How to Reach your Brand’s Audience on Pinterest

Gone are the days of just Facebook and Twitter as the main players. Nowadays, there are countless apps popping up, and typically being born from the original pack, or at least being acquired by them.

To date we have: Facebook, Twitter (yes, still here), YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat (in no particular order). The visual platforms with content that lasts temporarily seem to be all the rage. They allow consumers to share with less fear, and feel excited to consume content that is more exclusive by brands. However, it doesn’t mean the players like Pinterest are going anywhere. They have a different focus, and a different purpose for the consumer who uses it. As snapchat is for quick consumption, Pinterest is for taking the time to peruse and discover.

Pinterest has been a contender for a while, being known for it’s pivotal role in referral traffic to websites, and hitting the consumer during moments of discovery and planning, with a visual tool that makes it simple and easy. People (although still mainly female) use it to plan life events (i.e. Marriage, babies) and festivities. They look for large inspiration, as well as daily ones. For example, one person may go on Pinterest to find their meal prep recipes for the week, while another may go on to plan their friend’s bridal shower.

But why should your brand care? According to Social Draft, “nearly 75% of Pinterest users have purchased something on the platform or because of the platform.” So you’re thinking, ok great – but will they look at my product or brand? Considering the average time on the channel is about 15 minutes, there’s a good amount of time to get your brand out there, with the right search optimization (keyword strategy) and frequency of posts (on average 5x a day) with bright, quality images that grab consumer eyes on the channel.

The other cool thing is that according to social marketing writing, 80% of content are re-pins – meaning that people are likely to share your content if they find it beneficial to themselves and their own community. And if you’re in the food and drink category, you’ve basically hit a goldmine as it’s one of the top 3 categories on Pinterest. And some of the most re-pinned words include “bake” and “recipe” … Yes, goldmine.

But if your brand has other categories to consider, think through the trending topics as they’re most likely to get repined, and/or hit up your target audience based on categories and days that hit hardest for them. For example: Fitness (Monday), Fashion (Thursday), and Travel (Saturday).

Still not convinced? According to viral woot:

  • A Pinner who close-ups on a pin is 1.6x more likely to sign up or convert.
  • A Pinner who saves is 3.9x more likely to sign up and 1.6x more likely to convert.
  • A Pinner who clicks thru is 4.5x more likely to sign up and 7x more likely to convert.

But before you go there, remember to focus on your content and the quality of it too. For example, the color tone that does the best is reddish-orange. It’s also good to have a couple dominant colors, rather than the blue/white that works better on Instagram. Lastly, it’s best to have no faces/people as objects with minimal background perform best.

In the end, it’s always about test and learn and seeing what works best for your brand and content strategy. This month, pick five pinterest tactics, that ladder up to your overall channel strategy, and see which ones work best for your brand’s content. Then…do it again.

Originally written for Social Media club. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

 

Tinder for Brands Today

The mobile dating app launched it’s first ads a couple months ago  and since then has expanded into testing more video ads. Since Budweiser, the app has also included ads such as movie trailers for Trainwreck, which allows the mobile app users to:
  1. View the trailer
  2. See movie times nearby
  3. Purchase tickets
  4. Share
The ad experience has increased over time, where in the beginning brands had to create a profile and only a link was provided out if the user swiped right. This time the user doesn’t even have to swipe (or doesn’t have a chance to), before the video starts to auto-play. This allows the brand more viewers and an increased opportunity to get in front of the app’s users.
When a user signs up they reveal they typically reveal their age, location, and may also connect to Facebook to see which friends they have in common. One of the biggest assets that Tinder has about its users is their location. In turn allowing for opportunities for location based advertising and in app purchase.
So in the case of the movie trailer, the opportunity to show movie times within hours and miles of that user is optimal. It increases the drive to purchase, especially since you can purchase from within the app. The seamless experience being offered is clutch and will result in less drop off than previous, because the content delivered is within the same experience (as Facebook does with its ads, content publishing, etc).
Some may be dismayed because Tinder was first known as a “sketchy” dating app. But having been around for a while,  it’s not just another dating app. The app has gained a tremendous userbase of over 50M active users per month. So the key isn’t whether people are there (they are), it’s whether your brand is right for the app. The recent advertisers – the Trainwreck trailer makes sense because it could be a potential date event, and Budweiser is a beverage you may have on your date. So, ensure your brand is contextually relevant to the Tinder app and audience behaviors who are:
  • mobile savvy
  • want instant consumption
  • to meet and discover new people and experiences

Still have questions or not sure if your brand is the right fit? Ask us more in the comments below.

See this original full post on Socialnomics.

How Brands can take Advantage of Instagram’s Search Feature

Instagram has been working on making their search functionality better for quite some time. The latest updates allow consumers to discover more and to follow and engage with fresh new content. Instagram is similar to twitter or tumblr in some ways where you can see what’s trending and decide to check out the conversation and/or follow the user.

Why does this matter? Three reasons.

REAL TIME

When a brand sees what is trending, it can use this as an opportunity to see how it relates to the brand. Is the topic an opportunity to create content that is relevant to the conversation? Is it on brand to do so? Is it an opportunity to stand out within the conversation or with content that the brand already has, but can tweak for that day?

DISCOVERY

A brand can see which influencers are prominent within search categories, allowing digital marketers to see which ones could be opportunistic to work with for sponsored or co-created content within the space. For example, if your brand is a travel brand and you want to work with a food blogger who travels around the world, you can see which ones are prominent on Instagram through the search and discovery functions vs. randomly using Google or sifting through pages on Instagram.

TOPICAL POSTING

When your brand sees what types of topics are bubbling to the top, it allows an opportunity to plan out what will trend around certain times and cultural events. In addition, there is a local overlap element allowing your brand to see what locations are stirring more conversation. Plan how your brand can be apart of that conversation when consumers search and discover too.

In short, it’s for real time and planning. Because in reality, we all know that real time marketing takes some planning and preparation. For those who can write, design, and gram a photo in 90 seconds or less , I salute you.

For the rest…plan, but plan efficiently. Be nimble and be ready or someone else will be.

Music Playlists: Another Content Format for your Toolbox

 

Playlists content fashion business

Recently on startupfashion, I talked about podcasts as a fun “new” (ok, not so new) format for creating engaging, potential thought leadership, and series related content. But there’s more. Fashion brands (and let’s face it –  most brands these days) prefer visual content to adhere to the consumer who is so hard to reach.

Visuals have stopping power to allow a consumer to take a moment and see what your brand may have to say by capturing their attention…at least for a few seconds.

But…it isn’t the only way.

Visuals can be a part of your promotion, even if they’re not the whole content…just like a blog post has a visual (or two) to keep the reader engaged and capture their attention in their Facebook or Twitter feeds.

So what non-visual form of content are we talking about?

It’s not a new format, it’s not even something that’s trending on Mashable right now, but it’s a format that isn’t going away anytime soon. A playlist.

Changing things up also helps with capturing the interest of new subscribers.

Yes, blog posts are great. They allow you to demonstrate your knowledge, and provide fun interesting content to share. But there’s more your startup can do (without breaking the bank and still having fun!)

Playlists allow you to show a different side of your brand. They can be a mood your brand is in while sitting at the design table or maybe they are specifically created for your latest collection. Think about it, each season, you can create a playlist that helps to tell the story of the collection.

It’s a personality. It’s a mood setter. It’s kind of awesome.

Here are some more advantages to creating a brand playlist:

  • Really easy to create and listening to music is probably something you’re doing already, so not too much of a time commitment.
  • You can add to it; it doens’t need to be made once and forgotten. Your “Monday Morning Kick-Ass Work Mode” playlist can start with 10 songs and grow infinitely, keeping your followers interested.
  • Your community can suggest songs to add to it
  • You can share very easily throughout social media
  • You can have a content series that allows playlists of the week or month
  • You can incorporate it into your other content and media
  • You can tease it song by song

To read about where you should consider making playlists, and about my passion project Radiate Daily and how we made playlists, check out the full original post on Startup Fashion. 

 

Part 2: Leveraging your brand advocates

brand advocates

In my last post we spoke about how to court your brand advocates, this time we’ll dig a little deeper on how we leverage them to your brand’s and their optimal potential.

As I mentioned before, a brand advocate is “someone who loves your brand and will support it through multiple phases, including but not limited to loyalty in purchase, word of mouth, sharing on social, and encouraging friends and family to convert too.”

That’s a lot of potential, but the key is to harness them in a way that doesn’t alienate them through the “relationship.”

Two great ways to make that happen include

  • Amplifying your brand advocate’s voices
  • Allowing your brand advocates to be more than just one person, to be a part of a larger community

Amplify Their Voices

When one advocate praises your brand and says “I love you and your product,” most brands typically respond with things along the lines of “likes” and “favorites.” Some go further and respond or comment back with a “Hey X, thanks so much for the love. We think you’re great too!” This is important, and shouldn’t be ignored. The small value actions such as likes and favorites are important when done within 24–36 hours. It shows that your brand is paying attention. Commenting matters even more. The sooner your brand can comment in return, the more appreciated that brand advocate will feel about their relationship with your brand. They will feel heard and will want to continue that dialogue.

But there’s an extra step that is not often taken. Amplify the advocate’s voice through your brand’s voice.

Here’s what I mean.

  • Your brand could feature some awesome advocates on your website site. Maybe have a page dedicated to them.
  • You could start a blog series where you spotlight an advocate once a week or twice a month. Interview them- who are they, what are they all about.
  • Repost some of the stuff they post on social media.
  • Or more specifically, “regram” an advocate’s gram when they were featuring a product of yours they may have been wearing. Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack do this well. Nordstrom Rack will see products that people are talking about on Instagram and ask to regram them on the brand’s profile. It is not only super flattering, but sometimes an ultimate sign of brand love. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but it can be. Nordstrom also comments and asks to use Instagram photos within their website experience.

Those are some ways how you can take it a step further with the social and fan integration.

Let Them be a Community

This one is difficult. A community isn’t always brand built, it’s typically consumer led and naturally occurs through mutual affinity for an interest. For example, there is a cult of fans who are obsessed with Converse and will only wear that brand. They show their love through social, and support one another. For example, if one Converse lover sees a pair of kicks that they haven’t before, they are stoked to check them out. Even if they try to literally buy them off another converse lover’s feet at that exact second. It’s happened.

Will every brand be Converse? Probably not. But it doesn’t mean your brand advocates won’t be excited to be a part of a community that shares their interests. Remember, it’s a lifestyle that your brand exemplifies; such as a fitness lifestyle for a yoga clothing line.

Read more on what your brand can do here to let them be a community, be checking out the full post on Startup Fashion.

Part 1: Courting your Brand’s Advocates

brand advocates

A brand advocate is a coveted individual when it comes to brand marketing, especially in the digital media space.

A brand advocate is someone who loves your brand and will support it through multiple phases, including but not limited to loyalty in purchase, word of mouth, sharing on social, and encouraging friends and family to convert too.

A brand advocate is someone you want by your side. It’s a relationship you want to continue to grow and evolve; it’s someone you hope to have in your brand’s life for a long time. This may sound like someone you’re dating, and in truth, it can be quite similar.

It’s a relationship. And good relationships require love and care, loyalty and passion.

That’s great and all, but how exactly do you obtain a brand advocate? How do you find this person or people who not only love your brand but also can’t wait to tell the world about how much they love it?

The Courting Process:

Give Them a Reason to Believe

You need to get good at sharing the purpose and values behind your brand. When you do this, people start to notice. It’s not until a customer or collaborator feels connected to your purpose and values, that they will become true brand advocates. Without that connection, you’re just a brand making more stuff.

Flirt with Them and Show Them All Your Good Sides

What is your business really like? How is it run? What do you make? How do you make it? Become very transparent in what your business does. Let them in.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Wrong

Never be afraid to let your brand be itself and when something goes wrong or isn’t perfect, say so.  This sort of honesty is what meaningful relationships are built on.

Reward Them When They Deserve It

Recognize your customers’ loyalty. Re-gram them, send them discount codes, invite them to events (not via a group email!). Do what you can to make sure that your brand is associated with personalized attention.

Surprise Them When They Least Expect It

Everyone loves a little surprise now and then. Get creative and find ways to put smiles on their faces. It doesn’t have to be free product, it can simply be a something thoughtful that you do to show that you’re paying attention.

Maintain the Flirtation and Build It Into a True Two Way Relationship

Don’t get lazy- that’s a relationship killer if there ever was one. Continue to make sure that they know you appreciate them.

Let Them Come to You

Don’t get pushy and be all like, “Do you wanna be my brand advocate?” after just a few interactions.  No one likes a brand that feels needy.

Continue the Conversation Where They Appreciate It Most

As you work to build these relationships, show them how proud you are to have them as customers. Use social media (where they are) to amplify the relationship in a way that makes them feel like they’re something extra awesome.

This courting process is the basis for creating a brand that attracts real and true advocates.

But listen, there will be tough times. Let me tell you little story…

A brand I once worked on had decreased the availability of a product line thinking it wasn’t a favorite and there were other varieties that were performing better in the market. But of course, the brand advocates who had loved that specific product were outraged. They took to the streets – aka social media – and ranted about their long lost love. They wanted their product back, and they weren’t going quietly. Luckily the brand thought quick on its feet and discussed how to bring the advocates back to the good side. They sent through some extra special care packages to a few of the folks and promised to reconsider the sale of the product in the upcoming year. It wasn’t a permanent solution but it was a good temporary solve until the brand could decide the worth of definitely bringing back the product or not. The lesson here:

CLICK TO TWEET

 Remember, these are brand advocates, not well known influencers.  These are real customers who you haven’t paid (they don’t want your money, they want to be a part of what you’re creating!). They are the most valuable people to have on your side so do what you can to keep them there. 

Once you have them, don’t let them go. Instead use them and amplify their voices as part of your brand. How do we do that? Stay tuned and we’ll discuss some examples in my next article.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. Read more here!

Why the new standalone app Layout by Instagram is worth downloading

Instagram app Layout

Layout, the latest standalone Instagram app (since Hyperlapse), has hit iOS. The app allows for users to easily collage your photos in unique and simple ways and then instantly share on Instagram and/or Facebook.

Instagram claims that it isn’t trying to create yet another collage app, but to create one that makes collages easier to make and more user friendly.

So what does this mean?

In short, it’s a new feature app that allows Instagram users (and photo takers) to have another tool in their “artistic” toolbox. The collages have some set parameters, but from there you can fiddle around and make your collage your own.

Having played around with it, appears to take some of the best features of other free apps such as PicStitch and combine them with ease of use, and a much friendlier user interface.

The Layout features to consider when creating your next collage:

  • Ease of sorting through photos on your phone
  • Adding multiple pictures at once to the collage
  • Taking pictures for the collage instantly (in multiple succession)
  • Unique grid options that aren’t just one size or shape
  • Unique ability to shift and mirror the images for different viewpoints

Why it matters to consumers:

The app allows consumers to have more fun when taking photos to post. It allows them to post more photos at once and in turn create/make a story out of the moment they are sharing.

Why it matters to brands:

As consumers can share a more detailed story of their moments, so can brands. When it comes to events, product shots, new releases, and behind the scenes – Layout is a new tool to keep in mind. It will allow your brand to show different views of the same product at once versus sifting through multiple photos.

Read more on why it matters to brands on the full post at Startup Fashion.

Because Periscope is Worth Checking Out

fashion business periscope

Recently we talked about the live streaming app, Meerkat…but have you heard of Periscope? It is the latest in the live streaming trend that has appeared and it’s taking the brand marketing world by storm.

The questions we wonder as we evaluate Periscope:

  • Is it a meerkat “killer” ?
  • Is it better than meerkat?
  • Which one should I, as a brand marketer – invest my time in?
  • Do people care?

Is Periscope a Meerkat Killer: Maybe.

Periscope is a direct competitor and it was put out by Twitter. It allows for seamless integration with the popular social channel and way more brands and marketers have taken advantage. Currently you have  big name early adopters such as Mountain Dew and DKNY and also emerging brand users like Nearly Naked Jewelry, who showed us a Behind the Scenes of a collaborative photo shoot they did with several other brands.

Is it Better? Yes. Why?

First, you can integrate your Twitter list automatically. In addition, Periscope has the ability to save and view videos later. They don’t disappear in that “snapchat” sense as in Meerkat. This allows for viewers who may not have been able to tune in directly during your event to watch a few minutes or hours later (up to 24 hours).

Which one should you invest in?

If you are geeky like some of us and want to know more on investing and why do people care… Check out the full post on Startup Fashion!

Live streaming App Meerkat and Why it’s Cool

 

meerkat app

Just what you’re looking for, another platform for you to share your brand’s content. I know, it’s exhausting and thinking about adding more is is just- no.

But this one is too cool not to tell you about.

The latest buzz is around Meerkat – a somewhat new mobile app, which has hit the streets of SXSW with a storm.

What’s so cool about it? Meerkat allows you to tweet live video in actual real time. This live stream option is super cool, especially for brands who may not have the ability to partner with the big publishers to do so.

Let’s break down the advantages:

  • It’s a free app to download and use
  • You can stream live or schedule your video
  • You can see what people you follow are sharing within the app or on Twitter (or wherever else they have embedded their Twitter feed)
  • In your dashboard you can see live feeds of folks using the app
  • You can see who is watching the live stream
  • You can comment, retweet, and “like” while watching

Why it’s a tool to keep in your social content toolbox:

Read more on the full post on Startup Fashion!

 

How Social Media Can Increase Traffic to your Brand’s Site

 

website trafficSocial media can be daunting at times, especially when you’re just starting to grow your business and most of the work is on your shoulders. Sometimes, social feels like too much time and you just can’t see how it’s helping your startup grow.

One word: patience.

Great social content takes effort, a great social community takes times to grow. The ROI, such as an increase in web traffic, also takes time.

I sometimes like to equate social media to exercising and being fit. If you want a body that is strong, healthy, and long lasting, you have to put in effort for the long haul. Not just for the day or week or month.

Here are a few tips to get your brand on the right track for that healthy social living:

  • The small tactics: the best practices and simple tactics like ensuring your site URL is associated with all your social accounts is crucial. Make sure it’s in your bio, clickable, and above the fold.
  • Schedule your content: It’s OK to publish content more than once, actually it will help. For example, on Twitter since the life of a tweet is so short, it behooves a brand to publish at least twice (at minimum). Of course, it’s good to spread out your content and publish on multiple days rather than the same day.
  • Link back through posts: When posting on social, ensure that a % of your content links back to your site. Although it’s important to have a good content mix, if a major goal is to drive traffic back to your site, that should take the larger chunk of your posting.
Read more on bloggers and a paid media budget, on our full post on Startup Fashion

For more questions on how to best increase website traffic through social media, reach out in the comments.

 

Spring is still here: Clean your Marketing and Get it Ready for Summer

 

fashion marketingSpring cleaning isn’t just for your shoes and clothes each year. It’s for your fashion marketing objectives and goals too.

Spring, or second quarter, is a great time to take a look at all the new year initiatives you put into play and see what’s working and what’s not. Time to shed some weight, and not waste money on budget items that aren’t giving back enough on your investment.

But how do you decide what to ditch and what to hold on to? That’s always the tough part.

Here are a few things to consider this spring and your “ditch pile”:

  1. What’s sucking your budget: There are a lot of overhead and unexpected costs that go into a yearly marketing budget. This may include (but isn’t limited to): website hosting, graphic designers, and PR agencies. Take a look at where your money is going and whether or not these costs can be lowered. Do you pay a graphic designer to make new new several times a month?  What about seeing if they can create a template for you instead.  That way, you can make the updates for new contests or announcements yourself.
  2. What’s just not working: Sometimes we invest in tools that end up being more of a hassle than anything. For example, some tools may have seemed cool and great for CRM or social media management, and instead waste too much of our time and give us little data and information. If it’s not saving time, it’s just costing money. Ditch it. Change it. Move on.
Read about team evaluations and tactical executions for spring cleaning in our full post on Startup Fashion. 

 

The Team you want for building your Brand

building your fashion business team

2015. It’s here, folks. It’s the first week back after the holiday season; it’s a week that has a lot of potential for productivity because we’re all in this “fresh start/get serious” mindset.

In finishing up last year, we shared information on prepping your marketing for upcoming year. TheFashion Business Financial Checklist and the Fashion Business Marketing Checklist have been hits with making that happen.

So if you’ve been following along, you’ve probably done your 2015 planning and your budget analysis for how you’re going to make this year even better than last year in the eyes of the brand and the consumer. But there’s one more thing to consider…do you have the team to pull it off?

The people who make your brand; the people who surround you each day; the people who help achieve the 2015 goals…they need to be awesome. There is no good reason to settle for “she’s sort of awesome”…you want “she IS awesome,I need her!” Because when you have an incredible team, it shows. Your customers will feel it and see it through the quality of the work you put forward.

So if you’re in the growth stage of your fashion business, let’s make the team a priority in 2015. If you are a brand in today’s fast moving technologically savvy world, there are 5 types of people you want on your team to help you build your brand:

The Analyst: The person who gets nitty gritty. He or she is in the weeds and making sure the numbers follow suit. Are we really where we’re supposed to be? Is that campaign really a success? This person will help us be realistic about our goals and endeavors.

The Project Manager: The person who keeps us all in line and on schedule. We all need one of these to make sure we’re delivering on time.

The Go-Getter: The person who doesn’t just do what we ask, but brings awesome ideas to the team. She’s the one who comes to meetings with things we haven’t even thought of doing yet–but love that she has!

The Innovator: The person who won’t settle for where we are today. Because why should we? This person will help us think into 2016 and 2017 today. They’ll help get us there through future thinking so we don’t get left behind.

The Fearless: The person who wants to challenge the brand. This person isn’t afraid of being told “no, you’re wrong.” If they are wrong, that’s ok. They’ll try another idea next week or month and see if that works.

To read the final one, and more tips on how to create your team, check out the full post on Startup Fashion

5 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Promote Your Brand’s Blog

 

Having a blog is awesome. Promoting it’s content is even more awesome, if done well. The below list addresses simple but effective ways for your content distribution strategy.

1. Share, share, share – It seems self-explanatory to say share your blog across your social channels. However, it’s not just about sharing, but it’s about the way you share. Ensure your blog is baked into your social content strategy for weekly and monthly cadence opportunities. Leverage pop culture opportunities to boost the presence of your blog’s content into relevant conversations. And of course, ensure that the blog link is easily available within your bios or social posts.
Example: Equinox blog and their Instagram Account.
unnamed
2. Sign ups on your website – The best way to increase referral traffic to your website and blog are by having the two within the same domain. Even if you have a blog hosted on tumblr, you can still have it within your domain too. So when you ask your consumers to sign up for your blog, not only are you getting your blog out to more people, but you’re collecting leads for your brand as a whole.
3. Email and newsletters – Just like you want to ensure you are promoting the awareness of your social channels within emails or newsletters, you want to do the same for you blog. Perhaps the content from your blog is the primary content within your weekly/daily emails. This allows for people to see your brand as not just another brand, but a content source for information, tips, news, and more.
4. Cross promote – Your brand most likely has some partnerships – whether it’s for the brand as a whole or content partnerships. Use those to help cross promote content for them, and in turn for you. It allows your content to get in front of extra eyeballs and hopefully traffic back to you on a regular basis.
5. Guest bloggers – You never have to create all the content on your own. And when you decide to allow guest “expert” bloggers to take a stab at your content – it not only allows extra voices, but a another way to engage new audiences. Not only will these bloggers be writing for you, but they’ll [hopefully] be promoting their pieces on social media and on their own blog. This allows for extra “free” promotion, and in turn traffic to your blog content.
What other ways does your brand like to share?

This post was origially written for social media club – see more here:  http://socialmediaclub.org/blogs/from-the-clubhouse/5-simple-yet-effective-ways-promote-brands-blog#sthash.55kCuOpZ.dpuf

 

Three brands who understand content marketing

It’s easy to focus on the negative, especially when it comes to the news, how we feel about brands who have mistreated us, the person who didn’t hold the door, etc. It’s especially true in the digital world, where marketers are competing for the next big campaign, and looking to see what another brand did wrong. It’s unfortunately too easy to be negative.
Then there are brands who try to bring out the positive, through their campaigns, their messaging, and their spirit. Those are the brands that are tough to talk badly about – mainly because they pull it off so well.
A few I’ve noticed (big and small) of all time and as of late are:
1. Equinox - Yes, a gym, but so much more than that. Their content game includes (but is not limited to) quality image content that is easy to consume on the go, and also highly shareable. Their hashtag, #equinoxmademedoit is enough to make you want to see what they’re about. Their gyms are not just welcoming from a comfort and active level, but their digital content encourages you to give a little more. The brand is making a name (even if it’s smaller than some) to kick your own butt, and keep kicking it. To encourage yourself to be a better fit, healthy you. And I see no problem with that.
2. The Tig - A content site by Meghan Markle, has inspired many females (including myself) to look at myself with a new lens. The content motivates one to appreciate oneself,  love who you are, and what you like in life. In addition, the brand encourages people to be ok with where they are in life – whether it’s married, engaged, having a baby, and/or single, such as in their latest Valentine’s Day post.
3. Dove - Known for it’s encouragement for inner beauty as well as loving your body (whatever shape), has a new campaign called#SpeakBeautiful. Instead of reading “mean tweets” or festering on the negative beauty comments that people are saying about themselves…Dove is helping change the story. The brand wants to inspire others to help “change their story” too.
These three do seem to have something in common. It’s inspiration and owning who you are, and focusing on being a better you. As marketers, we sometimes promote items that aren’t always about “the good,” but when they can be, it’s pretty great. Applauding those who have help put forth such great campaigns who inspire the rest of us to kick it up a knotch.
This post was originally written for socialnomics. 

The startup 2015 marketing checklist

fashion business marketing plan

Marketing your business in the new year is most likely something you’ve been thinking a lot about. So let’s take a look at what to include in 2015 that’s different than 2014.

Let’s break it down into an actionable checklist. You can refer back often to make sure you’re hitting your goals each quarter or mid-year and make adjustments as needed.

Your 2015 Fashion Business Marketing Plan Checklist

Evaluate 2014

  • Where did your website referral traffic come from?
  • Which pages were the most trafficked?
  • Which pages had the largest bounce rates?
  • Did people sign up for your newsletter? From where?
  • Do people share your blog posts?
  • Which channels lead consumers to purchase most?
  • Is your social community growing?
  • What content is your social community engaging with most? least?
  • Do you have a good social content mix?

Improve on the Basics

  • Review your marketing budget and decide how much money you can dedicate to digital marketing and where you’d like to focus based on your 2014 marketing review
  • Make more use of the keywords that people use to search for your website content, products, and landing pages
  • Make sure to use those same keywords in your social copy – especially on channels like Pinterest where those words are used to help discover pins
  • Focus more on the channels that provide referral traffic and/or purchases
  • Cross promote your content and let followers know about the existence of your other channels
  • Invest in channels where you don’t have to spend as much money to get content out to your audience (ex. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, tumblr)

Test Something New

  • Instead of just posting photos on Instagram, try some of the video features such as Hyperlapse. Some tips here!
  • Work with influencers who are willing to trade goods for content (or a small stipend). Not all influencers need lots of money to create great social content for your brand.
  • Invest in a tool that will help you schedule and plan your social content. Hootsuite has affordable options with simple scheduling for small brands and startups. It allows more time for the important things like strategy, blogging, and experimentation.

Be excited for the new year — embrace growth and allow your brand to kick some marketing butt!

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Fashion Brands and Snapchat’s Offering Snapcash

snapcash

It’s been a buzz recently over the latest and greatest launch by Snapchat – Snapcash. A way for Snapchat users to send money to friends with a couple clicks of their mobile keyboard. A new competitor to the mobile payment world, specifically for the millennial and generation Z audiences. But will it work? 

There have been many talks about whether it’s safe to use and if the privacy concerns that Snapchat has had are truly over. If you can’t protect the users’ images, how can you protect their cash? Apparently, accordingly to Snapchat, Square is their way to ensure the safety of people’s money and their privacy settings have changed as well. 

I was curious to see how the typical Snapchat user (college kid, uses snapchat multiple times daily, and uses it to communicate more often than text at times) thought about the new Snapcash offering. The results:

Me: Do you trust Snapchat with sending money?
SC User: No.

Me: Why’s that?
SC User: After the recent issues with photos not being safe, the last thing I want is to connect Snapchat with my bank account.

Me: If it was safe, would you consider it?
SC User; No, I use Venmo.

Me: Would you consider switching?
SC User: Not really. Everyone at school uses Venmo. Why would we switch to something we aren’t sure about? Especially when we have something that works?

Although this user was hesitant, I do believe that some Snapchat users will consider taking the plunge and checking it out. More so in cases where it’s easier for them and they already use it so often. For those who use Venmo, and others – it may take more convincing before they change their current user/consumer habits.

But what does this mean for brands? A new opportunity.

Snapchat has been a place where brands could win with exclusive content, contests, product launches, events, and opportunities. Now it’s a potential opportunity to allow that audience to purchase exclusive products, event access, and more – with the click of a button.

If your customer is Millenial or Generation Z, this may be something you’d like to further investigate. Here’s some further reading for you:

Snapchat Blog

Marketwatch

Huffington Post

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Launching my Passion Project: Radiate Daily

I’ve been thinking about this for almost a year, planning for months, and now it’s here.  The people who know me realize that I’m always doing something on the side. Something that motivates me, alongside my day-to-day digital marketing career. And it’s usually an extension of it.

This time, I got some help. I had an idea, but I knew I needed a partner in crime to get to where I wanted to go. I sat on my couch one night and thought about the people, the women, in my life who had similar aspirations, likes, and compatible personalities. Randomly, one name came to mind. Lindsey Varney. A friend who I met my first week of college and lived across the hall – 13 years ago. We had been in touch off and on, but it had truly been years since we had hung out. I knew she was also in digital marketing, a day younger than me, loved fashion, and had a fun outlook on life. Someone who would balance my type A planner-ness. Months later, here we are. Partners in a new adventure, called Radiate Daily.

 What is Radiate Daily you ask?

I pondered that question for a long time myself. What do I want this site to be. I didn’t want another fashion tips site. Tips only go so far. I wanted to get to the root of the pain points that people have on a daily basis.

 Confidence. Inspiration.

I want to inspire people to believe in themselves. Help focus on the things that drive who they are, each day of their life, and in turn be proud and confident. Style is something I’ve loved for a long time. It’s not fashion – fashion fades as they say. Style is something we all possess (whether we believe it or not). But confidence in one’s style comes from my places (like my story here). It can be a fitness routine, a quote we read, a compliment from a friend, a story that inspired us, or our careers kicking butt. That confidence shapes the rest of us, including our style. It helps us Radiate Daily.

So join me and Lindsey. Join us in our new adventure to help inspire others every day. Come read the stories, check out the snippets on social, and help us collect more to share. Share yours! And of course, tell me what you think. What helps you #radiatedaily ?

FTW: When Brands & Consumers Connect

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 6.02.21 PM

Working in digital marketing on a day-to-day basis, it makes me stoked to see when brands and consumers truly connect. When a brand takes a beat and steps back to reflect and understand what their consumers really want. Even cooler, when a brand reinvents part of itself to be with the times. One such brand is Banana Republic. Perhaps I’m biased, because they now sell so many leather oriented clothing, but so what? Here’s what we can learn from BR as of late:

1. They Hired a Kickass Creative Director – one to help reinvent BR and shape it into a new, cooler, fresher brand. Marissa Webb. I salute you. You took BR from being a stuffy, conservative office brand to one that women are excited to wear. The brand now exudes confidence, sex appeal, and best of all, amazing clothes that fit just right.

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 6.02.21 PM

2. The advertising fits the new brand – The new ads are edgy and they standout. Best part, Marissa herself touts the clothes, makes personal ads through her instagram (without being an ad), and allows people to connect with the brand in a way people never could before. In a way, (sorry Tory), she’s the new Tory Burch. She is a visionary for the brand. Is that a bold statement? Perhaps.

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 5.58.52 PM

3. They are human – By far my favorite characteristic. The brands replies, comments, and favorites posts by its fans. They thank people for purchasing their clothes. Reward them with fun loyalty gifts. And best of all, are just kind and nice. Not to mention, Marissa herself “favorited” my last tweet about the brand. That is huge in my book!

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 6.04.56 PM

What brands stand out to you? Which brands make you say – yes, I love this brand?

Note: This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks. 

Nordstrom stays ahead of the Social Media Curve

Nordstrom, the brand that has been cutting edge in both mobile and social, has done it again. It’s kicking butt and taking names with another visual app. First, there wasPinterest, where they did a great job of integrating online and offline. The brand took loyal UGC content, and “pinned” their actual items within the store — showing what consumers preferred most. This allowed some consumers to feel special, and others to get intrigued and excited by their purchase. They were allowing consumers to tell their story, and become part of the Nordstrom story (and vice versa).

Linking online and offline, seems easy, but not always the case. It’s taking different sets of behaviors and figuring out how they work together. People have very unique mobile and social behaviors, and they not only by device, but also by channel. For example, a primary behavior on Pinterest is dreaming and planning. People plan their future homes, their weddings, the arrival of a new baby, or a summer vacation. Others dream about what that wedding will be like when they arrive their one day. And others are inspired by the dreams and planning of other Pinterest users and influencers. Those dreams and plans can become a reality when you walk into a store like Nordstrom and you see those sparkly heels for your Big Day. The bride-to-be is walking into the store to be inspired in person. She may also be on a mission and searching for something particular. And a store like Nordstrom, can help her search, and/or help her “discover” more than she had thought she could find or imagine. It connects her online inspiration, with her in person discovery.

Recently, Nordstrom helped their audience connect with the products they “want” and “need” from their mobile behaviors to their in-store behaviors through Wanelo. They are are integrating social TV displays within their physical stores. This will allow the younger audience (mostly female) to be inspired and discover along with other fellow fans – what is most loved and wanted by others. Along with Pinterest, and sites like Polyvore, Wanelo allows for unbelievable engagement with products as well as referral traffic to sites and points of purchase. And if Nordstrom’s 1.2 million followers on Wanelo, wasn’t enough proof, check out these stats:

  • Wanelo went from 1M to 10M users in 2013
  • With 200,000 product uploads, Nordstrom had 30 million product saves by consumers
  • There was an average of 343 saves per Nordstrom product

I am sure the in-store integration will  not only increase the awareness and engagement for Nordstrom, but bring the awareness of Wanelo itself for other brands through the offline audiences. Fashion brands, take note - social shopping apps like Wanelo are a gold mine for style trendsetters and fashionistas alike. And this isn’t to say that other brands can’t excel. When it comes to home decor, it’s a similar playing field (with a lot less players). Get after it.

Sources: Racked.com; Buzzfeed.com; Techcrunch.com

This post was originally written for socialnomics, and can also be found here 

The Not-So-New Jelly App & Why You Should Check it Out

jelly app

Jelly. Another obscurely named app? Maybe. Useful? Maybe. If you use it to your advantage and think of it as a resource.

So what is the Jelly app and why should you care?

To summarize from the past couple months, “Twitter co-founder Biz Stone released Jelly, an app that allows users to ask a question with an image, and immediately receive a response through a link, a drawing on the original image, or simple text.

Some may ask: what’s the point? Isn’t that just like Quora or Thumb? Not exactly. While it’s tempting to write off something like Jelly as social-mobile’s latest shiny object, Stone’s latest project has some unique features and functionality that could prove useful to marketers.”

What’s useful about the Jelly app for Emerging Startups?

  • It’s free. Yes, some apps start out free, but have a paid element later, but for now Jelly is a free experience. So let’s take advantage while we can.
  • Audience. You’re utilizing not just your audience, but your audience’s audience. So for example, you aren’t just asking a question to your Twitter audience, but also the people they follow. Extending this reach is super beneficial to reach more eyeballs.

To read more on why it’s “easy to use,” good for “real time,” and especially for Market Research on your products and services, check out my full post on Startup Fashion.

Image source André-Batista

Monetizing your Brand through Storytelling App Instagram

Instagram is a fun, visual, and engaging channel for brands, influencers, and consumers. People love posting photos of their meals, outfits, pets, vacations, so on and so forth.Brands can take advantage of Instagram by focusing on people’s passion points and what evokes emotion from them each day. For example fashion brands can easily upload photos of their upcoming lines, models wearing their latest and greatest, influencers wearing their exclusive garb on their vacations, etc.

So you get followers, got it. You get likes and comments. Awesome. But what about selling your products? You can do that too – really. Instagram has become another avenue for referral traffic to your brand site, consumer products, and direct purchase.

3 ways to monetize your brand through Instagram:

Keep it Simple: Sometimes it’s easier just to provide a link to your blog and/or product link for consumers to find the item they want with one action. Why make it harder through re-directing a few different times. Tip – you cannot actually “click” on the link. Someone will have to re-enter the link on their browser. But for now, it will do. Instagram, are you listening?

Brand Example: Nordstrom – They do a great job of giving you the item reference # so you can find the exact item on their site with less searching. Great way to get around the current roadblock.

 

Use Influencers: There is a plethora of instagram influencers who are probably already posting your products or like-minded photos. For example bloggers like Daniela Ramirez or better known as @nanysklozet on Instagram is constantly posting about what she wears, how she wears it, and what’s in her “klozet.” It gives her followers ideas on what brands are great to purchase from and why it rocks. She will post links to the items on her blog, so she’s creating referral traffic for the brands not only from her instagram account through branded hashtags, but also through her style blog. Double the score.

There’s an App for That: The tough thing  as mentioned above, is when you provide a link, no one can click through the app currently. However there are workarounds such asLike To Know It  which allows influencers to post a direct link for purchase of the item they’re promoting. Additionally, it allows consumers to find that specific item without hunting, and/or similar products to what they saw on the app. For example, perhaps that pair of shoes was a tad too pricey, maybe there’s a more attainable pair you can purchase with the same look. Why is an app like this important for both influencers and brands? Because it’s a direct path to purchase for consumers who want what the influencers have. They want it right then and there. So let them have it at their fingertips.

Infuencer Example: Aimee Song (@Songofstyle) uses Like to Know it!

Alternatively, if Like to Know It is too complicated with Reward Style (invite-only) registration, services like Soldsie and Chirpify allow for quick and instant transactions through the comments feed (utilizing action words and hashtags).

Bonus Tip – If you only post the photo and no way for them to find out about how to get it, they’ll lose interest in the brand (especially if the brand doesn’t respond). Provide a relevant brand hashtag, a link to the item they are coveting, and/or tease them until it’s available. Sneak peeks are a great way to entice a frenzy at launch. Just look at SJP Collection as an example with their exclusive launch through Nordstrom.

 

Questions on how to use instagram for your brand? Reach out in the comments below!

This post was originally written for Socialnomics and can also be found here.

Photo Creds:

http://instagram.com/nordstrom
http://instagram.com/nanysklozet
http://instagram.com/songofstyle
http://instagram.com/sjpcollection
http://liketoknow.it/

Why you Should Supplement your Content Creation with Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Benefits

Creating content is a beast. You heard right. A beast. It can take hours to plan, write, edit, and schedule accordingly. And truthfully most brands have a hard time doing it all themselves.

Some brands need to source out, curate, and/or co-create content in order to supplement the content they create themselves. One way to do this is working with guest bloggers. They can be a real asset as you create your content strategy and calendar

Let’s discuss some of the benefits to your brand and to the guest bloggers who choose to contribute…

Benefits to Your Brand:

  • You have more content resources
  • You have more time to focus on the content your brand is creating
  • You have a new viewpoint that you may not have considered before
  • You begin to create a content arsenal
  • Depending on your content strategy, fans of your brand may be more likely to trust and see value when a third party is writing about it
  • You gain a new audience through the guest blogger’s social amplification
  • You become a trusted resource for content and in turn, your fashion line

Benefits to the Blogger:

  • Growth of your expertise through reputable sources
  • Growth of your personal brand
  • Growth of your audience through cross-promotion
  • Extra money to continue building your personal brand/ business

What are the five things you need to consider as you start down this road? Check out my checklist here on my full post on Startup Fashion!

Five Must-Have Marketing Skills for a Startup Marketer

 

marketing skills

In the startup world, when you’re beginning your new business, everything is going really fast. You’re wearing twenty different hats a day. One minute you’re the marketing manager, the next you’re the project manager, and yet another you’re the production manager.

Unfortunately, with the speed of the startup scene, sometimes certain skill sets fall to the way-side. So instead of letting that happen, make time to ensure that certain marketing skills are kept polished; whether it’s through workshops once a month, webinars, or just diving in with a good old business book.

Here are five key marketing skills that every brand must have. 

Storytelling

This is a unique skill that any marketer needs in order to be successful. It allows a brand to be unified across channels, allow consumers to understand what the brand stands for, and believe in the brand. It allows for the human side to come out and connecting with consumers on a deeper level. In addition to online storytelling through images, video, and written content, storytelling transcends to in-person interactions with customers.

Thinking Mobile First

When it comes to marketing your content, realize that people are always on the go. The one device that is always on them is their phone (and most likely a smart phone). Therefore, when creating your content and social strategy, designing your website, and/or strategizing your e-commerce efforts, it’s valuable to understand how your content will live on mobile devices first, then tablet, then desktop.

Differentiating Social Media Channels

It’s important to understand how each channel works, what it’s used for, which audiences are on it, and how best to distribute content within those channels. For example, one brand may be better suited for YouTube with its variety of videos,  while another may consider creating a tumblr blog for aggregating their content in one place for a community that is hungry for discovering and sharing cool stuff. Each channel is different and provides different features, which may enhance your products or services. Being knowledgeable on the ones that best fit your brand and your competition is helpful in creating the best marketing plan to be successful now and in the future.

Understanding SEO

This is one of the underpinning of being successful organically. Although Google makes changes on how people will be successful with their SEO tactics, it’s important to keep up. Whether it’s tagging your content with the right keywords, getting more shares on social, or distributing on partner channels for a larger audience – make sure you take the time to understand how SEO can play to your benefit.

To check out my tips around Data and Why it’s important to Understand all of the above, check out my full post on Startup Fashion!

Image via colinlogan

Five Tips to Building your Band of Brand Loyalists

It’s easy to find someone to sponsor your brand and your brand content, but to find someone who will do it without a paycheck, now that’s when you’re in the loyalist category. Loyalists are excited about news from the brand, new content put out, they follow them on social channels, they are advocates on behalf of the brand, and they are current customers. They’re the ones you can count on when shit hits the fan, and some mishap happens, or the brand is being bashed for something that was misunderstood by others. Those loyalists will speak up, they will stand behind the brand, and they will continue to be a customer. In turn, those loyalists will inspire others to consider the brand. Or at minimum, create some awareness that “this brand” is worth checking out.

So how do you create brand loyalists? There is no “follow this checklist” and you’ll have a band of loyalists at your door. It takes time, and it takes effort, and it’s different for each brand. However, there are some things that are important for each brand to consider as they figure out what works best for them.

Here’s a quick list to have in your back pocket at all times (but please don’t be fooled by the word, quick):

1. Transparency - Be transparent and honest about your brand. Either way the consumers will find out the truth, so why not tell it yourself. Brands like Toms may have it easy as their stories inspire others to act, give back, and truly love the brand. Others have it harder, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to tell your story in a way that impacts and connects others.

2. Have the best customer service ever - Customer service can make or break many customer relationships. Brands like Amazon have impeccable customer service to a point that they don’t question when something is wrong, but aim to fix the problem swiftly and make up for it. I remember one time when an item I purchased was delivered to the wrong location, I was so disappointed. Within 12 hours, it was in my hands due to their customer service help. Impressive.

3. Create Connections that Make an Impact - Customers don’t want to be treated as “just another wallet to take from.” They want to be appreciated. It can be as small as remembering their name when they walk into a store, or reaching out to them via a Tweet to say thank you. Nordstrom does a great job at this, when they say thank you whenever their mentioned by their followers on Twitter. It’s a small token, but it’s appreciated nonetheless. Whatever the effort, the effort is worth it to make a connection with your customers.

4. Give Value through Content - Providing value is a key component for any brand. Content is one way to go about that. For example, IBM has over 5 unique tumblr blogs, where they pump out different content on a daily or weekly basis. They are keeping their customers hungry for more – through consistent, quality, and fun content. It’s educational and entertaining – which is no easy feat! Take pointers.

5. Always be there - Your customers aren’t going to go to your website to see what you’re up to (at least not regularly). So be where they are. Be where they with thoughtful value and appreciation for their time. Provide them with content they want, customer service they deserve, a please and a thank you. And having a sale on your products, doesn’t hurt either!

In short, relationships that brands have with consumers are much like regular relationships. They take time to build, and can end quickly. Take the time to build a trustworthy one with true honesty/transparency, keeping in touch, being emotional, and offering true value. With time, that relationship will blossom and become amazing. Some will last a lifetime, others will fade. In the end, it’s better to have build some that lasted a few months than none at all.

This post was originally written for Socialnomics and my full post can also be found here. Thanks!

My Current Brand Crush (Maybe Love): Sole Society

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We, as consumers (and definitely marketers) have our crushes, our flirtations, and sometimes we commit to a brand we truly love. I’m currently having a major brand crush on Sole Society. Why? A few simple reasons:

1. They have a great affordable fashion line

Sole Society is known for “affordable fashion” – making it attainable for most women who adore looking great, but not breaking their bank to do so. The brand offers up items that are both on trend, but also classic. They partner with style inspirations like Julianne Hough to design their lines. And as of late, obtained Andrea Wasserman as CEO. I knew I liked her when she replied to me on Instagram, but the fact that she came from Nordstrom (my other major crush), demonstrates her ability to choose working for brands that put the consumers first. And that brings me to my next two points…

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2. They market themselves with style

Sole Society can be found on most channels, which allow for visual content to be at the forefront. They’re avid posters on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. My favorite is when I am able to get an inside look into what shoes they have yet to even put on their website or in stores. Getting an inside peek at the new colors, designs, and lines for the upcoming season is a brand lover’s dream. We feel like we have been let in on a secret that others don’t know about. Marketers, take note – this is a great tactic to get your consumers to come back for more!

Additionally, Julianne Hough who has her line on Sole Society gives sneak peeks through her Instagram channel too. Although she can afford shoes much more expensive, it’s great to see a strong, stylish female partnering with a brand the average female can afford and feel like she’s wearing high class style. And tying an influencer with a fun-loving spirit like Julianne to a fun-loving brand like Sole Society is a perfect strategy to get consumers to turn their heads at the brand – creating both awareness and consideration.

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To read my 3rd reason for totally crushing on Sole Society (and it’s major) check out my full original post on Marketing on the Rocks!

It’s NOT too late to Clean up your Social Media Marketing this New Year

 

Clean up your social media marketing in 2014

When it comes to the New Year and Q1 of most business plans, we are constantly thinking what we should/could do to revamp our strategies, tactics, and presences online and offline. Where to start? Sometimes it’s about looking back and seeing what worked and didn’t; and other times it’s just about making small tweaks in order to optimize your brand’s performance on social media.

Here are 6 Ways to Clean Up Your Social Media Marketing in the New Year

Profile

Remember when you started on social media and you had to choose that pivotal logo or image to represent your brand? That image may still work, but sometimes you need to tweak your bio in order to describe what your business does today (especially if it’s expanded over the past year).

Tip: Use your google analytics and trends to see what search terms consumers use and look for when it comes to your brand and competition. Use those in your bio so you are easier to find and your description of your product or service is easier to understand by your potential customers. Remember, sometimes it’s not about saying that you provide “x” but using synonyms that your audience may also search for. Think like a consumer.

Follow Back

Over the past year, surely a large amount of people have found you, loved what you have to offer and in turn have liked, shared, tweeted, and followed you because they value you as a brand. Show them how much you value them too! Follow back. It is a two way relationship after all.

Re-evaluate Your Strategy

Your social media strategy is a part of your everyday tactics, each tweet, and each monthly theme. Look back to see which themes, topics, and content formats resonated most with your audience. Even though you may have loved that video of your holiday party you posted, perhaps your audience didn’t care for it. Or perhaps you didn’t post it on a channel where your audience wanted that video.

Tip: Look back and evaluate: (1) topic calendar; (2) content formats; and (3) time/day of posting said content. Start there and see where you land.

Channels

As in #3 above, it’s important to see what works, and what doesn’t. You may love posting fun vine videos, but perhaps your audience is more likely to engage with you on instagram. Be where your audience cares for your content, and where they want to engage with you. You don’t need to be on every channel just to be hip with social media.

To read more on Staffing Up and Thinking Mobile First – Check out my Full Post on Startup Fashion here!