For part 2 of our blog series ‘Top Tips for Designers’, we spoke with Nicole Giordano, founder of StartUp Fashion. Nicole has worked in the textile and fashion industry for over a decade handling everything from fabric sourcing to marketing and PR. She has extensive experience in the fashion industry while also consulting on social media and digital marketing strategies for the fashion industry. StartUp Fashion makes the process of starting, maintaing, and growing a business easier for fashion brands. We asked her what top tips she had for emerging designers, and she gears her advice on the digital content side. So, you have our product, you have your website, now Nicole has some tips on what to do next:
1. What are some “must haves” on my brand’s website?
First and foremost, absolutely killer product photography. Remember that your products and brand will be immediately communicated to the public via imagery, before they read one word of your mission statement, product descriptions, or witty blog entries. You must grab them from the start with beautiful photos. This is a cost that must be incurred and should be worked into the budget from the very start. If you don’t have the money, save.
Next you need a great brand story. Who are you, who is your brand, what does it stand for, why is it special, and what problem are you solving for the customer. You need to connect to your customers on an emotional level. Don’t rush through this. Take some time to think about your story and communicate it properly.
Links to all your social media platforms should be on every page of your website and make sure that each and every picture is tweet-able, like-able, and pin-able.
A link and/or feed to your blog.
2. Do I really need to have a blog?
Yes! Your blog not only acts as a way for you to connect with your customers on a more intimate level but it has many other benefits as well. SEO, for one thing. And newness. Since you are not necessarily creating new products on a regular basis outside of your seasonal collections, having a blog feed on your website is a fantastic way to get people coming back.
3. How do I build a social media strategy?
First, decide which platforms are right for you and your brand. You won’t love all platforms and that’s ok. But it’s a good idea to be on Facebook and at least one visual platform like Instagram or Pinterest. In my opinion, Twitter is wonderful but you have to do your research and truly understand its benefits and uses in order to access its full potential. When you do, the reach is amazing.
Once you’ve decided on your platforms, create a simple document that highlights each platform, including your blog, and answers the following questions:
- What is my goal with this platform?
- What kind of content will I post on this platform?
- What is the overall story behind the platform? (This is especially important with Instagram)
- How often do I post?
- What kind of voice and tone does do I use. (this should be consistent with your brand voice and tone that is used on your website)
- How do I plan to measure success on this platform?
Remember that the number of followers you have is not nearly as important as the type of followers you have. Your goal is to attract loyal customers who connect with your brand and have a deep rooted interest in the type and aesthetic of the products you sell.
4. Why don’t I ever hear back from the press that I pitch?
You’re probably doing it wrong. Sorry, it’s true. Here are some things to consider:
- When pitching to traditional press, you must know the lead time for printed magazines
- When pitching to bloggers, understand their niche inside and out and tell them why your product is a good fit for their blog.
- Never send a blogger a press release. Snore.
- Regardless of the kind of press (traditional or digital) send an email and be sure to personalize your pitch (never “To Whom it may Concern” or worse “Dear Blogger”!) Include the following: a subject line that helps craft a story, the word “new” (new brand, new product, new color, etc.) , a few sentences about your brand, an amazing low res white background image embedded in the email, and a link to your website for more info. Don’t forget to include your phone number in your signature.
This is key: Get to know the publications you’re pitching. I’ll say it again. Get to know the publications you are pitching! They will know if you’re wingin’ it. I promise. And once you burn that bridge, it’s extremely difficult to build it up again.