21 Mar 2018, 09:07 — 7 min read
I’m Helly, co-founder at Tiesta Shoes, a women’s shoe brand specialising in customisation. I would like to share the personal experience and knowledge that I gained at Tiesta about leveraging social media platforms for growth.
Our journey began at home when my sister Janvi and I started designing shoes and posting their pictures on our personal social media pages. Initially, it was all about our friends and family who would 'like' or comment on our post and place orders. It was a slow start, we were analysing the response to our designs and understanding the market in terms of the need for customisation. Till date, we never stock any of our product, our inventory is almost nil with a few samples in stock.
As we grew, I got involved in more social interactions on different platforms. I created our brand page on GlobalLinker, Facebook, Instagram, Google Business, YouTube, Twitter etc. Once the pages were ready, I started sharing the links within my network for people to like/join and share with their contacts. It was a slow and tedious process. And as everybody knows, not even your close contacts would initially like and share your page. It takes a while for anyone to be convinced about what you do and to follow a brand on social platforms.
Since the manual process of inviting people to like your page wasn’t working so well for us, I dwelled more into understanding the nitty-gritty of social media. I read a lot of Google articles, understood how Google Adwords, Facebook Marketplace, Instagram posts and hashtags work. Nothing works well for free when you are just trying to setup your brand. You have to post and pay to promote your post so that it reaches the desired audience you are targeting. I learned about how to post, what to write, how to write, whom to target, when to target, whom to tag, what keywords to use, how the pictures should look, and so on.
A lot of things are necessary for a post to work. Timing, content, picture quality and hashtags matter a lot. We tried a lot of experimenting with different kinds of content, hashtags, posting at varied times of the day and using some specific keywords. This was a learning phase. It took us a while to finally (not so thoroughly) understand what works for us. It was a trial and error phase where we waited for something to work for us. We started with a low budget to promote our posts using demographics and keywords that we thought should work. Most of it didn’t work initially. We increased our daily spends gradually, kept changing our keywords and hashtags, kept changing our demographics, kept experimenting with interests and likes of our target audience. You have to be patient while you learn and experiment; it will take at least six months to understand what really works for you, and while you experiment, you should never stop exploring means of improving your strategy.
On Facebook specifically, when you promote a post or a brand page, the most important criteria to keep in mind is the interest of people you are targeting. For example, in our case, if we are selling customised shoes, we questioned what could be the interest of people wanting customised shoes. The answer led us to pages or brands who already provide customised shoes, people with some physical issue in their feet, brides, celebrities, stylists and self-made women entrepreneurs. So we mentioned all the pages, interests and brands in our selection criteria and figured that this combination was providing us a more relevant reach even if limited.
Instagram works more than Facebook when it comes to directly reaching a customer and selling fashionable products. But since it’s a photo based social platform, your photos have to be good, attractive and funky in a way to attract people. Ours is a customisation brand, meaning all our shoes are going be different; so we decided that not all our pictures could be the same too. We gave up the idea of typical white/black background shoe images and in fact used a lot of our surroundings and props to give a different look every time. This added a feel of newness to all our images which in turn kept our followers intrigued.
Below are specific pointers on different aspects of social media.
Hashtags - They work. They are the only way you get strangers to explore your page on Instagram. Specific hashtags will really help you get more likes on your page. Also, you cannot keep the same hashtags forever except for one or two which are there for your brand. If we used the hashtag #customizedshoes for a week, the next week would be #shoecustomization, the week after would be #customizedyourownshoe or #getcustomizedshoes and so on. These variations help you to reach more people who would probably search in different ways while exploring things.
Influencers – Win over social media bloggers for your cause. They help a lot in growing your followers. It is quite important for you to analyse a blogger to partner with. Your brand will be associated with a blogger, so you need to look long term to see if the person fits your ideology. When you do find a person, there may be a commercial transaction involved as most of them would not work for free. But be persuasive in negotiating a barter system if you can’t afford to shell out cash from your accounts yet. This mostly works. Once the deal is finalised, an influencer post can increase your followers.
Stylists – people who style celebrities and other big personalities. Every celebrity will have a stylist style them for any event or a gathering. These stylists in turn source their designs from local vendors or so. Get in touch with them to see what celebrities they style and will that celebrity post help you as a brand. Figure this out and a celebrity post will help you a lot
Keep posting daily, twice, or at least once. You need your brand to be there on your followers’ home page whenever they login in a day.
A few times in a month publish an interactive post where you take in votes or you look for some answers or have a competition. You need to keep providing your followers with ‘fun’ experiences.
These are few learnings that I have gleaned from my journey with Tiesta. Of course I don't know it all and I am sure I still have more to learn, but these things have definitely worked for us and I hope they work for you too.
To explore business opportunities, link with me by clicking on the 'Invite' button on my eBiz Card.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.