Most savvy retailers have cottoned on to the fact that social media promotion is a must-have in the marketing arsenal. But not many know how to get the most out of it. Beginning Boutique’s Sarah Timmerman shares her vast experience in the area.
Brisbane-based online fashion store Beginning Boutique recently beat the likes of Audi and Mercedes-Benz in being named Australia’s number one social media brand, and the industry domination hasn’t stopped there.
In addition, Beginning Boutique was recently named in the top 100 online retailers for the 2015 StarTrack ORIAS People’s Choice Award and has over 480,000 followers on both Facebook and Instagram. Given those follower numbers, it’s safe to say Timmerman knows a thing or two when it comes to the power of social media and how to grow your brand.
Power Retail caught up with Timmerman to see how Beginning Boutique has managed to harness social media to great success and how other brands can follow suit.
What social media platforms are working well for Beginning Boutique and why?
Facebook has always worked well for Beginning Boutique and continues to with the support of paid advertising. Instagram is also a great platform to reach our customers, or potential customers, as they are constantly online, sharing their life and looking for inspiration or their new weekend outfit.
What type of content works well for Beginning Boutique when it comes to engaging customers?
Branded and non-branded content both work well for Beginning Boutique, and it is the mix of these two that keeps our customers engaged. We ensure a 50/50 split of non-branded content like quotes, cute animals and pop culture news, as well as branded content including our stock, promotions and behind the scenes at Beginning Boutique.
Why is a comprehensive posting schedule crucial to the success of a social media strategy?
Creating a comprehensive posting schedule is crucial for keeping your customers engaged. Once you know when your customers are online, you can tailor your content strategy around this so you are reaching people at the best time. You don’t want to be wasting content, posting when nobody is online or interacting. Reporting on your social media interaction with the help of Iconosquare and Facebook insights will help you tailor your posting schedule to ensure customer engagement.
Describe the make-up of Beginning Boutique’s social media team and how it has developed over the years?
Beginning Boutique’s social media team has always been in house, however has expanded over the last few years. The team consists of several graphic designers who shoot, edit and plan all content. I personally oversee all content and schedule all posts, as well as write captions and respond to customer enquiries.
Has Beginning Boutique got on board with the recent social commerce changes to Instagram?
Beginning Boutique is currently participating in a sponsored Instagram campaign to target 18-24 year old females via three branded carousels. Buyable pins for Pinterest will be of interest to Beginning Boutique when they are rolled out in Australia.
Here are Timmerman’s top five tips for achieving online retail success by utilising social media:
1. Find the best platform for your brand
Of course it can seem daunting with so many mediums available to leverage, but to truly get the best ROI for your business you simply need to be where your customers are. The first step to assessing which social media platform to utilise would be to see where your traffic is coming from and focus on these mediums.
2. Ask questions!
Social media provides you with the platform to ask your customers anything, which is something a lot of brands don’t leverage. Beginning Boutique uses Pinterest to get followers to vote for their favourite item with a like or comment and Shapchat to send followers sneak peaks of new styles. Involving your customers in a constant conversation will keep them engaged as well as provide you with valuable insight into the content and products they want to see.
3. Find out what works
Find out when your customers or followers are online most, find out what they are engaging with most and tailor your content strategy around this. Don’t post 10 times a day if you aren’t seeing any interaction with half of these posts. You can use Iconosquare to see your optimal posting times on Instagram and Facebook through the insights panel.
4. Have others make beautiful content for you
If you are not a writer, photographer or graphic designer, don’t put pressure on yourself to produce flawless content for social media. If you are in the position to hire a professional to create your content then I highly recommend this. You can still have creative control over the style and products featured, however you know the content will be of a high standard. You can also reach out to bloggers and influencers to create content for you.
5. A content strategy is a must
Everything comes back to content strategy – with the time and effort you need to invest into social media, you need to have a strategy to back this up. Social media is a promotional gold mine and can be a cost effective online growth opportunity if you understand the importance of creating a comprehensive posting schedule.
Timmerman will be a speaker at the Online Retailer Conference in July and will be workshopping tips for social media success further, including how to build your community and plan your content.