Guest post by: Jacqueline Lechtholz-Zey*
If you’re reading this entry right now, chances are high that some sort of social networking tool pointed you in this direction. And that beautifully illustrates the point of Thursday’s FGILA panel, “Social Media Secrets: How to Cultivate and Grow Your Brand Online."
First of all, ignore the misconception that socializing on the internet is a way to escape in-person interaction. Jennine joked that “if you don’t like being around people, then maybe social media is not for you.” Her delivery was hilarious but the point is real!
As Crosby explained, the point of all these tools is to engage with your consumers, and ultimately to nurture and expand relationships offline. If you have a Twitter, a Facebook, or any other tool, use it to drive traffic to you and your product or service. The object of the game is not to collect as many followers as possible, but rather, to attract actual clients. Staci described a bunch of arrows that ultimately point to you and your website, much like the graphic below:
But you don’t need to sign up for every service under the sun! Instead, Macala recommends picking one or just a few to focus on. Use your tools to bring a friendly face to your brand and give your customers incentive to follow you.
Observe the companies or bloggers who you find yourself drawn to. Go through their archived content, check out their recommendations, look through user comments, and start paralleling what you like. Tell your story and use pictures to promote your brand’s concept.
Create contests, provide special coupons, and engage your customers. You might be surprised that clients actually are curious about the adorable thing your cat did that day or the amazing trip you just took. It brings a human, friendly face to your business. Hayden Harnett and Tom’s Shoes are great examples of companies that have truly harnessed the power of social media and used it to build their brands.
And Staci emphasized that it’s all in the strength of weak ties. Friends of friends who love what you have to offer will spread the word and help your brand grow.
Inspired by the panel, I just started getting active on twitter myself. It can a little addictive on there, so remember that the point of all this socializing is to get your users to take specific action. At the end of the day, social networking is just a way to ultimately promote what you have to offer. Have fun out there and hope to see many of you online!
A little more background:
*Jackie just finished her 2nd year student at Loyola Law School, and in addition to being Chief Articles Editor of the Entertainment Law review, she is the school's resident Fashionista. Jackie contacted me after writing her soon-to-be published article about extending copyright protection to fashion designs, looking to learn more about the business of fashion and I look forward to working with her with Fashion Group International, Los Angeles