Alright, so having only been out in Sunnyvale, California permanently for the past week I have already met an amazing group of online marketers, founders, and friends from all over the nation. One of the most astounding individuals I have met so far is a lady by the name of Andrea Walker. This 25-year-old entrepreneur has inspired me to live my dream. She started her career out in the journalism industry and has since moved on to forming her own company, W. Social Marketing.
WSM is a social marketing company based out of Birmingham, Alabama that “integrates public relations, marketing, promotional events, and Web 2.0 to better promote one’s services or products.” I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Andrea this past week on how social media tools and online fashion applications affect lifestyle/fashion brands in today’s Web 2.0 world. Check out my responses! For your convenience I have added my answers below as well! Love ya!
W. Social Marketing Interview
1. What kind of research did it take to develop a comprehensive strategy in your past work with brands like 1928? Did you instantly create a fan page or Twitter account because you saw other brands focusing on social media?
Usually if others are doing it and it’s working for them then it should work for you too. After reading articles on the effectiveness of social media for big brands like Sears and Starbucks I realized in March of 2009 that if we were going to increase our connection with our customers we would have to get on the “social media bus”.
Facebook and Twitter were the most prominent social media tools at the time, and still are, so we jumped on those two first. At the time not many of our competitors were using Facebook as a means to communicate with their customers so we felt we had a head start in increasing fans and engaging more with our audience. Our Facebook page reached its 1-year mark this past March and we have already reached a total of 10,000 fans. For a vintage fashion jewelry company that is extraordinary.
2. What external applications do you particularly find interesting or useful in working with lifestyle brands?
Polyvore and Kaboodle, both virtual styling applications, allow brands to upload their product and create fashion sets based around their brand. These sites increase traffic, sales, and can drive a new type of audience to your site. Polyvore has just over 6 million users to its site monthly. Imagine how many of those could make it to yours.
I talk a bit more about how Polyvore has helped 1928 in further questions.
3. From a brand perspective, what kind of message or messages did you want to convey with your digital strategy?
Out with the old in with the new! We are a trendy, inexpensive, customer-oriented, fashion jewelry company whose needs are focused around your needs. Email us for help, chat with us on Facebook, or suggest a new line. Whatever you have to say we want to hear it!
(1928 Jewelry has been around for nearly 40 years but they want to let their customers know they are a new and revived company who is looking to add flair to a younger wardrobe. Showing that they have jumped on the “social media bus” helps make their case stronger.)
4. Explain the premise behind your blog “Fashionably Ashley”
FashionablyAshley.com started up as a hobby of mine. My passions besides marketing have always been photography, fashion, and art. I love incorporating color into everything. Bare white walls in my house just aren’t going to happen. After tending to 1928’s website and social media networks I realized why not market myself and other’s who have the same passions as I. I created the blog in hopes of inspiring individuals to “Imagine.Create.Illustrate.” This is my slogan. Individuals can send me photos, fashion designs, artwork, etc., anything that they have created on their own. The artwork will be displayed throughout my site as a way to connect creative individuals to the world.
5. What advice would you give companies with tangible products on how to create an online strategy to peak people’s interests with the products?
First, make sure your website is user-friendly. If customers even get the slightest interruption in their purchasing process they will give up going the rest of the way.
Second, create an extensive social media network. Utilize any and every possible social media tool that pertains to you. At 1928 we added Polyvore to our social media belt because it pertained to us. The fashion site allowed 1928 to send them a feed of our entire product, hundreds of pieces. The product was then viewable by Polyvore’s extensive audience who matched our demographic. An image of the product, a price, and a title were prominent on the Polyvore site and all linked back for purchase to our site. It was an amazing concept and helped us gain a wider audience and higher sales.
Third, increase engagement. On your Facebook page don’t just give the audience the latest promotion, ask questions.
“Cool colors – Hot Savings – buy any item from the cool new Seine collection and get 25% off your ENTIRE order! Code: 25offseine”
“Glam up your wardrobe with jewelry from the new “Papaya Collection!” Just what Mom wants for Mother’s Day! Which Papaya piece is your favorite?!”
This gives an open door for customers to respond. We want to know what our customer likes or doesn’t like. Circulating videos, images, or links into your posts help too. Customers want visuals sometimes not just a bunch of jargon.
6. Is it possible for brands to engage online & offline effectively?
Of course! Now a lot of writers would say that traditional marketing is out and social media is in. I do believe marketers should embrace social media but I don’t believe traditional marketing should be neglected. Many of the traditional marketing aspects we utilized at 1928 were product placement ads. We worked with magazines like US Weekly & In Style to promote our product. Even last summer we joined up with HBO’s True Blood to have our product featured in the first season of their show. Once the product was in the eyes of our consumer we would then direct them to our site where they could shop and follow our Facebook or Twitter page. We also made sure to post any and all product placement ads on our Facebook or Twitter account so our online customers could see what we were doing behind the scenes. As you can see social media and traditional marketing work hand in hand.
7. Do you have any examples of social media/PR strategies for lifestyle/fashion brands you thought were extremely innovative and effective?
My biggest one was Polyvore. If your product isn’t already up on Polyvore get it up. Their traffic is increasing at an astounding speed and you don’t want to miss out on all the opportunities they could give you. Also, have someone in your marketing team design a look on Polyvore that will go with your brand. If you sell jeans create a beach look featuring your cut-off washed-out jean. After publishing the set on Polyvore feature it on all your social media sites including your blog. It will give customers an idea of how to wear the product and it’s eye-catching to look at as well!