Lessons learned and many more to come…

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. ”  Henry Ford

As I reach the end of my Social Media Research and Techniques course, I know I am leaving with much more knowledge than I came in with, but much more to still learn.  My initial reluctance to participating in social media has subsided and I now feel more confident in my abilities.    Narrowing down lessons I have learned is hard.  There are so many…but here are my top three:

  1. Social media is much more than pushing out a message, it is a mutual conversation.  Shared, empathetic experiences where both people benefit is what makes social media powerful.  This is important to me because I never viewed social media in this way prior to this course.
  2. Not participating in social media does not mean that people are not having conversations about your company.  These conversations are happening, but if you are engaged and reading comments on your blog, twitter etc. you can find out what people are really thinking.  It can give you some great insight and alert you to problems you may not have known about otherwise.  If you know about them, you can fix them.   This is important to me because I previously felt it might be better not to participate in these platforms as it gives people the opportunity to say things you might not want to have posted on-line.  I realize now that this is like sticking your head in the sand.
  3. Establish goals and objectives before you start.  Ask yourself, “Who are you and what do you want your brand image to be?”  This question should be addressed whether you are a company or an individual.  Each time you do a post, tweet or status update, ask yourself ” is this reflecting or supporting my brand?”   If not, you should think twice before posting it.  “Listen” to what other people are doing, especially your competitors and counterparts.   By doing this, you can get a good sense of what works well and even more importantly, what doesn’t.  I never thought about the importance of establishing goals and objectives before engaging in social media but I realize now it is crucial to success.

Image: hariseven.blogspot.com

What’s Next?

I would like to learn more about YouTube videos.  I would like to know how to post them, what techniques make them effective and how to incorporate these successfully into my blog.  I would also like to learn how to skillfully use Pinterest and Instagram.  I am a visual person who is stirred by images so these platforms really appeal to me.  There is definitely an art to using them.

I know I have only reached the  “tip of the iceberg” and that there is a great deal more for me to learn.  I hope to take some more courses so I feel even more comfortable contributing and interacting on-line.

I feel happy I have taken the first step.  Now I need to continue the journey…

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Is Klout An Effective Measure of On-Line Influence?

In our Social Media Research and Techniques class we had a debate addressing the question “Is Klout an Effective Measure of On-Line Influence?”

In my opinion, I think that Klout is a good measure of on-line influence.  Right now, Klout is the most widely used measurement tool for social media.  I feel that every marketing/communications strategy needs a tool to measure its effectiveness.  Without a measurement tool, there is no mechanism to evaluate success or failure.   I think that some people may become overly concerned with the Klout number and to me,  it is about more than just a number.    I would not base business decisions solely on a Klout score, but I feel  it is a valuable tool that can be used in a holistic manner in combination with other evaluation methods.

I feel that Klout is a good tool for brands to use to assess their reach.   Through Klout, brands can also  identify their top influencers, people who are talking about their brand.  If these  influencers are talking about their brand, they are most likely a regular user of their product.

Like anything else, Klout is a work in progress.  As more people get involved with social media I would suspect that Klout’s impact, reach and effectiveness will grow.

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Casual Cool

Casual cool

Red tank top
$33 – sheinside.com

Mango linen jacket
£60 – mango.com

True Religion straight jeans
$295 – mytheresa.com

Platform shoes
$50 – modcloth.com

Fendi logo tote bag
$3,074 – mytheresa.com

Chain jewelry
$601 – matchesfashion.com

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Summer Fun

Summer Fun

Mango scoop neck dress
£18 – johnlewis.com

L.A.M.B. leather shoes
$265 – endless.com

J Crew animal print clutch
$80 – jcrew.com

J Crew straw beach hat
$38 – jcrew.com

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Pairing brights with neutrals

Pairing brights with neutrals

Junya Watanabe crop top
£464 – farfetch.com

Cropped pants
$109 – barneys.com

Jimmy choo shoes
$795 – net-a-porter.com

Kate Spade quilted bag
$428 – nordstrom.com

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A Few Reflections…

It has been fun doing the industry impact assignment.  I learned a great deal about the blogging process along the way.  I came into this course as a novice and I am really happy with the skills that I have picked up so far – and it is only week four!

There were a lot of aspects that I could have covered in the assignment, but in the end, I chose the ones I did because I felt that I was able to find the most credible research on those.  I thought about doing a section on Pinterest  but I really liked the supporting article I found on-line on Instagram so I chose to cover that aspect and I am happy with the result.

I tried to include a video on the original assignment but I was having  some difficulties with it  and  I think it would have visually competed with the beautiful picture that I did include on the post.  The content of the video was great but the image quality wasn’t.  Maybe I will learn that skill and be able to include a video in my next assignment…

Ciao and thanks for reading.

After posting note:

After having some time to think over my industry impact post, I thought that perhaps the impact of Instagram on the fashion industry was due to its demographics.  My hunch was that it must have a younger demographic than Pinterest.  I did some looking around and found the following article which I thought was really interesting and confirms my hunch:

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/business/facebook-pictures-an-improved-mobile-future-with-instagram-219571.html

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A New Day – How Fashion is Being Revolutionized by Social Media

“Social Media has never been as important as this year. Bloggers are now invited to sit in the front rows, not only focusing on early-days streetstyles.   They work closely with brands on the marketing side, but are also more and more involved in the creative process.” [1] 

Social media has changed the fashion  industry.   It has become collaborative.  It is no longer the industry telling people what clothes to wear and how to wear them.   It is no longer only authorized journalists covering the collections.  It is now a conversation between consumers telling one another.   “Social Media is now the most important runway.”[2]   “Fashion itself has gone viral.”[3]

So what medium seems to be making the most impact on the industry? 

Front-row seats at fashion shows are now being set-aside for well-known bloggers, a place previously reserved for “A” list celebrities.   Designers like Karl Lagerfeld are now meeting with bloggers and asking their opinions.  They have no doubt realized  their impact on fellow consumers.  This change in behaviour acknowledges the bloggers’ powerful status.

Photo credits.

QR Codes - built into fashion - literally!
QR Codes – built into fashion – literally!

Quick Response (QR) codes are also making an impact on the industry.   When fashionistas scan the black and white codes, they are directed to more information on the product, enticed to enter contests, learn from “how-to videos,” and make purchases.   This is a clever technique because it not only initiates action which often leads to more sales, it also allows companies to collect valuable user information they can use for future campaigns and promotions.

But possibly the biggest influence on the industry right now is Instagram which a fast way to share photos with friends.  “The fashion brands on Instagram seem to get that their audience are highly visual people and have learned how to tap into that through images, whether they’re gorgeous photos from London Fashion Week (@burberry) or lifestyle photos like those @katespadeny shares.” [4]    Such a visual industry is completely suited to this medium, engaging consumers like never before.

“Our electronic networks are enabling novel forms of collective action, enabling the creation of collaborative groups that are larger and more distributed than at any other time in history .”  [5]

These collaborative groups that have formed offer both threats and opportunities for the fashion industry.   If consumers decide they don’t like something, they won’t tell one friend, they will tell everyone who follows them on their blog or twitter account which could be hundreds or thousands which might be damaging.  But I see the changes as good.  Social media is providing a community forum for the industry where  designers have more access to consumers and consumers have more access to designers.   This is a positive change that provides many opportunities for designers who are embracing it and using it to their advantage.

“The luxury of fashion is not always about money and objects; in this case, community, timing, and vision are just as equally coveted.”[6]

[1] http://socialmediatoday.com/laurentfrancois/439803/social-media-main-runway-fashion-industry
[2] http://socialmediatoday.com/laurentfrancois/439803/social-media-main-runway-fashion-industry
[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/beverly-macy/how-social-media-is-givin_b_1443008.html
[4]  http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/09/instagram-fashions-latest-darling/244846/
[5] Here Comes Everybody, page 48, by Clay Shirky, 2008, Published by The Penguin Group.
[6] http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/09/instagram-fashions-latest-darling/244846/
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