DESIGNER TOOLBOX: How To Build Your Following On Social Media

social media

Source: GettyImages – Gallo Images ROOTS RF collectionAnna Bizon

Hey Guys,

If you’ve been following the last two posts in our ‘Social Media Series For Fashion Brands’, you’ll now know everything there is to know about reaping the benefits of social media.  If you’ve chosen to take our tips on board, your platforms should now be purposeful and coherent to your existing brand.
However, the work is not over yet – now you need numbers, something that unfortunately doesn’t happen by magic.
But as always, we’re here to advise you.  Get ready to see your following mounting up, because by the time you’ve read the end of this last article in the Series, you’ll be as social-media savvy as can be.
Posting at Optimum Times:
In an ideal world, everything you do on your social media platform – be that a comment on someone’s new dress design or a post about a fashion event you organize – would be done at an optimum time, i.e, the timeframe with the highest user activity.  This is to get the most publicity as possible for your actions, which will result in comments and follows.  While not always achievable, you should always try and take the time you post in to account.  There are various articles on the best time to use each social media platform, but if you want an easy way to work it out, simply look at your feed!  If people are being active, it’s probably a good time to post.

Regular, High-Quality Content:
There’s no point even thinking about upping your social media numbers until you have a great feed that’s going to entice potential followers.  Just like entering into your shop or browsing your website, if what you’re offering isn’t interesting, they won’t stick around for long.  You should be posting at least once a day – more in the beginning – each time with well-thought out, relevant content.  Find the ideal balance between your brand identity and what your fans and followers are into by using different media and varying your subject matter: a mockup showcasing your fashion pieces that best represents your brand spirit; pictures zooming on the details of a dress; a video in your atelier showing how a gown is made etc.If you’re using a visual site like Instagram or Pinterest, make it cohesive with your fashion brand vision as well aesthetically pleasing, so that with a quick scrawl down, your new potential follower will be persuaded rather than dissuaded.
Follow, Follow, Follow:
While the goal here is to build up your own following, in order to do this as a beginner, you need to get your own numbers up.  However this isn’t to say you should go follow-mad; Only follow those who are relevant to your own brand vision in some way, whether that be inspiration or your target audience.  To make the importance of a relevant Follow base a little easier, here is the breakdown of the three main outcomes following produces:

  1. Gets relevant content on your home page: consider what comes up on your home page as the social-media ‘circle’ you are in. Relevant followers = relevant content on your home page = making connections with relevant people
  2. Gives you more chance to interact: Don’t consider Social Media as impersonal – make it the opposite. Following large numbers means your feed will bring up content that you can get involved with, and – just as in the real world – everyone likes to make new friends!
  3. Attracts attention to your page: following someone is more likely to result in someone following you back, and this sparks a chain reaction. Your new follower’s followers will be able to see their action and be more likely to do the same.

Don’t be scared of following 1000 and only 200 followers, especially not initially – this isn’t a popularity contest, after all!
Interacting with other users is a great way to get yourself noticed.  Whilst commenting on accounts with enormous followings like VOGUE may seem the obvious thing to do, lots of other people do the same, therefore you could end up looking like spam – not something you want. Instead, try and make genuine, personal comments, involving your fashion tastes and knowledge to get involved in conversations on other people’s accounts.  Not only will this help spark their interest in return, but their followers are likely to read your kind words and get interested too!  Everyone is won over by niceties  – even in the Cyber world!
Promote Yourself:

Contradicting the last point, commenting with a purely promotive purpose is one of the most effective ways of bumping up your following.  You should avoid doing this too often – again there’s the issue of looking like spam – so timing is more important than ever; peak times, people!  You should also be very selective about which accounts you decide to promote on.  You want to be promoting on posts that have been published recently (within the last 15 minutes or so) to ensure the most traffic.  It should be an account with a large following (around 20k – 50k is good) but not too big, to avoid getting buried under the millions of comments.  And finally, try and make it as personal as possible.  If you can, it’s great to feature the person whose account you’re promoting on first, making you appear much more amicable.  If this isn’t possible, throw in a compliment first before you dash in with the hard sell.
While often seen as the be all and end all, hashtags actually aren’t the main driver of traffic on Social Media sites.  However, they are definitely still worth using in order that relevant people can seek you out.  Think of your hashtags as ways to attract your target audience, so include things they are likely to search for.  You also want to be using hashtags that are popular – an easy way to check this is by typing them in and seeing how many posts come up as a result.  Saying this, if you can find a niche hashtag appropriate to your brand with only a few thousand posts, it’s definitely worth using, as this will pinpoint people who are really likely to be interested in your brand and therefore follow you.
And that sees the end of your Crash Course in Social Media.  If you take one thing away from all of this, it should be to consider your social media platforms as an integral part of your business plan, and treat them accordingly: with passion, hard-work and creativity.
by Stephanie Cvetkovic for Fashion Cross Functional

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