How Your Brand Can Win at Facebook Live

Video content is like a hurricane running over anything in its path. “People watch more than 100 million hours of video each day” – sites Simple Measured. Facebook Live has jumped into the arena of video contenders, and it is not taking the fight lightly. But before we weigh the brand benefits of Live video, let’s remember the difference.

Facebook Live is a live broadcast that brands and advertisers can make available from anywhere at anytime to their audience (assuming there is a good connection – Wi-Fi is recommended). It is an opportunity to engage in real time like any live news broadcast or show. And the benefits (partially) include:

  • The Live functionality is all within the Facebook App. Nowadays when it is hard enough to get a consumer to download yet another app, this is a huge win.
  • Brands can broadcast the live session, save it to their channel, and also share it directly to their feed for a recap for those who missed it.
  • Unlike Snapchat or Stories, Live sessions do not disappear.

And of course there are some brands really kicking butt at it lately. Here are two to learn from in regards to creativity and launching new products.

TasteMade- Creativity

A brand known well for its cooking recipes and how-to content on food and drink – took it one step further. Instead of the regular “lets make XYZ” Tastemade made their content fun and creative with a new twist. All their food was miniature (1/12 the size of its regular formats). Sounds silly, but the content is unique and engaging and has given TasteMade a new way to resonate with their audience that goes beyond the regular how-to.

Dunkin Donuts – New Products

Dunkin Donuts, is already a beloved brand where people will really do “run on Dunkin” with their devotion. So what did Dunkin do to create even more ways to promote engagement and loyalty? It allowed a vehicle through Live video for their biggest (and newest) fans to see how they come up with new products, and demonstrate it live. For example, they put together a “donut-themed wedding cake” during a live session. This was unique and a way for their audience members to engage with them in a way that is behind the scenes, and not their norm. According to Melanie Cohn (Social media manager, Dunkin Donuts) on Marketingland – “Our first video provided fans with a behind-the-scenes look into our kitchen for Valentine’s Day, featuring our culinary team preparing a cake made from heart-shaped donuts, and introduced a special February Dunkin’ Hearts Love contest, offering engaged couples a chance to win $10,000 for sharing their story of how their sweetheart proposed.” So in addition to being unique and showing another side to the brand, there was an incentive to watch and the audience will be even more excited to see what will happen next.

 

Before you go, here are a few more nuggets of wisdom to understand why Live is the new video platform.

Video is not going anywhere. According to eMarketer “Facebook…recently reporting that video was a big reason for a strong quarter. The site said it saw eight billion video views a day from 500 million users. Taking queues from YouTube, the company has started to slip in ads to these videos, thus the strong results.” So what does that mean? Video is the wave of digital future. And if you are not sure, just take a look at your Facebook newsfeed and see how many of the posts you see are videos.

When it comes to Live video, specifically according to to Simply Measured: Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes Facebook will be mostly composed of videos by 2020. Considering that, check out these incredible Facebook Live statistics:

  • Facebook Live videos are watched3 times longer than regular videos
  • Native Facebook videoshave a 13% organic reach and 6.3% engagement rate (much higher than the 1-3% you get on other platforms)

Now it is your brand team’s turn. Ready, set, Live.

 Note: This was originally written for Socialnomics. 
Image source: Pixabay

Instagram Stories Ads Are Here…Are you on Board?

It was inevitable…once Instagram introduced Instagram Stories (expiring content as in Snapchat), it was only time before they would allow an Ad

opportunity for brands in this venue as well.

But are Stories really getting enough traction to matter? Yes.

According to Instagram: In the five months since it launched, stories has grown considerably. Now, more than 150 million Instagrammers use it daily. And stories is contributing to more content and engagement. 

A great example from Instagram is one of AirBnB – Global leader in accommodations, Airbnb, is using Instagram Stories to help build awareness and buzz around its largest product launch to date—Trips on Airbnb. Through a series of 15-second videos, Airbnb highlights the ability to access unique experiences by connecting travelers with local experts who share the same interests, from art collectors to avid hikers. Using broad (25-44) targeting of men and women in the US, Airbnb is gaining awareness of its new product by using Instagram’s new immersive, sound-on storytelling format. Airbnb is excited to tap into interest targeting for future campaigns to drive their message home among their most relevant users.

In turn, Stories Ads are going to get traction too. They are going to be less invasive as they are skippable, so the Instagram user decides which ones they watch or don’t watch. The brands have a choice of using an “unclickable” 5-second photo

or a 15-second video.  The videos are sold in auction at a CPM (vs. Facebook where’s a 3 second CPV). Best part? You can ensure your ads are right for the audience through targeting, of course.

4 ways your brand can test Instagram Story Ads:

  1. Show an experience through a series – Since stories are meant to show a consecutive flow (i.e. a story), it provides an opportunity to let your brand share an experience from beginning to end. Perhaps it’s the entrance to an event, or how an influencer is engaging with your product in 2-3 creative ways. For example if your brand is a beauty brand, it could show the influencer examining the product, using it, and speaking to how the experience was.
  2. Product launch – Since Stories are considered new, of the moment content, it’s a great way to show a sneak peak to a new release. Some brands provide influencers and loyal consumers with exclusive releases. Perhaps it’s a way to share this product with a larger potential group of fans with exclusive access before it’s open to the public.
  3. Provide never before seen content – Imagine your brand is about to release a new video series, but you want to test out a smaller version through Instagram to understand the traction for the content. Or perhaps it’s a smaller piece, that will then allow consumers to go to the larger format, on your site.
  4. Give your loyal fan base a chance to feel the love through exclusive features. Perhaps you pick the best fans, and show new potential fans how much these people already love your brand, and why.

How is it different than Snapchat? It’s a self service skippable video format. And although Snapchat isn’t going anywhere, Instagram is definitely on the verge of taking a chunk out of Snapchat’s game.

Is your brand ready?

image source – pixabay 

This post was originally written for Socialnomics. 

How to Reach your Brand’s Audience on Pinterest

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still not convinced? According to viral woot:

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

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

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

Originally written for Social Media club. 

6 Ways to Win on Instagram for your Brand

Instagram strategies

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

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

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

Here are 6 ways to grow your brand within instagram

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

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

What are some ways to do that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

3 Ways to Use Google Analytics to Grow Your Fashion Business

google analytics fashion business

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

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

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

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

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

Traffic Sources

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

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

Audience Profile and Demographics

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

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

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

Behavior on Site

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

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

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

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

BECAUSE LIVE STREAMING CONTENT STILL NEEDS PLANNING

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

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

You need a plan.

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

Instead strategize the following:

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

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

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

Distribution:

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

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

This post was originally written for Social Media Club. 

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

 

promoted pins

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

What are promoted pins?

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

Why it works:

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

How to choose your pins:

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

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

Case Study by Pinterest on MVMT Watches

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

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

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

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

Targeting:

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

Keywords:

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

Try answering these questions like:

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

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

Purpose of the Pin:

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

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

Great examples according to Pinterest, of this include:

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

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

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

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

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Facebook Reactions Made Social Media a Little More Emotional

facebook emotional reactions

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

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

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

But what do the new Facebook reactions mean for brands?

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

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

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

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

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

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

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

Why tumblr Still Reigns with Millennials and Fashion Brands Today

tumblr fashion brands

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

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

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

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

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

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

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

live streaming app

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

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

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

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

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

Ease of Use

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

Ability to Save/Replay

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

And the big differentiation – who will see it

According to Techcrunch:

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

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

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

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

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

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

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. 

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

event coverage

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the following for content formats:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plan it. Capture it. Share it.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

5 Ways Owned Content Helps Your Fashion Brand

owned content

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

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

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

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

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

Owned content helps your brand because:

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

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

Make it memorable.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Emojis: Are They Right for Your Fashion Brand?

emojis fashion brand marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should you use emoticons?

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

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

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

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

 This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

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

leverage pinterest increase sales fashion business

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

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

It’s the perfect opportunity for your startup.

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

How can you take advantage of Pinterest right now?

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

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

In addition to creating those boards,  your brand can:

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

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

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

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

social strategy fashion business

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

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

First: Do the Research

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

Second: Put Together Your Plan

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

Third: Get Moving

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

Tools You Need:

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

Finally:

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

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

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

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

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

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

For brands and digital marketers:

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

Brand Checklist: Working with Social Influencers

Grow Your fashion brand influencers

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

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

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

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

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

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

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

 

Social Strategy Checklist for your Brand

 

social strategy fashion business

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

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

First: Do the Research

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

Second: Put Together Your Plan

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

Third: Get Moving

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

Tools You Need:

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

Finally:

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

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

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

Your Brands Needs a Social Strategy

fashion business social media marketing

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

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

Social media is:

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

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

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

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

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

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

When NOT to jump onto a new social channel

 

social media fashion business

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

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

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

When the user interface is too much effort

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still unsure and curious?

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

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

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

 

How to: Leverage Pinterest to Increase Sales

leverage pinterest increase sales fashion business

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

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

It’s the perfect opportunity for your startup.

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

How can you take advantage of Pinterest right now?

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

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

In addition to creating those boards,  your brand can:

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

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

This post was originally published on Startup Fashion.

Tinder for Brands Today

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

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

See this original full post on Socialnomics.

How Brands can take Advantage of Instagram’s Search Feature

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

Why does this matter? Three reasons.

REAL TIME

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

DISCOVERY

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

TOPICAL POSTING

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

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

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

How to: Market to the Instant Generation (Gen Z)

fashion brands marketing instant generation

Gone are the days of waiting for a catalog and thumbing through it casually. Today and tomorrow are the days of instant consumption. From brands like Instacart who allow purchases to be delivered within hours; to Snapchat which allows for people to share messages and then they “disappear” instantly.

It’s become a consumer world where things are not just desired instantly, but expected instantly. It’s a user behavior that impacts brand marketing from content strategy to content distribution to purchase behavior. Let’s break down what that means and how fashion brands can be on top of your game.

Content Strategy: consumers want their content in easy, consumable formats.

  • Short, visually-aesthetic content. The quality of the picture can grab a user’s attention more than any title will.
  • Think buzzfeed type lists, 10 – 30 second videos, and photo slideshows. Content that can be consumed within minutes is more likely to have less bounce rates.
  • Blogs posts with headlines that demonstrate the main points with a couple glances. When people are in a rush, give them the gist. They’ll dig in if they are interested in reading more.

Content Distribution: consumers want their content on the go, and within seconds.

  • Content should be formatted for any device – computer, tablet, mobile, and nowadays even a smart TV.
  • It should be within the channels they prefer to frequent (not only where the brand wants to be). For example, if your consumer is planning their wedding – they are searching on Pinterest. While someone who is in a discovery mode, may be perusing tumblr as they stroll.
  • Ensure load time is quick. Your website needs to be able to load before they get distracted by the next puppy walking down the street.

Purchase Behavior: consumers want to be able to purchase from anywhere, at anytime.

  • It goes without saying that your site should be developed to be device-agnostic. It’s not just mobile first – it’s however the consumer will see it, it needs to be a good experience.
  • Some brands have gone beyond the mobile website and developed apps for purchases. Take Nordstrom for example – consumers can go on their site, but their app allows for easier viewing and filtering of products due to its formatting. This is not to say every brand needs an app; the main point is your customers want an easy experience to purchase at their fingertips.
  • Determine your largest sites for referral traffic. As a consumer brand it may likely be Pinterest or Instagram. If so, use those social channels to allow for purchasing too. Leave the purchase link in the bio for Instagram. For Pinterest, ensure that the referral link goes directly to the purchase link. Quick easy ways to allow consumers to purchase without having to pay for sponsored opportunities within those social channels.

And in the end, remember to ask yourself one thing. As a consumer, is your brand’s experience what you would hope for?

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion.

Fashion Brands and Snapchat’s Offering Snapcash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snapchat Blog

Marketwatch

Huffington Post

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

What your Social Media Marketing is Missing Today

social media marketing strategy

The usual suspects of a social media marketing approach involve a social editorial calendar where you schedule your tweets, posts, and what cultural events you may try to align with. Perhaps your brand will take it a step further and do some real time reacting and planning ahead for real time events.  These are all great things for your social arsenal.

But how can your brand stand out on social media in a sea of competition? How can you make a little more of a splash in that social puddle?

Be different.

Sounds simple, right? Not so, for most.

As designers, you’re very focused on the design. Naturally. And social media can feel a bit like extra work that you simply don’t have time for. But, as we all know, it’s important for the growth of your business. So designers tend to take pics of their new pieces, sometimes tweet about a holiday sale, or post about an upcoming event. That’s cool. But everybody is doing that. You need to do more.

Rather than doing the same old stuff, why not think about ways to really be different. Like, why just tweet on Twitter, when you can publish a whole story through tweets? Sound silly? Perhaps. But it is definitely creative and attention grabbing.

Here are a few examples of interesting approaches to social media:

R.L. Stine - An author known for scary stories wrote a story in 15 consecutive tweets for Halloween. He capitalized on the spooky holiday and used it to garner some engagement with a fun and creative way for his audience to get some exclusive content on Twitter. Smart.

AMC – Back in May, AMC took a leap and released the series pilot of Halt and Catch Fire exclusively on tumblr. Something tumblr had never done before, nor had a series. It was eye-catching because it allowed a whole new audience who may not have heard about the show dive in and get an engaging experience.

Taco Bell – In late October, Taco Bell did a pretty courageous social act. The brand blacked out its social channels (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, tumblr and its site) all for its new mobile app launch. All attention was put on their audience to download the app and check it out right then. Bold? Yes. Cool? Definitely.

So now it’s your turn. Take a minute and step back to think how your brand can stand out and make a little splash too. 

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

How to Avoid: The Pitfalls of Influencer Marketing

Note: This post was originally written for iMedia Connection.

In many ways, influencer marketing is still a shiny object for brands and marketers. It can mean more eyeballs on your content, more engagement with your brand, and ideally, the conversion of viewers/readers into advocates and loyal customers. But that’s only if it’s done right.

You could score the best brand fit out there, and the most renowned name for your particular campaign. You could check off every box on your targeting and distribution strategy. But there’s one crucial, mistaken assumption that much of our industry is still making: your influencer may be great at his or her day job — but do they know how to tell a story with your brand’s product or service?

Not necessarily. For all the planning that brands and agencies do, the true checklist involves one main asset: relevant stories.

Influencers should be contextual marketers

Let’s say that your influencer of choice is an actress. She has a large audience who follows her from every step on the street to each post on Instagram. Her fans are excited to see and live through her experiences. They’re enchanted by her vacations, the outfits she wears — how she is the way she is. Then one Tuesday, the audiences check their Instagram feeds to find a random product snapshot of some everyday item. It has no context, no rhyme or reason to be in her feed. And it’s a blatant advertisement rather than being relevant to her regular content, persona, and audience.

Our job as marketers is to ensure that the talent that we work with understands how to be contextual marketers. The products that they promote should become a part of their experiences — not just a snapshot of soap or orange juice on a counter. Ultimately, no matter how popular your influencer is otherwise, when fans feel like they’re just being fed ads in their feeds, they lash out — both against the talent and the brand. Both sides risk alienating fans and losing credibility. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Instead, brands should work with these partners to dig deeper; to help create a relevant storyline around their products and services. One of my favorite examples is when Aimee Song, also known as Song of Style to the fashion obsessed, partnered with 7 for All Mankind. The brand sent her on a trip to Catalina Island, where she blogged about styling the brand’s denim through her adventures, and shared pictures across her social channels. It was authentic because she showed why she paired certain outfits together, and during what occasions. The product(s) were a part of her experiences, not just a random post, or promotional tweet.

This partnership also felt natural because there seemed to be a clear understanding of Aimee’s audience. Marketers can’t help influencers create truly relevant stories unless they understand their community. Does their audience engage more with experience storylines? Would they be responsive to instructional content (i.e., showing them how to use a specific product or service, and the benefits of it)? And hopefully you’ll have done your homework on this question before signing any contracts, but will exposure to their audience benefit your brand? If it’s a community that’s not in your target market and won’t help any of your marketing goals, find someone else who will.

Ultimately, when done well, influencer marketing has the power to yield timely, compelling content to a fandom that’s eager to engage. Take the time and do the work upfront with your talent to ensure a great experience for them, your brand, and the audience. With the exception of some seasoned pros, simply asking them to tweet or post about your product will get you nowhere — and even with the former, you still need to make sure that you’re in alignment. If done correctly, not only will the audience respond, but you may just turn said influencer into a long-term brand champion.

Image source: Instagram 

Seven Paid Social Media Tips for Brand Awareness

First thing’s first, you need your goals (as with any marketing plan). Decide if your paid social media strategy will help for awareness of your brand being on that channel or perhaps help create engagement with a new campaign. Let’s assume for this post that you’re trying to gain awareness for your brand as you enter some new social channels. Different channels allow for different interactions with consumers as well as unique ways to target and reach them.

Some quick tips for each channel:

  • Facebook: A tough place to navigate without a budget these days. Ensure your facebook ads and sponsored posts have bold visual photos and videos. Within the feed a status update with just text will easily be skipped over. But a visual that can capture someone’s eye may allow a second glance, and hopefully a click for your CTA.
  • Twitter: Promoted Accounts and Tweets are the easy way in for awareness. Note, you only need promoted account tweet copy for the mobile ads, not desktop.
  • Instagram: Thankfully the budget has come down for brands, but the price tag isn’t cheap. If you want the extra boost go for it. But if you can manage to gain your audience through organic tactics such as cross promotion, hashtags, and influencers – stick to that.
  • Pinterest: Same as with Instagram. There are some great opportunities with Pinterest, but with the latest guided search opportunities, there are great ways to be found without needing paid promotion.
  • tumblr: The cool part about tumblr is that you rarely realize you’re looking at a sponsored post. The brands who have done it well, are sticking to the tumblr community ways of big images that captivate, and intriguing stories to keep you intrigued and hopefully follow the account for more. The cool paid opportunities include but are not limited to in stream sponsored posts for desktop and mobile. But one of the best places to really get your audience is through the spotlight ad. It allows full access to new members, as as tumblr continues to grow, so do the brand opportunities.
  • LinkedIn: I can’t say more about the targeting capabilities. You can reach your audience down to their job title. Need I say more?
  • YouTube: There are many ways to get your videos out there to your audience, but the preferred way is through Trueview in stream, in search and/or in display. The key with these ads  (especially in stream) is to have the most enticing part in the first 5 seconds. Otherwise your audience normally has the opportunity to skip after that time period.

Remember, the key for social media ads is not to just spend away all of your social media budget. But to test what posts are doing well and how you can gain more traction on those channels. For example, if you have a tweet that is doing well organically, boost it. Make it a promoted tweet to gain even more. Once you and your team learns which posts do better on particular channels, you can plan to boost certain ones ahead of time. For instance, if you are planning a Halloween promotion, you may want to ensure you have your spend ready for that week and have some posts to a/b test for the best copy, image/video, and link. And it doesn’t hurt to see what your competition is doing too.

Bonus tip – don’t skimp on the visuals. They work on every channel. Make sure they’re quality photos or videos and not just simple stock photography.

Image Sources: Instagram – lexus, michael kors

This post was originally written for Socialnomics.

FTW: When Brands & Consumers Connect

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

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

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

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

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

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