Plan your Brand Voice & Tone with These Five Tips

Do you want to be a brand that is boring and bland on their website, blog, and social media?

I hope not. Instead, ensure that your brand invests some time, resources, and money – so your brand voice and tone across your content efforts is consistent and enjoyable.

Here are five things to consider as you plan your voice and tone and how it will work across your marketing channels:

  1. The Style Guide: When it comes to revising your brand voice and tone or starting from scratch, it’s important to consider a style guide that your company can follow. This allows your team to ensure they are speaking the same language and not telling a different story across channels.
  2. Be Consistent: Having one tone on your website and another on your blog, may be confusing to some. Although there may be a different audience reading your blog, it is important that both audiences can tie the two to your brand and not feel that the two experiences are disconnected.
  3. Relax on Social Media: Channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are much more relaxed. Brands should be human, casual, and talk like you would to your friend when conversing over dinner. It’s not meant to be strict, restrained, and forced. Instead brands should consider using each of these channels as the audience does. As a human, which some brands like Tory Burch do very well.
  4. Tweak as needed: Although it’s important to be less “stodgy” on social media, each channel is different and it’s ok to make tweaks as needed. For example your brand may be more formal on LinkedIn, but more conversational on Facebook. That’s cool. Just keep a consistent voice across each about the type of content you are putting out, and who the brand stands for.
Check out my advice brand tone and voice through community management and read my full post on Social Media Club!

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

 

Clean up your social media marketing in 2014

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

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

Profile

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

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

Follow Back

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

Re-evaluate Your Strategy

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

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

Channels

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

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

How to: Treat Your Social Media Fans Like Individuals

social media fans feel special

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers of followers, fans, and subscribers we have on our brands’ social media platforms. The numbers do matter; they help us communicate with more of our audience, and reach their friends and family too. But one thing you need to remember, despite how many fans you have – is not to forget the individual fan.

Each fan counts.

Here are a few ways your brand can help your social media fans feel special, and not just another number on your analytics page…

Respond to comments and questions in real time – This is the number one thing I look for in brands when I communicate with them, mention them in a post, or ask a question on a social channel. I look for some sort of validation that they’re listening to me as their fan.

For example, when I mention Nordstrom or Athleta on instagram, tumblr or twitter – I receive a mention back within hours. It’s usually a “thanks so much” and sometimes has a clever response and commenting on how great I am. What fan doesn’t love a little appreciation? In short, take time each day to appreciate your fans and respond back – even if it’s just to say “Thanks.”

Be yourself- Let your brand’s personality come through.  Don’t be afraid to show who you are as a brand.  This makes makes your ans feel that they know you, like they’re your friend.

To check out my third and bonus tip on how to treat your fans special and as unique individuals, check out my original post on Startup Fashion

Three Things you Need when Hiring a Community Manager for your Brand

Hiring a Community Manager

As your brand grows, your social presence usually becomes larger as well — meaning more social networks to manage and monitor on a daily basis. In the past, we’ve discussed the whether having a social media intern is a good idea.  But what about when you’re ready to hire some help?

Having a dedicated community manager is not only helpful but often mandatory for a brand to listen and engage with its audience regularly and in real time.

How do you hire the right person to manage your social community?

Here are a few factors to consider…

The Technical Chops

It’s important for a community manager not only to be able to understand the mechanics of a tweet, but also the analytics portion of things like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and other tool and platform specific metrics. The ability to decipher what the peaks and valleys mean in regards to the content being shared and the days/times you post is invaluable.

It’s also helpful to ensure that the person is familiar with the tools your brand uses, or at least quick enough to pick up on it in minimum time.

The Human Touch

Most brands especially B2C don’t want someone without a personality managing their social. They become the voice of the brand, and that voice can either increase engagement or halt it. Be sure to get a vibe for their personality and perhaps even get some example tweets or posts to see how they translate digitally.

Also, keep in mind that some people are better at certain platforms like Twitter and not so great at others like Instagram. When hiring a community manager, take the time to think about exactly what the role will entail.  Don’t just dump all your passwords on her and then disappear from the equation.  Confirm what aspects she will manage and what aspects will not fall under her umbrella.

Example: The  DKNY PR girl is a twitter master.  However, the last we heard from her at a conference, she mentioned that she has nothing to do with Facebook.

To read about my last and crucial tip for hiring a community manager, check out my full post on Startup Fashion!

Three Items to Consider for your Social Media Marketing Budget

social media marketing budget

Contrary to popular opinion, creating and implementing a social media strategy for your business is not free. There are several things that your brand needs to consider and set up a budget for in order to have a consistent and loyal social media presence and following.

Here are 3 Things to Include in Your Brand’s Social Media Marketing Budget

Content Generation

Social media needs great content in order to do well and gain a loyal audience. You want your followers to be consistently excited for your tweets, posts, pins, snaps, and blog articles.

If you alone are not able to constantly produce this engaging and visually appealing content,you are going to need a person or people to help you write articles and edit them as well as create great video and beautiful graphics.

There could also be the need for stock imagery, or fun things like interactive visuals (through services like Thinglink or Stipple) to make your content more engaging.

Community Management

Social media is not about posting it and walking away. Channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, and others require constant moderation.

This moderation can include (but not limited to): comments, competitive listening, and what’s happening in real time so that your brand can take advantage and distribute the right content to your audience at the right time.

In short – this takes at minimum one dedicated person to do this every day (along with moderation tools which could have a monthly fee to help to somewhat streamline this process).

To read about the final item to include in your brand’s social media marketing budget, check out my full post on Startup Fashion!

Facebook for your Brand Part 1: Managing Facebook Updates

Facebook for your fashion business

Facebook – a channel, a sandbox, a social network, a place for brands and consumers to share content and engage – is continuously growing and adapting. In turn, brands need to adapt and change their strategy towards the channel as these changes occur – whether it’s the latest and great Hashtags, pictures being allowed in comments, or just another change to the algorithm.

In this 5 part series I will cover various aspects you should consider when using Facebook as a tool for growing your fashion business.

What your brand should keep in mind about Facebook Updates:

Hashtags:

  • User adoption is still just trickling in as hashtags are rolled out to the network audience.
  • Hashtags are not functional on mobile yet.
  • It’s a good time to dip one’s toes in and play around with using them in your posts (especially those that relate to Twitter content for cross promotion on campaigns). You may find that you like them.  You may find that you don’t.
  • Listening through tools will not work yet as this functionality will need to be integrated as it was done with Twitter before.
  • This will undoubtedly increase the ability to leverage a large audience and visibility around content, especially when paid options become available (prediction: down the road).
  • Repeat: Cross Promotion on various platforms is now easier.

Images in Comments:

  • This doesn’t work in mobile yet, but should be rolled out soon
  • Allows for greater sharing of visual content by fans. Think about User Generated Content and how this functinality can really build and grow a conversation within your comments.
  • An increase in monitoring and listening will undoubtedly be needed
  • An obvious movement towards more visual content on Facebook (as with Instagram, tumblr and pinterest)

To delve deeper into the Facebook Algorithm, check out my full post here on Startup Fashion

How to: Avoid Social Media Overload

social media overload

Social Media is not just about Facebook and Twitter, and most community managers understand it takes a lot more effort than just scheduling a tweet or post. As an independent designer, you are most likely your own community manager with a limited amount of spare time to get it done.

Unfortunately for some, social media overload can occur and a day’s work can become a tad more daunting.

Rather than submitting to this overload, prepare in advance, and get ahead of the madness with these 3 tips…

Set up listening feeds

In order to be relevant to your audience, you as a brand must listen first, and listen often to what the audience is saying, what the competition is doing, and what is occurring in daily culture and news.

Yes – that’s a lot to listen to each day, but not impossible. The key is to set up listening feeds such as RSS for your social media with specific keywords (including your brand name so you know when it’s mentioned).

Simple tools like Hootsuite are great for twitter lists as well which allow you to group your audience, the competition, and news handles in a way that it’s easier to listen and also easier to respond in a more real time manner.

Have allotted time each day

There will never be enough hours in the day for everything, but it’s important to make time to listen, monitor, and engage with your audience.

Thoughtful comments, answering questions, and asking questions in return are some of the foundational pillars of a good social media strategy.

To get my tip on allotting time and more info on how to avoid social media overload including figuring out your home base, check our my full post on Startup Fashion!