The seven elements of great fashion community management
It’s natural that social mediums that focus on (or include) images will attract designers, fans and brands.
But a real community takes time and skill to develop, and requires nurturing if it is to succeed, particularly in fashion. Fashion is such a personal, subjective thing that it can attract disproportionate levels of passion from fans, which can be wonderful if the passion is positive and the brand knows how to channel it.
Here are a seven tips on how to create a thriving community, and keep those dissenting voices to a minimum
1. Set community objectives prior to launch
Is the objective to promote new lines? Resolve customer service issues? Drive hits to your brand’s website? Perhaps it’s to increase loyalty through better engagement? Knowing what you want to achieve before you begin will help you develop the community and measure results.
2. Embrace the community
This is especially important for smaller designers. If the brand is in your name, you are the brand. It’s vital for you, as the heart of the brand, to actively engage in the community and share your passion with fans. This is especially important if your brand operates in a niche area. Some larger fashion brands recruit popular fashion bloggers as brand ambassadors, which can greatly extend the reach and engagement levels of the community.
3. Differentiate channels
While it might be tempting to plunge into every new hot social channel that comes along, take some time to assess the merits of each channel, and decide which are the most relevant to your brand’s objectives. For visually-appealing fashion brands, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube (or other video sites), Twitter and Facebook may be no-brainers. But don’t make the mistake of replicating content across each channel. Keep the message consistent, but create specific (and unique) content for each.
4. Show some personality
We all know how boring it is to read pages of corporate messaging on totally inappropriate forums (any social media channel really). People may stop by because they’re fans of the brand, but if there’s nothing keeping them there, they won’t be back! Use a voice that’s appropriate to the brand – if the brand is irreverent, or quirky, create a voice on social channels that reflects this.
5. Moderate the community
That doesn’t mean censor criticism, but spam, or inappropriate, off-topic or even abusive posts do not have a place in the community. Debate is fine, and people should be allowed to disagree with the brand and state their own opinions. But if the discussion turns nasty, comments should be removed. Brand reputation will be tarnished if abusive posts are not removed from the community as soon as possible.
6. Draw people back in
Consider offering exclusive content that fans wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere. Maybe by creating buzz in the run up to events, or showcasing the behind-the-scenes production process of new lines. Think of content like this as handing your fans virtual access-all-areas pass, affording them a sneak peek behind the scenes.
7. Personalise your engagement
If people are contacting you via social channels, especially Twitter or Facebook, they will expect a rapid response. This can be very beneficial to brands. Not only can you provide a tailored service to individuals, but others can see you going the extra mile for the customer (the downside being, of course, that any bad examples of social customer service will also be there for all to see). It also lets you provide individuals with updates on their orders.
Do you know any examples of fashion brands doing interesting things on social media? We’d love to hear.
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