As an emerging brand, making a dent in your ‘to do’ list seems impossible. Social media seems like the last thing you want to add to your plate.
I totally understand where you’re coming from. I get it, I work with emerging designers every day, and you all have one thing in common: you’re busy. And social media is not an overnight success task that you can tick off the list and never think about again. It’s a process, a strategy, an experiment. And there are no guarantees.
But it really is the single best tool you can use to grow your business from non-existent to everybody’s favorite.
Social media is good for:
Market research The more you know about your customer, the more you are able to sell to them. Social media platforms are awesome places to spend time listening to and observing your current and potential customers. What do they love, despise, hope for, and worry about? All of this information is waiting for you on social media. Once you start paying attention to it and using it to your advantage, you’ll start to see how it’s reflected in sales.
Brand Awareness You can’t make sales if no one knows who you are. Using social media is one of the most cost effective ways to get the word out about your brand in a natural and organic way. The word of mouth marketing that comes from social media is absolute gold for your spanking new brand.
Direct sales Sharing images of (and links to buy!) your latest products is obviously the most direct way to sell on social media. While this approach doesn’t work on all platforms, it can be valuable when mixed in with plenty of other, non-sales type posts.
Tip: The best platform to make direct sales work for you is Pinterest but, if you are careful, you can also make this work on Facebook. It’s also possible on Instagram: While you can’t add URLs to the comments, you can link to your store in your ‘bio’ section. Just don’t forget to mention “link to buy in bio” in the comments.
Attracting Retail Buyers Picking up new wholesale accounts through social media has been known to happen more than you might expect. You’re not making the hard sale, but you are creating a relationship. When you’re ready to pitch your line, that relationship is a great jumping-off point.
Attracting Magazine Editors Editors tend to be very active on platforms like Twitter because it’s becoming a great news channel. They can use it to search specific topics and trends, making it easy to find stories and experts. Who wouldn’t love to see their latest product in Lucky Magazine!?
Blogger Relationships When a blogger genuinely loves your work and includes one of your pieces in a style post, it can be a very powerful sales channel for you. Working with bloggers is a bit trickier than it used to be but definitely still a great option for new brands to make sales.
What you need to do:
Create an Actual Strategy You won’t be effective at achieving any of the above without a plan. Figure out which platforms you will use to connect with buyers and press, which you will use to speak directly to the customer and perform market research, and how you plan to work with bloggers.
Create Goals Within your strategy you need to set goals. When you work with this blogger, what do you want to see in your sales numbers? How many editors will you connect with on twitter this month? How many new email subscribers do you want to get from your Facebook efforts? If you set goals, then you have something to work towards and something to use to make comparisons.
Controlled Experimentation Trying things and seeing what works is absolutely necessary when it comes to social media. What kind of social media content does your audience seem to relate to the most? Do they like when you talk about travel? Do they love those quotes you’re sharing on Instagram? Don’t be afraid to play around a bit and see what gets the most interest. Once you start identifying some trends, do more of that!
Measure and Test Nothing you do on social media will reach its full potential if you’re not measuring and improving your efforts. When does your audience seem to be paying the most attention and clicking through? What day of the week does your blog get the most visits? It’s important to pay attention to things like this in order to make sure that you’re getting the most out of the content that you so lovingly create.
Here are a few tools that I suggest getting comfortable with:
So there you have it. When given a real chance, social media can be an amazing tool for making sales for your emerging brand. You just need to plan, pay attention, and have patience.
Nicole Giordano has been critical in the launch of hundreds of independent designers’ successful fashion businesses. In addition to founding StartUp FASHION, a community and business hub for emerging designers, she has partnered on special projects with WWD MAGIC and eBay FASHION, and has worked with labels including Jill Stuart, Prabal Gurung, and Isaac Mizrahi.