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

Live Social: Still worth your brand’s time?

Since Facebook Live, Periscope (Twitter), Meerkat, Snapchat, Youtube, Instagram and Twitch…live social has been an ever-evolving social beast. There are endless engagement benefits for influencers and brands who are taking advantage, and it has yet to die down.

According to Social Media Examiner, “Live social video also has a benefit that even television lacks: the audience can participate. Viewers watching a live stream on a social media platform can write in their comments. The broadcaster can then read and reply to comments, and allow the audience to influence the content of the live video as it’s being created.” The ability to ask about a new medical solution, product launch, fashion line, or a sports tournament while the conversation is being announced is a luxury. It’s an advantage that social media has allowed us to be more connected — as humans — and as brands with humans.

Of course, each platform/channel has its own distinct benefits based on the audience who uses it, the purpose they use it for, and the content typically distributed and shared upon it. For example, Facebook is advantageous for live-action shots from events and the perfect way to reach large audiences. In turn you have Instagram (although owned by Facebook), which due to its disappearing content has a smaller share of said audience despite followers. However, because of the non-permanence of said content, it creates more intrigue, excitement, and a reason to check-in to the stream. It becomes more of a tune in experience as TV used to be before you could record. An exclusive experience to that moment…and if you miss it, you’re left out. And the fear of missing out (FOMO) is too large to allow that to happen.

However, just because your brand uses social media to post content in real time, planning is still necessary, like any other video content. There must be a strategy with a script, crew, cast (if needed), location chosen, lighting, ensuring sound will record ok, storyboards, and of course, running through the story once to ensure it makes sense before the real thing.

So why are some brands abandoning live social within their social efforts and strategy?

Some may believe that live social isn’t providing the ROI or engagement they want or need to be visible to their audience, and make a true difference through social content. However, it’s not always about the quantity of viewers, but the quality. The percentage of folks who engaged from the those who watched. In turn, did they create an action after? Did it create awareness of the brand’s service or product? We can’t expect a 5-10 minute live stream to convert a customer through our mortgage CRM, but we can create awareness, engagement, and provide an opportunity for potential customers to understand the brand better, and truly connect with the brand rather than through an advertisement, blog post or white paper. It provides a connection point that is more human and personal – creating trust, whether you’re a B2C or B2B brand.

My theory? Have a test and learn approach for your social content. Find the channel that connects best with your audience. Create a video plan and test up to 3 videos to see what type of return they provide. Did they go without response or views? Or were you able to engage with your current audience? Find new audience members? Engagement is worth more than eyeballs in this instance, and we must determine what type of engagement matters to the brand and the purpose of the content being disseminated.

Is your competitor kicking butt in live social? Are they taking advantage? Then why aren’t you?

Be a brand that other brands show in best practice manuals — demonstrate that your brand understands digital and social, and how true consumer connections can be made through transparency and trust, using the largest channel in our hands today – mobile and digital/social.

It’s never too late to focus on your digital strategy

With the new year half way gone, brands are going through their budgets—and must determine how to spend the remainder based on previous metrics and business needs to ensure they reach their annual digital goals. This includes but is not limited to digital, which entails SEM, Paid Social, Media, CRM, and lead generation.

The last thing any brand wants is to come up short on their budget or on their KPIs.

An important first step is to look back at last year’s and the current year’s analytics, and evaluate what worked based on your brand and segment’s benchmarks, and what makes sense to increase, continue, and kill in regards to strategy and tactics.

According to Forbes, digital is the best way for marketers to truly reach their audience where they already areand is the most cost-efficient.

Here are five things to consider to increase your digital success:

1) SEO – Review your Google Analytics and Adwords reports to determine the best performing keywords and content, and determine what percentage is coming from SEM vs. SEO.

If your site relies only on paid traffic, your budget will likely end up bleeding dry, unless there is significant investment in SEO capabilities.

Consider the following:

Regular quality content. (And this doesn’t mean quantity!) It means content that a brand’s audience will find valuable. It is content that is distributed in a measured pace so your target audience knows when to expect it.

For example if it’s an article, ensure it’s an article that you can be an authority on, with content your audience will consume thoroughly and hopefully share and/or go on to consume more of in the next installment.

Ensure your content is tagged, and uses proper keywords to compete.

Tag your content in Voice Search, which searchengineland expects to be a major trend in 2018.

Cross-and back-link (where appropriate) to articles with previously well-written content to help direct traffic to your site.

Visit https://victoriousseo.com/services/link-building/ to learn more.

 

2) Leads – After analyzing where the majority of your leads came from, and the associated spend, determine which lead sources are worth moving forward with.

For most brands, especially B2B, leads are critical to the success of the company. Generating leads enables a brand to nurture potential customers through the sales funnel, and hopefully, convert them into customers and loyal advocates down the road.

What more can brands do?

Facebook is known for cost efficient lead generation, because advertisers are able to specifically target their audience down to interest level, and has reasonably priced lead generation ads.

LinkedIn is another helpful channel, allowing brands to target specific career categories. However, Facebook remains one of the most effective platforms for targeting based on cost.

Bottom line: ensure the tools your brand is using are low CPL and capture quality leads, not just quantity.

 

3) Engagement –  Analyze the purpose of the engagement tactics your brand utilized last year, and determine if the results made sense for the purpose.

Was it to get clicks, or was it to get shares, or simply to get comments? Each piece of content has a particular purpose.

If you haven’t already, this year you must determine your brand strategy based on intent and purpose in order to measure and analyze accurately.

For example, it’s very difficult to compare the success of a video, which is measured by views, to an article, which is measured by clicks to your site.

In order for your content to be successful, ensure your analytics marketer is comparing apples to apples.

 

4) Views – As mentioned above, engagement is different and so are views.

Views have different definitions on different channels. Evaluate last year’s numbers based on the channel and their particular benchmarks, rather than the exact amount of views.

Using these insights, your brand can determine which channels are worth continuing with this year, which channels are worth more investment, and potentially, if video works for your brand in the first place.

If video does work for your brand, but not all video, it helps to determine length options (15 vs 30 vs 60), and types of videos (ex. How-to vs. interview).

 

5) Purchase – Last but definitely not least is purchase. A great example is e-commerce, where your marketing team can see exact calculations to determine which tactics led to the most purchases. Seeking the advice of some marketing experts like Andy Defrancesco would be of great help to your marketing team.

For instance, an alcohol brand selling on a 3rd party delivery site can attribute their e-mail marketing campaign with the partner to an exact purchase. They can see how many clicks were true attributions, and which marketing tactics did not help at all.

This year, go a bit further and ensure the brand’s tagging and tracking is set for both internally and for partners, so the products and conversions can be measured back to your marketing action based upon the channel used.

Marketing never ends, and neither do the metrics. Is your brand ready?

 

Originally written for social media club.

4 Benefits of Augmented Reality for your Brand

Let’s start with the basics.

What is augmented reality: an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (such as a smartphone camera) – Webster Dictionary

How is it different from Virtual reality?

Virtual reality usually has a headset involved, and immerses you inside an experience, rather than overlaying it, as AR does through an app.

But why should you care? 

  1. An interactive user experience – Allow your product, app, or ad to give a new use or cool buzzworthy interaction – Ex. Solar panel charger below
  2. An opportunity to show a different side of the brand  – Provide the consumer with an opportunity to see the story behind the product they are  buying with how each piece was made.
  3. Personalized experiences – Allow a customer to customize their product (see converse example below)
  4. Let a consumer try your product before purchasing it – Imagine if you’re a beauty or clothing brand and a consumer can see themselves wearing the product to see if they like it.

This all allows for a deeper connection with a brand.

Here’s the best part – AR allows brands to offer more to their consumers than ever before. It allows an opportunity for the consumers to use a medium they are already comfortable with (a camera or an app) on a greater level on how when and where they want to engage with a brand campaign, product, advertisement or the packaging.

Check out some cool examples below: 

Haggen Das, Concerto

Haagan Daaz created an AR campaign where the consumer downloaded an appand then pointed the camera at the lid. “A symphony musician would appear in 3D on the lid and play you a song for about 2 minutes until the ice cream reached the correct temperature for consumption.” The user had a unique interaction while they waited for their favorite new ice cream flavor (with a lot more patience) and more satisfaction.

Solar Phone Charger

Nivea gave solar panels in their print advertisements for consumers to charge their phones. Imagine a young millennial reading their favorite magazine at the beach but running out of juice on their phone to snapchat to their friends? Nivea to the rescue.

This is not only useful, but it’s something people will definitely brag about and tell their friends.

Converse

Converse used AR to provide a cool experience on their sampler app  – giving the consumer the keys to choose their favorite sneaker – point the phone at their feet – and bam, it’s on their foot (through the phone). They can see if it looks awesome, or awkward, or so good they have it buy it right then.

Why should your brand consider AR over VR? It’s an easier way to step into the land of virtual marketing and advertising. It doesn’t mean it’s better, it’s just a way to get your feet wet, without having to develop as much (typically).

And if your brand has the budget, and the marketing team to put the strategy behind it, give it a shot.

image source – http://www.augment.com/blog/3-consumer-giants-who-used-augmented-reality-for-retail/

This post was originally written for Socialnomics. 

Unskippable vs. Skippable Ads

Let’s start with the basics.

What are skippable ads (via Google): A 30-second ad plays to completion, or until skipped by the viewer. The skip rate is an unbiased measure of engagement, and can be used as an optimization metric. You can create re-marketing campaigns based on whether or not viewers skip the ad. Cost-per-impression (CPM) is the same, whether or not the user skips it.

What are non-skippable ads (via Google): Non-skippable in-stream ads are video ads that may appear pre-, mid-, or post-roll while viewing partner content. … It’s up to you to determine the best balance between views/watch time…

For a long time, skippable was the way to go. It gave consumers the option, and didn’t make the experience to get the content they wanted as daunting. However, as time rolls on, the websites and networks have to think about not just the consumer, but also how they’re going to balance the priorities of the brands who are advertising with them. The brands need a real opportunity to be seen to grow their awareness of a campaign/product, and/or create engagement with the content they are putting out (ex. video completion rates – VCRs).

Many media vendors these days are going towards unskippable advertising for shorter ad units (ex.15 seconds), providing more value and investment for ROI by the brands who put their media budget towards pre-roll advertising with networks and websites.

It allows 3 great opportunities for brands:

(1) the opportunity to ensure the brand message is out in its entirety and not cut off;

(2) determine if the KPIs for the video are being met (outside of video completion rates, as that can’t be the a valid KPI for unskippable video ads);

(3) determine which networks are really working for driving further engagement with the consumer, and which ones only provided views (in the past).

In addition to this, YouTube, has said they are taking away the 30 second unskippable ad in 2018. Why? According to Google (via Verge) – “We’re committed to providing a better ads experience for users online. As part of that, we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers.” This is interesting, as it appears that longer form video pre-roll (30 seconds or more) actually do quite well in the skippable format anyway. Consumers actually do watch the whole ad and are likely not to skip even if it’s more than 15 seconds. What does that mean? Consumers are on YouTube to watch a certain type of content, and if your video content is related and relevant to them, they’re more likely to tune in and finish watching before they watch the video they intended.

Note: they will still allow non-skippable shorter forms of video.

As for other networks, they are providing more opportunities for advertisers to continue to do non-skippable (in the shorter format as mentioned). In the end, it’s not about which ad unit you have, but about where you’re placing your ads and within what context for the end consumer. Next time we can discuss more about this. Stay tuned.

This post originally ran in Socialnomics. 

image source – pixabay

What’s your Brand’s Digital Refresh

As you wave goodbye to 2016, and January is hitting you right in the planner, your marketing mind is thinking, ok, what is 2017 for my brand? What can I do this year to take my brand further? How can I make a larger impact? How can the brand break through the clutter and demonstrate it’s our year.

First, you start with Data. If you find the time to invest in collecting the right data, and ensure you then in turn take the time to analyze it properly, you’ll find the data as your gold. It’s the ammunition you need to find what is working, and what you need to do more of.

For example for most brands the bread and butter is google analytics, crm, search and social analytics (in addition to any larger media program learnings).

Here are the main areas to ensure you’re looking at the right data (no matter the brand):

SEO and Paid Search:
– Time on Site
– Referral Traffic
– Content engaged with
– Bounce Rate
– Keyword and campaign performance

These are helpful to see how your overall campaigns are performing, which channels are bringing in the most traffic, what people are searching for in regards to your brand, and in turn what times/days your brand receives the most traffic.

CRM:
– open rates
– click through rates
– a/b test on subject lines

It’s best to find your category for benchmarks so you can see if your rates are below or above average and go from there.

Social:
– Engagement Rate
– Best and Worst performing posts (content types per channel)
– Day/time
– Cost per (View, Click, etc)

Each channel will be a little different, but it’s good to look at each separately for social, but also together to see which channels are best for your investment, especially when boosting posts.

With these mandatories, you can see what is working best for your brand across channels. The best part is you’ll probably seen some synergies across channels. For example a certain type of content may resonate well with your consumers no matter where they are. In turn, some types of content may work better on certain channels.

It’s good to evaluate the above every 3 months, and then every 1-2 months thereafter to ensure you’re getting a full yet also recent picture of your brand.

In turn, after you’ve looked at your data, you want to make sure you move fast with it. Once you see something is working well, churn out that content. Get more up on your blog or website for your consumers to engage with.

Another thing to consider as we go into 2017, is the things that matter to consumers. Consumers are searching on their mobile for things that matter to them at that very moment. In moments like this, it is more likely about being both mobile and local. Ensure your product/brand is accessible on a local basis. For example if you have key markets, ensure your product is available to your consumers via online or in store. If it’s only in store, ensure it’s able to be searched online so the consumer knows where to find it. If it’s online, ensure the purchase process is simple and easy. Whether it’s through a third party or your own site, be sure your consumer feels safe with the purchase, and also finds it convenient. So convenient that they can pay through an app or your website in minutes of finding it.

Lastly, don’t forget to be nimble. Be ready to change your tactics, and try new ones. The brands who fall behind are the ones who are unwilling to change and try. Ensure your success by being the ones who do.

This post was originally written for socialnomics. 

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

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. 

New Social Media Platform Called Peach for Your Fashion Brand

peach social media platform

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

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

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

What’s the appeal of Peach?

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

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

The lessons so far are this…

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

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

And now we wait to see what happens with Peach.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

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

fashion brand improve marketing

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

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

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

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

Once you have these things in mind..

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

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

Set budgets that will help you fulfill your goals.

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

Be nimble with your efforts.

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

Invest in your content.

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

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

FIVE THINGS 2015 TAUGHT US ABOUT DIGITAL MARKETING

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

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

CONTENT IS THE WAY

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

SOCIAL IS A BEHAVIOR

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

AMPLIFYING ACROSS WEB IS A MUST

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

VIDEO IS CLUTCH

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

HAVE A BUDGET

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

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

This post was originally written for Social Media Club. 

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

social media channels

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

Facebook

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

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

Instagram

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

Periscope

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

Snapchat

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

YouTube

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

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

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Saving Time on Your Brand Marketing Efforts

 

fashion marketing

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

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

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

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

No, you can do it a lot more efficiently.

Use social media. Really.

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

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

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

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

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Nostalgia Marketing: A phase?

 

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

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

And there’s more…

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

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

What’s old is new again.

Brands realize that too.

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

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

Brands can:

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

Nostalgia…not just a thing of the past.

This post was originally written for Social Media Club. 

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. 

 

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.