Brands that leave an Impression

My surprise from Peloton and Emma Lovewell

Having worked at agencies and currently on the brand side in marketing, I know how much brands care for their audience, their consumers, and their loyalists. On the flip side, being a consumer, I’ve had the opportunity to feel the love from some brands that have truly left an impression on me. Those are the brands I won’t forget so easily, and will be even more loyal to (or a new loyalist) because of how they appreciate and treat their consumers.

I encountered brands like Banana Republic who sent me gift cards just by choosing true fans off of social media to surprise and delight with rewards. It was unexpected and a great chance to get consumers to come back in the store and remember how much they loved their products.

Nordstrom, reached out with a personal shopper, and provided a guided experience with items that were specific to my taste based on my previous shopping behavior. It was curated just for me in a special and unique way.

Amex has always had amazing customer service. Anytime I ever had even the smallest of issues, they were able to resolve it right away and/or did their best to get to the bottom of the issue with little strain to me. That is clutch with such little time in our lives to be on the phone with customer service.

Mostly recently, I had an experience with Peloton, which was beyond remarkable. To caveat, I am a peloton enthusiast, who rides her bike on the regular, and posts about the brand and my dedication to my health and wellness. I also promote their content, products, and share content about their instructors who I admire and inspire me to be better each day. My favorite being, Emma Lovewell, who has a way of making me smile and excited every time I work out. Well…Peloton reached out to me and selected me to do an appreciation video/photo shoot for Emma to surprise her. They picked me up, brought me to the studio, and everything. To be chosen to surprise my favorite instructor was an honor to say the least.

Now here’s the clincher….the surprise was really for me (and the other honored peloton members who were invited). Emma was there and surprised me on set, in the middle of my video interview. She even brought out a cake for my bday (which was later that week). It was probably one of the coolest moments of my life, outside of maybe meeting Brad Pitt (still waiting on that one).

When brands take a moment and think through what will our customers appreciate beyond the product or service…that’s when they make an impact. When they think about what can we do to show our customers how special they are, that’s when they make an impact. Whether it’s a curated experience, great customer service, a surprise gift card, or an experience in person… small or big, they are all memorable and impactful.

The Rise of the Content Platform Wattpad

 

Why does Wattpad matter?

Let’s start with the stats, because they’re pretty huge (according to wattpad.com):

  • Audience: 90M+
  • Avg Eng Time Per Day: 52 Minutes
  • MIn Per Month: 23B
  • Audience: 80% Gen Z

These aren’t just users, they’re “hyper-engaged” users who not only consume content, but contribute by writing said content too. They’re involved. They want to consume content that isn’t the norm and allows for a new way of engaging with like-minded individuals (and now brands too).

Why should brands care? Well some are already here, and production companies are ahead of the fold by getting partnerships with Wattpad to bring these stories to life through other mediums including video on Netflix and more.

Other brands and studios are allowing Wattpad users to submit their stories to allow them to create a film using their content. These are new unique opportunities to allow a target, potentially less tapped audience, to be apart of the content creation mix. They aren’t just consuming, they are engaging, creating, and being apart of the beginning of a story. A story your brand can tell, with the audience.

Some used to called it the YouTube for writers/stories. But it’s become so much more.

Here’s a cool example with how Netflix got involved and how Lionsgate created a consumer contest for creation … and it appears it’s only the beginning.

Where will Wattpad go next? Maybe your brand can help steer that.

 

When your Story goes Stale

…what do you do when your story, your brand story, tastes a bit like stale bread? It’s gotten old, people don’t care about it, and are making their own assumptions and their own version of your brand story instead. So…now what? What can your brand do to redeem itself and bring back some fresh, warm, out of the oven, share-worthy bread?

Start with:

  • Understanding why your story went stale in the first place – what was the cause, and when did it happen.
  • Understanding what your audience really thinks about your brand – what are the emotions and feelings behind that.
  • Understanding if your audience still cares, or still has challenges/problems your brand can help with. And if they’ve changed/evolved – can your brand fit there too?
  • Understanding the bigger picture, of where your competition has filled your brand’s void while yours went stale.

Then comes the hard work:

  • It’s time to take the story that exists, and start to spin it. You may not want to take it backward, because you want to go forward. What’s your evolved story?
  • Bring your consumers on your journey with you. Ask for their opinion, and let them help you.
  • Work with those who have cache in your field, to help your brand build it’s own cache back.
  • It doesn’t have to be overnight, but your brand will need consistent, regular communication with streamlined content across owned and influential distribution channels to confirm and reconfirm the new story.

Note, It’s okay to be the brand that comes after to learn from others mistakes too, so you don’t make them as well. Bread isn’t made easily. And it sure doesn’t taste great cold or stale. So let it bake, and let it bake some more until you’re ready

 

Why do consumers admire certain brands?

Why do some brands get the treasure box of loyalty, while others struggle to gain advocates who will support them? There are many reasons, but a few ways some brands gain the love and support, others crave, is due to how they extend their brand from beyond just a product or service.

Let’s take Peloton for example.

What does Peloton have that makes people love them so much?

  • It’s not just a bike, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a way to get healthier, at home without having to waste time commuting to a gym. It’s at your fingertips through an app and a physical gym apparatus in your home.
  • It’s a community. People have made multiple facebook groups where you can support one another based on your reasons and passions: including womens groups, weight loss groups, strength training, positive feel good groups, and more. This allows folks to gain friends from a mutual passion point, and extend their bike from just an piece of equipment to something they can share with old and new friends alike.
  • The instructors are extensions of the brand. They communicate with the audience, they call them out to say happy birthday in live classes, and their social media presence allows them to be more than just an instructor in the class.
  • The brand reaches out to the audience/consumers and brings them into the fold. Sends them surprise and delights. Includes them in their social media marketing, and more.
  • The brand incorporates cultural and important values into their monthly themes including LGBTQ, asian appreciation, and more.

Peloton is no longer just a brand, it’s an experience, a community, a lifestyle, and more. The brand has extended itself outside just a bike through the above, and there’s so much more they could probably due including nutrition, health tips, and more.

Not every brand can do this, and it isn’t easy, but it’s a north star worth watching and seeing what your brand can learn from these types of brands, and how your brand can “own” its own story with its own vision. Whether it’s a lifestyle, community or something else, each brand has a way to reach more of its audience/consumers by extending its brand further.

image via pixabay

 

How can your content work smarter?

Content isn’t just “king”, it’s clutch. It’s the key to your marketing success. Without great content what can you really do? I mean your product or service isn’t Brad Pitt, so I highly doubt just a dashing smile will sell for you…

So, we need content. We need great, awesome, make your audience stop in their tracks content. Stop in their feed, content. 

But how can you make your content work smarter, not always just harder?

Here are some thoughts:

  • Create derivative pieces of content from your original piece that can be drivers to the main piece of content. For example if you have a whitepaper or video as your hero piece, consider an infographic, cut downs, social (yes, obbviously) posts, audiograms, podcasts episodes, blog posts, teasers, etc to lead people in.
  • Get your advocates, writers, influencers, to promote for you. Your brand will have more cache if it’s not always boasting about itself.
  • Create a series. Sometimes a hero piece isn’t enough, but a series around the theme or area of content focus could help leverage it further and allow for greater shelf live. For example ,consider different industry variations, creative flavors for the season, and/or must-haves based on audience targets (based on your product/service of course).
  • Give extra bonus content for people who sign up. Not only will you get their data, but you’ll be able to leverage it to build that relationship.
  • If it really works, rinse and repeat with another hero piece in a similar fashion.

Content can’t do all the work itself, but it also shouldn’t have to take an army to make it work well.

Let your content work smarter, not harder.

image source: https://www.instagram.com/bradpittofflcial

From the consumer’s perspective

As brand/agency marketers we sometimes focus too much on what the business needs are and what we need to market, sometimes we forget, or let slide the fact that the customer/consumer/client and what they need/want is a key part of what is being marketed.

What it’s not about:

- using the cheapest paid marketing: this is just inefficient spend

- trying to get content out fast: this is not thinking strategically but instead tactically

- creating a bunch of content to serve up: it’s not about quantity, it’s quality (we know this)

- being everywhere at once with the same message: tailoring content to audience and platform is important. The same content format and message will not resonate everywhere.

- just doing what has worked in the past: yes it may have worked in the past, but trends, behaviors, and platforms change.

What matters more in today’s digital marketing world:

- Where the consumer is, and why they’re there: this allows you to tailor the content and message appropriately and/or be there or not be there based on the consumers reason for being there (i.e. does it work for your brand)

- Understand who your consumer is and what their behaviors are: understand your audience before creating your content. They may prefer a type of format over another.

- Think from their perspective: would you want to be marketed this why?

- Understanding where you are marketing: The platforms and channels change constantly, you need to understand the changes and what that means for how your content is displayed, engaged with, consumed, etc.

- Measure, Measure, and oh, yeah, Measure: You need to understand what is working for your client/audience today, not just yesterday. Things change, and so does your audience. Be ready to pivot, optimize, and rejigger your content and digital strategy based on your learnings.

Until next time, keep a pulse on your consumer.

 

digital fatigue has hit the runway

“Digital, Digital, get down”… (quoting N*sync for a hot second), and chill out. We’ve all felt it, the digital fatigue that has run its course through our fingertips on the keyboard, our fake webex backgrounds, zoom filters, and hangouts. After one video meeting to another, it gets a little tiring. You’re literally drained. And you didn’t even have to commute!

So what do brands do, when their target audience is tired of being online?

We have to get creative. We have to remind our audience why they love our brand. And speak to them in a way that shows “you – the brand” care and understand. Reach out to them in a way which is not intrusive, yet fun, helpful, educational, and/or just plain awesome.

Your brand really, really….really has to push out content that matters, and is quality. Just putting out content for contents sake, has never worked, and definitely will not right now.

There’s a lot of chaos and commotion in the digital media air, and your brand can only push through it if your content stands out. Here are a few ways:

1. Entertain: This is the most fun, yet hardest way. Your brand should still be authentic to itself, but consider humor, where possible to lighten the mood. If your brand doesn’t do humor, consider partnering with someone who can help in the entertainment side, to push your brand into new audiences, and impress your current one. For example, use an influencer, musician, comedian, actor, instagram star, etc – who has a way of compelling an audience to “stop, and listen”. It makes them stop in their feed. Aesthetic also matters, so ensure the look and feel is quality, and authentic to your brand’s look and feel, too. One brand that has stood out to me lately is Bala (Bala bangles for exercise), because they’ve put on a nostalgia, throwback, aesthetic to their ads that definitely stopped me in my tracks and in my feed. I mean check out their insta here.

2. Be Helpful: Provide tips and tricks that help your audience whether in a particular area, or in their overall wellness. For example, during the pandemic, a lot of people have been coping with stress, food delivery services, health, wellness, and more. If your brand can help relieve a pain point, or has a product/service that specifically can cater to an area of help, point it out deliberately. Let your people know! Let them know you’re here and ready to give them what they need, at their finger-tips. For instance, getting their food already prepared for the week, a discount on their favorite delivery service, hair and nail essentials that can be done at home, how to make fun cocktails to entertain their friends in a safe environment, and/or how to take learn X hobby online with friends. Make your value known, and make it known easily.

3. Educate: Similar, to being helpful, it’s good to make it known to your audience what you have to offer. Especially if you’re a B2B brand, perhaps offer live classes, demos, webinars, or on demand versions of what your audience can learn from in order to apply to their business, fast and efficiently. Don’t make them jump through hoops to learn what you can offer, and how it can help them – bring it to them on a silver platter. Make it shiny and exciting that this education is ripe for their picking. Make it available easily, often, and when and where they want it. Trust me, they’ll be back for more if it truly helps them.

And in the end, remember, sometimes your audience just needs a break, that’s okay too. It’s not the end of a relationship, so remember to give them a ping once in a while to remind them you’re still there, and ready when they are to continue entertaining, helping, and/or educating through your product/service offering.

Until then, zoom out.

 

image source: pixabay

Know Your Brand Audience and Give Them What They Want

Knowing your brand audience isn’t just an option, it’s a necessity when it comes to marketing well. It allows you to provide value to the audience that matters most, and ensure you can target directly to them.
Three ways to learn a little more about them include:

  1. See what they’re reading – sounds unexpected, but it’s true. Think about the content your brand would put out and see who else is writing similarly. It could be a competitor, or it could be an influencer, or it could be an author. Consider checking out blogs related to yours and see who is leaving comments. What do they have to say. What do they have questions on? What do they feel is most important? What relates to their needs and interests?
  2. Understand their needs – That leads us here. Listen to what they’re saying. Listen to them in social media. Keep listening to what they tweet, post, and comment. Make a list of what it is that they struggle with. What obstacles they’re trying to overcome. How can your brand help? What can your brand offer to fulfill those needs? For example, can your brand offer content or a product to help? If not, canyour brand partner with someone else who can to share the value given?
  3. Learn their interests – By learning what else they like outside of what your product and service, you can potentially offer more value. You can also target them better. For example, Amex learned their audience loved music, and wanted special access to events. What did they do? They gave it to them. They offered them exclusive offers to events, and an ability to have access that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

Once your brand has a grasp of what they’re doing outside of your brand. What their needs and interests are…then what?

  1. Create the content – Create content that can be geared towards your audience. It can be an email campaign, blog posts, and/or social media content. For example if your brand wants to start simple, perhaps it’s through Instagram and Pinterest first. Allowing your brand to be discovered through hashtags and search. Providing short, visual content, that allows your consumer to receive small snippets of value, while building out your arsenal by learning what works and what doesn’t.
  2. Repurpose It – When you create a great piece of content, leverage it further. For example if you have a blog post that is awesome, use some of it in an email. Take  a quote and post it on Pinterest and link back. Share a valuable point through Twitter with a relevant hashtag. Syndicate it on another medium.
  3. Target it – Use the interest targeting and demographics data and target it to the audience you want. If you want awareness, broaden your target a bit, to get more fish.

In the end, your audience is always a moving target. Like any individual they grow, change, and evolve. Their interests and needs change with them. Keep listening, and learning, and in turn test and see what works.

This post was originally written for Socialnomics.
Image source: 98togo

Battle of the Animated Content: Rise of the GIFs

 


According to Twitter’s blog – “last year, people on Twitter shared over 100 million GIFs…”- no big deal right? Perhaps that’s why Twitter has also allowed brands and consumers to discover, consume, and share GIFs even more easily through GIF search on Twitter. And if that’s not enough you can search more on tumblr. And even dating apps like Bumble allow you to respond via GIF. It’s a whole new world…

Have the GIFs taken over? Are emojis in trouble? Game of the “Animated Content” to show us who will take the Throne?

So what does that mean for brands?

Brands should consider how GIFs can play into their content strategy, especially within social media and blogs. GIFs are shareable content and allow consumers to relate and get a feeling or emotion a lot faster than reading through a bunch of text. Especially when consumers are going to pass through your content in seconds, through their newsfeed, a GIF can catch their attention. It may have actual stopping power if it’s engaging and creative enough (fun, funny, and relatable). And stopping power is a hard thing to do, especially when social media is so cluttered, through both paid content and organic. Both curated and original. Both visual and not. GIFs are a way to grab attention, and then your brand has to remember to take it from there, because a GIF can only do so much.

And if your brand is unsure, there are other visual animations that you can consider. For example, emojis are still at play. Some brands use them in subjects line in email marketing in order to get a consumer’s attention in their inbox. We all know the inbox is a mind field of clutter, and getting a consumer to get past the subject line and preview, to actually open the email is no small feat. Others use emojis in their social media text to represent a certain emotion or feeling, that can be relatable to consumers.

Remember, your brand has to evaluate and consider whether it’s worth curating existing GIFs (or emojis, etc) or creating your own. The key here again is relevance to the consumer. GIFs alone don’t mean anything, but within context and surrounded by key messaging related to the brand, they can provide an opportunity to engage with the user on a different level. For example, consumers enjoy content that allows them to share it with their own friends and audience. If your content can get to that level, then you’ve reached true engagement with your consumer. Because nowadays it’s not about the eyeballs you get on your GIF (and content), it’s about the action the consumer takes when they see it. Will they like it (ok, cool), will they share it (better), will they comment positively (also, cool), and/or will they start following your brand to get more content (even better).

Still unsure? Just look at the new Apple iOS for the iPhone. It allows consumers to share GIFs built into their keyboard. In addition, consumers have had the ability to add and use different emoji keyboards, as well as create their own Bitmoji to communicate with. There are some consumers who only communicate through imagery now (hello, Snapchat). This is a white space for brands to enter. Imagine your brand (example Top Shop) having created your own imagery (emojis, gifs) for consumers to have access to and use as part of their communication. It becomes organic use of branded content or related content. Your consumers are now sharing a piece of your brand, a story through their eyes. A whole new form of UGC.

Always do your research and only enter this universe, if GIFs/Emojis are relevant to your brand. It has to be authentic to work well. For example is the brand voice/tone humorous, entertaining and/or human. We hope so (at least with the third). If so, your brand can find GIFs that are able to be shared within the brand tone, without going against the grain of the brand. For example, an athletic brand could find humor in training, and/or provide a quick tip on how to do something. A financial brand, could find irony in finances, that allow consumers to relate. While a fashion brand could find something fun and entertaining to share. Something that consumers are like, wow that’s cool – I must share this now.

In the end, GIFs are here people. Embrace them at your own risk (i.e. at your own fun). And when you’ve had enough, they’ll be something new and shiny around the corner, of course.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

Why a Seamless Brand Experience is Important

brand expereince

We’ve all been there. You’re on your smartphone swiping through Facebook and you come across an ad. You decide to click through and it leads you to a page or site that isn’t what you wanted. You click out, immediately. Or perhaps you’re debating a purchase through a retail site and when you go to their app you are lead back to their site to check out. Unfortunately there are so many steps and not all are mobile. You get frustrated and click out.

Consumers want instant access to what they want whether it’s content, a purchase, or just discovery. They want it all to be easily available through mobile. They want quick steps, not a drawn out process.

They want it to be easy.

As a brand, you need to provide that experience. You want your customers to be excited and dig in for more. However, if you provide the experience on one channel such as Facebook, and then have your consumer click over to another and it’s not continuing the same experience, the drop off will be fast and brutal.

The brand experience must be seamless.

Here are a few small but important ways your brand can begin to focus on being seamless with your content:

  1. Ensure all landing pages or site experiences are mobile. Once your consumer has a hard time reading or viewing your content, they’ll “x” out, and are less likely to come back.
  2. Avoid bait and switch. Be clear on what your visitor is clicking on in Facebook or Twitter and where it’s leading. If it says “purchase this sweater,” be sure it leads directly to the sweater. When they have to search all over again, a drop off will occur.
  3. If you’re allowing an opportunity to purchase, make sure the steps are minimal and simple through mobile. When visitors are on the go, they want to be able to do everything fast. A few options can help with this including enter credit card, use paypal or similar connected payment option, and/or save for later. If the they choose “save for later”, be sure they can logon to their computer or tablet and continue from there without losing what they wanted to purchase.
  4. Ensure your brand look and feel is consistent from social channels to landing pages. For example, your logos, backgrounds, and font types should be similar. That way the consumer recognizes your brand and doesn’t feel like they are being led elsewhere. If you need logo guidance visit this official site.
  5. If you have an app or are considering one in the future, ensure the navigation is easy. If your brand sells products, consider allowing purchase within the app experience (i.e. Nordstrom and Banana Republic are great with this as it emulates the web experience but it’s easier to view the items you are browsing).

Whenever you’re in doubt, put yourself in the shoes of your visitor and decide if you’d enjoy the brand experience and come back for more.

Read the full original post on StartupFashion.

How to be More creative with Instagram

fashion brand instagram

Instagram is a hot platform for the fashion industry. It allows fashion designers, fashion brands, and fashion enthusiasts to create and share their favorite looks, styles, and upcoming product lines within seconds. We know this. Instagram is awesome.

But what else does Instagram allow for brands?

The key is creativity. And planning.

Use an artistic lens: Some Instagram bloggers take everyday objects and make them into an artistic photo. For example, one shot I saw used kitkat candy pieces as the black keys on a piano. It was crafty and fun. While this has nothing to do with fashion, a similar play could be done with a hanger, a sewing needle, or a sketchpad. Doing stuff like this demonstrates the creative side of a brand.

Add locations: Now that locations are becoming a part of discovery and trending posts, it is more appealing to add a location in order to join conversations. Similarly, this is an opportunity to look into what’s trending and what locations already are, in order to plan out real time (or near time) content.

Create a full look book layout: Lately, I’ve been seeing more and more brands utilizing each photo as a piece of a larger photo (or look book). It’s interesting to see one by one, but when you go to a brand’s page and look at the images together, it’s beautiful. The pieces of the larger image are an incentive to take a closer look. And it’s definitely an opportunity to stand out for a new line, special offer, or event coming up.

Lastly, look to see what your fans are creating and sharing. It could be an opportunity to emulate or demonstrate how much you appreciate their creativity and style too. For example, regram theirs, or use their photo as inspiration for your own and credit them.

It’s a great way to go beyond the typical Instagram shot and stand out among the many other Instagram bloggers and brands out there.

See original full post on Startup Fashion.

Exclusive Content: Make consumers feel special

exclusive content

Exclusive content is the new black. It’s one of those things that people get excited about and never quite goes out of style. Whether its the 90s, 00s, or now, consumers want to feel like they’re in the know. The cool club. That they’re getting special exclusive stuff that maybe their friends aren’t…yet.

Your brand can be that content creator.

You can create content that makes your current and future customers feel as though they are the most important and special people around.

So how do you do this? It doesn’t take as much time as you may think. There a few ways that you can make your content appear more exclusive without the extra time spent. Here are a few ideas:

  • Provide exclusive content on a specific channel. For example, allow your Instagram or Snapchat fans to get an inside look into your upcoming product that hasn’t been released to the masses yet.
  • Better yet, allow them to impact what the new product line will be called. Snapchat is easier for this exclusivity, as it can’t be as easily shared onto Facebook as Instagram can. On the other hand, if your brand does prefer Instagram (which is a great vehicle for visual content), sending a private DM to fans can do the trick too.
  • Give your blogger collaborators the spare set of keys: Allow 3-5 bloggers to also give away the product. This way you reach more people who may be interested in your brand, but are still providing an exclusive opportunity for fans.
  • Make opportunities time sensitive: Whether a contest or something else altogether, create a feeling of exclusivity through small windows of time that makes the entire experience extra special.

To read more on how you can lead up to this, and follow up with your consumers, check out the full post on startup fashion.

Podcasts: They’re Cool Again

fashion podcasts

Have you played around with Podcasts yet?  I know, it’s not all that appealing because there are no visuals but they’re actually cool again. It’s not all about visual content when you’re trying to attract new audiences.

Podcasts are no longer un-cool content. They’re inspiring, engaging, and great for on-the-go consumption.

Just think about SERIAL and how it gained momentum. If it sounds vaguely familiar but you’re not quite sure what it’s all about, here’s the deal: It was a weekly podcast that was so suspenseful and well done that people got completely hooked on the story and could not wait until the release of the next chapter. Yes, it was a suspense filled podcast, but just because you’re not sharing a suspenseful story, doesn’t mean you can’t share something that will keep people coming back for more.

If you’re interested, you can check out this list created by Who What Wear fashion podcasts, of the most awesome fashion podcasts for your listening pleasure.

The key with using podcasts to build community around your brand, figuring out a way to tell a “story” that makes listeners want to come back for more.

Podcasts allow brands to reach new audiences and build community by:

  • Marketing themselves to an audience who wants to learn more about a certain category
  • Telling a story through chapters
  • Allowing a brand advocate to voice their brand love
  • Giving an influencer the keys to speak on the brand’s behalf
  • Creating referral traffic back to a site experience to learn more
  • Allowing the audience to see a different side of the brand

For most brands, visual content has been key – especially with Instagram, Pinterest, tumblr, Snapchat, so on and so forth. However, it doesn’t mean that ‘on the go’ and ‘easily consumable’ content has to be visual in order to be engaging. There are multiple ways to tell your brands story, and podcasts are another tool for the toolbox.

To check out the full original post, go to Startup Fashion.

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. 

 

Invest in Great Content

Content takes many shapes and forms these days. It can exist in as small as a tweet, to a Snapchat video, to website copy, to a whitepaper. Every brand has different formats and types that work best for them and their audiences in order to reach their marketing and business objectives. However, does a brand always have to invest in creating content themselves? Not necessarily.

Content sourcing for supplemental content is smart and it’s to a brand’s advantage when done well. But what type of supplemental content is right for your brand? That’s the answer you need to determine based on the following criteria:

Gain new audiences

Rather than using paid social or paid media to target new audiences, it helps to find different ways to reach those audiences. For example, partner with other brands/publishers or influencers in the categorical space to create content.

  • Partner with a Brand/Publisher – These days there are so many content houses ruling the content space. They are creating content every minute of every hour in every category – from NY Times to Mashable to Techcrunch to Refinery29 to Vogue. And they have the eyeballs already. These publishing houses are partnering with brands to create content in order to allow access to their audiences – for a cost of course. The difference is, it’s more natural to read an article in Refinery29 that was done through a partnership than check out a banner ad. People are more willing to share this article with their friends and family, too.
  • Partner with Influencers – From the bloggers like Cupcakes and Cashmere to the YouTube stars like Jacklyn Hill to many more…influencers are all around us. They can be bloggers, video stars, journalists, food Instagrammers, or a reputable advocate who has a large voice on Twitter. They aren’t one size fits all, and it takes time to find the right one for your brand (or the right ones). The key is to work with the influencer from discovery through execution. You want to ensure they understand your brand, your product/service, and what your objective is. But be sure that you don’t keep the reigns too tight. Let the influencer keep their voice and allow them to create the content in a way that is going to resonate with their audiences.

Create different content formats

Sometimes your brand doesn’t have the resources or talent to create a type of content – such as Vine videos. Why waste the effort when you can outsource to an expert who can do it much faster…and better. There are three ways to go about this.

1) Have the expert use their name as the creator and let it be in their voice/tone/way. That way you can also gain new audiences and a new format for your brand.

2) Let them ghost-create the content for your brand in your brand’s voice/tone so you have more content in your arsenal.

3) Co-create it so you have it in your tone/voice but also in a way that allows the creator’s name/voice to be shown. And in this case you both can distribute/promote it.

Content…is costly. But it shouldn’t always have to be done by your brand in-house. The best part is when you do co-create and/or create supplemental content through third party resources you create an advantage for your brand.  An advantage of being cutting edge and innovative.

This post was originally written for Socialnomics.

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!

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. 

 

Digital Marketing Myth: Content Must be Visual

As digital marketers, many of us realize the need for visual content. There are more visually appealing social channels then we can count – but of course you have the usual suspects such as Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest and more. Should you have visual content? Yes. Should it be your only content? Not necessarily.

We’ve probably all heard of it by now, but Serial – the podcast – is a great example of this non-visual content trend. An old medium, but great engaging content. Why did it work? A few reasons:

  • Great content – It didn’t have to be visual to be great content. The key was the story. The story was engaging, suspenseful, and it got people talking.
  • Word of mouth – It got people talking to their colleagues, their family members, and their friends – in person and on social.
  • Suspense – It was told in a manner that left the listener excited for the next episode release.
  • Short – It was long enough to feel like something you’re investing in, but short enough that you could listen to an episode on a train ride, a gym workout, or while you’re cooking dinner.
  • It was real – The people and the content were real. The history and storyline were true. It made you invest in what was going on because you wanted to know more.
Great podcast, and now the people want more. The next season will come in 2015, and the masses are waiting. Why? Again – content doesn’t have to be visual to be great and shareable. As you can see from the Topsy screenshot below, the topic is still being talked about (for many of the reasons outlined above).
The reason this podcast (and many others) work is because they allow people another way to consume content on the go. It’s an easy way for busy people to learn more, delve into subject they don’t normally have time for, and/or just be entertained. As mentioned above, podcasts can be 5 min, 30 min, 1 hour (etc). The lengths allow for someone who consume the content while they’re completing other tasks – which is not always the case with watching a video, reading an eBook, etc. No need to flip a page, or scroll through a blog post when all you have to do is change the volume to level you prefer. This also reigns true for audible books – just check out Audible and the fact that you can subscribe to the service like Hulu or Netflix.
Podcasts  may be an old content format, but old doesn’t mean bad content. It just means you need to put in the effort to make it engaging and great (like all content).
Image sources: Serial Podcast, Topsy
This post was originally written for Socialnomics

The Process for Launching a New Website

As digital marketers, we are constantly launching and shipping. We want to get our brands on the top of their game. We want to launch fast and we want to launch something that will make a splash.

Here’s the thing – we sometimes forget or lose sight of the time and effort it will actually take. Launching something – especially a new site, takes way more time than you initially may consider or plan for. So instead of kicking yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind when you are doing your next big launch (such as a website):

  1. Do extra research – A lot of times when we have an idea, someone else has it too. Make sure your idea isn’t already taken. And if it is, that’s ok. Maybe your idea has a new spin or an advantage the previous one hasn’t considered. Make sure yours stands out. When I had my new recent idea, I searched and searched for similar sites. I didn’t want to come across as just another inspiration site. It had to be unique.
  1. Ask people for their opinions – When I was designing my new site, I had to consider the look, the logo, and the name. I had a friend design my logo and luckily my partner and I had similar taste so we didn’t go through many reviews. However, we needed outside opinions too. For example, when we came up with the brand name, we wanted to ensure it resonated with our audience. We polled a large group of friends who would be un-biased…”Did they think it meant the same thing we did?” Thankfully, yes.
  1. Plan buffer time – So, our site launch was supposed to be in September. It launched in January. Four months later. Why? Because our site took longer to build than we expected, we had hosting issues, and came across little things we didn’t “plan” to crop up. We didn’t add cushion time. So instead of fretting (or fretting too much) we changed our launch date and moved to a different wordpress web hosting company. We wanted it to be a time when the site would resonate and make more of a splash. The New Year was the new plan.
  1. QA and QA some more – This is one thing I let slip from my mind. If it looked good on my browser and my phone it must look great everywhere, right? Nope. Check every browser – even (gulp) Internet Explorer. Check multiple devices and types of devices. And do it more than once.
  1. Make a promotion plan – You did all that work, so you should promote it too! It’s one thing to go live, it’s another to go live with a bang or two. Depending on the type of brand and launch you should consider the following:
    1. Email your contacts
    2. Post it on your social channels (and personal channels if you can)
    3. Do a blogger or influencer outreach prior to launch for extra eyeballs
    4. Ask friends to share

In addition, plan to promote for more than one day or two. Promote every day during your launch week. Why let the buzz sizzle after a day, when you can keep the party going?

And…speaking of launches, I’m pretty proud to announce my new site – Radiate Daily. What is it? It’s not just another blog. Radiate Daily is an opportunity for women (and men) to harness their confidence around personal style, health, fitness, and in turn their daily lives. Personal style is something that we all have, but sometimes takes longer to be comfortable with. As the saying goes, “Fashion fades, style is eternal,” and Radiate Daily is here to help everyone be more confident with their own. Come check it out, and share your story! #radiatedialy

Image source: grumpy cat

This post was originally written for: http://marketingontherocks.com/

Five CTAs to Consider for your Brand’s Content Marketing

 

CTAs for branding and marketing content

When it comes to your website, email marketing, and social media, your content needs a call to action (cta). What is it that you want your reader to do? The CTA usually drives your audience to have an interaction with the content and engage (click, like, share) or potentially go somewhere else (such as your product page to purchase).

A great CTA can create responses from the audience and potentially convert them from a prospective customer to an actual customer (or a current one to a loyal one).

Here’s the thing though, not all CTA’s have to drive to a product or service.

Sometimes a CTA that leads to entertainment, valued content, or helpful tips is enough to make your audience excited for your product or service in the long run.

Here are 5 Alternative Calls to Action for Your  Branding and Marketing Content:

Email: Cross promotion between social and email is a great way to get awareness of your content. Perhaps include some of your Instagram favorites in your email newsletter and allow your readers to “share” their favorite with specific hashtag. Allow them to be a part of your community and potentially be highlighted in your email next time.

Website: Have them “subscribe now” to your newsletter for information on events or entertaining videos, not necessarily sales and promos.

YouTube: Instead of leading them back to the site to purchase a product from your videos, perhaps have a simple annotation to go to the next video. Let them enjoy more awesome content, because they’re obviously watching the video for a reason. They’re interested!

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion – to read the full list of CTAs including Facebook and tumblr, check out my full post here. 

 

Do Cats Really Rule the Interwebs?

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If you haven’t seen the collab between Friskies and Buzzfeed, you must be hiding under a rock (or actually doing your work).

 But, just in case you did miss it – watch right now!
The first two videos in the playlist are the two in the series (so far).  I have a soft heart for the sequel about the Dog. Especially the line about dogs being excellent marketers – “man’s best friend.” So true.

So as I was saying…Cats.

They have been kind of kicking marketing butt lately – from Grumpy Cat to other cute felines that have been making regular appearances in movies (Jinxie in Meet the Parents) to Taylor Swift carrying around her white furball on the street of NYC. And if you see a youtube clip of a kitten chasing that damn red dot, can you really not help but laugh? Or say aww? (Or perhaps you’re just not human).

The collab was a pivotal step.

Buzzfeed has been in the collaboration business for a while now and this branded content series with Friskies is a great testament to that. They made an advertisement, that is something people actually want to watch (over and over), and share out with others to do the same. I just played it at the dinner table with my family. When would you have done that about an advertisement in the past?
Visible Measures did a great job of capturing why these video content series are a success and how Buzzfeed is on top of its game when it comes to producing such shareable content. It’s not about the cat food or even the fact that the cats do eat Friskies in the commercial. It’s about the heartfelt emotion and connection that people can feel while watching the video content. Aka it’s content. I give credit to both Friskies for taking that leap and for Buzzfeed who has taken brands from thinking past the 30 second ad to creating content that is social gold.
Can you say that?
I can honestly say, I cannot wait for the next installment (please say there is another?) … and when did you say that about an advertisement? I repeat. Social Gold.
This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.