- You can get content out fast
- You are able to respond to consumers faster
- You know what your competition is doing on the same channels
- You can curate content
- You can see what themes are trending to create new content
- You can be involved within cultural phenomena
- You are able to create a dialogue
- You are able to see what content works right away
- You will know what content to put paid media behind
- Your brand can stand out
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
- 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
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
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Create a folder in your email: So much email. Save the ones that matter in a folder so you don’t lose it later.
- Use and app. Pocket is a semi-new app that allows you to collect any articles, posts or videos you find and save them to go back to later. All in one place for your viewing pleasure. Evernote also works well.
In the end it’s about what works best for you. Sometimes it’s easier to have it all in one place, and other times it’s easier to save within the app experience you’re in at that moment. Choose your social poison.
This post was originally written for Startup Fashion.
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.
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?
- 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.
- the ability to block ads;
- search within spotlight for finding something within any app or doc on your device versus having to search multiple apps for what you want to
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- View the trailer
- See movie times nearby
- Purchase tickets
- 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
Content sourcing for supplemental content is smart and it’s to a brand’s advantage when done well. But what type of supplemental content is right for your brand? That’s the answer you need to determine based on the following criteria:
Gain new audiences
Rather than using paid social or paid media to target new audiences, it helps to find different ways to reach those audiences. For example, partner with other brands/publishers or influencers in the categorical space to create content.
- Partner with a Brand/Publisher – These days there are so many content houses ruling the content space. They are creating content every minute of every hour in every category – from NY Times to Mashable to Techcrunch to Refinery29 to Vogue. And they have the eyeballs already. These publishing houses are partnering with brands to create content in order to allow access to their audiences – for a cost of course. The difference is, it’s more natural to read an article in Refinery29 that was done through a partnership than check out a banner ad. People are more willing to share this article with their friends and family, too.
- Partner with Influencers – From the bloggers like Cupcakes and Cashmere to the YouTube stars like Jacklyn Hill to many more…influencers are all around us. They can be bloggers, video stars, journalists, food Instagrammers, or a reputable advocate who has a large voice on Twitter. They aren’t one size fits all, and it takes time to find the right one for your brand (or the right ones). The key is to work with the influencer from discovery through execution. You want to ensure they understand your brand, your product/service, and what your objective is. But be sure that you don’t keep the reigns too tight. Let the influencer keep their voice and allow them to create the content in a way that is going to resonate with their audiences.
Create different content formats
Sometimes your brand doesn’t have the resources or talent to create a type of content – such as Vine videos. Why waste the effort when you can outsource to an expert who can do it much faster…and better. There are three ways to go about this.
1) Have the expert use their name as the creator and let it be in their voice/tone/way. That way you can also gain new audiences and a new format for your brand.
2) Let them ghost-create the content for your brand in your brand’s voice/tone so you have more content in your arsenal.
3) Co-create it so you have it in your tone/voice but also in a way that allows the creator’s name/voice to be shown. And in this case you both can distribute/promote it.
Content…is costly. But it shouldn’t always have to be done by your brand in-house. The best part is when you do co-create and/or create supplemental content through third party resources you create an advantage for your brand. An advantage of being cutting edge and innovative.
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.
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:
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!
Layout, the latest standalone Instagram app (since Hyperlapse), has hit iOS. The app allows for users to easily collage your photos in unique and simple ways and then instantly share on Instagram and/or Facebook.
Instagram claims that it isn’t trying to create yet another collage app, but to create one that makes collages easier to make and more user friendly.
So what does this mean?
In short, it’s a new feature app that allows Instagram users (and photo takers) to have another tool in their “artistic” toolbox. The collages have some set parameters, but from there you can fiddle around and make your collage your own.
Having played around with it, appears to take some of the best features of other free apps such as PicStitch and combine them with ease of use, and a much friendlier user interface.
The Layout features to consider when creating your next collage:
- Ease of sorting through photos on your phone
- Adding multiple pictures at once to the collage
- Taking pictures for the collage instantly (in multiple succession)
- Unique grid options that aren’t just one size or shape
- Unique ability to shift and mirror the images for different viewpoints
Why it matters to consumers:
The app allows consumers to have more fun when taking photos to post. It allows them to post more photos at once and in turn create/make a story out of the moment they are sharing.
Why it matters to brands:
As consumers can share a more detailed story of their moments, so can brands. When it comes to events, product shots, new releases, and behind the scenes – Layout is a new tool to keep in mind. It will allow your brand to show different views of the same product at once versus sifting through multiple photos.
Read more on why it matters to brands on the full post at Startup Fashion.
Recently we talked about the live streaming app, Meerkat…but have you heard of Periscope? It is the latest in the live streaming trend that has appeared and it’s taking the brand marketing world by storm.
The questions we wonder as we evaluate Periscope:
- Is it a meerkat “killer” ?
- Is it better than meerkat?
- Which one should I, as a brand marketer – invest my time in?
- Do people care?
Is Periscope a Meerkat Killer: Maybe.
Periscope is a direct competitor and it was put out by Twitter. It allows for seamless integration with the popular social channel and way more brands and marketers have taken advantage. Currently you have big name early adopters such as Mountain Dew and DKNY and also emerging brand users like Nearly Naked Jewelry, who showed us a Behind the Scenes of a collaborative photo shoot they did with several other brands.
Is it Better? Yes. Why?
First, you can integrate your Twitter list automatically. In addition, Periscope has the ability to save and view videos later. They don’t disappear in that “snapchat” sense as in Meerkat. This allows for viewers who may not have been able to tune in directly during your event to watch a few minutes or hours later (up to 24 hours).
Which one should you invest in?
If you are geeky like some of us and want to know more on investing and why do people care… Check out the full post on Startup Fashion!
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!
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.
For more questions on how to best increase website traffic through social media, reach out in the comments.
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”:
- 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.
- 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.
2015. It’s here, folks. It’s the first week back after the holiday season; it’s a week that has a lot of potential for productivity because we’re all in this “fresh start/get serious” mindset.
In finishing up last year, we shared information on prepping your marketing for upcoming year. TheFashion Business Financial Checklist and the Fashion Business Marketing Checklist have been hits with making that happen.
So if you’ve been following along, you’ve probably done your 2015 planning and your budget analysis for how you’re going to make this year even better than last year in the eyes of the brand and the consumer. But there’s one more thing to consider…do you have the team to pull it off?
The people who make your brand; the people who surround you each day; the people who help achieve the 2015 goals…they need to be awesome. There is no good reason to settle for “she’s sort of awesome”…you want “she IS awesome,I need her!” Because when you have an incredible team, it shows. Your customers will feel it and see it through the quality of the work you put forward.
So if you’re in the growth stage of your fashion business, let’s make the team a priority in 2015. If you are a brand in today’s fast moving technologically savvy world, there are 5 types of people you want on your team to help you build your brand:
The Analyst: The person who gets nitty gritty. He or she is in the weeds and making sure the numbers follow suit. Are we really where we’re supposed to be? Is that campaign really a success? This person will help us be realistic about our goals and endeavors.
The Project Manager: The person who keeps us all in line and on schedule. We all need one of these to make sure we’re delivering on time.
The Go-Getter: The person who doesn’t just do what we ask, but brings awesome ideas to the team. She’s the one who comes to meetings with things we haven’t even thought of doing yet–but love that she has!
The Innovator: The person who won’t settle for where we are today. Because why should we? This person will help us think into 2016 and 2017 today. They’ll help get us there through future thinking so we don’t get left behind.
The Fearless: The person who wants to challenge the brand. This person isn’t afraid of being told “no, you’re wrong.” If they are wrong, that’s ok. They’ll try another idea next week or month and see if that works.
To read the final one, and more tips on how to create your team, check out the full post on Startup Fashion.
This post was origially written for social media club – see more here: http://socialmediaclub.org/blogs/from-the-clubhouse/5-simple-yet-effective-ways-promote-brands-blog#sthash.55kCuOpZ.dpuf
The latest news in the battles of the social channels has been that Facebook is going over YouTube’s video domain. Facebook recently tried to “own” the Grammy’s conversation, and now is trying to “own” as many Superbowl related Ad opportunities as possible.
But what does this mean for startups and smaller brands? A lot actually.
As much as large marketing and ad budgets are nice to have, it’s not just about the money. It’s about the content. The key trend here is video. Over the past couple years we’ve noticed Vine, Instagram Video (including hyperlapse), Snapchat and more come into the social video space — joining the ranks of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Vimeo.
Smaller brands need and should figure out a way to invest in visual content, including video. Especially in the fashion industry where visuals are key to sell products and services.
Video can tell a story that a picture may not be able to portray fully.
- Video can demonstrate how the founder came up with his/her idea for the startup
- Video can show how the piece of clothing started from a piece of fabric
- Video can allow an event to come to life in real-time
- Video can allow consumers to see into your brand
- Video can allow consumers to connect with one another
- Video can allow for more user generated content (UGC)
- Video can demonstrate that your brand is on top of its game
Although some video content can be expensive, there are ways to make video happen without breaking the bank. It’s not just about the ad budget, it’s about the story. Each brand has a story to tell.
The key is finding the story consumers want to hear. So before you go out and make a dozen videos for social, your blog, and your site. Listen first. Do some digital listening research to understand what consumers are talking about, asking for, and actually want from your brand…
- Use free tools like Google trends to understand what people are searching for in regards to your brand and your competitors.
- Topsy is a great tool to see if certain numbers are working and what people are saying in that conversation.
- Look back at your Twitter stream to see what questions your audience was asking. Do they want to know more about your product and service? More about your founder?
- Look to see where your audience engages, and what they engage with. For example on Pinterest – what do they love and repin most?
- Do a poll or survey to see what your audience wants. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking directly.
Does your brand have questions on how to get started with the right video content? Reach out in the comments!
This post was originally written for Startup Fashion.
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?