6 Actions You Can Take to Make Social Media Work for Your Fashion Business Growth
Everybody talks about how using social media is incredibly important for the growth of a fashion business. They say…
If you’re not leveraging the platforms full of people that exist out there, you’re missing a very big opportunity for your fashion business.
We all know this is true, yet we continue to feel a little overwhelmed by the process. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
If you’re someone who’s life began decades before Myspace existed, then there is a learning curve for using these platforms, especially when you’re talking about using them for business. Or if you’re someone who had been actively and effectively using social platforms for your personal life, then suddenly found yourself needing to shift into a business approach, you can be left at a loss.
The single most important thing to remember about using social platforms for the benefit of your fashion business is that your ultimate goal is to build community.
If you constantly keep in mind that what you really want is to create relationships with the people (customers, buyers, editors, and industry pros) you’re connecting with, then your approach to social media for business becomes a lot less overwhelming.
OK, with the above point in mind…
Action Step 1: Decide on Which Platforms You Will Use
The biggest reason that so many of us get overwhelmed with social media, or feel that it “doesn’t work”, is because we try to do too much too soon. If you’re a one-person show or you have a very small team, your best bet is to zero on a few platforms (and may I suggest blogging as one of them) for creating your community.
Make a list of a few platforms on which to start by asking yourself:
- Where is my audience spending their time? (Snapchat is not for everyone!)
- Which platforms am I most comfortable on? (You’ll do better on the ones you enjoy using.)
Action Step 2: Decide on What Kind of Content You Will Post
This steps takes time. You want to make sure that you’re not simply posting promotional content. You have to mix it up. I see so many brands constantly posting things that revolve solely around their brand, rather than their audience.
Create content ideas by asking yourself:
- Does this piece of content offer my audience any value other than the opportunity to see what I’m working on? (If the answer is “no”, rethink it)
- Does this piece of content feel like a sales pitch in any way? (replace your brand name with another brand, do you care at all about the content now that it’s about someone else?)
Action Step 3: Create a Schedule for Posting Your Content
If you don’t create a calendar for your social media posting, you’ll never get on a schedule, you’ll always feel like it’s something to “squeeze in” to your day rather than an important task for marketing your business.
You can use something as simple as a spreadsheet or a google calendar to get this going.
Action Step 4: Remember to Plan Proactive Time
There’s more to social media work than simply posting. You have to be proactive. There are a lot of things you can do, but here are a few:
- Create twitter lists of editors, buyers, suppliers, and industry pros and actively engage with them on a regular basis.
- Identify Instagram profiles of brands or magazines or communities with whom you share an audience. Follow them, collaborate with them (buy a magazine and do a giveaway!) as a means of connecting with the followers.
- Blog about inspiring people, request an interview, and share their story with your audience (and they’ll most likely share it with theirs!)
Action Step 5: Add Review and Rework Time to Your Tasks
Nothing you do is guaranteed to work; it’s all experiment. So make sure you are taking note of what’s working and what’s not and then making time to rework the content that isn’t quite taking off.
Action Step 6: Get Offline
Attend events, both business focused and not, and meet people. It doesn’t have to be in that stuffy “networking’ way. Take a class, attend a talk, go to a book signing, and mingle. Meeting people offline and then connecting with them online can be very genuine.
Bonus Action Step: Constantly Educate Yourself
Read books, read blog posts (ah hem), attend seminars, join communities, participate in workshops that keep you on top of what’s happening it the business, technology, social media, and fashion worlds. There is always more to learn; the second you forget that is the second you stop growing.
The last two action steps above are the two that I see most often ignored or put on the back-burner. It’s easy to feel that they’re not as important as the other steps. But that’s not true. I would actually argue that they are more important because if you’re not educating yourself and you’re not getting offline to meet people (who you then can connect with online), your social media efforts will become stagnant and ultimately a waste of time.
I was inspired to write this post about social media when I was reviewing the upcoming seminars that will be happening at our sponsor’s, Texworld USA, upcoming sourcing trade show.
There are 3 seminars happening at Texworld USA in NYC focused on social media, that I think are so valuable to emerging designers and independent brands.
CELEBRITY PHOTOS, TRADEMARKS, AND HASHTAGS- THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF SOCIAL MEDIA POSTING FOR FASHION BUSINESSES – Monday, January 25th @ 1pm
Whether we like it or not, as business owners we need to acknowledge that what we do both online and offline, has consequences. When we post blogs with images, use hashtags that already have a meaning associated with them, quote people, re-post, and all kinds of other things, we have to know what we can and cannot legal do. We have to know if we’re infringing on trademarks, misrepresenting our brand, or using copyrighted material. I was excited to see this seminar pop up in the schedule because it’s incredibly important yet one that isn’t often addressed. I’ll be there taking notes, for sure.
DRIVING SOCIAL MEDIA TO MARKET YOUR LINE – Monday, January 25th @ 4pm
With all this talk of the importance of social media, one thing is for sure, most brands are doing it and that makes it incredibly difficult to stand out. When you make your way through the action steps I highlighted above, you’re going to want to have in mind how your brand is different; what ways you’re going to stand out from the myriad photos of avocado toast/cappuccino Sunday brunch tables and editorial captures of your latest collection. These kinds of photos are everywhere and do nothing but cause the scroll-through. Guilty myself of getting too comfortable with my social content, I’m looking forward to sitting in on this one.
GET REAL: AN OUTLINE OF OUR CROSS-INDUSTRY METHODOLOGY – Tuesday, January 26th @ 12pm
This seminar sounds fascinating to me. Here’s the synopsis:
‘Get Real’ explores how brands can successfully engage with a new generation of austerity-hardened consumers who value fallibility, vulnerability and real human emotion over the idealized promise of a perfect life.
When I read this, I was like, “Yes!”. This is important on so many levels. Something I’ve learned over the last year or so is the importance of showing my vulnerability to you, the designers who make up our community. I’m not perfect, I don’t have it all figured out, and I’m not afraid to share that with you. Learning to do that is an important step in the growth of your brand.
But in addition to that, this seminar will also be such a great reminder of that fact that nobody and no brand is perfect! So many of us struggle with the “keeping up” syndrome and we tend to allow ourselves to feel like we’re behind or not good enough or not “successful” enough. Anything we can do to be brought back to reality is a great thing for our businesses and ourselves!
I plan to sit in and take frantic notes at all three of these free seminars (as well as others that span trend forecasting, sourcing, and sustainability) while at Texworld USA.
Will you be there? Let’s meet up and chat business!
Save the Date!
The next edition of Texworld USA will take place July 12-14, 2016 at the Javits Convention Center, North Hall, in New York City and will feature the International Apparel Sourcing Show. The show and the seminars are free for industry professionals.
And, since I just went on and on about social, don’t forget to follow along with them on your favorite social media platform!
You’ve heard us talk about Texworld USA many time before, they are one of our sponsors because we really believe in the importance of attending shows like this as a means of learning, connecting, and building a stronger business.
Hi Nicole, I stumbled upon your articles while I was researching fashion trade shows on the internet. About five years ago I began making garments from silk scarves, first for myself, then for friends and arts and crafts shows. I have three designs which have been very successful, and I'd like to start selling to small boutiques and galleries. I have no idea how to do this. I live on Long Island, so I could participate in trade shows in New York. Aside from the cost of the shows, I want to keep my business small and enjoyable, so I don't know if that is a good route for me to take. Any advice you have for me would be welcomed. Thank you, Joyce Roll
Hi Joyce, Congratulations on your success so far. Here are some articles that should help with pitching to stores: http://dev2.startupfashion.com/create-line-sheet http://dev2.startupfashion.com/lookbook-line-sheet http://dev2.startupfashion.com/fashion-designer-relationship-retailer http://dev2.startupfashion.com/buyers-meeting http://dev2.startupfashion.com/overcome-fear-of-selling http://dev2.startupfashion.com/stores-to-sell