How Apparel Brands Need to Use Social Media

One of my first real introductions to marketing for apparel brands was when we earned the contracts to build and manage online store programs for two large national broadcast groups.  We built B2B and B2C automated online store programs and processed tens of thousands of orders.  Along the way, and as technology improved, we learned a few things about marketing for those brands as well.  Because of recent projects with nationally recognized brands we thought it would be a good time to speak about how apparel brands need to use social media. I’m speaking of organic use of social media as opposed to paid programs.  We’re all judged by the company we keep. It’s true in real life and online.  So when we begin to manage your social media networks we want to start by connecting not just with the target customer but also with the people, groups, and brands that are important to them.  Today with social media and high speed internet connections we can begin to build those relationships instantaneously. And while we can make the connection now, it’s the conversation that takes place over time that leads to engagement and ultimately builds brand value. Content leads to engagement and engagement builds your online community.  Done properly, your customer and prospects will want to be a part of it. Another way to jump start engagement with your community is to offer something of value. Ultimately you want them to buy your merchandise but often not trying to hit them over head with discounts and sales builds loyalty and leads to repeat sales.  Offer lifestyle awards like I-Tunes and Starbucks gift cards in exchange for email addresses.

So to reiterate, starting the process is easy.  Generating original content that’s compelling to your audience takes time, engagement takes more time, and conversions from Likes to emails to sales to repeat sales takes more time.  Customer loyalty is relative to understanding what’s important to your audience. When we’ve worked with brands targeting female tweens, juniors, and young women we focused on lifestyle posts about delicious and healthy food, pop stars, beaches, cosmetics and hair care, and romantic movies. Once posted we monitor content for comments, shares, and ‘Likes’ and answer back.  Peppering that content with one out of five posts about sales and product specials and, provided we’re on target, you’ll begin to see engagement and soon after an increase in sales. But begin by growing your customer base by associating with other names and brands that are familiar and important to your target audience.  When properly executed your target and your marketing with converge as proud and loyal repeat customers share ‘selfies’ through their own social media networks.  Now your target is marketing for you.  And because they’re not ‘selling’, they’re sharing, they are more believable to their friends, your prospects and future customers.

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