21 February, 2012

SMWHK - Social media and emerging fashion – is it worth my time?

[at]smwhk #smwhkdesign Hosted by [at]shopdcreateurs

For some key points about fashion blogging, whether you're an emerging designer looking to promote your brand, or a blogger building a following, look no further.

Social Media Week's Social Media and Emerging Fashion Designers: Is it worth my time? event, hosted by Cedric Delzenne of Shop Des Createurs can help you out. With a panel of bloggers - like Maura Thompson, Founder of Sassy Hong Kong, and Jasmine Webster, Fashion Blogger DressMeblog - and designers like Anthony Hill, co-founder & Creative Director at HILL, the discussion on how best to use digital media to get what you want will soon unravel.

For a preview of this event, please see my article in SCMP.

A couple of sites to check out 
Before we start the real discussion, Webster leads us through a few sites that she really likes to use.

The online pinboard scrapbook website, Pinterest, has sparked a lot of attention lately. Not just because they recently claimed to be the fastest website in history to break the 10-million-visitors-a-month bar, but in the tech world, more so for its use of Skim Links. It seems sneaky (and it creates revenue for the company): As users 'pin' an image, an affiliate link is automatically attached. So as you're loading images, you're inadvertently driving traffic to a specific website – up-selling it, if you will, without knowing so.


Now this one really is for fashionistas. Using the Virtual Styling Tool, you can gather different clothes and accessories that you like and create your own fashion collection, or "set". Of course, you can publish your set (which looks like a glossy fashion mag spread) and share it with your social media friends.


Key tips relate to any blogger - whether you're the fashionista type or not:
Thanks to the range of experts on the discussion panel, the range of tips come in fast, and accurate.
  • Make sure you're really ready to launch – if your website isn't done, you would be better to wait 
  • Build some Facebook posts and fill with images before launching the page (don't hit 'Publish' until you've built some content) 
  • Make sure you're ready to constantly engage your audience, before you start 
  • Content is vital – good images are key 
  • Be genuine – blog about things you actually care about or like 
  • Assume that viewers will only stay online for about four seconds. They're likely to look for links before deciding to read what you've said 
  • Anything that goes online stays online 
  • Relate all your posts back to what the audience wants to hear – not just what you want to say 
  • Keep it relevant (brand/ topic) and constantly monitor and adapt – give your audience reasons to like the brand other than the products you're selling 
  • Engage – ask open questions too 
  • If you make a mistake, it's ok – but be genuine 
  • No matter how busy you are, you need to stay in touch with your customers. If necessary, have email notifications for Twitter, Facebook (etc) notifications


Sexy analytics
Blogs, Twitter, Facebook - all of the above (and more) can be used for analytics too. Now, analytics can be limiting so it's important that you understand how the information is measured, and that you don't take these numbers to mean more than they do.

Ways to make the most of reading analytics include scheduling the themes of your posts. For instance, Tuesdays could always be about a particular product type; Fridays could always be a poll. With most analytics, you can look at the particular day (like Tuesdays) to see what the response numbers are like.

Converting followers into sales
For many businesses, it's more than just spreading the word and being in touch. Sales are vital to keep any company running. Thompson talks about using the advertising links (on the right side of a Facebook page – until they change the design again) or a featured sponsored story to promote a page or company and that in her experience, it works well.

Social media is a great way to build a story around you and your brand, it will build a background catalogue of features so that it's easier to then start attracting attention from the 'big' press. One way to start that journey is to make strong links with good, well-followed bloggers within your industry. Bloggers have power, so if you can find one that loves your brand and will advocate for you, then you're in a good position.

Why you need to get personal with bloggersAs Webster keenly points out, "bloggers are about being personal". That's surely part of the parcel. So, don't assume that they will relate to – or read – a press release. If the personal touch is missing, it doesn't feel authentic, so it doesn't mean a lot. If you really want to get their attention, you'll need to invest some time into sending a personalised message - but first, make sure you understand what makes that blogger tick.

The final equation
In closing, the panel agreed that the main points to remember are be consistent, be regular, create a "voice" and focus on your target audience.


Later, Webster tweets in some help for those who want to know how to find a good blogger, with 15 questions to ask before working with a blogger.

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