Last week, I talked about Social Media tools that are essentials for indie fashion PR that I use to keep my projects, brands and designs out there in the social media space. Although I called this my Elite 8, it is in no way an inclusive list, and I am always looking to at least try additional networks that may make my work easier by consolidating my efforts or simply finding something that has better tools.
Another key component of online PR for me is to take stock of my sites to ensure that my main site(s) are always talking back to one another. I have a resort-inspired jewelry line that features lariat necklaces that are made to be worn when running errands, hanging out with the girls and a night on the townCurrently, I have two sites that I consider my primary, Kitten Couture (jewelry) and Sikara Designs Group (Social Media firm).
What does this mean? Well, when you are using Social Media or online fashion PR tools, you have stepped outside of being just a designer and are truly a power team. Whether you intend to do this long term or are looking for a showroom or firm to pick you up, you always have to think about your presentation, making sure that your online presence and branding links up and that there are no dead ends. Last week's tools work much better when your main site is fully functional and supports your Social Media efforts. If you are new to he social media space, you may want to decide that by the end of the year you will begin to check out various Social Media tools and you will update the content on your web site to act as a central hub to link out to all those external profiles and activity.
My Fab Five Online Fashion PR Tips:
1. Look at your website and make sure you have the basics. Very early in my writing career (I used to write for the paper in my hometown at the age of 12), I was working on a piece where I was interviewing Oprah. In my team of journalists, we were told by the Editor make sure that you answer the basic 5: Who, What, When, Where, How and Why. This is essential information for you to share on your web site so that anyone who is interested (companies that want to partner with you, possible sponsors for future events, investors, showrooms etc) can easily to identify who you are. Hard-to-find or poor quality logos are confusing and unprofessional - instead develop a logo that you love and then repeat it on each page for continuity. Explain clearly what you are selling and include key features - is it custom made, can you handle large quantities, are there wholesaling opportunities, what are your turn around times (if it's handmade does it take two weeks - explain this so that there aren't surprises down the road.) Contact information should be easy to find - where are you located, what is the best way to get in touch, both physical and virtual (email and Social Media come into play here) addresses. Finally, let them know the what you stand for, and how this product or service stands out and is different from the competition! To keep these questions current, continue to update your site when anything newsworthy happens - when you have picked up a sales team or you have started a Twitter account.
2. A blog is a great compliment to your site. Blogs show current and future customers a bit more about you. More than just random musings, bogs are becoming an essential business tool where you can share your more of personality or your companies vibe while cluing people in to promotions and exclusives. If you make aprons, your blog may talk about a new apron you have created, a recent tradeshow that you participated in, or a celeb that was seen purchasing your best-selling apron design. This type of blog doesn't have to be updated daily but you should commit to at least a weekly post. It is also possible to have a blog that doesn't explicitly relate to your company but that supports your product category. As an example, I am the Editor in Chief of Kitten Lounge which talks about jewery, but also fashion, style, beauty, music and food. I want my readers to get to know me as a person which helps them to understand the spirit of my line. I write daily posts on this blog and I feel it supports Kitten Couture as it is a lifestyle site. Remember to cross link your blog and your web site for maximum traffic. If you have questions of which blog platform is best for you, I have an Ebook which can tell you the difference and why you would choose one over another.
3. Tracking is an essential tool. There is a phrase that says something the effect, to know where you're going - you have to know where you've been. Well, signing up for Google Analytics and/or Stat Counter, is a great way to know. First of all, you can track your main site and blog in order to see who is coming to your site, what countries are responding to you, what times people really start hitting your site, the keywords that are used to find you, how long people are staying, how many hits are you getting overall and which ones are repeat visits. This is essential as it will help you to decide how you advertise and what other blogs to outreach to for PR. I find that the UK, Italy and Japan are great areas for me outside of the US, information I learned when I began to analyze my site data. With this insight, you can generate content to increase the gains that you have made in these areas. You can also reach out to people geographic-specific social networking sites to further increase your exposure.
4. Make your sites talk back. From the Elite 8, if you found social media tools that can be used to build your online presnce. Sign up and begin using them. Within a week or so, you can see whether this is a great tool and if so, link it back into your main site so that people can find you easily. On each of your social media sites, make sure you have provided links back to your main site and other networks that you are a part of. You may be surprised how many people will follow you once they see you're an active member. Feel free to share your passion but make sure that you have a genuine interest to meet people and find out about them as well. Remember, this form of media will only have true success when you create a conversation that doesn't feel like a pitch. Twitter is a great way to get out there and to build connections with great people you may turn into loyal customers and brand ambassadors!
5. Be on the lookout for opportunity. When you maintain your networks and make time each day to read what other people are saying to you or what they are saying in general, you learn about the community you have joined. You may also find a way that your products or services can be used. You might realize that a contact is a designer in your town and you could work together to create a trunk show. As a jewelry designer you could outreach to a fashion designer to use your pieces in an upcoing fashion show. These networks are the old school equivalent of the neighborhood committee putting together a block party or street event where everyone brings something to make it come together. You can ask for the assistance of others for mutual benefit or you can read someone else's comments, anticipate the need, and make an offer. Then work together to publisize the opportunity to others so that they know you and this group of people are doing an amazing event, photoshoot, etc. Consider developing event-specific content like behind the scenes footage or video (which can be posted on your blog with a link back to the site) so that everyone involved can see what took place.
My Fab Five list is a great way to analyze where you are right now to get ready for Jan. Some of these are minor tweaks and some will make you reach. As always, try it out, and if you have questions, let me know. If you have signed up for a social network, let me know and I would love to link to you. I would love any comments you have about this and of course will answer you directly. Let me know and we'll pick up on yet another interesting topic next week!