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.

Social Good Commerce & Making Money for a Great Cause

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Of course there are brands like Toms who sell fun, casual shoes and eyewear for a cause. Brands like Toms are a fun and easy way for individuals, especially ones who would like to make a difference but don’t have to break the bank to do so. Additionally, it’s given this audience a way to not only give back, but also “show it off” in a way that’s fashionable and understated.

Then there are social commerce brands like Sevenly, who not only sell items for a cause, but have multiple items for sale and for different causes. Their business model is actually pretty cool, because each week (every seven days) there is a new cause, and seven dollars from each item sold goes towards the charity of the week.

Their marketing efforts help with each of their weekly charitable causes in order to spur awareness and in turn engagement with the products. Through their Facebook and Twitter audiences, Sevenly is able to spread the word and in turn have their fans and followers RT, post, and most importantly share their efforts with the cause that most resonates with them.

To read more on why this matters for your brand, and how you can influencer your audience through social causes, check out my full post on Marketing on the Rocks!

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Five Reasons to Have a Blog for your Brand

Tory Burch blog

The importance of starting a blog as an independent fashion designer is based around a solid way to tell your story, drive traffic to your website, and allow your brand to grow a loyal fan base while allowing for a deeper look into the brand.

Lets take a closer look on why your brand should have a blog…

Create Awareness

Creating regular and consistent content and publishing out to your social channels can create awareness for your brand. The key is to have content that is valuable to your audience whether it be “how-to”, tips, expert advice, highlighting your products through lifestyle content, or a blend of content types.

That awareness will then lead to sharing of content on your fans’ channels for greater awareness, and in turn can drive traffic to your site for your products.

Drive Traffic

Your content, which will be engaging through multi-media such as photos and videos of your lines, can drive traffic through SEO (taking advantage of keywords and tags) as well as from referrals, influencers, and your loyal audience. Your blog can easily become the vehicle that leads traffic right to your products – whether it be your current or future fashion line.

To read the other 3 reasons why your brand should consider a blog, please read my full post on Startup Fashion. Thanks!

5 Simple Tips for Using Tumblr

Recently I started utilizing my tumblr blog for unique, fun, and classic fashion I love, why I love it, and why it’s more unique through a digital scope. I love the simplicity of the platform and how it’s so convenient to post, even via the iPhone from my beloved instagram app. Lets just say, it’s my new love affair along with Instagram, of course.

1. Find your niche

As with any blog one starts, a focus point is key in order to not have a hodge podge of random topics and items. If you have a specific focus, then people will come to expect your post to be a source for information on that topic and hopefully one day come to trust it as an expert source or one just for fun to peruse. For example, Bergdorf Goodman started a tumblr for a few focus points, which include location, inspiration, visual and the team. It’s a great source to get to know the brand on a more personal level and dive deeper into what Bergdorf has to offer, aside from a retail establishment. It’s a source of iconic fashion, fun design ideas, and more. I especially love the “on location” segment which allows for an inside look into the brand, the models, and what it takes to get things “just right.”

2. Share or not to share

One of the best features (in my opinion) is the fact that you can so easily share your Tumblr blog on your social channels. It’s so smoothly integrated with platforms like Facebook and Twitter. For example, if you are on the go but want to share a quick post, do it from your phone, post, and poof: it’s immediately posted on your Twitter stream and Facebook Timeline. How much simpler could it get? And if you’re into (1) efficiency as well as (2) sharing your cool posts … tumblr makes it that much simpler for you.

3. Comments and Questions

Opt in and allow your blog posts to have comments and questions. Engagement is key when it comes to blog posts being visible and seen past your own computer screen. However, not only should you allow comments/questions, but you should respond in return as well as comment on other people’s blogs. It shows it’s not just about you and your own blog but also about the community of the platform and the people who appreciate the subject matter and people who contribute to it.

4. SEO it up

As with any blogger, you want your blogs to found, read, and shared by your audience. SEO plays a huge part in that, so optimize it to the best of your ability.

  • Keywords: Having rich keywords through your content, title, metadata, and URL are essential in order for those searching for that topic to come across your post. Not sure which keywords are the right ones? Check out Google Adwords keyword tool for some good starting points.
  • Meta Data: Google weights heavily on title tags so make sure your keywords are making it in there.
  • URLs: Your topic and keywords should also be in your URL in order for people to know easier that your post is about what they want to read up on, check out, and share.

5. Have fun – use instagram

I am a huge fan of integrating instagram along with my Tumblr. It makes for cool photography, great visuals, and a quick on the go post, such as me in my old office wearing my fave corduroy Toms shoes…

Check out mine – and tell me what you think. I am always looking for new insights, tips, and tricks. Share what you love about Tumblr in my comments below.

Teaching your Client the Art of Social Media

Have clients? Need to demonstrate to them the value and efficiency of learning and capitalizing on social media as part of their business strategy? Not always so easy right? I’ve provided some helpful tips in order to help you help your clients transition into utilizing social media platforms and gain true value from their use without jeopardizing their brand name.

1) Be Prepared to Give Up Control

Social media requires giving up the reigns of expecting to be in control of content on every angle. Yes you care what message and content you put out, and how your target audience reacts. However, social media is based greatly on consumer generated content and that is a voice one cannot hush like in traditional media.

For example, when companies such as Budweiser have ads like on YouTube, other people who love (or hate) the brand will mock, comment, and criticize the content on the channel or via Twitter, Facebook, etc because real people have opinions. Although you can monitor such comments and delete them if they are spam, in my opinion social media is about embracing consumer content and commentary, the good and the bad.


2) Patience

Like all business strategies, endeavors, and ventures, social media is not about instant success. It requires, time, effort, and continued management and engagement within the networks on each platform that a brand enters. You cannot Tweet on Twitter once a month and expect people to rave and ReTweet your content. People expect consistent content on a regular basis with actual relevancy and effort.

For example, @BostonTweet (Tom O’Keefe) is regularly Tweeting about the happenings in Boston, including events, news, restaurant specials, and more. People can count on him for the relevant content on a regular basis. Tom has created a value service for his target market, and I, too am impressed by him!

Over time, Boston Tweet built his community around relevance and content.3) Find Your “Home Base”

Find your home base in social media.Every brand will find it’s niche in the social media space, whether it be Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn, so on and so forth. The target market of each brand interacts more in certain platforms than others. I am not saying do not exist on the other platforms…I am saying to focus more so on the ones that will allow for increased engagement and loyal consumers/fans/followers (and still have a consistent presence on the other platforms).

4) It’s a marathon – not a sprint

As stated previously patience is key. Unlike winning the lottery, social media takes further time, “training”, and effort in order to persevere and come out on front. Brands such as the local BostInnovation Tweet, Post, and Share content each and every day. And normally multiple times a day. And people, like myself, have become used to this and loyal to the brand for their content, which is not only relevant and resourceful, but normally fun and entertaining to read. They have come a long way, and have gained quite a loyal following. I encourage others to check them out and learn from their content strategy.


5) Listen First

Listen first, Tweet, Post, and Share later. I encourage people, clients, etc never to just start posting. Listen to what your target market is saying, what your competition is doing, where they are talking, and what they want to hear. Then strategize as you would in any marketing endeavor, what is the value you would like to provide to your target audience and through what means would they like to hear, read, see, watch it?

Listen first.6) Share Relevant Content

Most people don’t care what you ate for breakfast, unless you’re Edward or Jacob from Twilight and every teenage girl will “eat it up.” Most brands on the other hand should be curating, creating, tweeting, posting, and sharing content that is geared toward their target audience and what they want, how they want it, and where they want it. For example, Toms recently released information about their new product and related “one-for-one” campaign to help with eyesight of those who cannot afford it every time someone buys a pair of sunglasses. The target audience of Toms, especially their already loyal fans, are invested in Toms due to their socially conscious nature that goes along with their products. Thus, news regarding new products and campaigns is not only relevant, but a great way to increase their loyal fans and consumers.


7) Put Someone in Charge

My recommendation is to have a community manager who will be in charge of the content strategy, the posting, the tweeting, and the delegating regarding said items. This way someone is responsible for making sure things are done regularly, monitored consistently, and the brand is succeeding in its efforts rather than going in and posting blindly.

Establish a leader.Monitor, Monitor, Monitor

Most brands are weary of what people say, the money they invest, and the ROI of each endeavor, including social media. Monitoring social media is key to that success and ROI. You can see what peaks, valleys, and plateaus occur in charts such as on Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, etc in order to see what campaigns, products, news, posts caused the most rise out of consumers, while which other ones sunk to the bottom. This will help in order to see what strategy is best to utilize in the future and what is best to avoid.


9) Restrict vs. Regulate

There is unfortunate time when some companies are too strict with their social media policies. My suggestion is to decide which social media policy fits your culture and company strategy and tactics and find the middle ground rather than being too concerned about what your employees may do. If you hired them, you probably trusted their judgment and common sense…or at least I hope you did.


10) Social Media is a Tool, Not a Strategy

Last but not least, remember that social media is not the strategy, but the tool to implement your marketing and business strategy. Facebook and Twitter are great vehicles to spread the word on your product, brand, campaign, event, etc — but before you can utilize them properly and effectively you must brain storm how to go about it and what parts and pieces are best fit to succeed.

Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot.