Social media marketing can provide designers with a competitive edge. It can be used as a tool to promote in-house designers and special sales, entice consumers to purchase from the website or find a store location. By using it effectively you can let anyone “in” on the latest and greatest you have to offer. It offers a method for directly communicating with consumers on a very personal, informal level.
While social media marketing has many advantages it’s important to do a little homework and remember a few basic rules. For instance, remember social media is an informal communication network. Speak to consumers as though you are speaking to your best friend. Check out how your competitors use social media to market their designs. Make sure the content you post is so interesting people will look forward to reading it and sharing it with their friends. Show pictures of celebrities wearing your designs and allow readers to share those pictures with others. Make sure your content targets the proper audience by speaking their language. Let readers know about your commitment to public service and the environment. All in all using social media to market your designs can bolster your bottom line; however, keep the following things in mind.
Monitor the media consistently. Remove objectionable content. Remove content that is defamatory or subject to copyright. Be kind. If you make a claim, be sure you can substantiate it so you don’t run afoul of any false advertising rules. If you pay someone money or give them free items to write nice posts about you, make sure they disclose it in the post. If celebrities post to your site make sure any compensation paid to them is disclosed. If you allow employees to post to your site make sure it is clear that they work for you. Take a look at your business general liability policy – damage or injury resulting from your use of social media is probably excluded from the policy.
If you sign up for an account with Facebook you are consenting to their terms of service. This means that Facebook will log almost everything you do on the site and will store it. So things like metatags on pictures will be kept unless you remove them prior to posting. Facebook will collect information about you from other Facebook users. Once you post something it can still be accessed even if Facebook deletes it, if others accessed the content or shared it. Facebook uses this information to manage their services, to contact you, to personalize advertising, to supplement your profile, to make suggestions and to help others find you. Be sure you monitor, monitor and monitor some more. The Facebook Terms of Service can be found here.
If you sign up for a Twitter account you are consenting to their terms of service which Twitter reserves the right to change at any time without notifying you. Anything you post can be seen all over the world instantly. You are responsible for the content you post if anything bad happens, and you retain your rights to any content you post, but by posting content on Twitter you agree to grant them a worldwide, nonexclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute your content in any media or via any distribution method. Be sure to think carefully about what you post and monitor the site to be sure others don’t fraudulently post in your name. Further provisions of the terms of services can be found here.
If you sign your company up for an account on LinkedIn, you have the potential of reaching its 90 million users worldwide (40 million in the US). A new member joins the site almost every second. On LinkedIn, you own the information you provide through the website. You can request its deletion at any time unless you share information with other users who choose not to delete the information. However, linked in can use any of your information without your consent. LinkedIn respects intellectual property. Therefore, they encourage people/companies to be truthful about the information they provide. LinkedIn can remove your profile if you misrepresent yourself. For more information about setting up a LinkedIn profile for your company click here.
Google Buzz is yet another social networking platform. It is built into Gmail and it allows users to follow their friends online, integrate photos, videos and Internet links. Picasa, Twitter, YouTube and Blogger are all integrated into Google Buzz as well. Google Buzz, in its terms of service, describes how all of the information you post belongs to you, but they have no obligation to enforce restrictions on your material. Furthermore, they are allowed to share your information with other users, companies or organizations. The copyright and trademark policies can be found in section 16 of the Terms of Service found here.
Social Networking is key if you want to continue a successful business. Recent Facebook statistics show that 48% of people between the ages of 18-34 check Facebook when they wake up (and the number is growing). 1 in every 13 people on earth have a Facebook account. Almost 72% of all U.S. citizens have a Facebook account although 70% of the user base is outside of the U.S. LinkedIn, as mentioned above has 90 million users with a new user every second. Twitter gets about 460,000 new accounts per day, about 450 tweets per second and one billion tweets per week. Although Google Buzz doesn’t compete on this level, the amount of bloggers is astonishing. Bloggers have cult like following and a huge influence on the markets. Statistics aside, if you are in the fashion industry you must dive in full force to the Social Media market. Most companies measure their growth based on how many fans they have on Facebook or how many followers they have on Twitter. So tweet tweet away and update your status as much as you possibly can. Your potential followers await!