What’s your Brand’s Digital Refresh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This post was originally written for socialnomics. 

Know Your Brand Audience and Give Them What They Want

Knowing your brand audience isn’t just an option, it’s a necessity when it comes to marketing well. It allows you to provide value to the audience that matters most, and ensure you can target directly to them.
Three ways to learn a little more about them include:

  1. See what they’re reading – sounds unexpected, but it’s true. Think about the content your brand would put out and see who else is writing similarly. It could be a competitor, or it could be an influencer, or it could be an author. Consider checking out blogs related to yours and see who is leaving comments. What do they have to say. What do they have questions on? What do they feel is most important? What relates to their needs and interests?
  2. Understand their needs – That leads us here. Listen to what they’re saying. Listen to them in social media. Keep listening to what they tweet, post, and comment. Make a list of what it is that they struggle with. What obstacles they’re trying to overcome. How can your brand help? What can your brand offer to fulfill those needs? For example, can your brand offer content or a product to help? If not, canyour brand partner with someone else who can to share the value given?
  3. Learn their interests – By learning what else they like outside of what your product and service, you can potentially offer more value. You can also target them better. For example, Amex learned their audience loved music, and wanted special access to events. What did they do? They gave it to them. They offered them exclusive offers to events, and an ability to have access that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

Once your brand has a grasp of what they’re doing outside of your brand. What their needs and interests are…then what?

  1. Create the content – Create content that can be geared towards your audience. It can be an email campaign, blog posts, and/or social media content. For example if your brand wants to start simple, perhaps it’s through Instagram and Pinterest first. Allowing your brand to be discovered through hashtags and search. Providing short, visual content, that allows your consumer to receive small snippets of value, while building out your arsenal by learning what works and what doesn’t.
  2. Repurpose It – When you create a great piece of content, leverage it further. For example if you have a blog post that is awesome, use some of it in an email. Take  a quote and post it on Pinterest and link back. Share a valuable point through Twitter with a relevant hashtag. Syndicate it on another medium.
  3. Target it – Use the interest targeting and demographics data and target it to the audience you want. If you want awareness, broaden your target a bit, to get more fish.

In the end, your audience is always a moving target. Like any individual they grow, change, and evolve. Their interests and needs change with them. Keep listening, and learning, and in turn test and see what works.

This post was originally written for Socialnomics.
Image source: 98togo

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. 

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

fashion brand improve marketing

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

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

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

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

Once you have these things in mind..

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

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

Set budgets that will help you fulfill your goals.

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

Be nimble with your efforts.

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

Invest in your content.

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

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

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. 

Nostalgia Marketing: A phase?

 

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

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

And there’s more…

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

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

What’s old is new again.

Brands realize that too.

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

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

Brands can:

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

Nostalgia…not just a thing of the past.

This post was originally written for Social Media Club. 

Why a Seamless Brand Experience is Important

brand expereince

We’ve all been there. You’re on your smartphone swiping through Facebook and you come across an ad. You decide to click through and it leads you to a page or site that isn’t what you wanted. You click out, immediately. Or perhaps you’re debating a purchase through a retail site and when you go to their app you are lead back to their site to check out. Unfortunately there are so many steps and not all are mobile. You get frustrated and click out.

Consumers want instant access to what they want whether it’s content, a purchase, or just discovery. They want it all to be easily available through mobile. They want quick steps, not a drawn out process.

They want it to be easy.

As a brand, you need to provide that experience. You want your customers to be excited and dig in for more. However, if you provide the experience on one channel such as Facebook, and then have your consumer click over to another and it’s not continuing the same experience, the drop off will be fast and brutal.

The brand experience must be seamless.

Here are a few small but important ways your brand can begin to focus on being seamless with your content:

  1. Ensure all landing pages or site experiences are mobile. Once your consumer has a hard time reading or viewing your content, they’ll “x” out, and are less likely to come back.
  2. Avoid bait and switch. Be clear on what your visitor is clicking on in Facebook or Twitter and where it’s leading. If it says “purchase this sweater,” be sure it leads directly to the sweater. When they have to search all over again, a drop off will occur.
  3. If you’re allowing an opportunity to purchase, make sure the steps are minimal and simple through mobile. When visitors are on the go, they want to be able to do everything fast. A few options can help with this including enter credit card, use paypal or similar connected payment option, and/or save for later. If the they choose “save for later”, be sure they can logon to their computer or tablet and continue from there without losing what they wanted to purchase.
  4. Ensure your brand look and feel is consistent from social channels to landing pages. For example, your logos, backgrounds, and font types should be similar. That way the consumer recognizes your brand and doesn’t feel like they are being led elsewhere.
  5. If you have an app or are considering one in the future, ensure the navigation is easy. If your brand sells products, consider allowing purchase within the app experience (i.e. Nordstrom and Banana Republic are great with this as it emulates the web experience but it’s easier to view the items you are browsing).

Whenever you’re in doubt, put yourself in the shoes of your visitor and decide if you’d enjoy the brand experience and come back for more.

Read the full original post on StartupFashion.

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 to be More creative with Instagram

fashion brand instagram

Instagram is a hot platform for the fashion industry. It allows fashion designers, fashion brands, and fashion enthusiasts to create and share their favorite looks, styles, and upcoming product lines within seconds. We know this. Instagram is awesome.

But what else does Instagram allow for brands?

The key is creativity. And planning.

Use an artistic lens: Some Instagram bloggers take everyday objects and make them into an artistic photo. For example, one shot I saw used kitkat candy pieces as the black keys on a piano. It was crafty and fun. While this has nothing to do with fashion, a similar play could be done with a hanger, a sewing needle, or a sketchpad. Doing stuff like this demonstrates the creative side of a brand.

Add locations: Now that locations are becoming a part of discovery and trending posts, it is more appealing to add a location in order to join conversations. Similarly, this is an opportunity to look into what’s trending and what locations already are, in order to plan out real time (or near time) content.

Create a full look book layout: Lately, I’ve been seeing more and more brands utilizing each photo as a piece of a larger photo (or look book). It’s interesting to see one by one, but when you go to a brand’s page and look at the images together, it’s beautiful. The pieces of the larger image are an incentive to take a closer look. And it’s definitely an opportunity to stand out for a new line, special offer, or event coming up.

Lastly, look to see what your fans are creating and sharing. It could be an opportunity to emulate or demonstrate how much you appreciate their creativity and style too. For example, regram theirs, or use their photo as inspiration for your own and credit them.

It’s a great way to go beyond the typical Instagram shot and stand out among the many other Instagram bloggers and brands out there.

See original full post on Startup Fashion.

Exclusive Content: Make consumers feel special

exclusive content

Exclusive content is the new black. It’s one of those things that people get excited about and never quite goes out of style. Whether its the 90s, 00s, or now, consumers want to feel like they’re in the know. The cool club. That they’re getting special exclusive stuff that maybe their friends aren’t…yet.

Your brand can be that content creator.

You can create content that makes your current and future customers feel as though they are the most important and special people around.

So how do you do this? It doesn’t take as much time as you may think. There a few ways that you can make your content appear more exclusive without the extra time spent. Here are a few ideas:

  • Provide exclusive content on a specific channel. For example, allow your Instagram or Snapchat fans to get an inside look into your upcoming product that hasn’t been released to the masses yet.
  • Better yet, allow them to impact what the new product line will be called. Snapchat is easier for this exclusivity, as it can’t be as easily shared onto Facebook as Instagram can. On the other hand, if your brand does prefer Instagram (which is a great vehicle for visual content), sending a private DM to fans can do the trick too.
  • Give your blogger collaborators the spare set of keys: Allow 3-5 bloggers to also give away the product. This way you reach more people who may be interested in your brand, but are still providing an exclusive opportunity for fans.
  • Make opportunities time sensitive: Whether a contest or something else altogether, create a feeling of exclusivity through small windows of time that makes the entire experience extra special.

To read more on how you can lead up to this, and follow up with your consumers, check out the full post on startup fashion.

Part 1: Courting your Brand’s Advocates

brand advocates

A brand advocate is a coveted individual when it comes to brand marketing, especially in the digital media space.

A brand advocate is someone who loves your brand and will support it through multiple phases, including but not limited to loyalty in purchase, word of mouth, sharing on social, and encouraging friends and family to convert too.

A brand advocate is someone you want by your side. It’s a relationship you want to continue to grow and evolve; it’s someone you hope to have in your brand’s life for a long time. This may sound like someone you’re dating, and in truth, it can be quite similar.

It’s a relationship. And good relationships require love and care, loyalty and passion.

That’s great and all, but how exactly do you obtain a brand advocate? How do you find this person or people who not only love your brand but also can’t wait to tell the world about how much they love it?

The Courting Process:

Give Them a Reason to Believe

You need to get good at sharing the purpose and values behind your brand. When you do this, people start to notice. It’s not until a customer or collaborator feels connected to your purpose and values, that they will become true brand advocates. Without that connection, you’re just a brand making more stuff.

Flirt with Them and Show Them All Your Good Sides

What is your business really like? How is it run? What do you make? How do you make it? Become very transparent in what your business does. Let them in.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Wrong

Never be afraid to let your brand be itself and when something goes wrong or isn’t perfect, say so.  This sort of honesty is what meaningful relationships are built on.

Reward Them When They Deserve It

Recognize your customers’ loyalty. Re-gram them, send them discount codes, invite them to events (not via a group email!). Do what you can to make sure that your brand is associated with personalized attention.

Surprise Them When They Least Expect It

Everyone loves a little surprise now and then. Get creative and find ways to put smiles on their faces. It doesn’t have to be free product, it can simply be a something thoughtful that you do to show that you’re paying attention.

Maintain the Flirtation and Build It Into a True Two Way Relationship

Don’t get lazy- that’s a relationship killer if there ever was one. Continue to make sure that they know you appreciate them.

Let Them Come to You

Don’t get pushy and be all like, “Do you wanna be my brand advocate?” after just a few interactions.  No one likes a brand that feels needy.

Continue the Conversation Where They Appreciate It Most

As you work to build these relationships, show them how proud you are to have them as customers. Use social media (where they are) to amplify the relationship in a way that makes them feel like they’re something extra awesome.

This courting process is the basis for creating a brand that attracts real and true advocates.

But listen, there will be tough times. Let me tell you little story…

A brand I once worked on had decreased the availability of a product line thinking it wasn’t a favorite and there were other varieties that were performing better in the market. But of course, the brand advocates who had loved that specific product were outraged. They took to the streets – aka social media – and ranted about their long lost love. They wanted their product back, and they weren’t going quietly. Luckily the brand thought quick on its feet and discussed how to bring the advocates back to the good side. They sent through some extra special care packages to a few of the folks and promised to reconsider the sale of the product in the upcoming year. It wasn’t a permanent solution but it was a good temporary solve until the brand could decide the worth of definitely bringing back the product or not. The lesson here:

CLICK TO TWEET

 Remember, these are brand advocates, not well known influencers.  These are real customers who you haven’t paid (they don’t want your money, they want to be a part of what you’re creating!). They are the most valuable people to have on your side so do what you can to keep them there. 

Once you have them, don’t let them go. Instead use them and amplify their voices as part of your brand. How do we do that? Stay tuned and we’ll discuss some examples in my next article.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. Read more here!

Because Periscope is Worth Checking Out

fashion business periscope

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!

Live streaming App Meerkat and Why it’s Cool

 

meerkat app

Just what you’re looking for, another platform for you to share your brand’s content. I know, it’s exhausting and thinking about adding more is is just- no.

But this one is too cool not to tell you about.

The latest buzz is around Meerkat – a somewhat new mobile app, which has hit the streets of SXSW with a storm.

What’s so cool about it? Meerkat allows you to tweet live video in actual real time. This live stream option is super cool, especially for brands who may not have the ability to partner with the big publishers to do so.

Let’s break down the advantages:

  • It’s a free app to download and use
  • You can stream live or schedule your video
  • You can see what people you follow are sharing within the app or on Twitter (or wherever else they have embedded their Twitter feed)
  • In your dashboard you can see live feeds of folks using the app
  • You can see who is watching the live stream
  • You can comment, retweet, and “like” while watching

Why it’s a tool to keep in your social content toolbox:

Read more on the full post on Startup Fashion!

 

How Social Media Can Increase Traffic to your Brand’s Site

 

website trafficSocial media can be daunting at times, especially when you’re just starting to grow your business and most of the work is on your shoulders. Sometimes, social feels like too much time and you just can’t see how it’s helping your startup grow.

One word: patience.

Great social content takes effort, a great social community takes times to grow. The ROI, such as an increase in web traffic, also takes time.

I sometimes like to equate social media to exercising and being fit. If you want a body that is strong, healthy, and long lasting, you have to put in effort for the long haul. Not just for the day or week or month.

Here are a few tips to get your brand on the right track for that healthy social living:

  • The small tactics: the best practices and simple tactics like ensuring your site URL is associated with all your social accounts is crucial. Make sure it’s in your bio, clickable, and above the fold.
  • Schedule your content: It’s OK to publish content more than once, actually it will help. For example, on Twitter since the life of a tweet is so short, it behooves a brand to publish at least twice (at minimum). Of course, it’s good to spread out your content and publish on multiple days rather than the same day.
  • Link back through posts: When posting on social, ensure that a % of your content links back to your site. Although it’s important to have a good content mix, if a major goal is to drive traffic back to your site, that should take the larger chunk of your posting.
Read more on bloggers and a paid media budget, on our full post on Startup Fashion

For more questions on how to best increase website traffic through social media, reach out in the comments.

 

Video Content – Not just an option anymore

video content fashion brand

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. 

The startup 2015 marketing checklist

fashion business marketing plan

Marketing your business in the new year is most likely something you’ve been thinking a lot about. So let’s take a look at what to include in 2015 that’s different than 2014.

Let’s break it down into an actionable checklist. You can refer back often to make sure you’re hitting your goals each quarter or mid-year and make adjustments as needed.

Your 2015 Fashion Business Marketing Plan Checklist

Evaluate 2014

  • Where did your website referral traffic come from?
  • Which pages were the most trafficked?
  • Which pages had the largest bounce rates?
  • Did people sign up for your newsletter? From where?
  • Do people share your blog posts?
  • Which channels lead consumers to purchase most?
  • Is your social community growing?
  • What content is your social community engaging with most? least?
  • Do you have a good social content mix?

Improve on the Basics

  • Review your marketing budget and decide how much money you can dedicate to digital marketing and where you’d like to focus based on your 2014 marketing review
  • Make more use of the keywords that people use to search for your website content, products, and landing pages
  • Make sure to use those same keywords in your social copy – especially on channels like Pinterest where those words are used to help discover pins
  • Focus more on the channels that provide referral traffic and/or purchases
  • Cross promote your content and let followers know about the existence of your other channels
  • Invest in channels where you don’t have to spend as much money to get content out to your audience (ex. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, tumblr)

Test Something New

  • Instead of just posting photos on Instagram, try some of the video features such as Hyperlapse. Some tips here!
  • Work with influencers who are willing to trade goods for content (or a small stipend). Not all influencers need lots of money to create great social content for your brand.
  • Invest in a tool that will help you schedule and plan your social content. Hootsuite has affordable options with simple scheduling for small brands and startups. It allows more time for the important things like strategy, blogging, and experimentation.

Be excited for the new year — embrace growth and allow your brand to kick some marketing butt!

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. 

The Process for Launching a New Website

As digital marketers, we are constantly launching and shipping. We want to get our brands on the top of their game. We want to launch fast and we want to launch something that will make a splash.

Here’s the thing – we sometimes forget or lose sight of the time and effort it will actually take. Launching something – especially a new site, takes way more time than you initially may consider or plan for. So instead of kicking yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind when you are doing your next big launch (such as a website):

  1. Do extra research – A lot of times when we have an idea, someone else has it too. Make sure your idea isn’t already taken. And if it is, that’s ok. Maybe your idea has a new spin or an advantage the previous one hasn’t considered. Make sure yours stands out. When I had my new recent idea, I searched and searched for similar sites. I didn’t want to come across as just another inspiration site. It had to be unique.
  1. Ask people for their opinions – When I was designing my new site, I had to consider the look, the logo, and the name. I had a friend design my logo and luckily my partner and I had similar taste so we didn’t go through many reviews. However, we needed outside opinions too. For example, when we came up with the brand name, we wanted to ensure it resonated with our audience. We polled a large group of friends who would be un-biased…”Did they think it meant the same thing we did?” Thankfully, yes.
  1. Plan buffer time – So, our site launch was supposed to be in September. It launched in January. Four months later. Why? Because our site took longer to build than we expected, we had hosting issues, and came across little things we didn’t “plan” to crop up. We didn’t add cushion time. So instead of fretting (or fretting too much) we changed our launch date. We wanted it to be a time when the site would resonate and make more of a splash. The New Year was the new plan.
  1. QA and QA some more – This is one thing I let slip from my mind. If it looked good on my browser and my phone it must look great everywhere, right? Nope. Check every browser – even (gulp) Internet Explorer. Check multiple devices and types of devices. And do it more than once.
  1. Make a promotion plan – You did all that work, so you should promote it too! It’s one thing to go live, it’s another to go live with a bang or two. Depending on the type of brand and launch you should consider the following:
    1. Email your contacts
    2. Post it on your social channels (and personal channels if you can)
    3. Do a blogger or influencer outreach prior to launch for extra eyeballs
    4. Ask friends to share

In addition, plan to promote for more than one day or two. Promote every day during your launch week. Why let the buzz sizzle after a day, when you can keep the party going?

And…speaking of launches, I’m pretty proud to announce my new site – Radiate Daily. What is it? It’s not just another blog. Radiate Daily is an opportunity for women (and men) to harness their confidence around personal style, health, fitness, and in turn their daily lives. Personal style is something that we all have, but sometimes takes longer to be comfortable with. As the saying goes, “Fashion fades, style is eternal,” and Radiate Daily is here to help everyone be more confident with their own. Come check it out, and share your story! #radiatedialy

Image source: grumpy cat

This post was originally written for: http://marketingontherocks.com/

Do Cats Really Rule the Interwebs?

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 11.13.06 AM

If you haven’t seen the collab between Friskies and Buzzfeed, you must be hiding under a rock (or actually doing your work).

 But, just in case you did miss it – watch right now!
The first two videos in the playlist are the two in the series (so far).  I have a soft heart for the sequel about the Dog. Especially the line about dogs being excellent marketers – “man’s best friend.” So true.

So as I was saying…Cats.

They have been kind of kicking marketing butt lately – from Grumpy Cat to other cute felines that have been making regular appearances in movies (Jinxie in Meet the Parents) to Taylor Swift carrying around her white furball on the street of NYC. And if you see a youtube clip of a kitten chasing that damn red dot, can you really not help but laugh? Or say aww? (Or perhaps you’re just not human).

The collab was a pivotal step.

Buzzfeed has been in the collaboration business for a while now and this branded content series with Friskies is a great testament to that. They made an advertisement, that is something people actually want to watch (over and over), and share out with others to do the same. I just played it at the dinner table with my family. When would you have done that about an advertisement in the past?
Visible Measures did a great job of capturing why these video content series are a success and how Buzzfeed is on top of its game when it comes to producing such shareable content. It’s not about the cat food or even the fact that the cats do eat Friskies in the commercial. It’s about the heartfelt emotion and connection that people can feel while watching the video content. Aka it’s content. I give credit to both Friskies for taking that leap and for Buzzfeed who has taken brands from thinking past the 30 second ad to creating content that is social gold.
Can you say that?
I can honestly say, I cannot wait for the next installment (please say there is another?) … and when did you say that about an advertisement? I repeat. Social Gold.
This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.

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 

How to: Keep Blogging a Top Marketing Priority

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.51.21 AM

I’ve been asked a multitude of times…”How do you find time to blog?” It took me a while to realize how I did find time. And then I realized the answer was quite simple: “I find time.” Blogging, like other marketing objectives, just needs to become a priority that you make time for. Whether it’s your personal blog, a brand you are starting, or a well-established brand that is trying to demonstrate it’s expertise in a particular vertical. We all know the general benefits of blogging – SEO, thought leadership, partnered content, awareness, engagement, etc. And the value to the blogger? Promotion of their personal brand, subject matter expert, social promotion, so on and so forth.

But again…when? how? Let’s lay out some quick wins for tackling your blogging woes:

Your Calendar is your friend

We all know that each week is different and new commitments come up all the time. But that’s no excuse. My way around that is planning ahead. I plan out the posts I need to do a month in advance. That allows me to see what is going on each week and each weekend and when is best to tackle the posts I have in my pipeline. Typically I have on average 8 posts a month. Sounds like a lot, and it can be if you aren’t managing your time. I usually block off one day a week where I can polish off 2 – 3 posts in a morning. Now I will admit, that I have it down to a science and usually have prepared what I’m going to write in advance (see divide and conquer below). And for when life gets in the way? Find a new day that works, but don’t push it to the next week unless absolutely necessary.

 

Divide and conquer

Yes it’s nice if you have a team to divide and conquer your posts, but even when you have a team, you still need to find time for yours. Rather than leaving the ideation, research, creation, and review all in one sitting – split it up! For example when I look at my week ahead on Sunday evening, I usually look to see what blog posts I have to tackle that week. Sometime between Mon – Thurs I tackle a quick topic ideation by surveying what’s popping in culture, any new social media trends that have risen to the top, and/or pain points that people are discussing. Then I find some quick sources that support my thinking and leave it be. I let that stew a little and when I get to the day I plan to write (normally Saturday or Sunday morning before/after the gym) I am primed to just hit the keyboard. Additionally, it helps if you’re not the only editor reviewing your post. And if you don’t have an editor ask a darling friend to take a glance over for any glaring issues that you may have missed.

 

Be Passionate

This is probably the most important. The reason I am less stressed about writing posts each week or month, is because I’m typically passionate about it. Yes not every post is riveting, and I may procrastinate at times, or pour a glass of wine as I debate it. But at least 85% of the time I am excited to write (or will be when I finish) because it’s about something I’m proud to be writing about. I am proud to spread more knowledge into the digital marketing space as well as provide my inspirational rantings around style and confidence (my other blogging adventures). So, please, before you pick up that “pen” think if you’re actually excited about your blogging.

And speaking of that glass of wine…sometimes that helps write a little more creatively too!

Image source: Kikolani

This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks. 

The Not-So-New Jelly App & Why You Should Check it Out

jelly app

Jelly. Another obscurely named app? Maybe. Useful? Maybe. If you use it to your advantage and think of it as a resource.

So what is the Jelly app and why should you care?

To summarize from the past couple months, “Twitter co-founder Biz Stone released Jelly, an app that allows users to ask a question with an image, and immediately receive a response through a link, a drawing on the original image, or simple text.

Some may ask: what’s the point? Isn’t that just like Quora or Thumb? Not exactly. While it’s tempting to write off something like Jelly as social-mobile’s latest shiny object, Stone’s latest project has some unique features and functionality that could prove useful to marketers.”

What’s useful about the Jelly app for Emerging Startups?

  • It’s free. Yes, some apps start out free, but have a paid element later, but for now Jelly is a free experience. So let’s take advantage while we can.
  • Audience. You’re utilizing not just your audience, but your audience’s audience. So for example, you aren’t just asking a question to your Twitter audience, but also the people they follow. Extending this reach is super beneficial to reach more eyeballs.

To read more on why it’s “easy to use,” good for “real time,” and especially for Market Research on your products and services, check out my full post on Startup Fashion.

Image source André-Batista

Five Tips to Building your Band of Brand Loyalists

It’s easy to find someone to sponsor your brand and your brand content, but to find someone who will do it without a paycheck, now that’s when you’re in the loyalist category. Loyalists are excited about news from the brand, new content put out, they follow them on social channels, they are advocates on behalf of the brand, and they are current customers. They’re the ones you can count on when shit hits the fan, and some mishap happens, or the brand is being bashed for something that was misunderstood by others. Those loyalists will speak up, they will stand behind the brand, and they will continue to be a customer. In turn, those loyalists will inspire others to consider the brand. Or at minimum, create some awareness that “this brand” is worth checking out.

So how do you create brand loyalists? There is no “follow this checklist” and you’ll have a band of loyalists at your door. It takes time, and it takes effort, and it’s different for each brand. However, there are some things that are important for each brand to consider as they figure out what works best for them.

Here’s a quick list to have in your back pocket at all times (but please don’t be fooled by the word, quick):

1. Transparency - Be transparent and honest about your brand. Either way the consumers will find out the truth, so why not tell it yourself. Brands like Toms may have it easy as their stories inspire others to act, give back, and truly love the brand. Others have it harder, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to tell your story in a way that impacts and connects others.

2. Have the best customer service ever - Customer service can make or break many customer relationships. Brands like Amazon have impeccable customer service to a point that they don’t question when something is wrong, but aim to fix the problem swiftly and make up for it. I remember one time when an item I purchased was delivered to the wrong location, I was so disappointed. Within 12 hours, it was in my hands due to their customer service help. Impressive.

3. Create Connections that Make an Impact - Customers don’t want to be treated as “just another wallet to take from.” They want to be appreciated. It can be as small as remembering their name when they walk into a store, or reaching out to them via a Tweet to say thank you. Nordstrom does a great job at this, when they say thank you whenever their mentioned by their followers on Twitter. It’s a small token, but it’s appreciated nonetheless. Whatever the effort, the effort is worth it to make a connection with your customers.

4. Give Value through Content - Providing value is a key component for any brand. Content is one way to go about that. For example, IBM has over 5 unique tumblr blogs, where they pump out different content on a daily or weekly basis. They are keeping their customers hungry for more – through consistent, quality, and fun content. It’s educational and entertaining – which is no easy feat! Take pointers.

5. Always be there - Your customers aren’t going to go to your website to see what you’re up to (at least not regularly). So be where they are. Be where they with thoughtful value and appreciation for their time. Provide them with content they want, customer service they deserve, a please and a thank you. And having a sale on your products, doesn’t hurt either!

In short, relationships that brands have with consumers are much like regular relationships. They take time to build, and can end quickly. Take the time to build a trustworthy one with true honesty/transparency, keeping in touch, being emotional, and offering true value. With time, that relationship will blossom and become amazing. Some will last a lifetime, others will fade. In the end, it’s better to have build some that lasted a few months than none at all.

This post was originally written for Socialnomics and my full post can also be found here. Thanks!

My Current Brand Crush (Maybe Love): Sole Society

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 11.21.00 AM

 

We, as consumers (and definitely marketers) have our crushes, our flirtations, and sometimes we commit to a brand we truly love. I’m currently having a major brand crush on Sole Society. Why? A few simple reasons:

1. They have a great affordable fashion line

Sole Society is known for “affordable fashion” – making it attainable for most women who adore looking great, but not breaking their bank to do so. The brand offers up items that are both on trend, but also classic. They partner with style inspirations like Julianne Hough to design their lines. And as of late, obtained Andrea Wasserman as CEO. I knew I liked her when she replied to me on Instagram, but the fact that she came from Nordstrom (my other major crush), demonstrates her ability to choose working for brands that put the consumers first. And that brings me to my next two points…

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 11.16.16 AM

2. They market themselves with style

Sole Society can be found on most channels, which allow for visual content to be at the forefront. They’re avid posters on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. My favorite is when I am able to get an inside look into what shoes they have yet to even put on their website or in stores. Getting an inside peek at the new colors, designs, and lines for the upcoming season is a brand lover’s dream. We feel like we have been let in on a secret that others don’t know about. Marketers, take note – this is a great tactic to get your consumers to come back for more!

Additionally, Julianne Hough who has her line on Sole Society gives sneak peeks through her Instagram channel too. Although she can afford shoes much more expensive, it’s great to see a strong, stylish female partnering with a brand the average female can afford and feel like she’s wearing high class style. And tying an influencer with a fun-loving spirit like Julianne to a fun-loving brand like Sole Society is a perfect strategy to get consumers to turn their heads at the brand – creating both awareness and consideration.

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 11.17.15 AM

To read my 3rd reason for totally crushing on Sole Society (and it’s major) check out my full original post on Marketing on the Rocks!