Social Media: Understanding how your Consumers Use it

customers social media

Remember the days of using RSS Feeds? Seems like a long time ago; the shift into using social media as a primary source of information is something that has become very popular with a lot of people.  That’s why it’s important to have an understanding of how your customers use social media so that you can create your social media plan accordingly.

Here’s a quick look at how I use social media:

  • Twitter is my daily news feed from what’s happening locally to what’s happening globally. It’s my go-to for quick snippets, and long form content when I link out. Without Twitter I wouldn’t know half of what’s going on in my industry and the world sometimes.
  • Facebook is my brand go-to for the ones I’m passionate about. I won’t just “like” any brand and have them clutter my daily home page on Facebook – so if I like your page, that’s huge.
  • Pinterest is my guilty pleasure. It’s where I go to lust over things I want and pin away from friends or influencers who’ve done the same.
  • Instagram is my daily binge session with image content. I love following brands, influencers, and friends who share daily or moderately regular image content. It allows me to get a closer view into what makes that brand tick, what makes that influencer share such cool things, and what my friends really love.
  • tumblr is my go-to for quick consumable content from brands and bloggers I love. It’s where I read up on other fashion folks and why they do what they do, as well as lesser known folks who are just publishing their passions.
  • LinkedIn is where I read my thought leadership from people and brands I admire. It’s few and far between that I follow brands on LinkedIn, and even more selective on groups I join. The content and value has to be worth it.

See how each platform has a very different purpose for me?  I’m willing to bet that your customers are the same way.

Why this matters to your brand:

Understanding how your audience consumes content is half the battle. It allows your brand to shape your content strategically for each channel; in a voice that fits that place; in a way that is easily consumable, and in turn shareable by that specific audience.

The content you place on LinkedIn is not what you place on Pinterest.  Understand that while the topic may be the same (new collection, new event, new sale) the way in which the content is presented should be very different, based on how you see your customers responding.

To read more on how you can apply each of these channels to your brand and have a list of key takeaways, check out my full post on Startup Fashion

Five Easy to Use Tips to Optimize your Brand’s YouTube Channel

 

StartUp FASHION Business Optimizing YouTube Channel

Nowadays with so many video content options from Instagram and Vine — it’s easy to forget about YouTube. However, it is still one of the largest search engines on the web and can be perfect for enabling your video content to be discovered, consumed, and shared across channels.

We’ve spoken before about the value of video content for your fashion brand, but how about optimizing your video content so people can find it?

Before jumping in or even if you already have, make sure you are optimizing your brand’s YouTube channel…

  1. Channel Title and Description – Having an easy to remember channel name is best, especially when people are using the search bar to find it. The description is helpful for SEO purposes, and it is key to remember that the first few sentences are seen most often (as the rest gets cut off unless you click for a full description). So make sure that the beginning is helpful in understanding the objective of your YouTube channel.
  2. Video Title and Description – Similar to the channel title and description, not only is it important to utilize keywords for SEO purposes, but it’s helpful to make it easy for people to know what the video is. If it’s too obscure, less people may click on it when searching; and in turn less people may share.
  3. Video Transcript – This may seem like a silly tiresome thing you have to do, but remember YouTube is a search engine. Capitalize on those keywords and SEO value of being able to use them in the transcript as well.

To read the rest of my tips, check out original and full post on Startup Fashion.

 

How to: Determine if you Should Develop a Mobile App for your Brand

The mobile app question is becoming an all too frequent one with brands these days. A better question is…”why do you want a mobile app?” Or how about “what will it achieve?” And also, “Is it better than a responsive website?” Yes, it’s true mobile apps are plentiful and more brands are hopping on board, from the useful app to the content distribution app to the game app to the “i am completely useless please don’t bother downloading me” app. What will your mobile app provide to your consumer? Is it worth the download? Let’s break it down with the questions you need to answer before you get started:

1. What is the purpose of the app? It is important to determine if the app will be useful or at minimum entertaining for the audience to use. For example, if it solves a pain point and brings forward a solution, that is great.

2. Will a RWD site be easier and more effective? This doesn’t mean RWD is a shortcut or a simpler solution. RWD may be a better solution for your audience depending upon their habits and your reasoning for wanting an app.

3. Can your brand build the app in-house? If not, it is important to determine if there are additional costs your brand may accrue due to outsourcing the project.

4. Where are your developers located? If they are located abroad, time zone issues may cause delays in efficiency (not always, but sometimes).

5. What platforms will your app be available on? It is valuable to understand where your audience plays – are they iphone or android users? If they lean more one way than another it may help to launch one one first, and then the other. Test and Learn.

6. How will you promote the availability of your app? No one will know your app exists unless there is some budget set aside to promote the existence of the app, not just on your owned sites, but potentially across social, newsletters, and paid search to drive traffic for downloads.

7. Can your team update regularly for bugs and fixes? This is important to ensure people don’t get frustrated and delete your app after a couple tries.

8. Will your app be an investment or accrue revenue? Having a revenue model in place is helpful, but not necessarily the primary reasoning behind an app. It may be to increase engagement and provide another way for consumers to interact with the brand.

9. Do you have a mobile strategy in place? I cannot stress enough that a strategy is helpful before even reaching out to developers. Just like one needs a content strategy or a social media strategy, a mobile strategy is helpful in order to determine the right look/feel, content, promotion, audience, and how to differentiate amongst the competition.

10. Does your idea already exist? If so, how is yours unique? This is always a tough thing, but sometimes if your app is already there, don’t bother. That being said, sometimes there is a way to differentiate and make your app stand out with a feature others have not implemented or don’t have the ability to implement.

This list isn’t exhaustive so if you want to add to this list, feel free to do so in the comments below. And if you want more advice on how to start out on your first mobile app (or your 2nd or 3rd), feel free to reach out as well.

NOTE: This post was originally written for socialnomics. You can see my post here.  
Image Source: http://blog.farreachinc.com/2012/03/27/app-store-optimization-aso/

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!

Why your Fashion Brand Should Consider Video Content to Add Value

Burberry Video Content

Video content isn’t a new trend, but it’s definitely being adopted more often by brands as the value and engagement has increased with social media and blog content — especially fashion brands, in order to tell their story.

The value of video content is growing exponentially in this visual world of social media and content.

Hot Example: Just look at Burberry and how they utilize YouTube videos and streaming videos throughout their Facebook page. They give their Facebook fans the chance to have insider content on their campaigns and runway shows, as well as be there live and “front row.”

Or if you want to get really tech-sexy: Add video to your in-store experience like Burberry did below.

 

Why should your fashion brand embrace video content?

Drive Commerce

YouTube videos are great for driving action if used properly. If your budget doesn’t allow for youtube annotations (driving to products and services) then embedding video content on social sites or a blog is a great alternative. It’s easier to drive to commerce and doesn’t cost a pretty penny to do so. Note – Videos are great for sharing a sneak peek into a new product line; how a line was made; a runway show; and of course enticing the viewer/customer to “want” – no, “need” your product.

Engage

Fans, especially loyal fans of fashion brands, want the inside scoop of the latest and greatest coming down the pike. And when there’s a sale – they want to be the first to know.

Gap on Facebook does a great job of letting friends know when something is new, when there’s a sale coming up, and when there’s an online exclusive.

Read more on how you can engage with video content; and my third tip on how to take advantage of video for your fashion brand on my original full post on Startup Fashion.

Photo Sources: Fast Company

How to: Take Advantage of Vine Video App for your Fashion Brand

vine video app

Have you encountered Vine yet? This short video app is already being utilized by brands and consumers alike due to its many advantages, two of which are simplicity and ease of use.

As a brand owner, you should think about how Vine could possibly work with your current social media strategy.

Here are 5 advantages Vine has for brand content across the fashion industry:

Short, Digestible Content

Vine takes quick snippets of video content and stitches them together to create a quick 6 second snapshot of video.

The fact that you don’t need continues footage but instead can use 3 snippets stitched together is very cool. It allows a brand to take 3 different views of its new fashion line or fashion show, rather than just one at time. It also allows the consumer to get more than just one view of a product or event.

Utilizing Your Twitter Audience

Since you can sign up through Twitter, it makes it simple to follow any of your twitter followers who are also on vine.

In addition, a brand can easily share Vine content on Twitter once it’s been recorded. It can also be shared on Facebook. The ease of integration is key for content in order to release it just as quickly as it’s recorded.

Ease of Use

The steps to setting up an account, shooting your first video, and sharing are as simple as one, two, three. The process has that same easy flow as Instagram, but makes it possible to share content on other channels.

There are also other Vine tools like VineIt that are being released (not necessarily connected with the Vine team) that help find and view videos, as well as integrate with Tumblr. Since so many fashion brands utilize Tumblr, it’s awesome that Vine can be uploaded or embedded in there too.

To read about key tactics fashion brands can utilize for their Vine videos alongside their digital strategy, read my full post on Startup Fashion. Hint – there are some great examples!

Three Tips for your Blog Content Strategy

Blogging Content

Image via janefriedman.com

Publishing is no longer just in the hands of magazines and newspapers; brands have the opportunity (as many have realized) to provide the value of content to consumers through video, blogs, infographics, and much more.

Today the brand is the publisher. When brands start creating and curating content it is normally through a blog or landing page that consumers are directed through to other channels.

Does your brand have a blog? Is it ready to make the investment in writers and quality content to keep loyal fans and accrue new ones?

3 things to consider for your blog content strategy…

Content Buckets
Your blog strategy is dependent on your marketing/business goals so it is important to ensure your content strategy for your blog is in line with those goals. Then, whether you have a 3 person team or a 500 person team you need to do a few things to put out valuable content:

  • Evaluate what your competition is putting out for content and what content buckets they are focused on (is it lifestyle content, industry content, sales content, and what mix?)
  • Evaluate what your audience is clicking on; spending most of their time consuming, and what keywords drive them to your website.
  • Where are the gaps…fill them in.
  • Determine the 2 to 4 buckets your brand can focus on and  test and learn and optimize the content accordingly.
  • Note: your strategy will change with time and so will your content buckets. Be ready and willing to adapt.

To read my other 2 imperative tips for a blog content strategy, please check out my full post on Startup Fashion! Thanks!

 

Ten Tumblr Tips to Optimize your Fashion Blog

Tumblra microblogging site and social networking platform has over 60 million blogs running on it currently — including individual blogs to blogs by brands. Brands have come to utilize this platform as a simple-easy-to-use tool for their content needs. Blogs range from informative, technical, financial, news-worthy, lifestyles, and more. The blogs that do the best are those with unique and fresh visuals such as instagram pictures and the like. No wonder it’s a perfect place for a fashion blog.

The following are ten quick Tumblr tips to get started on one of the top platforms for distributing and sharing content..

  • The Right Domain: start with a domain that either represents your brand or the niche area of which your fashion brand will focus upon. My tip: either keep it to one specific niche or a couple unique ones that are related yet will emotionally connect to a few different target markets.
  • Pick a theme: Choose a Tumblr theme that is not the same as everyone else’s. My Tip: Pay for one or customize it in-house. Tumblr’s API is very user-friendly.

Kate Spade Tumblr Page

  • Follow: Tumblr is a community with a built in audience – make sure you play nice and follow people and follow back – regularly.

To read the other 7 tips I offer, check out my original post on the Startup Fashion blog here! And let me know what else you would want to learn about Tumblr in order to optimize your content and blog in the comments below.

Content, Content, &…more Content

In the days of “content being king” many brands have recognized both the importance and value of content in their marketing strategies. Simply put, marketing without content is like peanut butter without the jelly. Now that would be a sad little sandwich.

Luckily most brands have not forgotten the relevant ingredient.

Created Content

Ok, so content. Check.

But what kind of content are we talking about. Content doesn’t just mean a blog post or a whitepaper per say. Yes, it can be created content such as these, but it also includes items such as a facebook post, a Tweet, a YouTube video, a photo on Instagram, a board on Pinterest, and so on.

Just look at brands like Burberry who realize the need for being on the platforms which their audiences will engage with them on. They provide these consumers the content they want: visual elegance, updates on new items, events, and more. They took note on the content their audience desired, and made it happen.

Without content, your audience will move on, be bored, and feel that you have no true value to offer them.

Curated Content

Not all content must be created from beginning to end. Curation is a helpful tool for things like giving your insight on a topic, sharing great tips by an influencer, giving industry examples, creating a reading list, etc. The key point is to ensure you don’t just share the content and slap it on like it is yours. Give credit, give your opinion, and demonstrate why it was worthy to share in the first place.

A great example are brands who RT and share other brand’s blog posts or opinions because they believe it also valuable for their audience. They are demonstrating they aren’t afraid to share others’ content over their own. It demonstrates that they believe valuable content exists in other brands and companies too. Why not share if their audience will find it valuable?

Branded content

Brands used to slap their name to piece of content and call it theirs. Now it’s about creating content that engages their target audiences — branded content. Brands such as Nike and Dove understood this and made the investment to develop deeper and more meaningful content for their particular audiences.

Content creators are excited to work with big brands such as these in order to create videos, web series, digital experiences, and more, which will not only entertain but also inform and entice consumers to engage with the content. Netflix, Hulu and others which were known just as distributors of content before…now also create. They allow brands to share and tell their stories in a unique and forward-thinking fashion.

Seeing brands go that second and third step is refreshing. It’s not just about that youtube video but about leading the audience to engage during and afterword, whether it’s through an app experience or a content or whatever it may be. That extra step divides the weak from the courageous.

Great Example: Gwenyth Paltrow’s GOOP
Parting Tip
Ensure that all your content is mobile-friendly…especially on social sites. It would be unfortunate if your consumers couldn’t read, enter a site, write a comment, or share your awesome content just because it wasn’t viewable on a smartphone.

Are you prepared in this content-driven world? Strategize now.

Note: this post was originally written for Social Media Club –  my original post can be found here.

Additional Sources:
http://www.buddymedia.com/newsroom/2012/03/l2-buddy-media-hospitality-brand-hotel-digital-iq/
http://adage.com/article/guest-columnists/time-marketers-invest-branded-content/228877/
http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/2012/02/coca-colas-content-strategy-lessons-for-marketers/
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/fashion/22iht-rbrand22.html
http://www.collings.co.za/2012/01/brands-as-content-curators.html