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.

 

Spring is still here: Clean your Marketing and Get it Ready for Summer

 

fashion marketingSpring cleaning isn’t just for your shoes and clothes each year. It’s for your fashion marketing objectives and goals too.

Spring, or second quarter, is a great time to take a look at all the new year initiatives you put into play and see what’s working and what’s not. Time to shed some weight, and not waste money on budget items that aren’t giving back enough on your investment.

But how do you decide what to ditch and what to hold on to? That’s always the tough part.

Here are a few things to consider this spring and your “ditch pile”:

  1. What’s sucking your budget: There are a lot of overhead and unexpected costs that go into a yearly marketing budget. This may include (but isn’t limited to): website hosting, graphic designers, and PR agencies. Take a look at where your money is going and whether or not these costs can be lowered. Do you pay a graphic designer to make new new several times a month?  What about seeing if they can create a template for you instead.  That way, you can make the updates for new contests or announcements yourself.
  2. What’s just not working: Sometimes we invest in tools that end up being more of a hassle than anything. For example, some tools may have seemed cool and great for CRM or social media management, and instead waste too much of our time and give us little data and information. If it’s not saving time, it’s just costing money. Ditch it. Change it. Move on.
Read about team evaluations and tactical executions for spring cleaning in our full post on Startup Fashion. 

 

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

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

7 Ways to Keep your Blog Content Fresh

fashion business blog

We all go through writers block. Sometimes we’re sitting tapping the keys on our keyboard but nothing is coming to mind. The well is running low and you’ve “run out of things to blog about”.. but is that really true? Maybe you’re just not looking in the right places.

There are some ways to prepare yourself in advance so the well doesn’t run dry. And there are things we can do to keep ourselves motivated for those times we are feeling a little less in the mood to blog for your fashion business.

  • Monthly brainstorms - This may seem abhorrent and like a huge task, but it’s super helpful in the long run. Take a couple hours before the beginning of each month and think about what’s going on culturally for that particular time. What is going through consumer’s mindset. For example in October your consumer may be planning a Halloween party, thinking about Fall shopping, boot season, fall fashion layers, the upcoming holidays, and nostalgia for everything autumn. Then chart out when it would be best to publish each piece so you know what you’re writing about each week.  Best part – when the next year comes around, you’ll have a shell to begin from and tweak.
  • Ask your audience - Seems like a no-brainer but sometimes we forget our largest resource. Our audience! It is who we are writing the blog posts for, after all. Why not put out a poll or question to your audience via your preferred social channels to ask what they want more of, or less of.
  • Read other blogs – Really. Subscribe to as many as possible, whether it’s via email, Twitter, or a reader app like Pulse or Flipboard. It helps to have resources at your fingertips. Read them, and read them daily. They’ll help you feel on top of your game, and give you new ideas on a more frequent basis.
  • Write about what you are passionate about – May seem silly, but when you’re passionate about your topic, it will shine through. Your voice will carry further, and your audience will engage more. No one wants to read a blog post that is lame and boring, written by someone who just pumps out blog posts like a chore. They want their writer to be excited to write to them. So, write about the topics that you care about. You’ll be happier, and so will your audience.

To read about my 3 other tips including formats and curation, check out my full post on Startup Fashion!

How to Take Advatantage of the Instagram Hyperlapse App for your Brand

 

instagram hyperlapse app

The Instagram Hyperlapse app is a pretty fun new tool for your short video content arsenal. You’ve probably seen a few awesome examples as you’ve scrolled your way through your feed.

So what’s it all about? In short it allows you to:

  • make a long story into a short story by speeding up your video up to 12 times!
  • auto-adjust the videos’s brightness; tap the screen to adjust the exposure while filming the video
  • make the video smoother by cropping it into what you want

Sounds simple? Sure, it can be. But before you jump right on in, here are a few tips and tricks to being more efficient and creative with your new shiny toy:

  • Instagram only allows for 3 to 15 seconds of video to be shared on its app. So think about how long you are shooting for before you start. For example: 3 minutes of video footage sped up 12x will represent 15 seconds in the final video.
  • Stick to only a couple angles or directions to turn the camera so it doesn’t get too discombobulated in the final video (aka making people a tad dizzy).
  • Since the app crops the video, it’s best to keep your phone centered on the key items in the shot.

Brands are already embracing hyperlapse; some without realizing how to properly use it. Others have definitely created some fun visual content they’ve shared across Instagram and other channels.

To check out my fave brand examples (so far), see my full post on Startup Fashion!

 

Seven Things Your Brand Should Avoid in Social Media

 

fashion brands not use social media

Using social media for your brand is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires patience, time invested before launching, and constant effort. Of course there are always some rookie mistakes, especially from those hoping to gain multiple quick wins, and massive amounts of users following them in seconds.

So instead of falling into those pitfalls and alienating partner brands, influencers, and your consumers, let’s try to avoid a few of those by identifying them here…

7 Ways Fashion Brands Should NOT Use Social Media

Social Media Posting No-No’s:

  • Posting and not listening. It’s important to monitor the comments that come through and respond, especially when you’re still building an audience and trying to score some loyal fans who will stick by you throughout your brand’s lifetime.
  • Posting a piece of content and then tagging every fashion-related editor, blog, retailer, and influencer that you can think of. Do they know you? Do they care? Probably not. How about putting out content that is relevant to them and consider letting them decide if they want to check it out. Consider using #s instead.
  • Speaking of #s … just because it’s a popular hashtag (#traveltuesday, #savingssunday) doesn’t mean it relates to your post. Don’t use hashtags just to get more awareness if it doesn’t fit. It will only turn off your current fans, and score you some temporary ones who will walk away later.

Social Media Tagging No-No’s:

  • Tweeting “@blogger or @editor, check out our new website!” — this won’t work very well when they have no idea who your brand is, especially with no prior interaction. Consider reacting to their pieces or interacting with them on their content first.
  • Same goes with tagging multiple people in the same tweet or post. They will feel like just another handle. Nothing special there.

Social Media Self-Promotion No-No’s

To read more about Self-promotion and measurement “no-no’s” check out my full post on startup fashion.

Three Ways to Use Instagram to Tell your Brand Story

 

tell your brand story

Startups are everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. As a startup founder (and marketer) you need to find ways to distinguish yourself from the masses and show why your brand is the best brand for your customer. There are a few ways you can do this that are awesome and fun at the same time.

Actually Tell a Kick-Ass Story

Your story matters. But a story is just a story until it becomes a piece of your brand, inspires and motivates others, is unforgettable, and gets repeated. Just remember that your customers care about your story but they also care about what your story means for their own happiness.

Brand Examples:

Toms – Demonstrating the ethics and value behind each product and purchase
Bonobos – Live a ninja lifestyle

Share Something Every Day

Share a piece of the brand story and journey every day. Take pictures and videos every day, even when it seems silly. For example: at a co-workers birthday; when a product is being conceptualized, when you’re sketching the new collection; when shoes are being selected for the Fall line, during a strategy session, when you’re cooling off with a couple glasses of wine. Share the journey that makes your brand – your brand. Let your audience be a part of that journey that gets you to the next step. Let them share in your joys and crazy adventures along the way.

Brand Examples:

Sole Society passion and adventure
Zady honesty and love

Check out my last and absolutely vital section on being “personal” and “connecting” with your Instagram audience when reading my full post on Startup Fashion.

The Go-to: Pinterest Checklist for Converting Pins to Sales

 

Pinterest Fashion

For the fashion industry, Pinterest is practically gold.

As a predominately female social media platform, Pinterest is the place where women go for style inspiration from brands, friends, bloggers, celebrities, and other individuals who have great style to share.

These women are not there just to look at a dress and walk away – they spend hours looking, liking, re-pinning, and sharing their coveted finds throughout their own Pinterest account, as well as on their other social channels such as Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.

In short, our fashion brands need to make sure that they are being noticed and that their pins are coveted by these Pinterest-loving women.

Here is a Pinterest tips checklist to help convert those pins to sales.

The Basics of Setting Up Your Pinterest Boards

  • Make sure your bio is beyond awesome.
  • Ensure that your profile photo is attractive, inviting, and easy to understand.
  • Include your website or blog link.
  • Make sure that your cover photo for each board is attention-grabbing.
  • Remember that each pin should have a referral link.

How to Be Found on Pinterest

  • Use words a regular person would use to find and discover your pins. Instead of “iconic dress,” try something simpler like “cocktail dress” or “summer dress.”
  • Encourage your friends and influencers to help support by re-pinning your items on their boards, too.
  • Follow relevant people and brands in your industry.
  • Like, re-pin, and comment on others’ pins on a regular basis.
  • Reply back to those who comment.
  • Cross-promote on your other social channels and blog.
  • Promote, promote, and promote some more.

Read more on how to go beyond the regular outfit pin, by checking out my full post on Startup Fashion!

Focusing on the Right Social Media for your Brand

 

social media sites

Social media is far from how it was when consumers and brands started. Facebook was only for college students, then unleashed its platform for all consumers. Now brands and publishers are the norm, but consumers still hold the power when it comes to what they want to consume or avoid.

The problem for brands, especially small business and startups, it reaching your audience when so many social media are saturated with other businesses trying to do the same thing.

Not-so-fun fact: The reach for organic posts on Facebook is next to nothing. Dropping from 10% to around 2% in the last year, brands are struggling for cutting through the noisy clutter of our Facebook news feeds.

So what can startups do? Here are some tips for balancing out the lack of engagement on one of the largest social media sites with the other channels in your social toolbox.

Focus on your social assets.

Use social channels where your message isn’t hidden due to some annoying algorithm.

  • If you have a tumblr blog or site, with a built-in community —  your post will appear to those who follow (and/or are searching for your content) you every time you post. It is easy to be found and engaged with as long as you are putting out fun, fresh, visual content on a regular basis. It’s that simple.
  • Focus on twitter where your content can be found easily through hashtags. Yes the life of a tweet is minimal, but it doesn’t mean you can’t tweet out again later with similar messaging for your content to be seen by your followers/audience.
  • For fashion brands especially, visual channels like Instagram and Pinterest are where the money is at. Again hashtags allow Instagram to be fruitful for engagement. Pinterest with its ability to provide amazing referral traffic to blogs and retail sites is worth the time commitment.
  • Try some of the “newer” channels like Vine to tap into creative efforts, and in turn distribute on your main channels like Twitter where it can be watched in stream. It’s also great for rich posts, and easily shareable for the fashion and style audience.

Learn more on how to focus on your budget, with my full post on Startup Fashion.

 

Image via Jan Daciuk

 

Mobile First – Is your Brand There Yet?

 

mobile first fashion business strategy

In the not so distant past, it was OK to be “mobile friendly.” As long as your site and content had a way to look good on mobile and tablet devices, then you were good to go. Unfortunately…or should we say fortunately, mobile friendly is no longer enough.

Mobile is a priority for consumers, and they are dictating what brands need to do in order to stay on top of their marketplace. Still unsure? Just check out these stats and then tell me you don’t believe me.

  • 65% of tablet owners report using their tablet while watching TV at least once per day
  • 76% of users agree that location sharing provides more meaningful content,
  • 84% made a purchase from a brand’s email
  • The top reason that consumers opt into push notifications is for coupons and deals (52%)
  • 52% of searches are done on mobile devices
  • 82% of mobile media time is from apps
(Stats Sources: Visual.ly and Exact Target)

Mobile first is a behavior, which consumers are continuing to adopt and grow with. They like their content to be at their fingertips, when they want it – and where they want it.

There are things you need consider in this mobile first world.

  1. Your website should be built in Responsive Web Design in order to ensure it fits any device. In turn, the content within that site should be easily consumable and not device dependent. For example, if you have a form on your site, and someone is accessing it via mobile, don’t make it a chore to fill out. Keep it simple so they don’t mind doing it while they’re on the go.
  2. Not everyone needs a mobile app. Sometimes it’s easier to integrate within existing app experiences to gain exposure in the marketplace. For example, for fashion brands – apps like Polyvore, Pinterest, and Wanelo allow for search-ability, sharing, and purchasing. Since apps like these are already within fashion consumer behaviors, it would behoove most brands to consider these on top of their existing app as well (if you already have one).
To learn more around mobile direct messaging and email, check out my full post on Startup Fashion

 

Image via Just Ard

 

How to: Use PInterest Guided Search to your Brand’s Advantage

 

How to use Pinterest Guided Search

Pinterest, a visual social platform known for being awesome for fashion brands, has been upping it’s ante when it comes to search.

A few months ago, Pinterest opened up Guided Search for consumers, which allows people to explore and discover more than expected.

This is great for brands, so they can be found and discovered even when people may not be looking specifically for them. It allows for more opportunities, and fun for both brands and consumers.

There are of course a few tips to ensure your brand is able to take advantage of Pinterest Guided Search:

Board Names: Consider board names that people look for such as “summer fashion” or “great gifts” (which Nordstrom does). They keep it simple, but fun.

Board and Pin Descriptions: Don’t use words like “cute” or “shiny” unless there’s more to it. Make sure your brand describes the object in the image. Make it enticing so people keep clicking through the board to find more. Be their favorite discovery.

Hashtags: Simple one word hashtags. #fall #fashion vs. #fallfashion (and make them worth the hashtag).

To learn more about links, keywords, and limitations, check out my full post on startup fsahion

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

Is tumblr the right blogging platform for your brand?

 

tumblr blogging platform

Do you have blog for your brand? I know, you’ve got a lot to do. But blogging is really important for reasons ranging from SEO to customers relationships. When it comes to choosing a a platform for your blog, you may want to go with WordPress, which definitely has it’s advantages. Or you may be considering tumblr.

A lot of brands ask about the benefits and “is tumblr a good blogging platform for a MY brand?”  Here’s one way to look at it.

  • Do you want a blog that people are excited to engage with?
  • Do you want a community that is hungry for your visual content?
  • Do you want a blog that people “re-blog” today, tomorrow, and even 6 months from now?
  • Do you want a blog that allows fun features like polls?
  • Do you want a blog that you can post to on the go?

If you said yes to even a couple of the above questions, then tumblr may be the blogging platform for your brand.

tumblr is not just a blog, but an online community of people who are creating, curating, consuming, and sharing content every minute of every day. Consumers are there for one reason – to find and consume content they are interested in. So why not be where your consumers already are?

tumblr is extremely effective for visual friendly brands such as those in the fashion industry. Brands like NordstromClub Monaco and others have taken full advantage – including letting it be another path to purchase for their brand lovers. Furthermore, influencers in the fashion industry realize it’s another place that an audience will love to check out brand collaborations.

To read more on the benefits of tumblr and why the advantages could be right for your brand, check out my full post on Startup Fashion!

Image via Omarukai

Five Must-Have Marketing Skills for a Startup Marketer

 

marketing skills

In the startup world, when you’re beginning your new business, everything is going really fast. You’re wearing twenty different hats a day. One minute you’re the marketing manager, the next you’re the project manager, and yet another you’re the production manager.

Unfortunately, with the speed of the startup scene, sometimes certain skill sets fall to the way-side. So instead of letting that happen, make time to ensure that certain marketing skills are kept polished; whether it’s through workshops once a month, webinars, or just diving in with a good old business book.

Here are five key marketing skills that every brand must have. 

Storytelling

This is a unique skill that any marketer needs in order to be successful. It allows a brand to be unified across channels, allow consumers to understand what the brand stands for, and believe in the brand. It allows for the human side to come out and connecting with consumers on a deeper level. In addition to online storytelling through images, video, and written content, storytelling transcends to in-person interactions with customers.

Thinking Mobile First

When it comes to marketing your content, realize that people are always on the go. The one device that is always on them is their phone (and most likely a smart phone). Therefore, when creating your content and social strategy, designing your website, and/or strategizing your e-commerce efforts, it’s valuable to understand how your content will live on mobile devices first, then tablet, then desktop.

Differentiating Social Media Channels

It’s important to understand how each channel works, what it’s used for, which audiences are on it, and how best to distribute content within those channels. For example, one brand may be better suited for YouTube with its variety of videos,  while another may consider creating a tumblr blog for aggregating their content in one place for a community that is hungry for discovering and sharing cool stuff. Each channel is different and provides different features, which may enhance your products or services. Being knowledgeable on the ones that best fit your brand and your competition is helpful in creating the best marketing plan to be successful now and in the future.

Understanding SEO

This is one of the underpinning of being successful organically. Although Google makes changes on how people will be successful with their SEO tactics, it’s important to keep up. Whether it’s tagging your content with the right keywords, getting more shares on social, or distributing on partner channels for a larger audience – make sure you take the time to understand how SEO can play to your benefit.

To check out my tips around Data and Why it’s important to Understand all of the above, check out my full post on Startup Fashion!

Image via colinlogan

Best Practices: Email Marketing for your Brand

 

Email Marketing Best Practices

Email marketing, a marketing method most brands use to reach out to their prospective and current customers, can easily become an annoyance customers runaway from. So how do we as brands enable our email marketing to work for us, and not against us?

Let’s look at some email marketing best practices that will help optimize your efforts…

Look and Feel; Think Mobile First

As with websites and social content, it’s important to consider mobile when deciding on your email content, the design, and your messaging. Responsive email design is helpful because it allows your email to be read on both desktop, mobile, and tablet.

However, to ensure that your design works for each device it’s important to test your content. For example, test to ensure your images show up correctly, your headline is able to be read clearly, and the primary messaging is easily scannable, consumable, and shareable.

Use an Editorial Calendar

Your team probably already has an editorial calendar, which allows your brand to schedule out your blog posts, tweets, FB posts, and pins. Adding your email content within this calendar will help see a large-scale view of the content you are putting out, the types of customers who receive it, and what channels are distributing it.

Overall it will keep you organized to know which topics are being published, and in turn which ones do the best. It’s even more helpful the following year when you look back to see what worked the previous year. For example if product sneak peeks were a hit, than the next time around you’ll want to make sure you do it again.

Personalize your Content; Start Simple

Personalizing content for email can go in many directions, especially if your audience is segmented in multiple ways. However, it’s often easier to start simple. Perhaps to do some a/b testing to see which content performs better for different regions of the country, gender, and/or age group for starters. That way you can ensure that Texas is not receiving the same winter content that Maine would get in January.

No customer wants to open up a generic email sent to the masses – it’s always nice to see one that is at least slightly catered to their interests, location, and who they are as a customer to your brand.

Pay Attention to the Details

The details, sometimes overlooked, are key when it comes to email marketing messaging. Your team needs to ensure that the email subject line, headline, first couple sentences (which are seen in a preview), and images are all put together in a way that not only entices the reader to read the email, but spend time with it, and potentially click your call to action – whether it leads them to your website, an offer, or your social media channels.

To read more on measuring results and cross-promotion on Social Media – Check out my Full Post on Startup Fashion!

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

 

Clean up your social media marketing in 2014

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

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

Profile

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

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

Follow Back

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

Re-evaluate Your Strategy

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

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

Channels

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

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

Social Media: Understanding how your Consumers Use it

customers social media

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

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

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

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

Why this matters to your brand:

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

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

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

How to: Treat Your Social Media Fans Like Individuals

social media fans feel special

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

Each fan counts.

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

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

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

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

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

Fun and Creative Ways to Use Snapchat for Your Brand

Snapchat for fashion brands

Snapchat, known as an instant and temporary consumption app for photos and video, has been rampant among the millennial generation. They use it to share their food, their shopping adventures, their nights out with friends, and even the brands they love to wear and shop for.

As per the Guardian, this past October, the Pew research centre claimed that 9% of American mobile phone owners were using Snapchat, which would suggest 26million users in the US alone. Among 18 to 29-year-olds, the percentage rose to 26%.

And brands have taken notice – and they are finding creative ways to utilize the app to their advantage.

Here are 3 ways that could be effective for a brand who wants to reach the Snapchat audience:

  1. Instant Giveaways – This can be a quick and dirty way to gain some fans on Snapchat. For example, the first 50 fans to follow your brand on snapchat could win a free tote bag made just for those fans. Not only is that fun for the fans, but hopefully more fans will come your way through word of mouth after the fact too.
  2. Sneak Peeks for Upcoming Product Lines– Brand fans love to feel special and get sneak peeks of new items coming out before others know. Imagine knowing that a new shoe line is being introduced with a celebrity partnership before the mass audience knows? It’s exclusive, it’s cool, and it’s using fun technology.
  3. Giving an insider look into an event – This is one of my favorite uses because it allows people to feel a part of an event even if they can’t be there in person. And using Snapchat to do so with its instant and temporary consumption makes it seem even more special when a fan gets an inside look. This is something that Rebecca Minkoff did to make consumers feel like they were part of Fashion Week.

Excited to learn more? You haven’t gotten to the bonus section yet on how Snapchat is more than just another photo app. Check out my full and original post on Startup Fashion for more!

 

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

 

StartUp FASHION Business Optimizing YouTube Channel

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nordstrom: A social media case example for any consumer brand

Nordstrom's social media approach

The well known retailer Nordstrom is proving itself to be an expert at engaging with its audience across multiple social channels, as well as connecting both online and offline for continued engagement.

On thing that Nordstrom ensures is that its visual content is available on whichever channel its audience prefers — providing insight into the latest styles available in the store, upcoming sales, and much more.

Let’s take a look at Nordstrom’s Social Media Approach

Twitter and Facebook

Nordstrom uses Facebook and Twitter to provide updates on daily specials and tips through their committed community managers. The community managers are helpful, quick to respond, and always give nice, sweet comments when consumers share their latest Nordstrom finds.

Going the extra mile: When customers have a question for the store, they often use Twitter to ask it.  Nordstrom, unlike a lot of major retailers out there, do actually respond within minutes including direct messages for direct answers needed.

Email Marketing

Frequent (but not too frequent) emails allow consumers to be alerted to the new trends available in store and online, as well as sales occurring at that moment so their customers don’t miss out on a great deal.

Pinterest and Instagram

Nordstrom’s Pinterest and Instagram accounts are always up to date with their latest trends.  They include highlights of bloggers and their best customers wearing styles from the store. When customers tag their latest purchases with Nordstrom handles or hashtags, they are automatically considered for a highlight.

tumblr

Nordstrom’s blog is especially unique because it isn’t just about the products but also gives consumers an inside look at Nordstrom’s take on fashion. This includes street style pictures from the week, which is great for a quick daily inspiration and feels almost like a service that the retailer is offering its customers.

Takeaways and Lessons to Apply to Your Brand

  • Use visual content that highlights your products in a way that the consumer can see the value, be excited to share it, and potentially purchase it.
  • Provide a path to purchase on appropriate channels.
  • The same content doesn’t live on every channel; allow diversity.
  • Allow the audience to be a part of the content; User Generated Content can allow your fans to feel special.
This post was originally written for Startup fashion – for the full list of takeaways and lessons for your brand check out my full post here
 

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

Hiring a Community Manager

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

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

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

Here are a few factors to consider…

The Technical Chops

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

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

The Human Touch

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

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

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

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

Three Tips to Reach your Brand Influencers on Twitter

 

Twitter Influencers

Twitter is not only a great channel to consumer news and publish content, but a tool in our marketing arsenal, and most of all a great way to connect with our brand’s audience and influencers in the space.

Being a brand in today’s marketing world – it’s not just about “buying fans” or hoping they’ll swing on by your website. Today we need to strategize about how to develop and cultivate relationships with those that care about our brands and those that will voice those positive opinions to their audiences as well.

Follow and Connect

First and foremost, it’s great if you can follow back those who follow you, mention you, favorite your tweets, and RT your tweets. Those are the people who care enough to be a part of your community without you asking. Follow them back and show them the “love.” Take it a step further and thank them for mentioning you or liking your brand. Those little moments of brand love can go a long way, especially when the audience members don’t expect it.

Be Proactive

Take it a step further and join the conversations that these influencers are already conversing in. Are they asking questions? Answer them with information your brand may be able to help with – and of course don’t forget to use the hashtag being used so other people can follow the conversation too.

Tip: But be careful with this.  Use discretion about which conversations to just join.  If it’s a convo between only two people, it can seem weird and stalker-y to just voice your opinion. Look for conversations that involve several people and offer information without pushing any kind of sales.

To read the last tip on how to reach your influencers, check out my full post on Startup Fashion !

Three Items to Consider for your Social Media Marketing Budget

social media marketing budget

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

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

Content Generation

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

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

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

Community Management

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

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

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

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

Four Ways for your brand to be more Mobile Friendly

mobile friendly fashion business

As of May, 2013 – over 50% of U.S. mobile users have a smartphone device. Now that is a pretty hefty number to consider when strategizing your content (which includes images, videos, graphics, advertisments) for your target audience.

It’s important to think about how much time your current and potential customers spend on their mobile devices; not just for the content that you post on your website and social media platforms but also for the other ways that your business can be represented.

4 Things to Remember to Make Your Fashion Business Mobile Friendly.

  1. Content - Is your content mobile friendly? Is it quick and easy to consume on the go? The key is to figure out what your audience can do on their phones and what they are willing to consume. For example, not many people will fill out a huge registration form for a site on their phone. On the other hand if you make it two step form, perhaps with a social login, you could avoid that issue pretty easily. Second, is your content visually pleasing? More people are likely to check out photos, videos, graphics and other visuals on the go and read longer form content on their laptop or tablets.

  1. Apps – When selling products, it may be helpful to consider whether a mobile site is enough or if an app may be helpful for a specific purpose. Now, this is not to say everyone should have an app, but if there’s a demand, a need, and the ROI (return on investment) will overcome the cost you put in, then considering the development of an app could be worthwhile. For example, I find it easier to shop on the Nordstrom app when I’m using my phone for quick on the go purchases, rather than going to their mobile site where it’s harder to see the products I may be interested in.

    To read my other two tips on being mobile friendly in today’s marketing world – check out my full post on Startup Fashion!