Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Growing Your Fashion Brand: Social Media and In-Person Networking

Social media and in-person networking can be a powerful combination for building your brand if used correctly. Both social media and in person networking have benefits when generating an audience for your product. Major marketing companies and online magazines, such as Market Maven, have outlined that in person networking will always be the most important tactic to use while growing your brand. Although, with the amount of social media influencers in the fashion industry, brands have seen fast growth just by having the right person advertise their product.
Social media is one of the most influential outlets on millennial’s, if a social media influencer promotes a product; the product will gain more exposure than products advertised through television and online. The other benefit to social media is potentially reaching a larger market of people because platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are available to everyone across the world. Social media is the best tool to use to grow your customer base outside of your area. As well as allowing you to converse with your clientele to hear feedback on your product and make improvements.
I conducted an interview with former Toronto shoe designer Daniel Verhelst of Proverb Shoes, to get his opinion on developing and selling his shoe line in early 2000 when social media didn't have as much of influence. Daniel believed that in-person networking was the most influential for growing his brand, which included attending tradeshows and organizing meetings with vendors. Daniel also said that cold calling helped, but was difficult, as some retailers do not care to see your product. He also mentioned that if social media were as relevant as it is now, it would have helped him to generate more of a customer base and expand his target market.
Also, it is critical to recognize which platforms suit your brand image. According to the article The 4 Essentials to Your Brand on Social Media published by, Instagram is a great outlet for creative companies and businesses who rely on images to sell their product such as, clothing designers and online stores. Facebook is also a great outlet as it is used by a variety of age groups from different countries. Pinterest is mainly used by females and can be perfect for selling jewelry and clothing to women of all ages. In addition to both of these platforms, smaller social media applications like Snapchat and Twitter can be utilized as well. One of the most crucial factors of the content you display on your social media sites is the creating advertisements and photos that you followers will want to share.   
In person networking has the ability to give potential clients in depth knowledge about your products, beyond the superficial attributes. When talking to potential customers in person, it allows them to understand what your company stands for and if your business aligns with their beliefs. These techniques can lead to long lasting business relationships because of the connection gained through in-person communication. Some people also perceive advertisements on social media as untrue because the person promoting the item was most likely paid to do so. This makes networking an even stronger approach because it is directly from the company. There is also more competition for brands on social media, and most platforms have become saturated with similar brands trying to rise to the top.
Social media seems to be the tool to use when trying to expand your clientele and in-person networking will solidify a relationship with a retailer and customer. Social media has also expanded the number of independent fashion designers and retailers because they can post photos of their merchandise on Instagram and the viewer can purchase directly from their site. Social media simplifies the process of buying goods, which in turn can generate more sales. Sales will also come from maintaining the relationships you build with other businesses because they are more likely to purchase from you again and recommend your company if they like your products. Some companies have thrived without the use of social media and others have gained their following from mainly posting on social media sites. There are many different ways to market your product, but by utilizing the capabilities in networking through social media and in person, you can grow your brand's audience and solidify your standing in the market.          

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