, that really pop in color. In addition, ensure that you link to the blog post that it’s referring to directly, and add the appropriate tags (not hashtags) that will allow people to find it within search. i.e. Make sure you are using regular people speak for the description and tags so it will be found easier.

Instagram – Supplement your blog content with short, succinct, quick digestible content for Instagram. This can be a teaser or in addition to to your blog post. And when people want to learn or read more, make sure the direct link is in the bio for them to click on since Instagram still does not allow links to be clickable within the post.

Paid Search – Like Facebook Ads, paid search opportunities on Google will allow you to drive more traffic to your blog posts. You can use keywords that people already are searching for to drive your paid ads in front of the right audience. It’s typical and suggested to a/b test ads on Google and put more money behind the ones that are working better for your content (i.e. driving click throughs).

Email – Your email is a great place to distribute your blog posts because it allows your brand to directly message people versus hoping they’ll discover it. The key thing here is to test your subject lines, and ensure the most prominent content you want your reader to engage in, can be found at the top and they don’t have to get to it.

Nowadays with the likes of Gmail, most people can preview email content without even opening the actual email. So your subject line, first few lines of your email, and headers have to work extra hard. This doesn’t mean dumping everything at the top, but it does mean placing proper keywords and content that your reader will want is prominent and entices them to open it further.

In addition, remember that not everyone turns visuals on in their email when they’re viewing the email. So, be sure that you have Alt text for your visuals and that you aren’t relying solely on them to do your heavy lifting for consumer interest and conversion. They should be great visuals, but a supplement to your content.

Lastly, it needs to be something they can skim – and skim quickly to get to the parts they care about. So keep it short, succinct, and lead them to the blog post to read more.

And when you’re considering your distribution strategy remember that your customer is interested in your brand and wants content that is valuable to them. Distribute it where they are and where they hope to consume it.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

What to Put on the “About” Pages of Your Website and Social Media Platforms

your about page fashion brand

The About pages of your social channels and website are important. They allow your community the ability to quickly understand what your brand is, what it stands for, and simply put – why they should care. The About page of your website will be more in-depth; a place where you can refer people from social to learn more, as you’ll have less space in social and need to be more succinct and captivating.

Your Website

Your website is where your brand can be as short or as long as you want in order to tell your story. The key here is to remember that while it’s your About page, it’s really meant to convey how your brand can help your potential customer. So when you are writing “about” your brand, make sure that you are not beating around the bush. Start with a strong statement that represents your brand while also making a connection with your customer.

Once you make a connection with your reader, and make them feel as if they are understood and in the right place, then proceed into your story. Your story should have a short summary and then flow into the details; they can read these if they’re interested in learning more.

Allow your reader to choose what they want to learn about with easy sections to navigate. Bold type, sub-headers, and bullet points are all great tools for this.

Finally, make sure there’s a call to action in your About page. What do you want them to do after they read it? If you have a particular campaign or product release you can direct them there. Or maybe you want them to sign up for emails or follow you on social media?  What ever it is, make sure they can navigate to that with ease.

Some tips on content:

  • Tell your story: Allow people to see who your brand is through some creative and inspiring storytelling. Show how your brand came into being, why your product/service was the one you chose, and why it’s so exceptional. Show its unique characteristics, and even get into the details of how your product was formed. Allow people to see your journey, and feel like they could be apart of it.
  • Be human / have a personality: Don’t just speak in industry jargon that the reader may not understand. Be human and personable and use everyday speak to tell your story.
  • Be visual: Use pictures and video to tell a more captivating story. For example, consider graphics to show how your product was made. Use a video to give a tour of your office or factory.
  • Allow people to connect: Give people different opportunities to connect with your brand. Use email to send direct messaging, provide links to your most prominent social channels, and provide easy ways for them to contact you directly in case they have questions or want to learn more (i.e. email address, physical address, phone number).
  • Be memorable: It isn’t easy to be memorable, but using unique ways to demonstrate your “about us” page can allow your brand to stand out a bit more. For example if you use fun marketing content types such as gifs, short video, and or interactive ways for the reader to navigate your content based on their interests.

Facebook

Since Facebook has a longer About section than any other social channel, it’s a good opportunity to leverage it. Use the short description to be pithy and to the point, and the longer description (in case your follower want to read more) to explain a little more about the brand. Consider it the cliff notes to your website About page.

  • Consistent look and feel: Make sure your social channels have a consistent look and feel to your website.
  • Share your story: Share a story that will relate to your community on Facebook and what they will care about.
  • Allow it to be personable: Considering it’s social, you want your brand to be more human and less like a robot (always, but especially here). Allow your brand to speak as if you were talking to your community through a comment or a post.
  • Link back: Link back to your website so they can dig in more, and/or purchase. Use the multiple link sections in order to link back to specific areas of your website and other social channels.

Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest

Since these social channels have very little real estate for your About content, make sure you have a short one liner that will communicate what your brand is about and why the visitor should care (and therefore follow).

  • Be captivating: Be alluring with your short description. Say something that makes them go “Yep!” The goal is to make the visitor feel completely understood and want to be part of a community.
  • Use your #: If you have a brand or campaign hashtag, place it in the bio for more awareness.
  • Call to Action: Make sure to use words that relate to the link below like “Join us”, “Sign Up”, “Shop Now”, etc.
  • Link back: Link back to your website so people can learn more (or directly to your latest campaign, blog post, or opportunity to purchase).

In the end, the main takeaways are to be personable and tell a story. The About page isn’t supposed to be a doctor’s manual. It’s meant to be another way to reach your audience and show them why they should choose your brand to follow, engage with, and in the end, purchase from.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

3 Ways to Use Google Analytics to Grow Your Fashion Business

google analytics fashion business

Google Analytics, a free tool through Google, is one of the best resources for brands when it comes to uncovering trends, data, and insights about the consumers who are coming to your website in order to improve and grow your business.

According to Orbit Media, the terms you need to know in order to get started and understanding your dashboard and use it frequently are the following:

  • Users: These are people who have visited at least once within your selected date range, and includes both new and returning visitors.
  • Dimensions: These are descriptive characteristics of an object. For example, browser, exit page, and session duration are all considered dimensions.
  • Metrics: These are individual statistics of a dimension, such as Average Session Duration or Screenviews.
  • Bounce Rate: This is the percentage of single-page visits, meaning that someone left your site from the same page at which they entered; aka, they didn’t interact with your site.
  • Sessions: A session is the period of time that a user is actively engaged with your website.

When it comes to growing your business there are three areas you want to focus on:

  • Traffic Sources – Where they’re coming from.
  • Audience Profile and Demographics – Your visitor information.
  • Behavior on Site – What they’re doing when they get to you.

Traffic Sources

You want to look at your traffic sources to see where your audience is coming from and what sources are working the hardest for you. Let’s take a look at what types of sources may occur and why they’re each relevant to pay attention to:

  • Direct: Visitors that came directly to your website by typing in your site URL. This means your awareness is pretty good and people are wanting to discover or learn more about what your brand has to offer. That is a great thing. If this is lower on the list, then it means your awareness still needs some work, which as a startup is not a shocker. Getting direct traffic is never easy, and is something to strive for, but not be worried about at the start.
  • Organic Search: These results are free and amazing. An organic search visitor is someone who is searching for you or something/someone like your brand. They are interested in your product or service and either want to learn more or purchase. If they find you through organic search, it means your SEO strategy is working well. If this % is lower on the list, it’s an indicator that you should work on your keyword strategy and what could help drive your SEO up against your competition.
  • Paid Search: People who found you through your Adwords campaigns, which is good too. It means your paid search strategy is working. Again if this was lower on the list, then either your budget is low (no problem, you can work on that), or you need to reconsider your bid strategy on the keywords you’ve chosen.
  • Referral: Referral traffic is a great source because it means that other sites are linking to yours and creating more traffic for you. It may behoove you to give them a high-five back and link back to them if it’s appropriate. This could also mean that your syndication strategy is working well across blogs and websites.
  • Social: This section used to be within referral traffic but now broken out to give you a clearer picture to see which social channel are working hardest for you and driving the most links back to your site. It gives you the opportunity to see what channels need to work harder, and which ones you may want to invest more in.
  • Email: The visitors that came from your email campaigns; like social it allows you to see how hard your strategy is working in this channel and if it needs some optimization.

Audience Profile and Demographics

The audience section allows your brand to dig into insights of your website visitors and see a little more about who they are and if it fits who you thought your target consumer was/is. It allows you to dig into:

  • Gender – understanding if there’s a balance or if your brand skews in a particular direction
  • Age – understanding the mindset by age/life-stage
  • Location – understanding where your audiences are coming from
  • Browsers – understanding where to test your content (always)
  • Mobile devices – understanding how your content is being viewed

Knowing this data allows you to tailor your content a little better, and understand which audience is actually consuming it versus not. For example if your audience is predominantly female, you may want to ensure you don’t start creating content that will scare them away. If your audience is younger (millennial), you don’t want to suddenly start putting out content that will not be of interest to them. Not only does this help with the content you create, but it helps with the messaging of the content. You may use more casual tones with younger audiences (assuming it fits your brand tone and voice that you’ve established). In the end it’s always a balance of your business goals, brand voice, and consumer interests.

Behavior on Site

The visitors’ behaviors on your site will help indicate what content on your site is actually working. You can see:

  • What pages people spend time on – to see if where you are driving them is working, or if there are other pages you should be focusing on more (i.e. certain products, particular blog content, etc)
  • Look to see the flow on your site – how do people travel from page to page, where do they seem to go naturally (or get stuck)
  • Where’s the drop off? There is probably a particular place people automatically bounce from or get stuck and leave. See if there’s a way you can route them back around (so they don’t leave) to where you want them to be, or to content that seems to be working well for your brand.

Your Homework: Go play around on Google Analytics and see what it means for your brand.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

BECAUSE LIVE STREAMING CONTENT STILL NEEDS PLANNING

Today, live streaming has taken a new identity. Multiple identities in fact. From Meerkat (sorry buddy), to Periscope (from Twitter) to Facebook Live to YouTube Live (and many other players we just can’t remember the names of), live stream has become a necessity for digital marketers today. It’s not a tool we are considering, it’s a tool we have to consider as marketers. Especially, if your audience includes the millennial audience, you are already behind if you are not live streaming your content.

So how do you start if you haven’t already? How do you optimize if you are already checking it out?

You need a plan.

As with any digital marketing channel, you have to approach it with a strategy and content plan. You need your content to align with your overall marketing content, but you need to align the content for live stream to that particular channel. You can’t have it recycled to this channel. Sorry kids, that won’t work. It’s a whole new beast. Plus, you can’t edit as you go. It’s live.

Instead strategize the following:

  1. What’s your purpose for being on live stream? Does it work for your brand?
  2. What’s the story you want to tell? Is it about a product? An experience?
  3. What is the end result? What do you want your audience to takeaway?
  4. What is success? How will you measure that?

If the above calculates and makes sense to move forward, plan your content and time how you will execute (and who):

  1. Who’s the cameraman?
  2. Will someone speak or will it be based on the environment?
  3. What’s the script? You need a rough idea if there is someone speaking.
  4. Storyboard the shots.
  5. How long will the videos be? How many do you need to tell the story?
  6. How often will you shoot?

Distribution:

  1. How will you audience know you’re there and how to discover your brand?
  2. Help them find you – promote it. And promote some more. The worst thing you can do is spend time creating cool videos and then no one seeing it.
  3. Ask your fans to share. Why not?

Lastly, see if it works. Pick a measurement plan and test plan to see if your brand is going to be successful at live streaming or not. Sometimes it’s the content you choose that you need to test and not the live streaming part. So test different types, different cadences, and different tune in times. And of course, allow your fans to take part.

This post was originally written for Social Media Club. 

How to Use Promoted Pins on Pinterest to Grow Your Fashion Business

 

promoted pins

Promoted pins opened up to the masses over the past year, which is huge for smaller businesses and startups, and allows brands to reach more of their potential customers through this ultra visual social platform.

What are promoted pins?

Promoted Pins are a paid advertisement opportunity for your brand to choose your best pins to appear in the most relevant places within Pinterest with selected targeting to drive awareness, engagement, or traffic to your website.

Why it works:

The Pins appear natively within Pinterest so it allows consumers to engage with your content as if it were a part of their regular Pinterest experience. It is not interrupting their feed or visual exploration and discovery of pins they are excited to check out.

How to choose your pins:

Remember why people are on Pinterest. They are there to discover and plan. Those are the native behaviors of Pinterest users on a daily basis between fashion, fitness, food, weddings, vacation, so on and so forth. They want to be inspired. They want to discover. And they want to plan their own lives through those ideas.

In addition, because there is so much content on pinterest, especially within the fashion sphere, it is important to be consistent and have regular weekly content. When you see which one of your weekly content is performing well, you can decide which of those pins to promote.

Case Study by Pinterest on MVMT Watches

MVMT Watches started using Pinterest as a way to connect with women. When they saw higher-than-expected engagement, they ramped up their strategy.

The watch company adds Pins of products as well as lifestyle photography, though high quality, close-up shots of watches perform the best.

“A lot of people that come for Pinterest are in discovery mode, looking for products to purchase for themselves or others,” said Jake Kassan, CEO. “Pinterest is different from other channels but when done correctly, it can have huge results.”

MVMT Watches promoted their Pins and saw higher average order values and conversion rates from visitors referred to their site from Pinterest. In fact, Pinners convert at a rate 2X higher than users from other channels.

Targeting:

You can target based on gender, location, and devices. Targeting allows you to reach more people who fit your brand based upon your target audience. It helps if you have a certain offer you want to serve to a particular location so you can zero in. Or if you only care to reach people on the go, perhaps you want to reach people on their smartphones versus desktop. These are things to consider as you decide on your promoted pin strategy.

Keywords:

When it comes to keywords be sure you choose strategically. You can choose and up to 150 keywords – so you definitely want to do your research. Check your keywords using Google Adwords Keyword Plannerunless you have another tool you prefer. Also, be sure to check the keywords within Pinterest, as Pinterest search can be different than on Google. People typically search on Pinterest the same way that they speak, so you want to write descriptions in plain language as much as possible.

Try answering these questions like:

  • What is it?
  • Where is it?
  • Why is it interesting?
  • Why should the reader keep clicking through your brand’s board?

Also remember to write text that will travel well, as your boards and pins will be re-pinned and shared out. Make sure your captions make sense out of context of the Pinterest channel, so that when they’re re-pinned and shared, people won’t be confused by content that’s specific to your brand or your brand’s board.

Purpose of the Pin:

Lastly, but definitely not last in your strategy – you need to consider the purpose of your promoted pin. Is it to gain awareness, engagement, or drive traffic to your website? Knowing the purpose can help you determine the message of your pin, how much money to put behind it, the targeting, and how to measure success.

  • Create awareness for your brand by using a channel full of people wanting to discover.
  • Create engagement for your brand content and particular campaigns by allowing people to interact with certain aspects of your campaign. For example you would pay for a closeup, repin or click, not a view. You can then make each piece of that engagement interactive and allow your audience to get more out of each piece of that content.
  • Create more traffic to your website by allowing people to get more of the story on your site.

Great examples according to Pinterest, of this include:

  • Adore Me increased Pinterest-referred revenue by 4000%
  • Zola increased conversions by 44% and clickthrough rates by 50%
  • Dot & Bo quadrupled the number of people visiting their website, increased repins by 6000% and boosted daily clicks to their site by a whopping 18000%
  • Living Royal saw a 31% decrease in cost per acquisition (CPA) and a 6x increase in traffic within the first month of paid promotion on Pinterest
  • MVMT Watches found Pinners convert at a rate 2X higher than users on other platforms—and with higher average order values

My overall advice: A/B test to see which pins work best.

Test different imagery and copy. After a few tests you’ll start to see a pattern and learn which ones work best for your audience on Pinterest and you can invest more with that specific type of content going forward.

Another thing to keep in mind is the longevity of content on Pinterest. Once your content is on Pinterest, people will re-pin it over and over. It will live across the channel for much longer than your original campaign, so your content needs legs. Will it make sense later? Food for thought.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Facebook Reactions Made Social Media a Little More Emotional

facebook emotional reactions

Last month Facebook released Facebook Reactions. These are additions to the “like” button, allowing consumers to have additional emotional reactions to posts without having to actually comment. The choices range from happy to angry to sad to wow, with 6 in total.

The cool thing is, “when a user thumbs over each of the emoji, they animate like tiny GIFs. For “wow,” the yellow face tilts upwards, its mouth agape. For “haha,” a squinty-eyed emoji tilts its head back in a fit of laughter.” (via Wired)

As of right now, this can only occur on the original post, and not within the comments thread.

But what do the new Facebook reactions mean for brands?

You Can See Some Stats
Right now your only option is to go through Facebook and the native Insights Dashboard and dive into each post detail to see what reactions are occurring for your brand.

Advertising is Weighed the Same
For the short term, Facebook will treat each of the reactions as an equal sentiment to the “like” button. It will allow Facebook to see when users may want to see additional content similar to what they are reacting to.

However, as Facebook’s algorithm becomes smarter and distinguishes between the reactions, the content that is served up to the user will differentiate based upon the reactions and how the user appears to feel.

Illicit a Positive Reaction with a Contest/Giveaway
Brands can do more now. There are some brands like Chevy taking advantage and asking their followers to “show the love.” It can be risky, or it can be bold. Perhaps both.

There are some brands incentivizing their users to show positive reactions in order to win a contest or sweepstakes.

Although it may seem like your brand should try to figure out a way to evoke a positive reaction from each post at all times, it also makes sense (and is more authentic and real) to allow the user to have a real response; allow them to make up their mind.

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

Why tumblr Still Reigns with Millennials and Fashion Brands Today

tumblr fashion brands

tumblr, the microblogging platform that a lot of brands use to market themselves, has evolved over the years. And luckily, it has not gone downhill despite its acquisition by Yahoo.

Over the last year or so tumblr has remained a budding platform for niche audiences, especially in the millennial sphere, lending itself to more visual media, especially gifs, short video, and beautiful photography.

Here  are three reasons why the platform has continued to stay prominent within its audience set:

  • The audience still runs the content – The audience on this platform (although younger), is excited to be there. They’re excited by the content, some of which they create themselves, and some of which they curate. They’re reblogging, sharing, and keeping it within this channel.  It’s a place where people get creative, show a unique side, and get extremely visual.
  • Content can live on – The content doesn’t disappear within seconds as it does on Twitter. Similar to Instagram, but more so, you can re-blog a post months later. A piece of content can live on for days, weeks, months, or even the following year. It’s a platform where content doesn’t go stale, if it’s still cool and relevant. It doesn’t matter if it was from a month ago or an hour ago, the audience can find new things that they wouldn’t necessarily find elsewhere – kind of like Reddit in that way.
  • Brands that stand out, understand the medium – And the brands who really make it in this space are those that take to the channel. Those that aren’t just recycling content from other social media spaces, but are truly making content for tumblr. Looking at brands like Converse – who uses animation to set their sneakers apart – tumblr is a place for them to show another side to their product. A creative window into the product, the brand, the story behind it, and the audience who is so obsessed with the brand already.

The key takeaway here is that tumblr may be quiet at times, but it’s still a hub of activity. It’s a place that creative and artistic things happen, and brands, especially retail and product brands, have a place to stand out.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

So You’re Saying There’s Another Live Streaming App?

live streaming app

Facebook has entered the livestream game with Live, and are we surprised? No. Does it matter? Definitely. We’ve written about it before – when Periscope entered. It mattered then, because Periscope, brought to you by Twitter, made Livestreaming simple and and easy. It brought it to the masses, although Snapchathas been playing in this space, for a while too.

The reason we keep caring about the new guys, is because they’re making live streaming more powerful. These apps are being brought to you by the powerful names you already know and the technology behind them is a big deal.

Periscope is backed by Twitter, Snapchat is backed by a huge audience, and Live, is now brought to you by Facebook.

And Facebook as you know – has everyone, along with everyone’s mom, dad, grandma, and neighbor on it. Brands want to be everywhere their audience is, and Facebook basically has the monopoly on that. So when Live was released, we had to see what it’s all about.

Here’s what you need to know about Facebook Live:

Ease of Use

  • All within the Facebook App. For audience members who don’t want to download a new app, this may be helpful.
  • You can broadcast it, save it, and share it directly to your feed.
  • You can subscribe to your friends and people/brands you are fans of and be notified when they broadcast.

Ability to Save/Replay

  • This is great for more views over time
  • Allows for more content in your arsenal

And the big differentiation – who will see it

According to Techcrunch:

Facebook’s filtered feed might be worse for real-time breaking news streams, and the re-sharing isn’t a big thing there. But if a stream gets lots of viewers and feedback, Facebook can automatically push it higher in the feed so it’s more visible. Basically, Twitter relies on explicit amplification by viewers while Facebook’s algorithm chooses who sees what stream.

The key takeaway here, is that it depends on where your audience is.

Some brands have a larger audience on Twitter, while others rely more on their Facebook community, while others are still building both, and it may help to try Periscope and Facebook Live and see which works.

My advice, try both and test to see which one is best for your brand. When you’re a startup you’re nimble and have the ability to test quick, learn fast, and move forward with what works (and drop what doesn’t).

And it doesn’t hurt to see what your competitors are doing. If one seems to be working better for them, perhaps you should be there too – just be sure to find a way to tell your story differently.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Checklist: How to Plan Your Video Content Creation

video content creation checklist

In the past we’ve talked about the value of video content for your brand, and how it’s important to addvideo content to your social strategy, but when it comes down to the actual video content, it’s not simply a point and shoot situation.

It takes time to plan your video content and produce something of actual value and so when you distribute it, your audience will be excited to engage with it.

Step One: The Big Picture

  1. Will this be a one-off video or a series of videos?
  2. What is the direction of the video: interview, how-to, documentary-style?
  3. Is it long form or short form?
  4. What is your budget for the video production and editing?
  5. Do you have all the proper paperwork and rights for distribution?

Step Two: The Content Strategy

  1. Will the video be connected to a larger campaign such as an event or a launch?
  2. What will be the overall theme of the video?
  3. What are you trying to communicate?
  4. What is the takeaway for the audience? What do you want them to do or feel or think after watching it?
  5. How many formats will you need?
  6. Where will it be distributed? How will you get it out there?

Step Three: The Story

  1. Have you written a script for your video?
  2. Have you created a storyboard for it?
  3. Have you cast the people for the video?
  4. Have you found a location for it?
  5. Have you created an “alternatives” plan for location and cast?
  6. How many different ways can you shoot the video to keep it interesting?

Step Four: The Shoot

  1. Can you take photos and social video of behind the scenes while you’re there? (i.e. periscope with your iPhone while you’re shooting).
  2. Can you re-use the same location and cast a few times? (i.e. make the most of it?)
  3. Can you shoot extra footage? Having more is better than not enough (you can always edit later).
  4. Do you need to shoot something again? Don’t be afraid to do this, it’s your brand.

Step Five: The Editing

  1. Have you watched the B roll for extra content?
  2. Can you edit some extra formats? (i.e. short form clips for social posting)
  3. Are you there with the editor during this process? This is how the story can unfold, so be there to help.

Step Six: The Distribution

  1. Is everyone who said they would distribute playing their role? You’ve put time and money into this video so don’t be afraid to follow up and confirm their help.
  2. Do you have a social media distribute calendar ready? Make sure to post your video more than once on certain channels (i.e. Twitter, Instagram), as not everyone will see it the first time around.
  3. Can you let people see the full picture? (before, during, after)

Step Seven: The Afterwards

  1. Have you learned anything from this process?
  2. What worked well and what didn’t?
  3. What would you do differently in terms of the team, the story, the editing, or the distribution?

And something to keep in mind during the entire process is to be mindful of opportunities to extend the budget, especially when you’re on set. For example shooting extra shots such as B roll and taking photos will be worth it when you can extend that content later.

This post was originally published on Startup Fashion. 

New Social Media Platform Called Peach for Your Fashion Brand

peach social media platform

Peach, a new social media platform by the founder of Vine, is being described as simple, GIF oriented, and a cross between Twitter, tumblr, and Slack according to the likes of Venturebeat and Mashable. 

For consumers it’s a social network where they can say very little, and do more with actions through their phone.

Current conversations between users include GIFs, drawings, emoticons, emoticon actions, and more.

What’s the appeal of Peach?

Right now it’s new and shiny, and simple. You can express how you feel easily and visually. It’s another way to interact with your friends outside of text, but similar to it, so it’s close enough to normal behavior that’s it’s  easy to adopt quickly.

Will it catch on like Snapchat did? Will it be a whole other beast? It’s hard to tell as it was just released but within a couple of months we’ll have a better idea.

The lessons so far are this…

When it comes to content, there are two trends with consumers:

  1. Quick, simple and visual – for those on the go, who want to consume what they want right away, share it if they like it, and move on. So for startups and fashion brands, this content is that of instagram, Pinterest, Periscope, and Snapchat. Allowing the consumer to get a quick story, an invite to an event, a view into a product line, or a quick peek at something coming up. And being able to like it, share it, and move on quickly is what they’re loving.
  2. Smart, insightful, and potentially more longer form – for those who want more information and want to learn more from their content. This is for when people have a little more time on their hands, such as a longer commute, an evening on their couch. For your brand this is great for blog posts, a youtube video, and launch content. This allows for a consumer to really dig into what the brand is about, a new campaign, a full look into a product line, or a recap of an event that they may have missed. And perhaps then signing up for the next one.

And now we wait to see what happens with Peach.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

4 Ways for Improving Marketing for Your Fashion Brand in the New Year

fashion brand improve marketing

It’s that time of year again. We look back, and we evaluate our marketing KPIs and ROI. Did our campaigns work? Was our strategy successful? Did we move the needle with our tests? The answers to these questions will help us with determining…

What marketing efforts will you continue with in the new year? What will you leave behind?

As you work to plan your marketing for the new year, you need to first start by asking yourself:

  • What are my business priorities this year?
  • What have I learned about my business and m costumer in the past year?
  • What is my budget for this year?

Once you have these things in mind..

Set KPIs that matter for your brand. And that are realistic.

For example if your brand is focusing on video content, consider video views has a priority. If what your brand really needs is for people to go to the site to interact with content, then consider referral traffic and time on site. In the end, every brand needs conversion, but other measurements sometimes need to come first – i.e. awareness that your brand is out there. In regards to awareness, consider social traction such as likes, comments, shares, and follows.

Set budgets that will help you fulfill your goals.

Budgets can be tough to work with if you don’t have a lot, but it doesn’t mean you can’t find workarounds and tests…even new ones. Do your best to buffer your budget so you have a little extra later in the year for a new test, as well as adding more to something that is doing very well. For example if you invested in creating new content and need more visuals for your product showcase, consider using the extra money for great high res photos and videos to promote it further.

Be nimble with your efforts.

Try things, work fast, test quickly, learn, and adapt and modify on the fly. That’s the best part of using channels like social media. It allows you to see what content is working, what media posts are helping to boost your content, and of course which channels are actually reaching your audience on the levels you need. It allows you to determine within weeks or even days what you should invest more in, versus dump and move on.

Invest in your content.

Time has flown when it comes to social media and the channels that work. We’ve adapted to the snapchats and periscopes of the world, but we also realize that without great content, the channels don’t mean as much. We need content that will resonate and connect with our audiences, before we can even think through partners and distribution.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

FIVE THINGS 2015 TAUGHT US ABOUT DIGITAL MARKETING

Digital marketing changes quickly. We’ve known that forever. But lately, it’s changing even more quickly. Our current social media channels are evolving everyday. New competitors are rising through the wood works even faster, but what does that mean? What should our brands care about? What should we takeaway from 2015?

There are five areas, which will impact brands the most. They are based upon the content we create, the ways we disseminate the content, how we amplify it, and the money we are able to put towards it.

CONTENT IS THE WAY

Without great content, not much else matters. The content our brands create must be agnostic of channel and device. It needs to be able to travel the web when being shared, promoted, and shared again. People need to be able to interact with the piece of content on whatever channel they choose and prefer.

SOCIAL IS A BEHAVIOR

Many consider social media a channel, but social has become a behavior. It’s a way of living. We, as consumers, consume content in an instant. We purchase through mobile while we are commuting. We swipe left before we have a chance to engage because we make our decisions in an instant. In turn brands need to be able to grab our attention faster, and keep it before we swipe away. We share when it’s entertaining or informative. We care about what’s shared, because it’s a perception of our personal brand. We wouldn’t share something that’s uncool or boring. As brands, we need to be in tune to these behaviors.

AMPLIFYING ACROSS WEB IS A MUST

Brand have to realize that it’s valuable and important to promote across the web today. Gone are the days of focusing on channel by channel, because as discussed content needs to live everywhere. When a consumer shares a video from YouTube, it can go from Facebook to Twitter to email to Apple TV. Brands must optimize and promote across the web and across devices.

VIDEO IS CLUTCH

With streaming video, video that disappears in seconds or hours, and Facebook profile pictures being able to be videos instead of just pictures, video is not just a choice. First it was visual, now it’s more than that. Consumers want to capture stories and experience things. It’s not about a product, it’s about the experience around it. It’s the brand story and what it stands for. And video is one way a brand can help do that.

HAVE A BUDGET

And the most important. Ensure your marketing team has a budget they can actually work with. Unfortunately, some brands give their marketing teams a little budget as an afterthought. This is no longer enough in order to grow awareness and engagement from a brand marketing standpoint. Without this, your content, your plans, won’t be able to reach their true potential. As you put together your 2016 plans, and you think where you want your brand to be, determine the amount of budget you’ll need to get there, and put an extra amount in (trust me, you’ll end up using it).

And now, let’s make it even bigger in 2016.

This post was originally written for Social Media Club. 

The Five Social Media Channels to Keep an Eye on in 2016

social media channels

As marketers of our own brands, we know that there is generally a new shiny social media channel around every corner. But that doesn’t mean that our tried and true social media channels will disappear. What it does mean is that these channels have to stay on top of their game and ensure that they offer what brands and people want today and tomorrow.

Facebook

Because it is a media maven. This channel allows brands to target in a way that most other channels cannot yet. It’s because people give so much personal data to Facebook, and therefore Facebook can share this information with brands; you get to know more about your target than you expected to know.

In addition, with the rush of live streaming apps, Facebook is entering that game too. Their current streaming app is in beta, but by early 2016, people, and hopefully brands, will have their hands on it. Why does this matter? Just look at how many people already use Facebook. And with all the targeting, it’s even more intriguing to brands.

Instagram

Owned by Facebook, and with the opening of its ad services, Instagram is becoming another hot bed for brands. In addition (like Facebook) Instagram has a habit of releasing apps that can be integrated with its main app – such as the recent Boomerang (GIF maker).

Periscope

The app that is used by many consumer brands for live event streaming. From media brands  to fashion brands to publishers, this popular app is owned by Twitter and isn’t going anywhere soon.

Snapchat

Through its discovery network, Snapchat has made itself known to brands as more than just another app used by teenagers and millennials. It’s an app that allows brands to reach an audience who is hungry for exclusive cool stuff.

YouTube

Just because there are a ton of other video apps out there now, doesn’t mean that YouTube has lost its cred. It is still the #2 search engine on the internet. That says something. From famous YouTubers to thoughtful brand content, YouTube still has a lot to offer brands, especially through its partner and influencer networks.

What new apps will come out in addition to these? I guess we’ll have to see.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

How to Use Event Coverage to Create a Library of Social Content

event coverage

We all know how important it is to create a library of social content for our brands. But we’re often left feeling like we’re scrambling to find or create that content. We know owned content is best, so we’re always trying to create some good stuff to share.

One place to look to for creating a lot of social content for your fashion brand is events.

Having a photo shoot? A video shoot? Attending a trunk show or social event? Whether it’s for a product release launch, a party, or a campaign, you can use these happenings to create a collection of content that can be posted, reworked, and dripped across your various social media channels.

There’s just one thing to remember, you need to plan assets in advance. The content you capture will end being used within multiple channels and different objectives/purposes for your brand’s marketing goals.

The channels that matter for style brands and visual content especially for event footage include: Blog, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Periscope, among others. Each channel has a different purpose for your content, and in turn, will need different types of shots and formats. For example, you may consider the following for content timing:

  • Teaser content: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook
  • Live: Periscope, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat
  • Recaps: Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube

And the following for content formats:

  • Photos – posed and candid of attendees, product shots, influencers, and background
  • Video – short and long form
  • social video – 20 seconds or less
  • sound bites – interviews

Your brand may have hired a content producer (photographer/videographer) unless you have an internal resource. Alternatively you may have a partner brand/collaborator who has the resources for you both to use. The key is to prep them. And not just high level, but details of the types of shots you want. Write it down and include visual examples and followup by ensuring you explain it in person. Have them come early so you can chat before the event. Make sure you include:

  • Brand characteristics
  • voice/tone
  • look and feel
  • types of shots/video (i.e. product, people, scenery)
  • items you must capture
  • different angles you may want
  • where the shots will be used (ex. social / ad)
  • examples of previous shots to demonstrate brand
  • examples of shots that don’t work

Think about the content you’re capturing in terms of event coverage that you’ll be sharing in real time and soon after, but also in terms of social content for future use. Things like patterns on fabrics and stylish shoes worn by guests can be visually beautiful evergreen content to add to your library.

And if you have an event partner – make sure you capture some of their stuff too. Showing some social love is always good karma.

At one of my photo shoots for a client, we planned out a presentation of shots we wanted, didn’t want, extra shots (if we can get it), and used multiple types of technology. For example, although we had a professional photographer/videographer taking the pro shots, we also used an iPhone. We got behind the camera and shared some real time footage during the shoot. Teased the content to the audience. Gave them something to look forward to. Yes, the shot wasn’t as great as with a Canon or Nikon, but it was content that could be shared right then and there. And sometimes, that matters just as much.

In the end, it’s better to have more than not enough content. The goal is to have content to share immediately, content to share soon after, and content to add to your library for future use.  Your audience will note the quality and way you told your event story. They’ll appreciate seeing what they may want to attend next time.

Plan it. Capture it. Share it.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

5 Ways Owned Content Helps Your Fashion Brand

owned content

Content, nowadays, can come from a multitude of sources, which is pretty great as a content marketer (something you are as a fashion brand owner).You don’t have to rely only on your owned content. You can curate, co-create, and outsource third party content. With that said, if you want to have authenticity, build relationships, and create value through for your brand, you have to create some of your own content too.

Whether that’s sarcasm and wit, dramatized views, bold sensibility, creative avenues, dark and twisty, conservative and serious, or just plain playful. Your brand needs owned content.

With it, your market can be reached in creative ways.

You have the flexibility to get content out quicker if you are the one creating it. You aren’t dependent on another source and going back and forth on cuts and edits.

It’s yours and as the saying goes, it allows you to “get shit done.”

Owned content helps your brand because:

  • You can use it for as long as you want, and wherever you want. You don’t have a temporary license of rights to only use the photo or video for a certain amount of time or only with certain context. It’s yours – do as you wish.
  • It allows your brand voice to shine through (assuming you’ve set your brand voice/tone and content strategy for how you’ll approach creating and distributing content).
  • It provides variety. You can take an event your brand is having and create multiple varieties of content from it including short social video, long form video, photos, interviews, soundbites, and more.
  • It creates authenticity. Your brand is not just taking other people’s content and re-distributing. It’s taking the time to show your community what your brand stands for. A creative or unique side to your brand.
  • It offers an opportunity to engage. Consumers have a chance to learn and discover more about your brand.

Although owned content takes more time and resources, in the end, it’s more valuable. It’s yours. It’s authentic. It’s something your community will hopefully remember and correlate back to why they trust and appreciate (or at least think they might like) your brand.

Make it memorable.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Emojis: Are They Right for Your Fashion Brand?

emojis fashion brand marketing

Emojis, emotional indicators that allow us to (as consumers and brands) share what we are feeling at any given time, whether that’s through text, a social channel, chat, or email. It’s a way to connect on a level beyond the words you say. It’s not anything new. We’ve been using them since the days of chat rooms and AOL. But, now…

Emojis allow fashion brands to measure how their customers actually feel about your pieces, your brand, an event you host, or a cultural phenomena, really.

Here’s a quick look at how people are using emoticons today:

  • To express emotions
  • To demonstrate a state of being
  • To communicate a moment in time
  • To communicate a lot with a little (on the go sharing)

Here’s a look at how your brand can take advantage of this:

  • You can connect emotionally through social signals of happiness, anger, indecision, sadness, laughter, comradery, and excitement. The shared symbol of a thumbs up, three little hearts, or even a latte create an instant feeling of connection between the one who posts and the one who views.
  • You’re given an opportunity to understand what sort of things elicit an emotional response from people. You can use this as a measuring stick for your content creation.
  • Stand out in email communication. At least for now, you can make the emails you’re sending stand out among the crowd by having fun with emoticons in the subject line.

Should you use emoticons?

If your brand has a playful and creative side, consider it. Not every brand has the right audience for it.

  • Is your audience millennial?
  • Heavily using social media?
  • Willing to try new apps?
  • Is your brand adventurous? Humorous? Willing to consider gaming?

You don’t need to answer yes to all of these questions, but you need to consider them when deciding if using emoticons is right for your brand.

If you’re not into using them, you can still sit back and listen. It allows your brand to measure sentiment analysis as channels like Facebook open up for more emotions to be used through status updates and comments. Pay attention to what causes your audience to feel excited, frustrated, and special. Learn from it. Adapt based on it.

 This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Your Checklist for Working with Influencers to Grow Your Fashion Brand

fashion brand influencers

Influencers is a word that seems to be used all too often. At it’s most basic, it is a word that defines a celebrity, journalist, advocate, social media “star”, or anyone who’s thoughts and opinions have a strong impact on the people who follow them.

Working with influencers to grow awareness of your fashion brand can be a great strategy. But first, you have to identify them.

The biggest thing to remember is that it isn’t just the number of followers a person has that characterizes them as an influencer. It’s typically that they are an expert in a subject matter in some capacity.

Whether you’re a startup or an established brand, it’s important to have some set parameters when working with influencers for a program. This helps to avoid issues when it comes to relevance and authenticity of content and ensuring the brand and influencer will work well together.

Here’s Your Checklist for Working with Influencers to Grow Your Fashion Brand

  1. Start with a lot of research: Check their background, check their current posts. What are they saying, how are they saying it? Do they engage with their following or do they delete comments they don’t like? Do they have an email signup on their website– then sign up. Are they on the platforms that you have seen the most traction for your brand? How often do they post? You cannot do too much research.
  2. Make sure they are on-brand: Do they have the same vibe as your brand? Is their tone complementary to yours? How do they communicate?
  3. They are still using their voice: While it’s important that their tone is complementary to yours, you also want to make sure that they still have their own voice. You want to make sure that don’t ever compromise their own brand in order to make money.
  4. Who are they working with already: Check to see that the influencer isn’t working with your direct competitors recently (at least in the last year).
  5. Are they too obvious: Meaning, often, once an influencer becomes more famous he/she may start saturating their content creation with sponsored stuff. When this happens, they often lose the respect of their following. So it’s good to check if they are still doing original content and sponsored posts are not their primary source of content.
  6. Give ideas: Some influencers (especially celebrities) may be great at what they do, but not so great at coming up with ideas for sponsored content. Don’t be afraid to give them a nudge towards what they could do, so when they create an Instagram post, it doesn’t seem like a blatant ad.
  7. Lay out the terms: Be sure you have stated everything that you want done in the collaboration upfront, including the number of social media posts per channel. How many blog posts you get, whether you’re included in any emails, etc. Also make sure that your brand can utilize their name and the content they create throughout owned, earned, and paid media. Don’t make any assumptions.

The last thing your brand wants is to be associated with sponsored content that isn’t original and valuable. So take the time and follow the list.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Everything You Can Do Right Now to Leverage Pinterest to Increase Sales

leverage pinterest increase sales fashion business

Pinterest, having launched over 5 years ago, is still a marketer’s dreamland for reaching consumers. It is a visual storyboard for consumers who love to dream and plan. And when it comes to fashion, people are always dreaming…and planning.

With Fashion Week in full swing across the major cities of New York, London, Paris, and more… fashion enthusiasts are drooling over the latest upcoming trends and what they can potentially get their hands on. And with the holidays…(yes really) only a couple months away, people are planning what to buy their friends and family and also themselves.

It’s the perfect opportunity for your startup.

It’s the perfect time of year to be pinning pieces for your current and potential consumers to drool over and covet.

How can you take advantage of Pinterest right now?

Get inside the mind of your customer. Think through their lens. They’re still thinking of fashion week and they’re also looking ahead. Consider the following to get your Pinterest boards ready for both inspiring, planning, and purchasing.

  • Fashion Week lookalikes from your line
  • Influencer curation from the runway and street style
  • Sneak peeks of your holiday line
  • Fall and Winter inspiration
  • Planning for winter getaways

In addition to creating those boards,  your brand can:

  • ask people to contribute pins to your boards. Ask followers to share their favorites from the runway.
  • get in touch with some influencers who were there.
  • share lifestyle content related to the runway cities, holidays, and what your brand stands for (eco-friendly, luxe looks, animal welfare, etc).
  • feature followers who embody what your brand represents through re-pinning their content

Let your community see that their inspirations and planning boards can be a reality with your brand. Give them a chance to attain it.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Checklist: How to Create a Successful Social Strategy for Your Brand

social strategy fashion business

It’s important to remember that great social media content is the key to being successful on any platform. It sounds obvious but a lot of brands (especially those with minimal resources), post things on social, just to post. There’s not a thoughtful approach. Furthermore, social media is more than a channel. It’s not just Facebook and Twitter. It’s a behavior that people have daily. And in order to reach them, brands need content that truly connects with their target audience.

So how do we build a social strategy that will be successful for your brand? Let’s consider this formula:

First: Do the Research

  • Identify your target based psychographics (what they value and care about)
  • See where they spend time online (are they on Instagram 10 times a day or do they tweet every last thought that pops into their heads?)
  • Compare how your competition fairs on these channels (what are brands that are similar to your doing?)

Second: Put Together Your Plan

  • Identify your overall purpose or goal for each platform (think more creatively than “making more sales”- mailing list sign ups is a good one)
  • Choose a few different kinds of content that you think will resonate with your audience (be specific- if you want to post inspirational quotes, what kind? About what topic? Around what sentiment?)
  • Identify the platforms you’ll use and their purpose for your brand and reaching your customer (i.e. customers use Pinterest to dream/plan – let them dream about their upcoming Fall wardrobe made by your brand)
  • Consider content formats and frequency per channel (i.e. Twitter will have a larger frequency than Facebook)
  • Identify content sources for creation/curation/co-creation (how will you make these graphics? Where will you find these interesting articles? etc)
  • Create success metrics to measure by (video views, website visits, social shares)

Third: Get Moving

  • Create the content!
  • Test your content
  • Measure your content against the goals you created
  • Review and assess, then make changes as you learn what’s working and what’s not

Tools You Need:

  • An editorial calendar to keep track of your monthly content per channel, and allows you to plan ahead for upcoming cultural events
  • A scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite
  • A budget to boost and target posts that are successful and important for an upcoming campaign or product launch

Finally:

  • Create a crisis and response management plan for when things go wrong – because eventually something usually does
  • Determine how you will mix in customer service or separate it from your posts within each channel

Your content is part of your brand’s identity and it should be created with similar thought and care as your collections.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

The Top Ten Reasons We Love Social Media

As brands, social media has been a way to reach and interact with consumers on a level that resonates with their behaviors on a day to day basis. They’re already there. They’re using channels they way they prefer. For example on Pinterest they’re planning and dreaming for their future; while on Periscope they’re getting an inside look; and on Instagram they’re building and sharing their own stories.
And as brands that is pretty great. It allows us to understand our target audience and provide content that will truly matter to them, where and when they prefer it. So instead of the 2016 lists we’re all about to read, let’s remember why social media is important to our brands, and why it still will be in 2016.
So as digital marketers we love social media. We love it simply because:
  1. You can get content out fast
  2. You are able to respond to consumers faster
  3. You know what your competition is doing on the same channels
  4. You can curate content
  5. You can see what themes are trending to create new content
  6. You can be involved within cultural phenomena
  7. You are able to create a dialogue
  8. You are able to see what content works right away
  9. You will know what content to put paid media behind
  10. Your brand can stand out
And that’s just part of the story. Your brand can also choose the channels that work best for success. Choose the content that will resonate deeper with your audience. And of course, finding the right paths to purchase, and helping consumers become loyal advocates through driving their followings to your brand as well.
Why does your brand, as a digital marketer, prefer to budget, spend, and invest in social media as a way to reach consumers?
Image sources:
Priority Media Plus
Business2community
 
This post was originally written for Socialnomics. 

Digital Marketers Rejoice: Instagram Multi-user Testing and What it Means

Since brands began their “invasion” (we all know consumers felt this way at times) of Instagram, digital marketers have been feeling the pain. There is no way to post seamlessly through the Instagram platform for multiple accounts. It’s led many down the path of testing third party apps, and many particularly into frustration. And typically both.

Now with the announcement of android multi-user beta testing in play, it could be a whole new playing field. What does this mean?

For brands and digital marketers:

  • Ease of handling multiple accounts. This doesn’t just mean personal and professional (but it does for many of us). It also means for agency and multi-brand folks, the ability to jump from one product line to the next without having to log out.
  • Assuming this allows for multi-login alerts at the same time, it would provide marketers with easier listening and in turn engagement with the target market.
  • Saving hashtags, because when you logout, you lose the ability to auto-fill your most recently used hashtags.
  • Less money spent on third party tools for something a native tool should allow for
For consumers:
  • Faster response by brands for questions, contests, and engagement with UGC content
  • Potential to be “seen” by a brand as a significant / loyal consumer sooner
  • More content they want to see
But for now we wait. We wait for the beta test to expand to iPhone and to all Instagram users (rather than just beta testers). We wait for Instagram to give us what we’ve been hoping for … for far too long.
Until then.
This post was originally written for Socialnomics. 

Brand Checklist: Working with Social Influencers

Grow Your fashion brand influencers

Influencers is a word that seems to be used all too often. At it’s most basic, it is a word that defines a celebrity, journalist, advocate, social media “star”, or anyone who’s thoughts and opinions have a strong impact on the people who follow them.Working with influencers to grow awareness of your fashion brand can be a great strategy. But first, you have to identify them.

The biggest thing to remember is that it isn’t just the number of followers a person has that characterizes them as an influencer. It’s typically that they are an expert in a subject matter in some capacity.

Whether you’re a startup or an established brand, it’s important to have some set parameters when working with influencers for a program. This helps to avoid issues when it comes to relevance and authenticity of content and ensuring the brand and influencer will work well together.

Here’s Your Checklist for Working with Influencers to Grow Your Fashion Brand

  1. Start with a lot of research: Check their background, check their current posts. What are they saying, how are they saying it? Do they engage with their following or do they delete comments they don’t like? Do they have an email signup on their website– then sign up. Are they on the platforms that you have seen the most traction for your brand? How often do they post? You cannot do too much research.
  2. Make sure they are on-brand: Do they have the same vibe as your brand? Is their tone complementary to yours? How do they communicate?
  3. They are still using their voice: While it’s important that their tone is complementary to yours, you also want to make sure that they still have their own voice. You want to make sure that don’t ever compromise their own brand in order to make money.
  4. Who are they working with already: Check to see that the influencer isn’t working with your direct competitors recently (at least in the last year).
  5. Are they too obvious: Meaning, often, once an influencer becomes more famous he/she may start saturating their content creation with sponsored stuff. When this happens, they often lose the respect of their following. So it’s good to check if they are still doing original content and sponsored posts are not their primary source of content.
  6. Give ideas: Some influencers (especially celebrities) may be great at what they do, but not so great at coming up with ideas for sponsored content. Don’t be afraid to give them a nudge towards what they could do, so when they create an Instagram post, it doesn’t seem like a blatant ad.
  7. Lay out the terms: Be sure you have stated everything that you want done in the collaboration upfront, including the number of social media posts per channel. How many blog posts you get, whether you’re included in any emails, etc. Also make sure that your brand can utilize their name and the content they create throughout owned, earned, and paid media. Don’t make any assumptions.

The last thing your brand wants is to be associated with sponsored content that isn’t original and valuable. So take the time and follow the list.

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

 

Social Strategy Checklist for your Brand

 

social strategy fashion business

It’s important to remember that great social media content is the key to being successful on any platform. It sounds obvious but a lot of brands (especially those with minimal resources), post things on social, just to post. There’s not a thoughtful approach. Furthermore, social media is more than a channel. It’s not just Facebook and Twitter. It’s a behavior that people have daily. And in order to reach them, brands need content that truly connects with their target audience.

So how do we build a social strategy that will be successful for your brand? Let’s consider this formula:

First: Do the Research

  • Identify your target based psychographics (what they value and care about)
  • See where they spend time online (are they on Instagram 10 times a day or do they tweet every last thought that pops into their heads?)
  • Compare how your competition fairs on these channels (what are brands that are similar to your doing?)

Second: Put Together Your Plan

  • Identify your overall purpose or goal for each platform (think more creatively than “making more sales”- mailing list sign ups is a good one)
  • Choose a few different kinds of content that you think will resonate with your audience (be specific- if you want to post inspirational quotes, what kind? About what topic? Around what sentiment?)
  • Identify the platforms you’ll use and their purpose for your brand and reaching your customer (i.e. customers use Pinterest to dream/plan – let them dream about their upcoming Fall wardrobe made by your brand)
  • Consider content formats and frequency per channel (i.e. Twitter will have a larger frequency than Facebook)
  • Identify content sources for creation/curation/co-creation (how will you make these graphics? Where will you find these interesting articles? etc)
  • Create success metrics to measure by (video views, website visits, social shares)

Third: Get Moving

  • Create the content!
  • Test your content
  • Measure your content against the goals you created
  • Review and assess, then make changes as you learn what’s working and what’s not

Tools You Need:

  • An editorial calendar to keep track of your monthly content per channel, and allows you to plan ahead for upcoming cultural events
  • A scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite
  • A budget to boost and target posts that are successful and important for an upcoming campaign or product launch

Finally:

  • Create a crisis and response management plan for when things go wrong – because eventually something usually does
  • Determine how you will mix in customer service or separate it from your posts within each channel

Your content is part of your brand’s identity and it should be created with similar thought and care as your collections.

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

Your Brands Needs a Social Strategy

fashion business social media marketing

Social media still seems new to some brands, but it’s not a new part of marketing. There are people hired for brands to run global social departments in order to stay competitive within the space and stay fresh and engaging with their customer base.

With startups, a social media strategy is an important piece to the overall marketing strategy.Sometimes with little time and little resources, we jump on social channels and run with haste, rather than with quality and thought-through content. Let’s change that.

Social media is:

  • Visual- Important for fashion brands to be able to show off their assets.
  • Fast- You can get sneak peeks and new off the shelf products in front of them right away.
  • A connective tissue- It allows you to connect to consumers in a way that no paper magazine ad could.

Great things for a startup who needs to make its presence known, and fast. But with the right strategy, there’s so much more you can do.

  • Gain Customer knowledge- You’ll get to see what your customers like and don’t like, what types of content they prefer, and where they prefer to engage with you.
  • Have faster customer service- It allows you to respond faster to their concerns and excitement.
  • Be competitive- It allows you to stay on top of your most fierce competition by listening and keeping a close eye.
  • Make it personal- It allows your startup and brand to connect to consumers on a personal level through responding in real time, answering questions, praising them for being awesome.
  • Build Relationships- And in turn allows you to build an army of advocates who will speak on your behalf.

These are just some of the reasons why you need to think strategically about your social content and not just post and be on social media because you know you should be.

You need to think through your target market, where they play on social, and what content is right for them (and your brand). We’ll talk about that in detail in our next article.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

When NOT to jump onto a new social channel

 

social media fashion business

The marketing swimming pool has many deep ends, a lot of which you can’t always see if there is a bottom to touch. With a new app or social channel coming out every day, week, and month, it’s hard to know when to leap and when to stay in the shallow end.

While it’s great to be an early adopter, sometimes it’s best to chill and observe; see how and if other brands are using the platform and then decide if it’s worth exploring.

Here are four times when you should indeed stay away from the deep end and let others cannonball first:

When the user interface is too much effort

For example, when Ello was first released, it was not user friendly. It was black and white and not appealing to use (like apps such as Instagram). It is fun to explore as a user, but as a brand it is still fairly uncharted territory outside of some journalistic brands like WSJ.

When the platform doesn’t seem to have captured your target audience

For example, your audience may not care to be on meerkat, but it may embrace Periscope due to so many others using it already. Mashable uses it constantly for its tech talks, while others use it for showing insider and live events. Try to do a little research to see if your target market is actually using the platform before you jump in and devote time to it.

When the resources to make it happen would be at the cost of marketing campaigns that are already working for your brand

Contrary to what some may think, every time you add a new platform to your social media mix, you’re draining more resources, both financial, creative, and time related. For example, creating video content takes time to plan, executive, edit, and distribute. It takes planning and content strategy upfront.

When it makes sense to learn from the ones who do it wrong/right first. And jump in later with a better strategy.

For example, when all the kids ran over to snapchat to see what the buzz was. The buzz was good.

Still unsure and curious?

Try using the platform on your personal handle/username first. Test it out to see how it works and why people would be curious about it. Put on your consumer hat and see if you would be interested in hearing from a brand through this new app or channel. If yes, give it a whirl (but not at the expense of things that are already working for you).

Lastly, keep your life raft nearby. Sometimes you just need to jump out after testing the waters.

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

 

Saving Time on Your Brand Marketing Efforts

 

fashion marketing

Being a marketer for your brand, there is little time to waste. You are constantly thinking about the next thing on your to-do list. Content, posting, testing, measuring, and testing again…the process is really never ending.

But where do you find the time to learn and keep up with what’s “new” in marketing?

If you wait to find it, you’ll be waiting for a long time. You have to make the time.

This doesn’t mean spending hours reading through blog posts and getting sucked into the abyss of technology, social media, and the latest app. Although, we’re all guilty of it.

No, you can do it a lot more efficiently.

Use social media. Really.

Most social channels now have features that allow you to “save” and/or view things later. By using these features and putting time slots into your calendar to “learn and grow”, you’ll find that keeping up with what’s new, is not so difficult after all.

Here are five easy ways that your favorite social channels can help you be both productive and efficient while keeping up with the latest marketing trends and technology.

  1. Facebook “Save link”: This feature allows you save links for later. When you’re commuting to your office – whether it be your home office or a workspace, you don’t always have time to read the whole article, but know it could be useful tomorrow or next week. Bookmark it and go back when you have time fully devote.
  2. Favorite it: As with Facebook, same goes with Twitter. Favorite the tweet that you found useful. It’s not just for letting people know you found their tweet informative and interesting. It actually is useful.
  3. Pin it: Save articles on a board that are inspiring. Will it help with a new blog redesign? Will it help with your social strategy? Pin it and go back later to think through it in more detail.
  4. Create a folder in your email: So much email. Save the ones that matter in a folder so you don’t lose it later.
  5. Use and app.  Pocket is a semi-new app that allows you to collect any articles, posts or videos you find and save them to go back to later. All in one place for your viewing pleasure. Evernote also works well.

In the end it’s about what works best for you. Sometimes it’s easier to have it all in one place, and other times it’s easier to save within the app experience you’re in at that moment. Choose your social poison.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

How to: Leverage Pinterest to Increase Sales

leverage pinterest increase sales fashion business

Pinterest, having launched over 5 years ago, is still a marketer’s dreamland for reaching consumers. It is a visual storyboard for consumers who love to dream and plan. And when it comes to fashion, people are always dreaming…and planning.

With Fashion Week in full swing across the major cities of New York, London, Paris, and more… fashion enthusiasts are drooling over the latest upcoming trends and what they can potentially get their hands on. And with the holidays…(yes really) only a couple months away, people are planning what to buy their friends and family and also themselves.

It’s the perfect opportunity for your startup.

It’s the perfect time of year to be pinning pieces for your current and potential consumers to drool over and covet.

How can you take advantage of Pinterest right now?

Get inside the mind of your customer. Think through their lens. They’re still thinking of fashion week and they’re also looking ahead. Consider the following to get your Pinterest boards ready for both inspiring, planning, and purchasing.

  • Fashion Week lookalikes from your line
  • Influencer curation from the runway and street style
  • Sneak peeks of your holiday line
  • Fall and Winter inspiration
  • Planning for winter getaways

In addition to creating those boards,  your brand can:

  • ask people to contribute pins to your boards. Ask followers to share their favorites from the runway.
  • get in touch with some influencers who were there.
  • share lifestyle content related to the runway cities, holidays, and what your brand stands for (eco-friendly, luxe looks, animal welfare, etc).
  • feature followers who embody what your brand represents through re-pinning their content

Let your community see that their inspirations and planning boards can be a reality with your brand. Give them a chance to attain it.

This post was originally published on Startup Fashion.

Nostalgia Marketing: A phase?

 

Since the beginning of #throwbackthursday and the more recent #flashbackfriday – consumers and brands have been taking a look back at what the past was and means. It could be a memory that was cherished, an accomplishment achieved, an uphill battle overcome, or just something really funny.

Apps like Timehop have allowed people to look back more frequently and see where they were a year or more ago on this very day. Facebook allows you to see friendships from years ago. It’s typically fun and enjoyable (unless it’s a memory you wish you didn’t have to relive – oops!) and something people are excited to share back out to let others remember too.

And there’s more…

Old bands have been reuniting and creating new albums and having concerts together. Casts of TV shows are being resurrected for new seasons (i.e. Heroes).

Older fashion styles are coming back for another season too. Additionally so are old past times like listening to records, reading actual books, playing with toys from generations ago.

What’s old is new again.

Brands realize that too.

It’s an opportunity for brands to create new content (from old content or events). It allows the brand to show another side to the brand through history and well-received content/events. For example, if there is an iconic package or product, a brand may look back at the beginning and show the evolution over time. And brands are already doing this.

But what else can brands do to take advantage of nostalgia and how consumers are excited about it?

Brands can:

  • Create experiences to relive the “new old” in a way that’s unique from before
  • Create a series that brings it life (i.e. a comic book, video series, or offline event that reoccurs).
  • Allow fans to share their old experiences through the new lens
  • Keep it authentic by leaving some to the imagination rather than forcing the nostalgia
  • Bring back best sellers to surprise and delight – i.e. Calvin Klein and their 90s campaigns; pumpkin flavored everything; troll dolls; classic old school converse and adidas sneakers; and more.

Nostalgia…not just a thing of the past.

This post was originally written for Social Media Club. 

Mobile: Search and Ease for Consumers and How Brands need to Adapt

 

We’ve seen the importance of convenience transforming our tech, digital, and social media experiences over the past months and years. Consumers, as we know, want things at their fingertips – when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it. They don’t want disruption from what they choose to view, and don’t want inconveniences such as leaving the mobile app they’re in in order to continue a content experience.
Brands are adapting. Advertisers (brands) are adapting. And they have to.
The upcoming ios9  is going to go even further.
The preview supposedly boasts some of the following:
  • the ability to block ads;
  • search within spotlight for finding something within any app or doc on your device versus having to search multiple apps for what you want to
Why does this matter?
Brands will have to work harder. Content needs to work harder. 
Right now it’s hard to tell how this will affect native ad experiences, but as we are seeing with Hulu (letting consumers opt out of ads completely for a higher price point), consumers will have more choices on what they want to view. So your brand’s content needs to be on point. It needs to be valuable and interesting. It needs to entertain or educate. It needs to be something your consumer target deems worth their time as they run from grabbing their latte to their next meeting.
Is this a bad thing for brands?
Not necessarily. It will weed out those who don’t put in as much effort into their content and other will rise.
This post was originally written for Socialnomics.