Posts from March, 2008

Social Media Management for Lingerie Businesses

Vintage Undergarment Illustration

The internet is the great equalizer for lingerie brands. No matter how large or small your business is, you have just as much power – just as much potential – to reach customers as the heavyweights in our industry (and yes, I’m talking about that world famous company that starts with “V” and ends with “t.”).

A fully-formed internet presence is no longer an option. It’s not just a “nice thing to do.” It’s essential. It’s necessary. And if you’re not online? Well let’s be honest here…for many customers, you just don’t exist.  The days of the yellow pages are behind. If you want to stay relevant, both now and in the future, you have to be where your customers are…and that’s online.

But how do you reach this customers? How can you show them what your brand is about? How can you convince them to shop with you and not one of the dozens of other lingerie stores out there?

Through the deliberate and concerted use of social media.

Social media’s very much the “in” thing right now. It’s a buzzword most everyone is using along with other buzzwords like “relationships” and “engagement.” I don’t believe in buzzwords, so let’s keep things simple:

When you’re ready to make a big purchase, who do you talk to? Where do you go to find information? It’s very likely that you do at least some of your research online through Google, Wikipedia, blogs, and other sites. But where else do people go for information? Their friends. Their associates. Their social networks. Lingerie is no different. When someone is ready to purchase intimate apparel, they’re going to go with a name they know and trust. A name they’ve encountered multiple times online. A name they’ve heard their friends mention as THE place to shop. You want to be that name. You want to be the store or designer or brand that immediately comes to mind when it’s time to buy.

This isn’t about coming up with a catchier slogan or a better press release. This is about taking the time to be present. About building rapport over days, weeks, months, and yes, years. It’s about conveying to your customers that you are there for them. That you want to help them. That you care about them. And that you’re the best fit for what they need.

Excited yet? Me too.

Keep reading to learn about the qualities a good social media manager has. After all, there are lots of people who can “do” social, but you’re not just looking for a warm body, right? You’re looking for someone who can represent your brand and represent it well.

What Do Lingerie Brands Need in a Social Media Manager?

As I mentioned before, social media is the great equalizer. It’s where you can share your story. Why you started your business, how you can help customers, what’s next for your brand, why people should care. Again, let’s be honest. If given a choice between buying from someone they like and someone they feel ambivalent, customers are going to choose the person they like every single time. But likeability on its own isn’t enough, experience matters as well. Here’s what you should look for in a social media manager for your lingerie business:

  1. Does this person know anything about lingerie? If you’re in the world of intimate apparel, then you know that it’s a very specialized industry. Bras, panties, shapewear, swimwear…they all come with a specific terminology. Do you want to spend your time and money teaching someone the difference between a plunge bra and a balconette? Between a boyshort and a brief? Or do you want someone who can start right away by focusing on the bigger picture that’s relevant to your brand?
  2. Does this person know anything about social media? There’s a lot of people calling themselves experts, but not everyone has the credentials to back it up. Beware of generalists and “one stop shops.” Social media is a rich and complex field all on its own. It’s hard to stay abreast of the latest developments if you’re managing even one other thing (much less two or three). Being a good social media manager is more than posting the occasional Facebook status update or tweet. It involves deliberate strategy and consistent research…things that will take time if done well.
  3. Can this person use the appropriate voice for your social media? Are they speaking to your target customer? Does the tone of their postings match your brand? Writing in someone else’s voice is hard; it’s probably one of the hardest things about being a social media manager, and many amateurs take shortcuts by using the same voice for all their clients. You need someone who will take the time to truly learn how to speak in the voice of your brand, and there’s no “quick fix”  for that.
  4. Can this person handle a crisis? No one likes thinking about what to do if things go bad, but it’s absolutely necessary to have a crisis plan in place and someone who’s experienced in crisis management behind the public face of your brand. This isn’t a job for interns. It’s easy to be likable when everyone loves you, but what do you do when the tide has turned? Note: the answer isn’t always as simple as giving in. It takes an experienced social media manager to know how to handle things when everyone hates you…which can happen all too quickly in the fast moving online world. You need someone who can coordinate with both you and your team to make sure your response is consistent, on target, and appropriate to the crisis.

Why Hire The Lingerie Addict?

Some of you may know that I used to offer social media consulting for lingerie brands, and one of the things I did was teach them how to manage their own platforms. I loved doing that, but again and again, my clients would say, “This is a LOT of work. Can’t you just do it for me?” And they’re right. It is a lot of work. There’s no way to fake a comprehensive social media presence. You’re either putting in the time or you aren’t. But not every business owner has the hours it takes to research an editorial calendar, create unique posts, and (most importantly of all) write a personal response to potential customers. Unfortunately, we’re all working with the same 24 hour day here.

I know what it’s like to run a small business. I know what it’s like to have a lot of things you want to do and a priority list a mile long. I know what it’s like to watch other brands take off and “go viral” and to wonder when your moment to shine will come. I know what it’s like to have a message you believe the world needs to hear.

I built the social media following for my own blog, The Lingerie Addict, from 0 to nearly 200,000. I know how to build something from scratch when you don’t have an enormous advertising budget or a huge PR team. And I know lingerie inside and out. This isn’t about theories and guesswork and “hoping for the best.” This is about using the same tools and strategies I implement on my own social platforms for yours. And I’ll manage your online presence with the same level of care and attention to detail that I manage my own.

Brands hire The Lingerie Addict for 3 reasons:

  1. Growth
  2. Consistency
  3. Return on investment

When it comes to growth, we’re talking raw numbers – likes, follows, shares, reblogs, retweets, etc. They’re not the only or even the most important metric for social media, but believe me when I say people pay attention to them. It makes a difference if you have 50,000 followers vs. 5,000.

Consistency matters because the best way to build your online presence is to work on it every single day. Yes, that includes weekends and holidays. We live in a 24-hr society now. If you’re going three weeks between Facebook posts and tweets, that’s 2 weeks and 6 days too long. Hiring me to do this for you frees up your time for other things yet still makes sure it gets done. And let me tell you, I spend a lot of time checking in with my clients’ social platforms.

Finally, let’s talk ROI (return on investment). While growth matters and consistency matters, the biggest thing any brand wants to see is an increase in dollars. We’ll work together to build your sales funnel and set achievable goals that matter to you, whether it’s more page views, more newsletter subscribers, or, yes, more sales. After all, you are in business.

Packages and Pricing:

I don’t do cookie cutter plans. Every strategy is hand-tailored for my clients needs. But I do believe it’s important to keep in mind that you get what you pay for. I’m not the cheapest social media manager out there, and I never will be. I spend too much time on my clients to offer cutthroat rates. I’ll be honest here. If finding the absolute lowest price is the only thing that matters to you, then we’re probably not a good fit. I want to work with clients who value their online presence enough to invest in it, not clients who are willing to settle for anything if it means a bargain basement deal.

I strongly suggest a minimum starting budget of $1,200/month for new clients. Below that, it’s difficult to put together a strategy that adequately and effectively reaches your customer base for even one platform (remember: we’re talking hours of research and planning before first post is even made). From that starting figure, pricing varies based on the amount of platforms managed and the number of daily updates posted to each site. Add-ons like ad management and blogging strategies are also available. Please be prepared to share your web address, current social media platforms, and your budget in the initial communication.

What’s Next?

If you’re interested in bringing me on as your social media manager, please send an email to cora@thelingerieaddict.com. While I am more than happy to answer any questions via email, I am unable to field inquiries via blog comments or social media messages. I am also available for a 15-minute phone Q & A, but please note that I’m unable to give social media strategies during said conversation.  I’m looking forward to talking with you soon!

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Testimonial:

Working with The Lingerie Addict for almost a year now has been a true eye opener when it comes to social media. Even though we have been in business since 1995, we launched our website Karnationlingerie.com only 2 years ago.

The online business is much different than running physical lingerie boutiques. Cora has helped us effectively communicate our knowledge and expertise with customers worldwide. She has provided us with useful information and offered key suggestions to grow our branding presence through social media. Cora has successfully incorporated our individual business needs and answered all of our questions professionally. She is reliable and proves to be extremely thorough. It has been a wonderful experience having Cora work with our team and we are grateful for her compassionate insight into our industry!

-Michelle Meyer – Karnationlingerie.com & Karnation Intimate Apparel Inc., Former Social Media Management Client

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