How to Reach your Brand’s Audience on Pinterest

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still not convinced? According to viral woot:

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

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

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

Originally written for Social Media club. 

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. 

BECAUSE LIVE STREAMING CONTENT STILL NEEDS PLANNING

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

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

You need a plan.

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

Instead strategize the following:

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

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

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

Distribution:

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

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

This post was originally written for Social Media Club. 

Facebook Reactions Made Social Media a Little More Emotional

facebook emotional reactions

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

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

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

But what do the new Facebook reactions mean for brands?

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

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

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

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

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

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

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

New Social Media Platform Called Peach for Your Fashion Brand

peach social media platform

Peach, a new social media platform by the founder of Vine, is being described as simple, GIF oriented, and a cross between Twitter, tumblr, and Slack according to the likes of Venturebeat and Mashable. 

For consumers it’s a social network where they can say very little, and do more with actions through their phone.

Current conversations between users include GIFs, drawings, emoticons, emoticon actions, and more.

What’s the appeal of Peach?

Right now it’s new and shiny, and simple. You can express how you feel easily and visually. It’s another way to interact with your friends outside of text, but similar to it, so it’s close enough to normal behavior that’s it’s  easy to adopt quickly.

Will it catch on like Snapchat did? Will it be a whole other beast? It’s hard to tell as it was just released but within a couple of months we’ll have a better idea.

The lessons so far are this…

When it comes to content, there are two trends with consumers:

  1. Quick, simple and visual – for those on the go, who want to consume what they want right away, share it if they like it, and move on. So for startups and fashion brands, this content is that of instagram, Pinterest, Periscope, and Snapchat. Allowing the consumer to get a quick story, an invite to an event, a view into a product line, or a quick peek at something coming up. And being able to like it, share it, and move on quickly is what they’re loving.
  2. Smart, insightful, and potentially more longer form – for those who want more information and want to learn more from their content. This is for when people have a little more time on their hands, such as a longer commute, an evening on their couch. For your brand this is great for blog posts, a youtube video, and launch content. This allows for a consumer to really dig into what the brand is about, a new campaign, a full look into a product line, or a recap of an event that they may have missed. And perhaps then signing up for the next one.

And now we wait to see what happens with Peach.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

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

event coverage

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the following for content formats:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plan it. Capture it. Share it.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

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. 

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. 

The Top Ten Reasons We Love Social Media

As brands, social media has been a way to reach and interact with consumers on a level that resonates with their behaviors on a day to day basis. They’re already there. They’re using channels they way they prefer. For example on Pinterest they’re planning and dreaming for their future; while on Periscope they’re getting an inside look; and on Instagram they’re building and sharing their own stories.
And as brands that is pretty great. It allows us to understand our target audience and provide content that will truly matter to them, where and when they prefer it. So instead of the 2016 lists we’re all about to read, let’s remember why social media is important to our brands, and why it still will be in 2016.
So as digital marketers we love social media. We love it simply because:
  1. You can get content out fast
  2. You are able to respond to consumers faster
  3. You know what your competition is doing on the same channels
  4. You can curate content
  5. You can see what themes are trending to create new content
  6. You can be involved within cultural phenomena
  7. You are able to create a dialogue
  8. You are able to see what content works right away
  9. You will know what content to put paid media behind
  10. Your brand can stand out
And that’s just part of the story. Your brand can also choose the channels that work best for success. Choose the content that will resonate deeper with your audience. And of course, finding the right paths to purchase, and helping consumers become loyal advocates through driving their followings to your brand as well.
Why does your brand, as a digital marketer, prefer to budget, spend, and invest in social media as a way to reach consumers?
Image sources:
Priority Media Plus
Business2community
 
This post was originally written for Socialnomics. 

When NOT to jump onto a new social channel

 

social media fashion business

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

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

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

When the user interface is too much effort

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still unsure and curious?

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

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

This post was originally written for startup fashion. 

 

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.

The Team you want for building your Brand

building your fashion business team

2015. It’s here, folks. It’s the first week back after the holiday season; it’s a week that has a lot of potential for productivity because we’re all in this “fresh start/get serious” mindset.

In finishing up last year, we shared information on prepping your marketing for upcoming year. TheFashion Business Financial Checklist and the Fashion Business Marketing Checklist have been hits with making that happen.

So if you’ve been following along, you’ve probably done your 2015 planning and your budget analysis for how you’re going to make this year even better than last year in the eyes of the brand and the consumer. But there’s one more thing to consider…do you have the team to pull it off?

The people who make your brand; the people who surround you each day; the people who help achieve the 2015 goals…they need to be awesome. There is no good reason to settle for “she’s sort of awesome”…you want “she IS awesome,I need her!” Because when you have an incredible team, it shows. Your customers will feel it and see it through the quality of the work you put forward.

So if you’re in the growth stage of your fashion business, let’s make the team a priority in 2015. If you are a brand in today’s fast moving technologically savvy world, there are 5 types of people you want on your team to help you build your brand:

The Analyst: The person who gets nitty gritty. He or she is in the weeds and making sure the numbers follow suit. Are we really where we’re supposed to be? Is that campaign really a success? This person will help us be realistic about our goals and endeavors.

The Project Manager: The person who keeps us all in line and on schedule. We all need one of these to make sure we’re delivering on time.

The Go-Getter: The person who doesn’t just do what we ask, but brings awesome ideas to the team. She’s the one who comes to meetings with things we haven’t even thought of doing yet–but love that she has!

The Innovator: The person who won’t settle for where we are today. Because why should we? This person will help us think into 2016 and 2017 today. They’ll help get us there through future thinking so we don’t get left behind.

The Fearless: The person who wants to challenge the brand. This person isn’t afraid of being told “no, you’re wrong.” If they are wrong, that’s ok. They’ll try another idea next week or month and see if that works.

To read the final one, and more tips on how to create your team, check out the full post on Startup Fashion

5 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Promote Your Brand’s Blog

 

Having a blog is awesome. Promoting it’s content is even more awesome, if done well. The below list addresses simple but effective ways for your content distribution strategy.

1. Share, share, share – It seems self-explanatory to say share your blog across your social channels. However, it’s not just about sharing, but it’s about the way you share. Ensure your blog is baked into your social content strategy for weekly and monthly cadence opportunities. Leverage pop culture opportunities to boost the presence of your blog’s content into relevant conversations. And of course, ensure that the blog link is easily available within your bios or social posts.
Example: Equinox blog and their Instagram Account.
unnamed
2. Sign ups on your website – The best way to increase referral traffic to your website and blog are by having the two within the same domain. Even if you have a blog hosted on tumblr, you can still have it within your domain too. So when you ask your consumers to sign up for your blog, not only are you getting your blog out to more people, but you’re collecting leads for your brand as a whole.
3. Email and newsletters – Just like you want to ensure you are promoting the awareness of your social channels within emails or newsletters, you want to do the same for you blog. Perhaps the content from your blog is the primary content within your weekly/daily emails. This allows for people to see your brand as not just another brand, but a content source for information, tips, news, and more.
4. Cross promote – Your brand most likely has some partnerships – whether it’s for the brand as a whole or content partnerships. Use those to help cross promote content for them, and in turn for you. It allows your content to get in front of extra eyeballs and hopefully traffic back to you on a regular basis.
5. Guest bloggers – You never have to create all the content on your own. And when you decide to allow guest “expert” bloggers to take a stab at your content – it not only allows extra voices, but a another way to engage new audiences. Not only will these bloggers be writing for you, but they’ll [hopefully] be promoting their pieces on social media and on their own blog. This allows for extra “free” promotion, and in turn traffic to your blog content.
What other ways does your brand like to share?

This post was origially written for social media club – see more here:  http://socialmediaclub.org/blogs/from-the-clubhouse/5-simple-yet-effective-ways-promote-brands-blog#sthash.55kCuOpZ.dpuf

 

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

fashion brands marketing instant generation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion.

Fashion Brands and Snapchat’s Offering Snapcash

snapcash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snapchat Blog

Marketwatch

Huffington Post

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

Instagram: Contests that Work

Instagram, the ever popular mobile app allows brands, influencers, and consumers to share and unveil their visual stories. Brands tease products, show insider stories on the development of campaigns. Influencers are tapped to help unveil new releases, do giveaways, and/or help promote the brand in unique and fun ways. Consumers – well consumers are doing whatever they want. They show their daily lives, a sneak peek into what makes them who they are, and the brands they choose to connect with.
And one thing, consumers seem to love on Instagram are contests. But here’s the thing, contests need to be simple, easy to complete via mobile, and not time consuming in order for consumers to participate.

A few simple contest methods that work:

1. Upload Photo and Tag with hashtag
2. Like and Comment on Post
3. Repost Image with Hashtag
4. Like and Tag Others

Make it cooler by:

1. Incorporating both brand, influencer and UGC elements. For example, allow an influencer the reins to your instagram handle for a day. Especially when it’s someone attractive (yes, really) people flock to the handle to check out what they have to say and what they post.
2. Giving a fan the chance to be featured is always fun for the consumer
3. Doing the contest around a special time of year, event, and/or tv show to boast the type

One contest that consumers could do without:

The Loop giveaway – This contests typically involves several steps including but not limited to:
1. Liking the photo of an influencer.
2. Answered a question in the comments.
3. Clicking on the next influencer tagged in the photo.
4. Repeating Steps 1 – 3 with that said influencer.
5. Repeating this several times (potentially up 25 or 30 times) until you are brought back to the original influencer you started with.
Who has time for that? I was dismayed the first time I attempted this because I thought the giveaway was cool. After going through 3-4 rounds of the above, I gave up and walked away. If it takes more than 90 seconds to enter a contest, I’m out. There are two things that work when it comes to contest on Instagram – simple and creative/fun. If it’s not that, then don’t waste your time brands!

Cool vendor to consider:

Offerpop is a great partner that helps brands have a contest across social channels and site experiences. It allows the contests to go beyond the instagram interface. For example, people can enter a contest simply by uploading a photo through instagram (or channel of choice) and tagging appropriately with a particular hashtag and they’re entered. Then those entries can but thrown together in one place for all consumers to see and/or vote on for a second layer to the contest. I particularly like the example offerpop did with the Colts here because it involves puppies. Puppies always win. We know this.
Photo Sources: Firebellymarketing; scottgombar
This post was originally written for Socialnomics. 

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