Fashionista’s Lauren Indvik speaks with Macala Wright on the convergence of fashion and tech and today’s leading digital retailers. Indvik highlights the challenges of going digital, the disruption of fashion bloggers, and the viability of mobile fashion apps. She also shares her top picks for social platforms and mobile apps – including valuable insights on Twitter, Instagram and the latest mobile shopping app, Spring. Fashion brands and retailers learn why they should not be building their own mobile apps and instead onboarding services like WhatsApp and Line. Continue Reading
Social media is nothing new, but for many fashion brands in the women’s and junior’s spaces, it is still a challenge to start using social media in order to help their brands’ marketing goals. In order to help you get started, we have created a showcase of 12 WWDMAGIC brands using social media to drive their overall online marketing strategies. Whether you are a large or small brand, social media is not something that can be ignored. Here is a look at the brands, their platforms and how they are tackling online marketing through e-commerce. Continue Reading
The Importance of Online Video for Your Marketing Strategy
2009 was an amazing year for fashion brands and retailers, not only in terms of their embracing of social media, but also in terms of how they’re getting creative and dynamic with their content.
2010 is going to be about refinement of social media as it relates to marketing apparel and accessories to consumers.
Not every social tool available is relevant to marketing fashion; consumers treat certain social networks the way that they treat fast fashion.
That being said, we know that Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are most brands’ top marketing mediums online. I’ve discussed the basic and advanced marketing aspects of Facebook and discussed Twitter in-depth in video. Now it’s time to talk about YouTube.
YouTube Marketing For Brands & Retailers
YouTube is an outlet where most brands are missing the mark. Why? Because they are only using it for one purpose and not connecting it to multiple marketing objectives.
Brands and retailers that are using YouTube need to ensure that their content is engaging community members through channel participation. At the same time, brands and retailers need to use Youtube to drive online traffic to select destinations and enhance website search engine optimization strategies.
Creating Participation & Community Engagement
The first thing fashion brands, retailers and marketers must understand is that YouTube is a platform built entirely around the concept of engagement; its community is built around connections related to the website’s content. The second thing you must understand is that YouTube community members are very vocal about the content they do and don’t like; they are going to voice their opinions via comments, likes, share, or even direct video replies to your posted videos.
Just before YouTube launched branded channels in 2006, Tony Nethercutt offered great insights for creating community engagement via YouTube video marketing: “Create video ads that are built for the audience that is viewing it; make it as unique and as engaging as possible. Avoid the interruption model.”
In order for brands or retailers to maximize YouTube as a community building tool, they have to make their content accessible. This means moderating comments democratically; deleting profane, vulgar comments is okay, but make sure you refrain from silencing consumers in the name of “brand control”. Your customers have opinions, these opinions serve as valuable market research.
Don’t Put A Muzzle On Your Audience
Brands shouldn’t disable video sharing capabilities. Let your community members spread content. After all, wasn’t it the brand that approved the video and its content? Why wouldn’t a viewer be allowed to embed the video to their blog or share the video via another social network?
Brands that want to get the most from YouTube in terms of RETAIL ROI (sales, new customers and traffic) should actively participate in the YouTube community. They need to take part in the discussion of the community members’ content that’s relevant to their brand. This will increase positive votes of the brand’s main content which then boosts the visibility on YouTube and search engines.
What’s Search Got To Do With It?
Most YouTube videos, as well as YouTube channels, aren’t properly optimized for higher ranking on search engines. This presents an amazing opportunity for smaller retailers to gain online market share and traffic by outranking larger retailers.
According to comScore, YouTube ranks #2 in terms of search engines; it’s second only to Google (which now owns YouTube) and outranks Bing, Yahoo and any other search service. If a brand or retailer using YouTube as a marketing outlet isn’t optimizing their content, they’re not maximizing the money spent on video marketing. In fact, they’re losing online traffic that could be converted to sales.
How Do You Make Your Fashionable YouTube Content SEO Friendly?
To optimize YouTube content, a brand simply follows the rules of any other SEO project. When a brand uploads a video, it is essentially creating a “page” with that video. That page can be optimized the same way as any other page on the web.
YouTube automatically generates meta data for each video page that’s created.
- The NAME of the video is the title tag. The title is the most important piece of information when it comes to video searches. The first two words of the title are the most heavily weighted words.
- The video INFORMATION is the meta description. The description is a keyword-rich text area that needs to be used to the best of your ability. Always lead the start of the paragraph with a URL that you want viewers to go to. Put as full of a description as possible in this area, as most videos are invisible to search engines.
- Include relevant links in the description. This would include “follow us on Twitter” or “become a fan on Facebook” links. Keep in mind the places where you want YouTube traffic to go, and think about what you plan to do with the places you link to. Make sure to include all necessary links.
- Chose a category and add additional video tags carefully. It’s important you select the category you place your video is as accurate as possible. Categories help point potential customers to your content. When adding video tags, make sure you reference the most important video highlights, including the names of the people in the video and information about the content (example: Spring Fashion Trends Video).
- Take advantage of YouTube’s caption and annotation features. Brands and retailers can add notes, descriptions and links directly above videos. Currently, links are only clickable to other YouTube pages, so if you’re telling a story (which your brand should be doing), you can link to previous installments or relevant videos. Doing this will boost the time spent on your channel and increase the number of page views for your videos.
- Link to and embed the YouTube videos. By linking to the videos it will drive more traffic and page views which YouTube looks at internally for ranking videos.
Creating Cohesive Marketing Strategies
Sound a little overwhelming? Well, don’t worry – it’s not that complicated. It just takes a bit of coordination and effort. The pay off is more streamlined, cost-effective social marketing campaigns with better results.
Does your brand use YouTube for social marketing? What have been some of the positive results?
If you’re a huge fan of YouTube, what are some of your favorite brands and why?
On Monday, The Footwear News section of WWD.com conducted multiple, in-depth interviews with Zappos.com CEO, Tony Hsieh and CFO, Alfred Lin. After visiting Zappos in October last fall, I fell in love with them. Their brand, their customer philosophy and the humility that they conduct their business is amazing. Zappos receives tons of press and coverage on their business (a $1.2 billion dollar company after just 9 years).
The interviews with Zappos on Apparel, Zappos Facts and Marketing support the 10 steps to building a social brand I believe that a brand or retailer need to accomplish in order to become a social success.
1. A brand or retailer should take a holistic approach to it’s marketing strategy.
2. Consistency is key. For every product a brand or retailer launches, the product must match the company’s main product model. Example: Coach & Brighton Handbags, both brands have added shoes, jewelry and accessory lines; all these products match and coordinate with their original product – hand bags.
3. Word-Of-Mouth Marketing more powerful than paid advertising or product placement. Word of Mouth marketing has replaced the effectiveness of paid advertising. A customer believes their friend or relative, they trust them as a reliable source of information.
4. Product reviews are a new form of PR. Product reviews are essential sales tools that add credibility to a product and aid in customer purchase decisions. Product reviews also help buyers change their selection before the purchase; if 85% of those reviews say that something runs a size too big, the customer can buy one size smaller, there by decreasing their likelihood of returning the product.
5. A brand or retailer can do more with less. Discover what social communities (Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Polyvore, Closet Couture, Lookbook.Nu) are most worthwhile to your brand and put your time and energy into those. It’s better to actively engage in 3-5 communities than have a so-so presence on 15-25.
6. Social networking on sites like Facebook.com, YouTube, Twitter are essential for spreading word of mouth, building brand awareness online and engaging with customers on the internet.
7. Blogs are essential. They are cost effective (free) outlet for building website content, supporting SEO/SEM campaigns and delivering news. Blogs also give transparency to brand or retailer, it shows there’s someone behind the site. A great example is 1928 Jewelry’s blog, http://www.jewelrygalblog.com or Hayden-Harnett’s blog at http://www.hayden-harnet.com
8. Video and Podcasts are cost effective marketing outlets. Videos serve many of the same purposes as blogs. Not all customers will read blogs, but they watch videos and stream audio. Having content available in all mediums is going to be essential for retail websites in the future. Current 25% of Google searches are comprised of VIDEO; videos are also essential for SEO/SEM initiatives. In the future, all brands are going to need to incorporate video into their websites. Those videos will need to be an extension of the brand, not just a part of the website; they will have to be incorporated in.
9. Affiliate marketing is an easy, affordable to drive traffic and build brand awareness for retailers. The return is similar to that of pay per click advertising, a great traffic booster and revenue booster.
10. As an online site grows, the marketing strategy must mature. As the retailer grows, affiliate programs may become obsolete. Direct mail and search engine marketing allow a brand to control its message more effectively and may prove to be more cost effective. A brand or retailer will eventually have to invest in large scale advertising, much like Hulu.com and Zappos.com are doing now.