- Building a social media following is one of the best things you can do for your brand. People engage on social media, influencers share content and products, and consumers are prone to clicking on social ads and buying products.
- Social media gets results, and you don’t have to wait to get started. All you need to do is make sure your branding is set in stone, create your profiles, start engaging, and create consistently.
- Once you are getting into the swing of things, create an editorial calendar, invest in social media management software, and sit back and watch your following grow.
Checking social media is on everyone’s daily “to do” list. Since social media is bustling with activity, it’s one of the most efficient ways brands can engage with customers and build a thriving following.
Don’t believe it? Seventy-three percent of marketers report that social media marketing has been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” for their business, and 53% of Americans who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands.
While social media marketing is a stellar way to popularize your brand, gaining a following requires a smart and proven strategy.
This guide will provide the steps you can take to start building a social audience for your brand before you even have your samples and product photography ready.
1. Solidify your branding
First impressions go a long way, and you want to make sure you show who you are straight out of the gate. Any branding “do-overs” will leave your audience confused, and you risk losing followers.
The good news is you have 100% control of how you present your brand, and it’s worth it to take a little extra time to define who you are. Here is what to consider:
- Identity. Nail down your brand name, logo, headline, taglines, and website domain name.
- Brand book. Your brand book will include your logo, fonts, colors, and anything related to how to present your brand visually.
- Image. Image dives into how you want others to think about your brand. Is your image high-end fashion? Is it sustainable outdoor clothing? Is it comfort for SAHMs? Identifying your image will help you create consistent social posts that resonate with your ideal customer profile (ICP).
- Positioning. Positioning is all about your particular target segment within your industry. For example, if your target segment is Gen Z-ers that like video games, your content will differ significantly than if you’re targeting middle-aged business owners.
- Values. Succeeding as a new fashion brand today requires more than style. Consumers care about sustainability and the environment. Consumers, even in the fashion industry, are more likely to throw their support behind brands with a cause. What are your primary values?
- Differentiation. How are you different from other fashion brands? What would make a consumer want to follow you over your competitors? Engaging in basic competitive research will help you with this step of the branding process.
- Voice and tone. Brand voice and tone are how you communicate with your audience. Are you passionate? Funny? Informative? Cheeky? Decide.
When you know who you are (even if you don’t have all your business ducks in a row quite yet), you’ll still be able to start creating a consistent and loyal following.
2. Decide which social platforms are right for you
Once you know which platforms your target demographic hangs out on the most, you’ll know where to spend the majority of your advertising budget.
To spare you from an untimely death of boredom from too much research, I’ve gone ahead and done the hard work for you. You’re welcome. Here’s what to know about each platform.
Facebook is the leading social platform. It has over two billion active monthly users. But here’s the thing. Just because someone has a Facebook account, doesn’t mean Facebook is their preferred social network, or even that they visit every day. In fact, the popularity of Facebook is declining in the US, even if it’s growing in developing countries.
Additionally, Facebook is mostly popular among older Millennials, Gen X-ers, and even Baby Boomers (the ones that finally learned how to use a smartphone).
Does that mean you shouldn’t have a Facebook business account? No!
Wait, why? Facebook owns Instagram.
This means if you want to advertise on Instagram, you need a Facebook account.
Let’s start out with the technical. Instagram has over 1 billion active daily users and 96% of U.S. fashion brands are on Instagram. Instagram is the perfect platform for fashion brands, and you needed to start an IG business account yesterday.
The reason fashion brands like Instagram so much is because that’s where users like to find (and buy) new products. In fact, 60% percent of people use IG to discover new products, and 75% of Instagram users will take action after looking at an Instagram ad.
Since you’re great at math, you know what this means. It means you need to build an Instagram audience.
Pinterest has over 320 million active users and may be a good place to promote your brand, provided it fits your ideal customer profile.
Quick Q: is your mom your ideal customer?
If so, then Pinterest is for you. Demographic information suggests the typical Pinterest user is female, around 40 years old, and—interestingly enough—living outside of the United States.
If this is not your target demographic, then please refer to the section on Instagram above.
Twitter has over 330 million monthly users from people all over the world. Twitter is an excellent platform for building credibility and engaging with other industry leaders.
Twitter users have above-average incomes, are more often male than female, and are spread throughout the world. Interestingly enough. The average active Twitter user is quite young, between the ages of 18 and 29.
3. Start building relationships with followers and influencers
Creating a strong social audience is all about building relationships. It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of followers; if none of your followers engages with your content or feels inspired by your messages, they won’t be worth much.
The first way to build connections is to play your part. Hire a social media manager who will:
- Follow relevant accounts and influencers
- Engage, comment, and ask questions
- Share high-quality answers to thoughtful influencer questions
- Always @mention accounts you reference in your social posts
You also need to build your relationships with your followers strategically. Here’s how:
- Be real and create posts that genuinely represent your brand’s values
- Share pictures, videos, and text that interests your audience on an emotional level
- Reply when people @mention your account
- Answer every question your followers ask
- Thank people when they mention you
- Use relevant hashtags so searchers can find your posts
It will take longer to build a social following by building relationships than it would to go out and buy a bunch of followers, but it will pay off in the end.
4. Create an editorial calendar
Consistency is critical when it comes to effective marketing. This goes for blogging, email marketing, content marketing, and, of course, social media marketing. The more consistently you offer value to your target audience, the more they will engage with your brand and see you as the industry leader you are.
However, consistently posting doesn’t just happen. You have to be tactical about it by creating and sticking to an editorial calendar.
These tools will allow you to create a single calendar for all your team members, assign tasks, and monitor progress as you grow your following.
5. Use social media tools and software
Another rapid-fire way to build a social audience is to utilize social media marketing software.
It’s safe to say the majority of accounts that capture thousands of followers don’t do it by spending thousands of staff hours on each platform. Instead, they use tools that help them manage their messages across all platforms.
When searching for the right platform, pick something that helps you automate your posts, schedule your content, track your content, and analyze your results.
Instead of relying on one person to try and guess what is and what isn’t working, a tool will give you actual data on wh