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Make Google’s Hummingbird Sing w/ Strong UX – Navigating New SEO

Make Google’s Hummingbird Sing w/ Strong UX – Navigating New SEO

Mastering Google’s ever-evolving, programmer-designed algorithm can be a time-consuming challenge for even large ventures, let alone bloggers or small business owners. Where you rank on powerful search engines determines page views, traffic flows and eventually any site-based revenue so if you are aiming above invisibility, SEO matters. Ever since Hummingbird, Google’s most radical revamp of its search engine algorithm in September 2013, many marketers, bloggers and businesses have hit panic mode fearing costly strategies have become outdated or obsolete. Thankfully, SEO Strategist Erika Miller of ELM Consulting (also Adobe, Elle.com, Refinery29, and more) took DC’s Open Source Fashion under the hood of the revised algorithm.

The Problem
Think of all the NOISE and junk that devalues your online experience – essentially Google is trying to minimize that. Many had become adept at manipulative optimization techniques (i.e. link wheels, content networks or content spinning), so the online experience deteriorated since top results were not necessarily related to positive experiences. We will all benefit from Google’s ability to identify and punish websites that spam, manipulate ranking authority and publish low-quality content. Moving forward, this means marketers need to think less quick-fix trickery and more about rank-worthiness. And don’t forget that ultimately, Google’s financial lifeline is ad revenue which will only retain value as long as their experience outperforms alternative engines. They need to constantly evolve so be prepared.

What is Different?
While Google reveals some factors playing into the algorithm, in reality what happens between submitting a query and the display of search results remains a riddle. We know that the update affects the way Google processes search-related signals before ranking billions of Web pages in its index. The signals this innovation integrates are hyperlocal search, mobile search, user intent, social media, trust rank and the knowledge graph. Barriers between online and offline are being shattered. Attempting to intuit searcher intent particularly will make search increasingly more relevant. Search term data is now “100% not provided” which was previously a critical method of understanding traffic flows to your content. Interestingly though, Google will sell you “encrypted” data as premium analytics if you are a client through AdWords. If the motive for data concealment was truly to protect the consumer as some have claimed they wouldn’t allow data to be distributed in paid services. Clearly they have a nice corner on the market for online behavior metrics.

New SEO Strategies:

Phrasing
To make the cut with Hummingbird, you need to focus on the best user experience, which requires a more meaningful understanding of user intent. You need to go beyond phrase targeting to retain rankings. Shortcuts are out. Google is going to continue outsmarting all who randomly strap remotely related tags to content.  The new play is semantic search, with emphasis on matching the meanings of phrases with concepts rather than just matching the individual words in a query to documents. Complexity is also key. Many are unaware long-tail queries make up a substantial portion of search queries.  Broken phrases often used in titles may do better with conversational tags, for example, changing “peplum shirt” to “how to style black peplum shirts in fall” and adding multiple specifics that will lure in just the right visitors who will be satisfied with the content. Search engines’ ability to process natural language is on the rise making abbreviated phrasing tags less optimal.

Develop your micro content around a macro strategy. Organic search traffic is created by good content that is focused and not trying to be “one size fits all.” Erika noted this means you need to be involved with the conversations happening around your product through various outlets, and cater your content to these conversations.  Erika asked us to picture Google Glass requests for “what swimsuits look good for size 14″ or specific queries that meet a need. For bloggers, curate a conversation about your inspiration behind each look on a personal level,  be more literal rather than expecting readers to understand what you’re trying to convey so that it is more discoverable. Readers need to connect to the story behind your content to have a satisfying experience (which will lower your bounce rate.) It is worth the time deconstructing your site visitors’ intent instead of simply optimizing to rank high for specific keywords.

Links and Social Media
Links continue to reign supreme as the ultimate SEO authority signal so do not substitute social media for link building. Think of social media for audience building, relationships with content publishers for link building. While many “experts” try to tell you how much social media affects rankings, brand mentions in social media may be overemphasized by many because the amount needed to translate into ranking authority is probably too large for most small creators.  Also pay attention to which networks are closed i.e. Instagram which is closed v. Pinterest which shows up in search.

Go into Depth (no more snack-size)
Two really good articles per week is better than the ten posts per week which more outdated strategies encouraged. Still be consistent with frequency as readers will become accustomed to that. There has been ENDLESS publishing of poor content and barely relevant lists as link bait, but nothing gets shared and indexed today like thoughtfully created, in depth articles. You can even see on webmaster tools the ranking preference given to in-depth, high quality content. (See this “Appearing in the “In-depth articles” feature” article from Google’s Webmaster Help Center.)

User Personas
User personas itemizing characteristics of your site visitors is still as important as ever, but also keeping in touch with how your users evolve over time. Many fail to differentiate between the innovators, early adopters, the early majority, late majority, laggards and other breakdowns of user types which will all behave and interact differently with your content.

Site architecture
Maintain a simple logical architecture. All pages should be accessible within four clicks from the homepage and have unique URLs. Always return to your goals. Everyone measures success differently so narrow in on what the desired behavior is for your users i.e. conversion rates as newsletter subscriptions.  Use keyword insights to guide intermittent redesign of your landing page for greater conversions. Make sure to make design decisions based on interface analytics. For example, moving the newsletter button around will generate different percentages of conversions in each place so you need to discover the “sweet spot” for everything while preserving a simple user experience guiding them. Critical conversion points need to be tested.

Google+
Your SEO strategy must now be integrated with multiple channels and other elements of your business. Erika reminded us that many have not yet caught on that Google+ is more than Facebook. It is an identity platform that may deeply impact local influences on search marketing. It is a source of social signals increasing in quality with the anti-spam protections Google is developing. Many predictions say Google+ will affect rankings so developing a presence there should be considered indispensable – err on the side of trying it.

Other Resources:
While the days of reverse engineering content extracted from search term data are over, clues can come from other sources. New products and apps are making it easier to follow conversations post keyword encryption. Many are hacking together some of the data along with 3rd party tools in an attempt to cross this chasm. First, you can still use Google’s webmaster tools to see how often you show in results, who is linking to you, discover the most successful pages and products on your site and these still indicate where to focus. Use Webmaster Tools Report under content (secondary metric) for additional analysis. For highly advanced marketing projects, Erika will pay for tools like SEM rush or Moz Analytics but you can also read the Moz.com blog for continuous free tips from SEO experts. Also, other search engines do still exist – Yahoo and Bing still reveal valuable keyword ranking and relevant research data. Other interesting tools include the App Knotch which captures opinions and conversations from social media in vibrant, colorful layouts. Gnip aggregates data from social media and you can monitor specified trends, brands, products relevant to your venture. Erika emphasized how close attention to this data will generate actionable marketing insights. Closely monitoring your site analytics and utilizing webmaster tools will enable you to discover where to pivot. Those who pivot regularly  based on metric signals will increase influence. A good example of a site who pivoted regularly based on analytics of user behavior is WhoWhatWear.

In the end it seems Hummingbird has brought more personalized, localized data with more emphasis given to social signals. If you are creating quality, engaging, shareable and linkable content providing value to readers and influencers, you will continue to expand your presence. Remember to identify intent, needs and problems and be the provider of answers that people are seeking.

Until the next revision!

FYI – Erika teaches an SEO class on Skillshare that we highly recommend taking, use code $10OFF: http://skl.sh/17A1eHe 
Interact with Erika on Twitter: @ELMConsulting

Google Hummingbird

 

 

 

 

 

Image from: Possible Perspectives

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3 Reasons to Add Pinterest to Your Social Media Strategy

3 Reasons to Add Pinterest to Your Social Media Strategy

Pinterest is a photo-sharing (pins) service that allows users to create their own collections of images (boards), follow other boards and re-pin images to their own boards. At a cursory glance, this does not sound like much. So why should your brand or fashion label be seriously considering Pinterest as essential to your social media strategy?

1. Gaining Popularity
When it first started, no one expected the hockey stick growth that Pinterest has seen. It became the fastest company in Internet history to reach 10 million unique visitors. And with 2.5 billion monthly page views, it has cemented itself as the 3rd most popular social network behind Facebook and Twitter in the US. So really, ‘gaining’ popularity is being modest when describing it. These days, it is difficult to NOT find a “Pin It” button in a set of share links. As a fashion brand, reaching a wide audience and being able to showcase your products and brands visually is probably top of your agenda for marketing.

2. Visual Demographic
Almost all fashion brands rely on visual appeal, and Pinterest delivers this on a platter. It is amazing for showcasing products – with most pins on the website consisting of objects and only 20% of images on Pinterest containing faces. Not only that, 30% of Pinterest users interacts with ‘Style/Fashion’ items on the site according to Compete, which makes it the 3rd most popular category on the service. If you are a brand catering to the female demographic, you would be pleased to know that 80% of the Pinterest user base is female.

types-of-items-users-interact-with-on-Pinterest

One device where Pinterest is currently excelling is the tablet arena. Pinterest is the top social network on the iPad, accounting for nearly HALF (48.2%) of ALL social sharing on that medium. If you were looking to reach a wider audience on mobile, then Pinterest would certainly help you achieve that.

3. Good for Business
If you are an online brand with an ecommerce presence, then it would interest you to know that Pinterest currently commands 41% of ecommerce traffic as compared to Facebook’s 37% according to this infographic by Gigya. What this means is that if something is being shared from an ecommerce site, it is more likely to be shared on Pinterest than Facebook – so a ‘Pin It’ button on your site is paramount.

Pinterest accounted for 17.4% of social media revenue in 2012, a growth of over 10x from 2011, when that number was 1.2%. This shows that users clicking away from Pinterest on a product image are more likely to end up purchasing the item. To further corroborate this hypothesis, 70% of 7,431 online buyers interviewed by Bizrate said they use Pinterest for inspiration on what to buy and pins with price tags tend to get 36% more likes than those without on Pinterest. All this points to Pinterest as an excellent social media service to boost online sales.

The most convincing statistic – users who end up purchasing via Pinterest tend to spend an average of $140-$180, more than DOUBLE the average of $60-$80 that a user off Facebook tends to spend.

Posted in: Digital Marketing

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SEO in Style: Optimizing Your Fashion Blog

SEO in Style: Optimizing Your Fashion Blog

We are excited to announce that OS Fashion contributor, and rockstar SEO strategist Erika Miller is teaching an online class on Skillshare! Enrollment for SEO in Style is open now.

Drawing from 10 years of experience within the industry, Erika will help you improve your Search Engine Optimization so you can increase your readership through a handful of simple steps.

Often times fashion bloggers build their traffic at a slow and steady pace, but a strong SEO strategy allows you to survive and strive in search engine rankings at a much faster growth rate.  Much more than a buzzword, Search Engine Optimization is important for gaining keyword ranking over the competition and increasing valuable traffic to your site.

Many fashion bloggers, no matter their level of expertise, start out with the focus on editorial. Having a strong narrative is great, but without a focused SEO strategy, this content can be easily overlooked. It is both a science and an art in order to have search ranking, so this class is designed to help fashion bloggers prevent mistakes that could impact SEO.

In this SEO class specifically tailored to fashion bloggers, Erika will go over:

  • Keyword research basics
  • Using analytics
  • Writing good META tags
  • Importance of Content

This class is for anyone with a fashion blog or website of their own.

About Erika Miller:
Erika currently works as a Senior SEO Strategist for Adobe, but her previous role was as Senior SEO Analyst for ELLE.com. Having been a digital marketing expert in the fashion area for years, Erika comes to OS Fashion with a unique perspective – one that is driven by analytics, PR and search.  She also played a vital role in the development of Refinery29′s SEO strategy.

- Register HERE for SEO in Style -

Want some free education from Erika? Read through her last couple articles published on OS Fashion:

Posted in: -OSF & Other Events-, Digital Marketing

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Turning Digital Influencers Into Brand Ambassadors

Turning Digital Influencers Into Brand Ambassadors

Free stuff, invitations to exclusive parties, and opportunities to travel the world: bloggers may seem to have it all, without the stress of a day job. However, many people do not realize that these digital influencers have just as much work if not more than those in their usual 9 to 5. Blogging is a full time job. That means they have to be representing their “brand” all the time whether that’s through social networks, blog posts or simple day-to-day activities. In some ways, bloggers have become the modern day celebrities yielding thousands, sometimes millions of views or hits per month.

So, how can your brand leverage these fashionable online personalities for your benefit?

First of all, don’t be a creep! E-mail etiquette is extremely important when reaching out to these influencers, as it’s the first point of contact. Think of this email as an interview – would you show up to an interview without knowing your employers name? No. Therefore, be sure to address your influencer correctly. Mention something unique that you enjoy about their blog, how you discovered it and why you feel your brand is a good fit for them.

Next, it’s important to realize that bloggers are not going to respond positively to a list of demands. They understand that you both need to receive something from the partnership; however, unless you are paying them, they do not want to be treated as an employee. Rather, ask them questions and get feedback on what they feel would be beneficial for both parties. Digital influencers appreciate being apart of the initiative at hand.

Finally, even though you may have completed your brand initiative, the relationship with your blogger is not. This is the most rewarding aspect of partnering with a digital influencer is the relationship created. Continue interacting with them on your social platforms. This will not only build your brand audience, but could result in additional future initiatives.

Original image created by Jorge Franganill0.

Posted in: Digital Marketing

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Who, When, What & Where: Developing a Social Media Strategy

Who, When, What & Where: Developing a Social Media Strategy

While it’s important to know the various social media platforms available to you, you have know how to use them. We at VERVE Management have developed at 4-Step plan for our clients that you can use for the basis of your social media strategy.

1. Develop an Online Brand Identity (OBI)
At VERVE Management we’ve developed something proprietary for our fashion clients called an Online Brand Identity (OBI). It’s important that you create one for your company, as well. An OBI is a document that lays out the personality of your brand. The idea is to take your core brand and product offering and build out all of the various elements that make up your brand. You want your brand online to jump off the screen as a living, breathing person with all these various colors and facets to its personality. This will help you transition from a 2-dimensional into a 3-dimensional brand online which will go a long way in building a meaningful community that actually follows your brand online and feels something positive towards it.

In your OBI document, you should write down the tone of your brand’s “online voice,” what genre of music it likes, what genre of movies it watches, whether it’s political or not, what pop culture icons it follows, who it’s heroes are, it’s favorite hobbies, etc. You have to really get imaginative with this and be creative. You are bringing your brand to life after all! This is the biggest challenge business owners have when developing a successful fashion marketing strategy.

2. Develop a Fashion Marketing Editorial Calendar
Once you’ve planned out your brand’s personality, the next step in developing your fashion marketing strategy is to create a fashion marketing editorial calendar. Set a weekly schedule where you plan to consistently share content. You have to be consistent. After all, if you don’t put time into your “relationship” with people online, they won’t put time back into your brand either. When creating your fashion marketing editorial calendar, use a simple online calendar management site and add an entry for each day of the week you plan to share content. You should also plan what content you’ll share that day. Use your personality elements in your OBI to inform your content. Share movies your brand likes, music artists that inspire your brand, favorite quotes, heroes, and of course promote your company and products/services. You want to strike a balance in promoting and sharing other content. The fashion marketing editorial calendar will help with that.

3. Grow Your Audience
Unfortunately, I can’t dive into detail on how to grow your audience, as that alone would take up dozens of articles. I can give you advice on how to approach this task. A great first step is for you to research “influencers” and “innovators” in your industry, reach out to those people, and partner with them. You can provide them with free samples of your product to review or include them on a contest your having. The idea is to get them to promote your product/service/promotion to their online following which will in turn expose your online profiles to all of their existing followers! Another great step is to speak at events, guest author posts on other blogs, or hold and promote webinars / seminars!

You can also go the guerrilla marketing route and start posting / commenting on other pages / groups / etc. that have people who would be potential clients of your company. Taking part in conversations on these other pages, without blatantly promoting your company, will integrate you into the broader community and introduce you to a great deal of new people.

4. Track, Track, Track Your Results!
Once you have your OBI and fashion marketing editorial calendar in place, the next step is to begin sharing content and tracking your results! There are social media analytics tools you can use to track how people respond to your content. You want to keep track of what content gets the most “likes”, the most “re-tweets”, the most “shares” and “comments.” Tracking your progress will inform you about your audience and what content is important to them. The more data you analyze, the more intimately familiar you will become with your market. This will inform your fashion marketing strategy as well as inform all other aspects of your business!

Original Image created by Urs Steiner.

Posted in: Digital Marketing

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Preparing Your Website for the Holiday Rush

Preparing Your Website for the Holiday Rush

The crash of the H&M website after the debut of the Versace collection last year was just one of many examples of how sites are ill-equipped to handle the surge in traffic generated by marketing activities.

As marketers gear up for what they hope to be a booming holiday season, communication strategies that have been honed throughout the year are now in full effect, as brands seek to maximize their transactions as one last fourth quarter sales push takes over.

But if the digital epicenter of these efforts crashes, or slows so considerably that customers drop off, all of the resources spent in acquiring the consumer’s dollar is lost.  Especially in the online world, where a customer is faced not with a couple competitive stores (as they would be if they were in a brick and mortar mall), but instead by tens, hundreds or even thousands of alternative retailers, this is an even bigger problem.

Though the causes for crashes (and solutions) are technical in nature, it’s not uncommon for the shrieking to come from the VP of Marketing’s office when a website crashes or drags. We, at Fashion’s Collective, spoke with Uri Foox, president at Pixafy, a New York based development team centered on using new technologies to pioneer solutions for companies. Pixafy helps clients around the world with the development of sites, online stores and mobile applications. By following the guidelines below, they have even increased their clients’ monthly online sales three times over. Marketers should ensure that they have a handle on these steps going into the holiday season, but really before any major spike in traffic, or as part of their overall optimization strategy.

1. Let your developers know that a traffic spike might be coming. Communication is key: if you happen to know that a big traffic spike is on the way, let your web guys know. For example, you should give your developers a heads up if you just purchased a Daily Deal, expect a significant PR piece to come out about you, or if a high profile person is about to wear your label, etc.

2. Scale up for a small fee. With cloud computing, what used to cost $20,000 can be achieved for $3,000. Consider renting from AWS (Amazon Web Services).

Uri mentioned that included in the perks of AWS is that it’s cheap, fast, easy and scalable.

3. Speed things up. One way to increase the speed and functionality of your site is to set up a Content Distribution Network or CDN, which is made up of servers in various parts of the world and can make your site faster by hosting content (like an image or a CSS file) from a server that is geographically closer to you. Moving unchanging content to a CDN means you are taking a greater load off your server and your site will be able to handle more people at a time. Amazon S3 and Cloudfront are two great services that are cheap and also easy to integrate and use.

Too many requests happening at once is what causes sites to slow considerably, or to crash entirely. For ecommerce in particular, the ease and speed of completing a transaction is a critical determinant of whether a user purchases with you or elsewhere. To give you an idea, by simply doing this one step, Pixafy was able to double one client’s orders.

4. Don’t put your eggs in one basket. Small businesses will often move all of their services onto one server, sharing their web server and database server on one computer. This means that if any service (let’s say your database server in this example) starts acting up, it can take down your whole site. Distribute the workload and make your site safer. As an added bonus, you’ll typically see a marked performance improvement by separating your services.

5. Simulate a traffic spike. Web traffic is like a highway. It can handle many cars but not always all at once. Asking your technical team to simulate a traffic spike to make sure you’re ready for the big day will ensure you know which parts of your site might need better functionality. In particular, ask them to use load testing, which simulates increased web activity and measures the utility of your website. How does it perform? Through load testing you’ll be able to identify slowdowns yourself.

6. Don’t lose the sale, coordinate with your fulfillment providers! The stakes are high for fashion companies to get this right. We recommend that our e-commerce partners team up with a fulfillment provider like efulfillment or Quiet Logistics, which uses robots to automate the whole process.

Some last general suggestions:

  • Don’t launch new campaigns on a Friday, or late in the day any day of the week. Wait for a time when all of the relevant teams are likely to be in the office and expecting to dedicate the necessary time and resources to monitor the site.
  • Know all of the appropriate information. This includes the name of your hosting provider and technical lead. Have a direct line to them and have logistics, like your account number, on hand. Also good to know are the type of server you’re on, its bandwidth, and the type and specs of the infrastructure.

Original image create by Niyam Bhushan

Posted in: Digital Marketing

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Pocket Shopping: 6 Reasons to Have a Mobile Strategy

Pocket Shopping: 6 Reasons to Have a Mobile Strategy

If you are a fashion business owner, there are few simple questions you can ask yourself to gauge if you need a mobile strategy or not. Start by asking yourself: Can a mobile solution help me achieve any of my business objectives? There are six reasons why having a mobile strategy can help your business.

It can increase your customer reach.

127.6 million mobile users in the U.S. consumed mobile media through their mobile browser or an app in 2011 (comScore 2012). The number clearly highlights the importance of mobile in the consumer’s life. Besides, its importance as a marketing tool is apparently enhanced by bringing in picture that 81% of users prefer mobile sites to apps for price research, 79% for product reviews and 63% for purchasing. This data is evident in highlighting the significance of lead capture pages on mobile sites, or landing pages in mobile marketing.

Specifically, the importance of a mobile presence in the fashion industry can be understood by looking at the latest research on Mobile Shopping by Spotzot, which shows that women’s fashion is ranked first in mobile shopper interest. These all indicate that having mobile presence is a means not only to reach more customers, but also an apt means to market fashion.

It can increase sales.

With a call-to-action page, you can instantly convert browsing to selling. Think of it as a window shopper actually going inside the store and making a purchase. Shopping becomes easy as a click and with a faster checkout.

“Mobile consumers are looking to search, find and transact quickly,” according to Dennis Glavin, manager of the North American mobile search advertising business for Microsoft, Redmond, WA. “From there, the next step is to construct a mobile campaign and landing page strategy that best delivers that immediate action to mobile consumers.” (*Source: Mobile Commerce Outlook 2011)

It can help your customers.

The simplest example of how it be helpful a mobile presence can be the ease of carrying around coupons which saves the consumer the hassle of printing an online coupon and presenting to the cashier in-store.  Similarly, your mobile call-to-action page might be help customer by having quick check-out by or by finding an area of interest nearby.

It can increase brand engagement.

Increasing customer engagement is the top reason companies and brands are using mobile marketing today (Forrester, July 2010 via Snaphop). “Every advertiser wants you to show them you want to engage with them in some way, whether that’s watching a video or filling out a form,” says Wong, the CEO of mobile rewards platform Kiip. (*Source: Fast Company)

Certainly mobile marketing can increase brand engagement by a range of touch points. These touch points can be sales, coupons, like I mentioned above; or they can be retail environments or web stores where brand makes contact with the individual, as seen in this image (click for larger image):

It can drive traffic to your store.

“While the selling of digital goods via mobile devices represents a huge opportunity, mobile campaigns should also be leveraged for influencing offline purchase through the sign-up of consumers to sales and offers or calls to action that allow store location look-ups or the ability to phone your local store,” says Anne Frisbie, vice president and managing director of North America at mobile ad network InMobi, San Mateo, CA.

“It’s important to note that mobile continues to be more effective in driving in-store purchasing than mcommerce,” said Scott Dunlap, vice president of mobile at JiWire, San Francisco.

These statements establish the importance of mobile in driving traffic to the physical retail locations. Some creative landing pages that include a store locator or a map with directions to your store can help you achieve this.

It can strengthen my existing product.

The mobile strategy can strengthen your existing product in simple ways, such as include making purchasing easier simply by including a short amount of price information, or just a helpline number.

“Retailers are leveraging mobile to make the shopping experience much more transparent,” says Tom Nawara, vice president of digital strategy and design for Acquity Group, Chicago. (Source: Mobile Marketer)

 

How can Mobinable help?

Mobinable helps achieve you these business objectives by providing focused, call-to-action landing pages. Not only does these landing pages extend the dialog between your brand and the consumers, they can also capture the customer moment as it occurs, on an anywhere anytime basis. Businesses can chose focused goal oriented pages, ready to engage the users. To learn more about how Mobinable can help, click here.

Learn More at Mobinable’s blog here.

Original image created by Yutaka Tsutano.

Posted in: Digital Marketing, Fashion Tech

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Getting the Word Out: Social Media Strategy Tools + Tips

Getting the Word Out: Social Media Strategy Tools + Tips

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare, Tumblr, Viddy, We Heart It, Svuply, The Hunt– with all of the different social media platforms constantly popping up in the digital realm, it can be difficult to keep it all straight. Does your brand need to be present on every single one? Which ones are the most important? How can your brand employ a different strategy to be successful in every area?

First of all, it’s important to understand that not every brand will be successful on every platform and one must listen to their audience when tailoring posts, tweets and imagery. Although Facebook and Twitter are obviously the strongest traffic drivers they are extremely saturated making it very difficult to break the barrier and get your posts and tweets seen. Therefore, once you develop a “flow” for the main platforms, don’t be afraid to try new ones and see what sticks.

Here’s how I strategize for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram:

Facebook
It is necessary that every brand have a Facebook page. Even though it is difficult to break the barrier and garner a following there are creative ways to do it. Contests and giveaways are the best way to generate a substantial fan base. Once you have that fan base, it is imperative to continue engagement through photo diaries, interesting brand news, and by asking questions. Additionally, the brands that have the most interesting content are those that branch out relating real world topics to their brand. For example, a fashion house could do a Facebook post discussing their lead designers favorite Emmy gowns.

Twitter
What most people fail to realize is that Twitter allows brands to become humanized and provides a real time voice. The person who controls a brand’s twitter, essentially, controls the voice of the company. Therefore, it is important that this person have an in depth knowledge of your brand and what it represents. This person must be comfortable engaging with other brands that possess a larger following, as this is one of the main ways to increase your fan base. In addition, live tweeting throughout events, seminars, and TV shows proves to your followers that you are relevant in your industry and inevitably gets friends of friends to click the “follow” button.

Instagram
Instagram has become much more than an application to take photos with; rather, this photo-enhancing platform allows brands to conduct creative contests, giveaways and engage in fun activities with followers. Instagram is the platform that proves that there is an actual face behind your brand – take advantage of that! Keep your account interesting by not only posting about new products, PR news etc. but also include some fun behind the scenes imagery to make your followers feel like they are apart of something special.

 

Original image created by spDuchamp

Posted in: Digital Marketing

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How to Win When Running a Sweepstakes

How to Win When Running a Sweepstakes

Who doesn’t love the chance to win something? As a consumer when I see the chance to win a fabulous prize I sign myself right up, with the hope that maybe just maybe I could be that lucky one. These promotions are not only exciting for the consumers but also beneficial to the business that run them. Co-promotions are the most efficient way to run a promotion and gives you the biggest bang-for-the-buck.

We at Eye on Response run co-promotions with two or three partners who each provide assets– media and the prize– and all the partners share the opt-in registration data. As the promotions manager with EyeonResponse, I have firsthand experience running co-promotions that have generated tens of thousands of registrations in as few as two weeks. There are three main components to success; the right partnership, the right incentive, and the effective follow through with the consumer.

First is the right partner. It’s important to find a partner that has an audience with a similar or complementary interest. If you are a promotion lead (the partner providing media, the prize and coordinating the effort) when looking for the partners you want, make sure that they can provide equitable resources to what you are providing. This makes the promotion a win-win.

The incentive (the prize) is what initially engages the consumer and generates the buzz for the promotion. Just like a store front, what is in the window will get people in the door. The prize has to be interesting to the consumer and also associate them with your brand. Keep in mind, if you are running a co-promotion, you may need a few prize options to make sure they see the value as well.

Now that your co-promotion is a success and you’ve generated your brand awareness with thousands of new opt-in registrants what do you do? Communicate! To extract the value from the promotion you have to develop a communications strategy that quickly engages them with your products and brings them back to your site. This communication starts with a welcome e-mail that has a balance between “welcome and sell”. All subsequent communications need to be relevant, and at a frequency that is right for your sales cycle. Be very structured with your communications and don’t forget to make an announcement of who the lucky winner is.

Original image created by Daniel Borman.

Posted in: Digital Marketing, Public Relations

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