In a discussion with Footwear News editors, four digitally savvy women, whose blogs draw followings of up to 100,000 people, weighed in on how they have translated their passion for style into major online success.
A self-proclaimed early adopter in the social media space, Meghan Cleary started tweeting in 2007. But even in a new age of diversified social media platforms, Cleary said she stands by direct email as the best tool for reaching the consumer. “You can use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to get people to sign up, but once you capture them via these platforms, then you can serve them direct, targeted messaging through email, a power that has not been surpassed by social channels,” she said.
Instagram was revealed to be the current standout social platform, and Facebook the slowest growing. Olivia Lopez of personal style blog Lust for Life, part of the Vogue blogger network, said, “Social media is all about sharing a story, and Instagram allows me to showcase selective parts of my life to engage with my audience. It’s an important platform for branding because a picture truly speaks a thousand words and helps companies share their story, thus building their following.”
Fellow bloggers Rachel Schwartzmann of The Style Line/Le Style Child and Kiara Schwartz of Tobruk Ave agreed that communicating a “lifestyle” element has proven to be more successful across social media platforms than just showing off product. But that doesn’t mean women don’t love to see a great shoe shot here and there. Lopez and Schwartz both claimed shoe closeups and photos of their own styled looks tend to garner the most hits or likes. “Sometimes I’m surprised by what resonates most,” Schwartz admitted, “but it’s definitely outfits and shoes that draw the most feedback.”
As for specific social media don’ts, the panelists agreed that overinvesting in any one platform could be a waste of resources. “Consistency is key,” Schwartzmann stressed.
Cleary added, “After you put a platform out there, you have to keep up with it. If someone comes to your site and realizes you don’t have anything to say, it could be two years before you win them back.”
“It’s important to choose your top five platforms,” Schwartz suggested. “Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr, the more you invest in it, the more it will grow. You have to decide what’s most important to you and your brand for what you want to communicate.”
The bloggers lauded fashion brands Rebecca Minkoff, Nasty Gal and SoleStruck, which they said have successfully embraced digital initiatives, targeting partnerships with bloggers who represent their labels and can relate best to their readership.
Going forward, the panelists aim to find new ways to monetize their efforts. While Lopez said her major source of revenue comes from collaborations (such as a recent capsule collection with Blaque Market), others said they continue to seek opportunities in writing, styling and consulting.
“The goal is for [the site] to become a business. And if you’re passionate and professional, it will happen,” said Schwartz.