Amdist Saturday’s busy Market day at Atlanta Apparel, more than 40 buyers took time to attend a seminar to learn better business strategies, using available technology tools. Sal Macaluso, CEO of eFashionCentral.com, an internet marketing program used by more than 200 full-service specialty stores, presented a look at using the latest technology as a pathway to sales success.
First umderstand that establishing a social network doesn’t ensure marketing success. As with any other strategy, you have to actively engage your customers for it to work. In other words, just having a website, a Facebook page, etc. doesn’t mean you’ll gain business. You have to look at these as tools as any others – they’re tools and should be used to carry out an overall plan.
According to Macaluso, if you’re going to implement a social networking campaign, you must:
1. Develop a strategy that will get you started including identifying business objectives and determining tactics such as creating connections with customers and vendors and creating valid discussions to drive interest.
2. Know your customer and use that knowledge as the basis for your content. Basically, talk about topics they want to know about to capture their interest.
3. Be real, be sincere. Be honest in your intentions and sincerely convey truths about your business. Create a professional presence that showcases relationships and capabilities. Social web participation should be part of what your company is, not an “add-on” element.
4. Monitor, measure, feedback loop. This can be time consuming and requires a strategy but it can be as simple as being aware of what people say on your site.
5. Content! Content! Content! Remember that you are an expert and have access to a wealth of information you can offer to your customers. Use the opportunity to discuss specific styles and lines you carry when discussing overall trends.
You must have a viable presence on the major sites: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, LinkedIn and a blog but you also should explore local sites and others such as Flickr, Slideshare, Yelp and Friendfeed.
There are a wealth of tools out there to use to build your business. To capitalize on them, you have to be active and ontop of what you’re communicating and what others are saying about you . This is a tremendous opportunity for the industry to reach customers where they spend time and make decisions. Don’t be let out of the discussions!