With social media revolutionising the world of retail, this issue sees Bra Queen Renee Mayne deploying her business coaching skills to maximum effect. Her message? If you’re a small fashion business who hasn’t yet grasped the significance of online networking, it’s time to get with the program!
There’s a certain innovative networking concept sweeping the globe that promises to change the small business world as we know it: social media.
Can you make money from it? Certainly. However there is much more to social media than sales conversions. If you stood in the middle of a shopping centre screaming and trying to sell your product, what would happen? That’s right; chances are most people would make a run for it! Well, social media is no different. You have to build trust and relationships; it’s about giving and adding value.
As small business owners we already have a built in advantage in this regard, because we are great at being real… being ourselves, being authentic. In short, we are our business. It’s natural for us to communicate and build relationships with our customers. The social media platform is simply an extension of what we do instinctively.
There are many social media platforms available: blogging, Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, My Space and LinkedIn. You can network on all or select one to suit your personality and one that will complement your business. But if you’re going to make social media work for you, it’s important to avoid common pitfalls. Some of the biggest mistakes are:-
• Adding no value and solely trying to sell.
• Using social media to ‘hide’ behind your business.
• Thinking too narrowly and not targeting your customers. It’s not just about sales; the opportunities that come from it will far outweigh the dollar signs.
• Not being consistent and losing patience! You have to keep interacting and engaging with customers and it takes time to build that rapport, so allow six months to a year before you really start seeing what social media can do.
Businesses that steer clear of these snags can move beyond the status of mere ‘trading entities’ to become brands that forge an emotional connection with consumers. If you’re after examples, a couple currently looming large on the web due to their social media skills are Damaris Lingerie and Lane Bryant.
Damaris (pictured left) launched a You Tube video called ‘Chore’. Damaris doesn’t have a massive marketing budget so they had to be innovative; a point worth remembering… financial challenges often produce the most creative solutions. The quirky, irreverent and youth-focused ‘Chore’ suits Damaris’ target market and takes viewers on an intriguing, amusing journey they won’t forget.
Lane Bryant (pictured right) recently sent the World Wide Web into overdrive with a controversial ad that got pulled from American TV for being too risqué. However because of the resulting ‘noise’, it has now had global coverage on traditional media and social media.
From my own perspective, social media has been central to spreading the word about my brand in an interesting, non-sales driven way. So, what has Bra Queen gained from social media exposure?
• A gig as a contributing author in Sprout Wealth – a fantastic book that shares the commercial successes of businesswomen.
• Numerous radio interviews.
• Podcast interviews.
• TV presenting.
• 70 per cent of my business is from social media
• On average the Bra Queen Exposed blog attracts over 20,000 views a month.
• Put all my social media avenues together and I am talking to around 5000 people, imagine 5000 people standing in your store.
• A host of amazing business relationships and successful joint ventures.
Remember, if you combine traditional networking with new age social networking, your marketing potential is endless. The truth is, small business has never had it so good. We can market ourselves exactly how we need to and position ourselves to an audience of thousands for little or no cost.
So, be innovative in your thinking, use your imagination and the sky’s the limit!
Renee Mayne – Bra Queen
P.S. Readers wanting to know more about social media are more than welcome to email me at email@example.com