Part 2: Leveraging your brand advocates

brand advocates

In my last post we spoke about how to court your brand advocates, this time we’ll dig a little deeper on how we leverage them to your brand’s and their optimal potential.

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

That’s a lot of potential, but the key is to harness them in a way that doesn’t alienate them through the “relationship.”

Two great ways to make that happen include

  • Amplifying your brand advocate’s voices
  • Allowing your brand advocates to be more than just one person, to be a part of a larger community

Amplify Their Voices

When one advocate praises your brand and says “I love you and your product,” most brands typically respond with things along the lines of “likes” and “favorites.” Some go further and respond or comment back with a “Hey X, thanks so much for the love. We think you’re great too!” This is important, and shouldn’t be ignored. The small value actions such as likes and favorites are important when done within 24–36 hours. It shows that your brand is paying attention. Commenting matters even more. The sooner your brand can comment in return, the more appreciated that brand advocate will feel about their relationship with your brand. They will feel heard and will want to continue that dialogue.

But there’s an extra step that is not often taken. Amplify the advocate’s voice through your brand’s voice.

Here’s what I mean.

  • Your brand could feature some awesome advocates on your website site. Maybe have a page dedicated to them.
  • You could start a blog series where you spotlight an advocate once a week or twice a month. Interview them- who are they, what are they all about.
  • Repost some of the stuff they post on social media.
  • Or more specifically, “regram” an advocate’s gram when they were featuring a product of yours they may have been wearing. Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack do this well. Nordstrom Rack will see products that people are talking about on Instagram and ask to regram them on the brand’s profile. It is not only super flattering, but sometimes an ultimate sign of brand love. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but it can be. Nordstrom also comments and asks to use Instagram photos within their website experience.

Those are some ways how you can take it a step further with the social and fan integration.

Let Them be a Community

This one is difficult. A community isn’t always brand built, it’s typically consumer led and naturally occurs through mutual affinity for an interest. For example, there is a cult of fans who are obsessed with Converse and will only wear that brand. They show their love through social, and support one another. For example, if one Converse lover sees a pair of kicks that they haven’t before, they are stoked to check them out. Even if they try to literally buy them off another converse lover’s feet at that exact second. It’s happened.

Will every brand be Converse? Probably not. But it doesn’t mean your brand advocates won’t be excited to be a part of a community that shares their interests. Remember, it’s a lifestyle that your brand exemplifies; such as a fitness lifestyle for a yoga clothing line.

Read more on what your brand can do here to let them be a community, be checking out the full post on Startup Fashion.

Part 1: Courting your Brand’s Advocates

brand advocates

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

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

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

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

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

The Courting Process:

Give Them a Reason to Believe

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

Flirt with Them and Show Them All Your Good Sides

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

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Wrong

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

Reward Them When They Deserve It

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

Surprise Them When They Least Expect It

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

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

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

Let Them Come to You

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

Continue the Conversation Where They Appreciate It Most

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO TWEET

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

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

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

Live streaming App Meerkat and Why it’s Cool

 

meerkat app

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

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

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

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

Let’s break down the advantages:

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

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

Read more on the full post on Startup Fashion!

 

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

 

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

One word: patience.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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. 

Digital Marketing Myth: Content Must be Visual

As digital marketers, many of us realize the need for visual content. There are more visually appealing social channels then we can count – but of course you have the usual suspects such as Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest and more. Should you have visual content? Yes. Should it be your only content? Not necessarily.

We’ve probably all heard of it by now, but Serial – the podcast – is a great example of this non-visual content trend. An old medium, but great engaging content. Why did it work? A few reasons:

  • Great content – It didn’t have to be visual to be great content. The key was the story. The story was engaging, suspenseful, and it got people talking.
  • Word of mouth – It got people talking to their colleagues, their family members, and their friends – in person and on social.
  • Suspense – It was told in a manner that left the listener excited for the next episode release.
  • Short – It was long enough to feel like something you’re investing in, but short enough that you could listen to an episode on a train ride, a gym workout, or while you’re cooking dinner.
  • It was real – The people and the content were real. The history and storyline were true. It made you invest in what was going on because you wanted to know more.
Great podcast, and now the people want more. The next season will come in 2015, and the masses are waiting. Why? Again – content doesn’t have to be visual to be great and shareable. As you can see from the Topsy screenshot below, the topic is still being talked about (for many of the reasons outlined above).
The reason this podcast (and many others) work is because they allow people another way to consume content on the go. It’s an easy way for busy people to learn more, delve into subject they don’t normally have time for, and/or just be entertained. As mentioned above, podcasts can be 5 min, 30 min, 1 hour (etc). The lengths allow for someone who consume the content while they’re completing other tasks – which is not always the case with watching a video, reading an eBook, etc. No need to flip a page, or scroll through a blog post when all you have to do is change the volume to level you prefer. This also reigns true for audible books – just check out Audible and the fact that you can subscribe to the service like Hulu or Netflix.
Podcasts  may be an old content format, but old doesn’t mean bad content. It just means you need to put in the effort to make it engaging and great (like all content).
Image sources: Serial Podcast, Topsy
This post was originally written for Socialnomics

What NOT to do for your 2015 digital marketing plan

There are many lists. I’ve written a couple of them myself.  But how about the things not to do in 2015? Granted, some of these are items we should have avoided as brands in 2014 too, but let’s try again…
Don’t Be Selfish
Instead of posting only about your brand, its accomplishments, and awesomeness – consider posting about others – post about your audience, partners, charities, and those who are putting out great content such as thought leadership in your industry and marketplace.

Avoid Conversations Where You Have No Right

We’ve seen it. We’ve done it. We want to hop on a trend to be a part of a conversation. But not everyone is Oreo during the Super bowl. Not everyone can be Arby’s during the Grammy’s with Pharrell. Find your time. Find the right opportunity. Be true to your brand’s voice and image.

Don’t Be Stale

It’s easy to stick to what’s safe, comfortable, and what seems to work. But instead, how about setting aside part of your marketing budget to experiment. Try a new social channel. Find a new content partnership. Invest in influencers who can help your brand draw in new audiences. Be willing to try something new.

Don’t put quantity over quality

Because of the nature of social media, it’s hard to be noticed unless you’re putting our content on a regular basis. However, some brands make the mistake of putting out tons of content, and only a couple pieces being actually share-worthy. Take the time to put together quality content that will resonate with your audience rather than churning and burning…crap.

Avoid trying too much at once

And although it’s awesome to try new things, experiment, dive into new social channels because your audience is there and it would be a great place for your brand to play — wait. If you invest in too much you’ll spread your budget thin and won’t be able to invest properly and as above – with quality content. Take a minute and decide on the 3-5 things that seem valuable for your brand and leave the rest for later.

And last but not least, don’t be lame. Have some fun with your content!

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

The Process for Launching a New Website

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

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

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

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

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

Image source: grumpy cat

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

Launching my Passion Project: Radiate Daily

I’ve been thinking about this for almost a year, planning for months, and now it’s here.  The people who know me realize that I’m always doing something on the side. Something that motivates me, alongside my day-to-day digital marketing career. And it’s usually an extension of it.

This time, I got some help. I had an idea, but I knew I needed a partner in crime to get to where I wanted to go. I sat on my couch one night and thought about the people, the women, in my life who had similar aspirations, likes, and compatible personalities. Randomly, one name came to mind. Lindsey Varney. A friend who I met my first week of college and lived across the hall – 13 years ago. We had been in touch off and on, but it had truly been years since we had hung out. I knew she was also in digital marketing, a day younger than me, loved fashion, and had a fun outlook on life. Someone who would balance my type A planner-ness. Months later, here we are. Partners in a new adventure, called Radiate Daily.

 What is Radiate Daily you ask?

I pondered that question for a long time myself. What do I want this site to be. I didn’t want another fashion tips site. Tips only go so far. I wanted to get to the root of the pain points that people have on a daily basis.

 Confidence. Inspiration.

I want to inspire people to believe in themselves. Help focus on the things that drive who they are, each day of their life, and in turn be proud and confident. Style is something I’ve loved for a long time. It’s not fashion – fashion fades as they say. Style is something we all possess (whether we believe it or not). But confidence in one’s style comes from my places (like my story here). It can be a fitness routine, a quote we read, a compliment from a friend, a story that inspired us, or our careers kicking butt. That confidence shapes the rest of us, including our style. It helps us Radiate Daily.

So join me and Lindsey. Join us in our new adventure to help inspire others every day. Come read the stories, check out the snippets on social, and help us collect more to share. Share yours! And of course, tell me what you think. What helps you #radiatedaily ?

Five CTAs to Consider for your Brand’s Content Marketing

 

CTAs for branding and marketing content

When it comes to your website, email marketing, and social media, your content needs a call to action (cta). What is it that you want your reader to do? The CTA usually drives your audience to have an interaction with the content and engage (click, like, share) or potentially go somewhere else (such as your product page to purchase).

A great CTA can create responses from the audience and potentially convert them from a prospective customer to an actual customer (or a current one to a loyal one).

Here’s the thing though, not all CTA’s have to drive to a product or service.

Sometimes a CTA that leads to entertainment, valued content, or helpful tips is enough to make your audience excited for your product or service in the long run.

Here are 5 Alternative Calls to Action for Your  Branding and Marketing Content:

Email: Cross promotion between social and email is a great way to get awareness of your content. Perhaps include some of your Instagram favorites in your email newsletter and allow your readers to “share” their favorite with specific hashtag. Allow them to be a part of your community and potentially be highlighted in your email next time.

Website: Have them “subscribe now” to your newsletter for information on events or entertaining videos, not necessarily sales and promos.

YouTube: Instead of leading them back to the site to purchase a product from your videos, perhaps have a simple annotation to go to the next video. Let them enjoy more awesome content, because they’re obviously watching the video for a reason. They’re interested!

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion – to read the full list of CTAs including Facebook and tumblr, check out my full post here. 

 

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.

Wanelo vs. Pinterest for your Brand

Pinterest and wanelo for business

Pinterest isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s been rocking the visual content scene since its closed beta in 2010. It has over 70 million users (as of July 2013), with average of 14 minutes per session.

  • In fashion and retail, 18 percent of content engagement on Pinterest is driven by brands, 82 percentby community
  • 70 percent of brand engagement on Pinterest is generated by users, not brands
  • Pinterest pins that include prices receive 36 percent more likes than those that do not
  • Pinterest accounts for 25 percent of retail referral traffic

Then came, Wanelo, (also known as Want Need Love), in 2010.

  • Over 7 million products are saved 8 million times a day
  • Over 10 million users, up from 1 million in November 2012
  • Wanelo users spend an average of 50 minutes per day on the site
  • Products from over 200,000 stores, including major retailers to small independent shops

Yes, neither of these two channels are new per say. But they are still hot – for both brands and consumers. And if you’re still unsure, just check out how Nordstrom has expanded it’s use as of the past couple months – especially on Wanelo.

Wanelo, known for being a channel for younger females, has expanded the social commerce territory. It allows for brands to have another way to cross promote their products, and allow for direct purchase. Why is this better?

Let’s say I find the pair of black booties that I want for this Fall. However, there’s no link to the product, or if there is, it’s just going to a blog post. That’s not very helpful. Nor do I want to go to your site and search through pages of shoes to find the pair, and see that it’s already sold out. Make it easier for the consumer by being able to discover, fall in love, and purchase within a few clicks or swipes of a finger.

So let’s break it down further…

Pinterest Fashion Consumer Habits:

  • Search easier
  • Find what your friends love
  • Discover and plan your dream style and fashion wardrobe
  • Admire others, and follow influencers and brands

To learn more about Wanelo consumer habits and where your brand should focus, check out my full post on Startup Fashion

How to: Get Ahead and Starting Marketing to Generation Z

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Generation Z – a generation not born just on the web, but born into social media at their fingertips. They use iPhones and iPads before they begin preschool. They are the generation who has already begun to dictate how we as brands market ourselves across social.

Let’s first define Generation Z and their preferences/behaviors:

  • Born in 1995 or later (although there are some sources that say after approximately 1990).
  • Dictate family purchases
  • Expect transparency and honesty from brands
  • Choose a product over a brand
  • Choose to turn off geo-targeting over privacy settings
  • Communicate in images over text
  • Prefer social channels such as Snapchat
  • Entrepreneur-minded
  • Want to change the world
  • Care how they spend their $ (more than their millennial counterparts)
  • Multi-task with up to 5 screens at once
  • Prefer curation over sharing
  • Want to be successful over discovered

Sounds great, but now what? Generation Z means we need to change, tweak, and focus our marketing in new ways once again. If Generation Z is your brands ultimate target (if not today, then maybe 5 years down the road), then you need to start adapting and evolving now. Be ready for when your brand is of their consideration.

Consider the following tips for today, as you move forward:

  • Focus on image based content
  • Use multiple social channels, especially channels which are more visually focused (i.e. Snapchat, Instagram)
  • Do not delete or ignore poor commentary by the audience; face them head on.
  • Allow your content to be curated across social platforms (i.e. Polyvore, Wanelo)
  • Give them a microphone for expressing their views and educated thoughts
  • Help them with their causes, or give them a new one

This is just the beginning. As Generation Z continues to grow, adapt and determine our new technology, and challenge brands by saying what they want as the best product ever…marketing will continue to evolve. We must continue to observe this generation’s consumer habits and everyday behaviors when it comes to content consumption, technology adoption, and of course how they prefer to engage with one another, and our brands.

Image Source: Business Insider

Further Reading:
http://www.businessinsider.com/generation-z-spending-habits-2014-6
http://mashable.com/2014/08/20/generation-z-marketing/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/11002767/Gen-Z-Gen-Y-baby-boomers-a-guide-to-the-generations.html
 
This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks

How to: Stay on Top of your Social Media Game

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Our lives are busy. We get up, work out (if there’s time), run off to our office (wherever that may be), check our insane amount of email while we slug some caffeine, and hope to make it through the day without having to take most of our work “home” that evening as well. So when do we stay on top of what’s happening in the world, what the latest trend is, and what social media app is hot now? We have to make time. The key is to find efficient and enjoyable ways to do so.

Here are a few of those that may suit your digital fancy…

1. Twitter - This one is a no-brainer. Some may feel like Twitter moves too fast, or it’s hard to keep up with the latest news. However, if you make a Twitter list for different categories you’re interested in, then you can focus on the content you want, and when you want to consume it. For example, you could have a news list to read on your commute in the AM (or while you’re at the gym); an entertainment list when you’re kicking back after dinner or taking a breather while grabbing a coffee; a publication list for your favorite magazines and bloggers who you like to follow. Either way, Twitter makes it easy, and the closest you’ll get to some of the “real time” news you need to know. Whether it’s Vine’s new app additions, the latest iPhone update, or a sports score, Twitter will have it all.

2. Pulse - A simple, easy, and user-friendly way to aggregate your news and publication content in one place. And since it’s been “linked up” with LinkedIn, you can share easily, as well as sign in through your LinkedIn account.

3. CNN Breaking News - One of the few apps I make sure the notifications are always on. It’s the app that lets you know when crazy shit goes down, right then and there. Seriously.

4. Flipboard – Similar to Pulse in some ways, with the aggregation. The difference is mainly for brands. The ability to have mobile experiences for your content is more expansive on flipboard. There are also more ad opportunities for your branded content. From a consumer perspective, it’s more about your preference on what you prefer for your user experience. Swipe or Flip?

5. tumblr - You can make tumblr another news feed type source if you subscribe to the blogs of the brands and publishers you love to consume. For example, I follow brands who put out cool insider content that you can’t always get on any other site or channel. It’s not always the of the minute news, or mainstream announcements, which is why it’s awesome. For example, you can get first time releases, TV Show premieres, and behind the scenes type content.

So in the end it’s all about your preference. No time? Corral it one place. Prefer different apps, that’s ok too. For example, Mashable has a great app where you can swipe through their daily content with ease. And if you and your friends have a favorite app or tool, please share!

Image Source: Techcrunch

This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.

Don’t Be Lazy with Your Social Media

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It’s easy to get a little lax during the summer, especially when the warm weather hits, and the patios are enticing you to come hang out. Just remember, your consumers are thinking the same thing. They’re excited for the summer, they want to drive to the beach, relax on their porches, have bbqs with their friends, and travel for the long weekends. So in-between your sunshine and beers, remember to be there for your consumers too.
Here are three approaches to consider as your brand engages with its audience across social:
1. It’s not about the social channels you have, it’s about what your audience is doing on those social channels this time of year. For example, they may be planning their summer adventure on Pinterest; capturing their new friendships on instagram, and/or tuning into the World Cup on Twitter. So what do you do about it? Engage with them in a way that’s conducive to their behaviors during this season and on that channel.
Tip: Don’t put out the exact same piece of content on every channel. #Lazy
2. Provide them with content that will help them get what they want and desire this summer. For example, if they’re looking for ways to enjoy their weekend, give them ideas and share your thoughts. No need to put your product/service on full display during that content messaging, but subtly demonstrate that your brand is more than just a product. It’s a brand that offers more and can be a daily (or regular) part of their lives — especially when the hot hazy summer days drop down upon us.  Be the brand they are excited to see content from as they’re on their long road trip killing time on their smartphone, swiping through instagram.
3. If you can’t do “real” time, plan ahead. Not every brand can monitor conversation 24 hours a day. Sometimes you have to plan for what’s going to be “popping” in social conversation. For example, we all know the World Cup is this month. Most brands have planned what types of conversations will occur, and will be ready to engage when that time comes. Another thing that happens every year is July 4th (oh yea, that awesome day with red, white and blue, and amazing patriotism, and yes bbqs too)…be ready for it in advance, but also allow for some day of changes to pop into conversation as news develops.
And while you’re sipping that beer, and laying on your hammock, just check in on your brand a few times here n’ there. You never know when that awesome opportunity to start a conversation (not just join) could be ripe for the picking.
Image Source: theprospect.net
This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.

How to: Kick Butt with Reddit for your Brand

Reddit, an open-source community (which has been around since 2005), is not new in today’s social world. However, it is unique and quite powerful when it comes to content and the community that powers it. For example each user (redditor) can vote on which stories (content posted) and discussions are worthy (aka important) and the most voted upon stories rise to the top, while others stories will drop. Anyone can create a community (subreddit) which is independent but also moderated by a team of volunteers (similar to wikipedia in that way). When it comes to comments on posts, anyone can do so. These comments can be important as they can and usually add more color to the content posted,  and/or potentially some entertainment and humor.

For those who are not sure about the power of this community. Just check out these stats (as of July 2014):

Unique Visitors: 114.5 M

Global Expanse: visitors from over 190 countries

Total Pages Viewed: Over 5B

Active communities: 7,800+

Active users: 3M+

Active voting: 22M+

Additional info useful to brands:

Roughly: 60% Male vs. 40% female

Mainly: desktop users

Time spent: 15 min per session time (approx 3 times a day)

So now what? Should your brand be a part of this community? Not necessarily.

The brands who step into Reddit, are daring, confident, and willing to be kicked in their content chops a few times. Reddit users are rabid, they care about their communities like they do their best friends. They don’t want sponsored content spamming their communities every day. However, if that content is worthy, fun, entertaining, and fits the voice and tone of that particular subreddit, the redditors may accept it.

Although there are particular rules for Reddit, here are some additional best practices to consider when your brand decides to break into the Reddit World:

  • Restating this from the rules, because it’s necessary: Don’t ask for votes. It’s tacky, seems desperate, and normally works in the opposite way.
  • It’s a community. It’s meant for true discussion and sharing.

If your brand wants to run a reddit-specific campaign or contest:

  • Partner with Reddit and target users within certain subreddits.
  • Use human speak. Don’t use marketing jargon.
  • Monitor and respond to questions and comments daily.
  • Entice the community to be active and engage with the content through the comments. Get them to be competitive with one another.
Most of all, just drink some of the reddit “juice” and have some fun. Challenge your brand to kick some butt.

And for those still hungry for more info  - here’s a cool Makers Mark Example on Redditand here are some best practices from Redditors.

This post was also written for Socialnomics, and can be found here

Nordstrom stays ahead of the Social Media Curve

Nordstrom, the brand that has been cutting edge in both mobile and social, has done it again. It’s kicking butt and taking names with another visual app. First, there wasPinterest, where they did a great job of integrating online and offline. The brand took loyal UGC content, and “pinned” their actual items within the store — showing what consumers preferred most. This allowed some consumers to feel special, and others to get intrigued and excited by their purchase. They were allowing consumers to tell their story, and become part of the Nordstrom story (and vice versa).

Linking online and offline, seems easy, but not always the case. It’s taking different sets of behaviors and figuring out how they work together. People have very unique mobile and social behaviors, and they not only by device, but also by channel. For example, a primary behavior on Pinterest is dreaming and planning. People plan their future homes, their weddings, the arrival of a new baby, or a summer vacation. Others dream about what that wedding will be like when they arrive their one day. And others are inspired by the dreams and planning of other Pinterest users and influencers. Those dreams and plans can become a reality when you walk into a store like Nordstrom and you see those sparkly heels for your Big Day. The bride-to-be is walking into the store to be inspired in person. She may also be on a mission and searching for something particular. And a store like Nordstrom, can help her search, and/or help her “discover” more than she had thought she could find or imagine. It connects her online inspiration, with her in person discovery.

Recently, Nordstrom helped their audience connect with the products they “want” and “need” from their mobile behaviors to their in-store behaviors through Wanelo. They are are integrating social TV displays within their physical stores. This will allow the younger audience (mostly female) to be inspired and discover along with other fellow fans – what is most loved and wanted by others. Along with Pinterest, and sites like Polyvore, Wanelo allows for unbelievable engagement with products as well as referral traffic to sites and points of purchase. And if Nordstrom’s 1.2 million followers on Wanelo, wasn’t enough proof, check out these stats:

  • Wanelo went from 1M to 10M users in 2013
  • With 200,000 product uploads, Nordstrom had 30 million product saves by consumers
  • There was an average of 343 saves per Nordstrom product

I am sure the in-store integration will  not only increase the awareness and engagement for Nordstrom, but bring the awareness of Wanelo itself for other brands through the offline audiences. Fashion brands, take note - social shopping apps like Wanelo are a gold mine for style trendsetters and fashionistas alike. And this isn’t to say that other brands can’t excel. When it comes to home decor, it’s a similar playing field (with a lot less players). Get after it.

Sources: Racked.com; Buzzfeed.com; Techcrunch.com

This post was originally written for socialnomics, and can also be found here 

The Second Screen Battle Field Shows a Clear Winner

The second screen experience, another battle field for brands to fight over one another for the largest voice, most engagement, and ability to reach their audience when they’re “tuned in.” There have been multiple second screen apps including but not limited to shazam, getglue and  intonow (which has been shut down by Yahoo as of this year). So not only is it a battle ground for brands, but it’s a battle ground for apps as well — regarding which one will provide the most reach and engagement for brands.  So who’s winning the battle? In my humble opinion, Twitter has been rocking the second screen stage since the beginning. Why? Let’s break it down.
  • The audience is there.
  • The brands are there.
  • Other apps (including instagram) integrate easily to distribute content to Twitter.
  • Hashtags make the conversations easily searchable and in turn joinable.
  • People “tune in” to Twitter the same time they tune in for tv shows. It’s become routine. It’s an innate behavior with the audience already.
Mediabistro provided some stats to back this up:
  • 90 percent of Twitter users who see a TV show-related tweet are likely to immediately watch the show, search for more information, or share tweet-based content about that show
  • TV-related tweets are most likely to be engaged with if they come from a cast member of the show (40 percent) rather than the user’s friends or family (26 percent) or the show’s official Twitter account (18 percent)
  • 54 percent of Twitter users who recall seeing brand-related tweets during a TV show have taken action (tweeting about, searching for or considering the brand)
  • 72 percent of Twitter users tweet during live broadcasts
These stats demonstrate the audience is going to use what’s convenient for them, what they already use day-to-day and where even cast members voice their thoughts and comments on a regular basis. Yes, some consumers may tap into new apps, but the chances of those apps being opened regularly, staying on the front screen of a phone/tablet and not being deleted over time are less likely than apps that are used daily by consumers.
Brands, take note. Why not use what’s already at your fingertips. And of course it doesn’t hurt that your content is already on Twitter (assumption) and you already have a base audience.
Next time, we’ll dive deeper into tips to strategize how to use second screen via Twitter to your benefit with tactical tips and action items.
This post was originally written for socialnomics, and can also be found here.

Tips to Invest in Visual Content for the Digital Space

Content isn’t just about blog posts, whitepapers and only written content. Content can be anything from a Tweet to a TV Commercial. Unfortunately, some brands write a great article, and then just slap on a photo. The photo for that article is what will entice people on social channels to actually consume your content and potentially share to their audience. For example, when posting an article on Pinterest, unless your brand’s photo is visually appealing, the likeliness of someone clicking on it is slim to none. And who wants to Re-Pin an article with a blurry or unappealing photo? So before you choose any photo (or video), consider investing your money and resources to something that’s of higher quality and more engaging to your target audience.

Here are some quick tips to invest (and some ways that don’t break the bank):

1. Don’t just rely on your smartphone camera – It’s definitely easy and convenient, especially for apps like Instagram to shoot and share immediately through your phone. However, for better quality shots an investment on a good Canon or Nokia may be worth the few extra bucks. That way you can have more effective photo shoots of your products, services, influencers, and events with a little less stress.

2. Have a committed resource (or freelancer) – Taking photos isn’t a 5 minute job. It takes time to get the right shot. Additionally if your brand is committed to posting every day on channels like Instagram, Pinterest, and/or tumblr, you need the assets to do it. It’s ok to have multiple shots from one shoot, but it’s important to have variety.

3. Curate - Not only is this helpful to not put all the pressure on your brand, but it helps to highlight others in the community who also have great content. And if karma is real, it’ll definitely come back around.

4. UGC – Your consumers will like and maybe even love to be highlighted. I admit, when I posted a picture tagging Nordstrom Rack a couple weeks ago, and then the brand took notice not just by liking my photo, but regramming it to their feed – well I may have done a little dance or two. I was ecstatic. It was the ultimate compliment by a brand I admire. So not only is that a way to win over a consumer, but it’s more content for your arsenal!

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How to use your new awesome visual content wisely:

1. Facebook – Considering it’s almost impossible to get noticed organically on Facebook nowadays, the more you can do the better. Ensure that each post has a featured image that is bright colored (blue is always helpful), with the main product/service/person standing out clearly. It helps if it’s an image a consumer would be excited to share.

2. Twitter - Instagram will not show up in-feed anymore, so consumers have to click out to view the image. However if you post directly through Twitter than it will show up. It’s more likely that someone will click on your Tweet and the link in your Tweet if the image is enticing.

3. Instagram – My favorite as of late – can’t help it. It’s fun, easy to share, and addicting to follow others. Make sure your content stands out in the crowd. A helpful tip is to ensure you post regularly (daily) with pictures that are high quality – not blurry! The filters are fun, but most brands don’t use them because they take away from the photo and make them lower quality. Also if you want to feature your pop of color, don’t use a filter to take away from it.

4. Pinterest – Some people think you can only post images on Pinterest – not true! You can post articles, infographics, and more. However make sure that there is an image that goes along with said article that makes it pop and appealing to the crowd. Mashable does a great job of repurposing their blog content on this visual channel, which in turn leads to great referral traffic back to their blog.

And don’t forget to have some fun with it. Show off your brand with some behind the scene pics of your team, your product being made, your event being planned, or even let an influencer take over your instagram account one day to show their take on your event or brand.

This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.  

Four ‘Critical’ Considerations for your Digital Channel Approach

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It’s easy to get lost in your brand channel planning process. Pins, Tweets, Vines, and Snapchats, Oh My! So instead of jumping all over the place, let’s think about how they all work together. Focus on one channel that will be where your content stems from to determine your approach across the others. For example: A blog!

Here are four [critical - sounds so extreme, but definitely helpful] things to consider when setting up your blog and distribution channels for success: 

  • A Hub, Not an Island: Your blog shouldn’t be the only place people can consume your content. It shouldn’t be all alone, like a deserted island. It’s part of your content and social ecosystem! For example, some people prefer to consume the majority of their professional content through LinkedIn, while others have a running stream through Lists on Twitter. While others may subscribe to blogs via email. Whatever the case, the blog can be a destination such as a “hub” which allows for inlets and outlets to lead to more interesting content. For example,Mashable Pins all of their infographics  from their site/blog on Pinterest boards, allowing people who prefer to enjoy their content on a fun visual app instead to consume it there.

Pro Tip - While infographics are hard to view on Twitter and Facebook, Pinterest allows for visual content to thrive, even long, complex infographics. Best part – great referral traffic back to their main content, demonstrating a way back to the “hub.”

  • Branding – Look & Feel: While your social channels lend themselves to being more “human” and “relaxed” in voice — the look and feel helps consumers to connect your channels. It can be as simple as having the same logo across channels. Having the same color scheme and background images can’t hurt – but those can alternate due to campaigns of course. For example, your Facebook cover image may change each week or month with your promotions, while your blog layout remains the same.
  • Creation vs. Curation vs. Co-Creation: Creating all your own content is a bear. Seriously. It helps to curate other content to supplement the content you are already kicking butt with. For example if your blog is on tumblr, it is as simple as discovering content in your topic category, finding influencers who write well, and reblogging them onto your blog. Then not only do they get credit, you have great content on your blog, but you have connected yourself with an influencer in the space who appreciates your support. And perhaps over time they’ll reciprocate the gesture and promote your content as well. Another benefit of reblogging and curating  is the increase of eyeballs on the content. Now who doesn’t want that?

Take it a step further: Consider hiring a guest blogger to take some of the work off of you. It benefits both you and the blogger! But what about your brand voice, look and feel when you hire guest bloggers? You’ll want to have a brand guidelines for your bloggers. Something simple for them to follow for tone and voice.

  • Be Consistent Across: It’s totally cool to be more relaxed on Twitter, and perhaps “sassy” on Instagram. However, if you have ten different voices, then people won’t really know what your brand stands for. Pick a direction your brand chooses to take – whether it’s chill and relaxed, the “give it to you straight” facts brands, the passionate advocate, or whatever suits your fancy. A takeaway for your brand team would be to remember that consumers will begin to build a relationship with your brand, and as in real life, you want to be true to who you are. Don’t fool them into thinking you are someone else. They’ll feel cheated and move on the next great thing. So instead, be honest, transparent, human, and and in a bit of entertainment and comedy when the time is right. Or all the time – if that’s your brand!

These directions may be broad, but I and we (our marketing on the rocks team) are happy to answer specific questions on branding, consistency, content creation, and curation, as well as specific channel approaches. Each channel is different, and in turn must be given different consideration. Additionally, what may work for a small startup, may not be what works for a large consumer brand. So let’s chat!

This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks and can also be found here.

Image source: pinterest / mashable

Monetizing your Brand through Storytelling App Instagram

Instagram is a fun, visual, and engaging channel for brands, influencers, and consumers. People love posting photos of their meals, outfits, pets, vacations, so on and so forth.Brands can take advantage of Instagram by focusing on people’s passion points and what evokes emotion from them each day. For example fashion brands can easily upload photos of their upcoming lines, models wearing their latest and greatest, influencers wearing their exclusive garb on their vacations, etc.

So you get followers, got it. You get likes and comments. Awesome. But what about selling your products? You can do that too – really. Instagram has become another avenue for referral traffic to your brand site, consumer products, and direct purchase.

3 ways to monetize your brand through Instagram:

Keep it Simple: Sometimes it’s easier just to provide a link to your blog and/or product link for consumers to find the item they want with one action. Why make it harder through re-directing a few different times. Tip – you cannot actually “click” on the link. Someone will have to re-enter the link on their browser. But for now, it will do. Instagram, are you listening?

Brand Example: Nordstrom – They do a great job of giving you the item reference # so you can find the exact item on their site with less searching. Great way to get around the current roadblock.

 

Use Influencers: There is a plethora of instagram influencers who are probably already posting your products or like-minded photos. For example bloggers like Daniela Ramirez or better known as @nanysklozet on Instagram is constantly posting about what she wears, how she wears it, and what’s in her “klozet.” It gives her followers ideas on what brands are great to purchase from and why it rocks. She will post links to the items on her blog, so she’s creating referral traffic for the brands not only from her instagram account through branded hashtags, but also through her style blog. Double the score.

There’s an App for That: The tough thing  as mentioned above, is when you provide a link, no one can click through the app currently. However there are workarounds such asLike To Know It  which allows influencers to post a direct link for purchase of the item they’re promoting. Additionally, it allows consumers to find that specific item without hunting, and/or similar products to what they saw on the app. For example, perhaps that pair of shoes was a tad too pricey, maybe there’s a more attainable pair you can purchase with the same look. Why is an app like this important for both influencers and brands? Because it’s a direct path to purchase for consumers who want what the influencers have. They want it right then and there. So let them have it at their fingertips.

Infuencer Example: Aimee Song (@Songofstyle) uses Like to Know it!

Alternatively, if Like to Know It is too complicated with Reward Style (invite-only) registration, services like Soldsie and Chirpify allow for quick and instant transactions through the comments feed (utilizing action words and hashtags).

Bonus Tip – If you only post the photo and no way for them to find out about how to get it, they’ll lose interest in the brand (especially if the brand doesn’t respond). Provide a relevant brand hashtag, a link to the item they are coveting, and/or tease them until it’s available. Sneak peeks are a great way to entice a frenzy at launch. Just look at SJP Collection as an example with their exclusive launch through Nordstrom.

 

Questions on how to use instagram for your brand? Reach out in the comments below!

This post was originally written for Socialnomics and can also be found here.

Photo Creds:

http://instagram.com/nordstrom
http://instagram.com/nanysklozet
http://instagram.com/songofstyle
http://instagram.com/sjpcollection
http://liketoknow.it/

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 like mastering the technique of pay per click advertising; whether it’s through workshops once a month, webinars, just diving in with a good old business book or hiring just seo to boost your reach to the right audience.

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

Five Tips to Building your Band of Brand Loyalists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Current Brand Crush (Maybe Love): Sole Society

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

1. They have a great affordable fashion line

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

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2. They market themselves with style

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

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

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