MSLK Successfully Leads a Lively Panel Discussion on Social Media for FGI

Last night’s Fashion Group International panel discussion was insightful and informative, with Sheri L Koetting successfully leading the panelists through a wide range of Social Media topics. Much light was shed on innovative techniques the panel used for their clients using platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to turn strangers into fans, and fans into customers with a loyal following… and turning into sales.

Highlights we learned:

  • The most effective way to grow organic SEO results is through blogs. Frank O’Brien suggests partnering with bloggers who already rank highly for your key words and asking them to write about your latest campaign. His team will typically  seek out 300-500 bloggers that have a range of followers but equally high ranking.
  • Virtual gifts are still a very popular tool on social media. The giving and receiving of a virtual gift is a great way to build word-of-mouth referrals and soft sell the actual product.
  • Coupon codes are highly effective in social media. Every panelist agreed that special offers for fans were effective and AnneMarie Frank from mark. sited that a coupon code on Twitter typically leads to an order that is 50% larger than normal.
  • Polling fans on Facebook is also highly effective and engaging. Previewing ad campaigns and letting the fans chose before something goes public has been highly effective.
  • In general the content fans like to see most often is that behind the scenes sneak peek from the inspiration for the design of a product, to backstage secrets from industry experts, to “get the look” tips and tricks.
  • Although Chris Dessi didn’t feel that fans were looking to buy products on social media sites, AnneMarie has seen tremendous success with mark’s new platform which allows fans to purchase products right inside Facebook. Mark’s innovative tool actually allows the customer to scan their Facebook friends to see if any of them are mark reps in order to build social business relationships.
  • The brand mark has also come up with an incredibly clever concept to capitalize on the tremendous buzz a birthday creates on Facebook. Fans who create a wish list in the mark store will find that birthday well-wishers will be given an option to actually give a gift such as a $6 lipgloss when they make that birthday wish.
  • Twitter is possibly a troubled platform because it hasn’t done enough to distinguish itself from Facebook. In addition it’s simply text-based news feed allows it to be a prime form for applications and spam bots. It’s been highly documented that many Twitter accounts go abandoned after 6 months. Panelist Frank O’Brien wonders…is anyone alive out there?
  • However Twitter is an amazing listening tool. Chris Dessi encourages companies to take more of the 10,000 foot look at the activity happening on Twitter to gauge the overall sentiment of your brand. One of their listening tools for brands literally turns green or red indicating if the overall conversations around the brand are positive or negative.
  • AnneMarie agrees from a brand perspective they find that Twitter allows them to access an entirely different audience from Facebook. Here they are talking more to busy press editors and beauty bloggers who appreciate the simplicity of the content and bite-sized news feeds. For them Twitter has replaced the desk-side meetings.
  • Even the B2B platform of LinkedIn got a few nods for effective marketing strategies. Companies looking to launch a very high-price point tech savvy product might meet lots of their audience in the discussion forum available on LinkedIn. In addition, Linked In is a great place to build the credibility of the namesake behind a brand, say a doctor looking to launch a skincare line.

All in all, brands are simply afraid of social media and they need not be. Some brands are afraid of participating in the conversation and exposing themselves to negative comments. However, they are participating whether they want to or not. Fans are out there talking and often creating user-run fan pages. If a brand is participating, they actually have a higher likelihood of being able to listen and respond to the comments, thus building better relationships.

Thanks again to our panelists:

AnneMarie Frank, Director of Digital, E-commerce and Strategic Alliances, mark.
Frank O’Brien, Founder, Conversation
Chris Dessi, Director of Sales, Buddy Media