Marketing 101: Build a Community Online For Your Fashion Brand
Trying to build a community online for your brand during the pandemic? With such a limited amount of resources opened and your product possibly being delayed, how does one build a following? Find out how to build a community online that turns into a devoted customer base on our latest Q&A.
Q: What are some tips to start to build a community online and find the people that ultimately fashion brands will launch to?
Christine: This is something I’m super uber passionate about. I feel like everyone waits until they have their product and then they realize, “Oh crap now I need to figure out how to sell this.” It actually needs to be the reverse. You need to think about selling either before and/or at the same time that you start to build your product. This needs to be in your mindset. You need to start to build a community online ahead of time because it can take a really long time to build.
Digital marketing is really what we’re talking about here. Having a fashion business in the midst of Covid-19 entails a lot of extra work, including social media marketing. So, you have to come to the mindset that you’re now a digital marketer. Yes, you’re a designer and you want to be creative. But you need to now wear the hat of the digital marketer as well.
There are a ton of different things that fall under the digital marketing umbrella, including social media, email marketing, SEO, blog writing, video, influencer marketing, etc. The easiest way to explain it is to compare it to someone that’s trying to lose weight. The best thing if you’re looking to lose weight is not just one thing, it’s a combination of a bunch of things. If you went to the gym but then ate junk food and ice cream all the time, you’re not going to get much results. It’s the same thing with Digital Marketing. It’s good to have a nice marketing strategy, where you have a little bit of everything going on.
In the beginning, you’re probably just one person and trying to do it all yourself, so I always recommend doing the easiest things that can build a community online. Social media, website/SEO, and blogging are the three main things that can really get you going in the beginning before you even have product. Everyone always asks, ‘well how do I start my social media if I don’t have product?’ There’s literally 25 things that we teach in an online course we have on how to post stuff to your social media without having any product whatsoever.
Here’s a few of them to get you started:
- Your Industry. You’re in the fashion industry, so you can post things that are going on in the fashion industry. You can post about events, you can post about COVID-19, you can post about Pantone’s color of the year, etc.
- Events. Yes, there’s not real events going on right now but there are virtual events happening that you can post about. You can post about virtual trade shows that are happening. Texworld is doing their show virtually, ATS just had their show virtually a couple weeks ago. So, you can post about virtual events. Even for real in person events, I’ve actually posted on my social media and hashtag’d the event when I was not even physically present at the event and have gotten sales that way. You don’t even physically need to be at these events to still take advantage of the benefits. Just throw something up on social media, use the hashtag for that event, and people will find you that way and they’ll think you’re a vendor or attendee at the event.
- Behind the Scenes (BTS). You can do a video behind the scenes; you’re at your manufacturer picking out your fabrics; you’re having a pattern maker walking a paper pattern or something for you; you show a reference sample or something. Behind the scenes are really great.
So those are just three really quick easy things that you can post on your social media right now. Don’t wait another day, get started today.
Q- “I want to post on social media and talk about different things, but let’s be honest I don’t have a community yet online.”
Christine: It takes time to build a community online. That’s why it’s important that you’re putting out really valuable content. And it’s really important that you know who your target customer is and what they really want at the end of the day.
If you are doing a fitness line, you better be posting fitness tips–things like how you should do a correct bicep curl, etc. Or posting how to eat in the morning, what your breakfast should be, what supplements you should be taking, even what’s the best vegan coffee. Whatever category you are doing, think of the things that your target customer wants to know about.
They actually don’t really want to hear that you’re selling a line. They want to follow a page that’s more about a community. So build the community online and then sell your product when it’s ready, because now you’ll have the community done and they’ll be invested in you and willing to purchase whatever it is you’re going to make because they are so invested in you. That’s how bloggers do it.
If you really think about bloggers and influencers, they build up a big audience, they get really famous, and then the next thing you know they’re coming out with their own fashion line. They actually could come out with any product they want, because they’re famous now and they’ve got the loyal following.
If anything, just get your website up. You don’t have to have a full-blown website if you don’t have your product ready yet, but you do need at the very least a landing page.
A landing page that says coming soon, maybe have a beautiful photo and you have an email signup box. And in that box you need to be giving away something for free–some kind of free offer, for example it could be a quiz.
We’re testing this out right now on our website a little quiz, called our success quiz. So, if you want to know what your chances of success in the fashion industry will be before, take the quiz and you’ll get your results.
Or maybe you offer a free guide of some kind; so if you’re selling nursing wear tops to new moms, maybe it’s ‘The 10 best foods to eat to help produce the most milk guide’. Whatever it is, it has to be something that’s going to be valuable to your customer and that’s going to make them want to leave their email address. At the end of the day, we all get inundated with way too many emails so it’s got to be something juicy and something valuable that they’re going to want to leave their email to get.
Maybe you do a contest. We just did a giveaway contest with a swimsuit brand that hasn’t launched yet. Then we took a couple of influencers, we sent them the samples (we didn’t even have production, we just had some samples), and we drove traffic to a landing page with a giveaway. We were giving away basically a full day influencer shoot–photographer, hair and makeup all provided–you’ll get a swimsuit that you can take photos in and you get to pretend to be an influencer for the day. The contest was ran for one week–we only had two influencers that posted three times–and we got 50 emails. It really isn’t that difficult.
I think people make it a lot harder than it really needs to be. While social media is important and everyone loves social media and there’s a place for social media for sure, email marketing is 40 times more effective than social media. At the end of the day you basically own those emails. Facebook could shut your page down tomorrow, Instagram could shut your page down tomorrow, and you will have lost your entire following that you built up in the blink of an eye. But if you have those followers on your email list, you will retain those emails. Yes people unsubscribe but you still essentially have that email even if they’ve unsubscribed.
Q- “I know the demographics of my community but I’m unsure how to find them. Where is it best to reach them?”
Christine: The easiest way to find your audience is through your competitors. Who are your competitors? Go on their Instagram page, look who’s following them, look who’s commenting on their posts. Start to comment on that person’s page. Start to say hi, slide in their DMs, start the conversation, but DO NOT sell.
This is very practical and common sense, yet most don’t think about it. It’s not that difficult. But it does take time. The strategies that I teach, especially proactive engagement and things like that, where you’re going and trying to find your target customer and engaging with them is going to take time. But do it for 20 minutes a day and you’ll at the very least get 10 followers a week I guarantee. And if you want more followers than that, our Instagram growth program can get you anywhere from 200-1,000+ organic followers per month!
We hope these strategies will help you start to get serious about building an audience. Comment below, and let us know your biggest takeaway! We’ve helped brands grow to 5,000 followers on their Instagram, hundreds of email subscribers, and get on the first page of google BEFORE they even launched their lines! If you’d like the same results, email us so we can get started today!
Like this post?
Sign up to get more like it