30 May 2012

How Persistence and Purpose Create Success

Slow and steady wins the race. It is a cliche for sure, but it is only cliche because of the inherent truth of it. Sometimes however it is a hard pill to swallow. Patience, as many will tell you, is not one of my stronger traits.

Persistence on the other hand is most definitely one of my stronger characteristics.  When you couple that persistence with a burning, singular purpose you can accomplish anything. While my personal mission to create a Garment District in Seattle is taking my far longer than I had intended to gain traction there has been significant progress on that front.

Most notably is the recent invitation by the Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce to participate in their 3rd Annual State of Style Advocacy Day on the Hill. The video below is from the panel discussion I was asked to be a part of.

I was deeply honored to be a part of this panel. The panel discussed President Obama's small business agenda, and significant pieces of legislation currently in committee, and the importance of business incubators to the creative economy. We also discussed how Fashion Incubators from across the country are currently assisting small businesses in their markets, as well as the formation of a National Coalition of Fashion Incubators.  

There are currently 13 identified incubators which have expressed interest in coalition membership. One of which is my labor of love Seattle Fashion Incubator. The irony of having 13 original member incubators is not lost on me. In fact I find it quite apropos.

The distinguished panel of industry leaders moderated by Lauren Rothman, Huffington Post Style Contributing Editor also included:

  • Janet E. Heinzen, Director Office of Textiles and Apparel, US Department of Commerce
  • James V. Hunter, Legislative Aide, Representative David Price (D - NC)
  • Jacqueline B. West, Field Operations Specialist, Office of Field Operations, Small Business Administration
  • Adriana Pavon, Co-Founder of the Detroit Fashion Collective

When you add to the mix our turn around of the Seattle International Textile Expo I am very proud of what we've managed to achieve in the last year. I couldn't do it alone. I've the support of great people. Most notably Danny Done, my business partner, VP of Marketing, and confidant. I don't say it enough, so I say quite publicly now. I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for Danny. I could not have achieved any of this without his help.

I would like to personally thank Mr. Alan Lee, and Representative Jim McDermott's (D - WA) office for taking time to meet with me about these important jobs creation issues.  Please click the links above and let your legislators know that you support the passage of the above bills.  With your help we can revitalize the industry, and create 'Made in the USA' jobs.

06 February 2012

How to Use Social Media for Local Event Promotion

Here's a re-post from the archives.  I still believe there is some relevant information for small businesses given some recent conversations I've had.
"With independent retailers still struggling with trying to figure out how to effectively use social media marketing to promote themselves here are some successful strategies we've observed. One of the most effective ways a traditional brick and mortar business can use social media to draw consumers to their location is by holding a Tweet-up. What's a Tweet-up? It is just a way for people within a geographic proximity to each other that interact on Twitter to meet off-line.

Tweet-ups are a great way for several businesses in close proximenty to work together to promote the event and showcase their services. For example a salon, bakery and photographer can organize a Tweet-up and promote the event via Twitter, Facebook and other social media properties inviting consumers to attend. In this example the salon can offer a free consultation or other loss leader service, that bakery could provide samples of their treats and the photographer can document everyone having a good time.

Sites like Twtvite.com or Eventbrite.com offer tools to manage the RSVP process for the event. There is no fee to use these tools if your event is free to attend. They offer some basic measurement tools and the ability to track RSVPs. You can have multiple organizers, list sponsors and have a branded URL. Name tags and check-in sheets can also be generated with a click of the mouse. They are very user friendly tools.

Eventbrite is a great tool if you plan to charge a small fee to attend. It offers PayPal integration and fees are quite minimal. You can chose to include these fees in your ticket price or pass them along to the consumer. It also will push your event out to local event pages if you choose to make the event public, and you can upload to your Facebook Fan Page with the click of a button. Due to a time zone glitch you will want to double check the dates on the Facebook event before sending a not to your fans. I could probably write a whole article on Eventbrite alone as there are so many useful features.

Using social media marketing to promote your event will not only attract fresh faces to your business, but it will increase your overall online footprint. Every Tweet is indexed by the major search engines. Additionally it will attract a social media savy consumer base which will likely Tweet about their experience at the event to their networks. The use of a Hashtag, a word or acronym preceded by a # sign (i.e. #Event), will allow you to track the reach of these Tweets.

21 January 2012

When is a Re-Tweet Advertising?

It's inevitable that once you reach a certain level in social media circles you're going to get re-tweet requests.  After all that is the draw of the medium, it's viral, WOM (word of mouth) nature.  Now I am not referring to those posts in our feeds with a "please RT" in them.  No, what I am referring to are Direct Messages (DM) by those we follow, and that follow us requesting an RT.

Now this is just part of the game we play to leverage the power of social media.  Honestly, 99% of the time I don't mind and will honor the request.  That is provided that one; that person has returned the favor on occasion, and 2; that I find value in what is being asked to be re-tweeted.  So why am I writing about this, and raising the question you ask?

The answer is this.  The other day I was asked to re-tweet something via Direct Message.  Nothing strange there.  Was it something that I agreed with?  Yes it was.  So where is this going?  The kicker is that the request came from a branded Twitter account.

Here's the thing, when you've been around social media as long as I have you tend to become acquainted with the folks running the accounts for organizations.  Now this person is PAID to develop relationships for that organization, and use social media to achieve the organizations mission what ever that may be.  I don't have a problem with that.

Where the topic of this post comes in is that when you reach out via direct message to ask me or anyone else to re-tweet something via your organization that is advertising.  You are no longer engaging in the organic, viral nature of social media where someone saw your content and shared it because they liked it.  You are now engaging in traditional push marketing via a perceived thought leader or person of influence, and asking them to use their influence without compensation to spread your marketing message.

As of this post I have not re-tweeted what was requested.  Nor do I have an answer as to what compensation structure would be appropriate for such a request.  My thoughts lean towards a traditional CPM model as the last time I checked the impressions of my Twitter handle on Tweetreach.com it generates about 231,000 impressions.  If I use that number as a benchmark and ask for say $500 to re-tweet for your brand that's a CPM of about $0.0022.

Now this is purely hypothetical of course, and for all you math nerds out there yes I know that formula is flawed.  I'm just spit balling here, to start the conversation as it's one I think should be had.  I liken it to the development of pay-for-post in the blogging world.  Which can be very lucrative for niche' bloggers with a solid Alexa rank.  Of which I'm sure I am not, at least not as of this post.

Comments are welcome and encouraged.  Let me know what you think please?