Everybody talks about how using social media is incredibly important for the growth of a fashion business. They say…

If you’re not leveraging the platforms full of people that exist out there, you’re missing a very big opportunity for your fashion business.

We all know this is true, yet we continue to feel a little overwhelmed by the process. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

If you’re someone who’s life began decades before Myspace existed, then there is a learning curve for using these platforms, especially when you’re talking about using them for business. Or if you’re someone who had been actively and effectively using social platforms for your personal life, then suddenly found yourself needing to shift into a business approach, you can be left at a loss.

The single most important thing to remember about using social platforms for the benefit of your fashion business is that your ultimate goal is to build community.

If you constantly keep in mind that what you really want is to create relationships with the people (customers, buyers, editors, and industry pros) you’re connecting with, then your approach to social media for business becomes a lot less overwhelming.

OK, with the above point in mind…

Action Step 1: Decide on Which Platforms You Will Use

The biggest reason that so many of us get overwhelmed with social media, or feel that it “doesn’t work”, is because we try to do too much too soon. If you’re a one-person show or you have a very small team, your best bet is to zero on a few platforms (and may I suggest blogging as one of them) for creating your community.

Make a list of a few platforms on which to start by asking yourself:

  • Where is my audience spending their time? (Snapchat is not for everyone!)
  • Which platforms am I most comfortable on? (You’ll do better on the ones you enjoy using.)

Action Step 2: Decide on What Kind of Content You Will Post

This steps takes time. You want to make sure that you’re not simply posting promotional content. You have to mix it up. I see so many brands constantly posting things that revolve solely around their brand, rather than their audience.

Create content ideas by asking yourself:

  • Does this piece of content offer my audience any value other than the opportunity to see what I’m working on? (If the answer is “no”, rethink it)
  • Does this piece of content feel like a sales pitch in any way? (replace your brand name with another brand, do you care at all about the content now that it’s about someone else?)

Action Step 3: Create a Schedule for Posting Your Content

If you don’t create a calendar for your social media posting, you’ll never get on a schedule, you’ll always feel like it’s something to “squeeze in” to your day rather than an important task for marketing your business.

You can use something as simple as a spreadsheet or a google calendar to get this going.

Action Step 4: Remember to Plan Proactive Time

There’s more to social media work than simply posting. You have to be proactive. There are a lot of things you can do, but here are a few:

  • Create twitter lists of editors, buyers, suppliers, and industry pros and actively engage with them on a regular basis.
  • Identify Instagram profiles of brands or magazines or communities with whom you share an audience. Follow them, collaborate with them (buy a magazine and do a giveaway!) as a means of connecting with the followers.
  • Blog about inspiring people, request an interview, and share their story with your audience (and they’ll most likely share it with theirs!)

Action Step 5: Add Review and Rework Time to Your Tasks

Nothing you do is guaranteed to work; it’s all experiment. So make sure you are taking note of what’s working and what’s not and then making time to rework the content that isn’t quite taking off.

Action Step 6: Get Offline

Attend events, both business focused and not, and meet people. It doesn’t have to be in that stuffy “networking’ way. Take a class, attend a talk, go to a book signing, and mingle. Meeting people offline and then connecting with them online can be very genuine.

Bonus Action Step: Constantly Educate Yourself

Read books, read blog posts (ah hem), attend seminars, join communities, participate in workshops that keep you on top of what’s happening it the business, technology, social media, and fashion worlds. There is always more to learn; the second you forget that is the second you stop growing.

The last two action steps above are the two that I see most often ignored or put on the back-burner. It’s easy to feel that they’re not as important as the other steps. But that’s not true. I would actually argue that they are more important because if you’re not educating yourself and you’re not getting offline to meet people (who you then can connect with online), your social media efforts will become stagnant and ultimately a waste of time.

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