Tag Archive for: marketing

Instagram Growth

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You already know that you need an Instagram account for your fashion brand. But with algorithms always changing, the growth, reach and engagement can feel pretty slow and disappointing… in this episode, I’m sharing three key strategies to grow your following as a fashion startup on Instagram.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Book a call to learn more about launching your fashion brand with Factory45.


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TRANSCRIPT 

You already know that you need an Instagram account for your fashion brand. But with algorithms always changing, the growth, reach and engagement can feel pretty slow and disappointing… in this episode, I’m sharing three key strategies to grow your following as a fashion startup on Instagram.

Okay, so your Instagram account is up and running for your brand. You know you need great photography, to post to your grid and Stories consistently, as well as a bio section that engages your ideal target customer and gives them a call to action. 

Oh, you didn’t know that?

Okay, let’s quickly review:

First, great photography. Whereas high-quality photography has become less important across Instagram as a whole (hashtag authenticity). It’s still pretty important for a fashion brand. Fashion is so much about aesthetics, image and feeling that you really can’t get away with posting a dark, grainy photo to your Instagram grid. General rule of thumb, keep your grid polished and consistent and save the grittier, more raw photos for Instagram Stories where they’ll disappear after 24 hours. You can think of it this way: your Instagram grid is your magazine and your IG Stories is your journal.

The second thing I mentioned is consistency. If you’re really serious about growing your Instagram following and not just using Instagram as a place to showcase, then you have to be consistent about your posting schedule. Otherwise, the algorithm will kill you. Instagram is specifically designed to reward the accounts that post frequently and predictably and to penalize the accounts that post inconsistently and infrequently. They do this through post reach. So the more regularly you post, the more your content will be seen by your followers. The opposite is true, as well, if you’re not posting regularly that your reach will drop and your content will be seen by a miniscule fraction of your audience.

I know, cue anxiety attack. I’m not telling you this so that you’re pushed to be further addicted to your phone and the platform, but more so that you know how important it is to have a posting schedule and plan in place which I’ll talk more about in a minute.

The third thing (and we haven’t even gotten into the three strategies I’m going to teach on this episode yet) is your bio section. When you go to your profile this is the little area under your profile picture and follower count where you can add text and one link. Use that text area to give a very clear and compelling one-sentence description of your brand and then make sure you include a CTA or call to action directing people to the link. If you haven’t launched yet then you’ll want to direct people to your landing page where they can sign up to your email list. If you’re currently selling then this link will go to your online store to shop.

Okay, so with all of that said, let’s get into three main strategies that I want to tell you about today. Let’s say you have a few hundred followers already but you’re having a hard time figuring out how to actually grow your following…

STRATEGY #1 is to CREATE A CONTENT CALENDAR

You may have heard this one before, and I’ve already hinted at it, but it truly can’t be emphasized enough. You *need* to create a content calendar. 

Why? Because as I’ve already said, Instagram growth is all about consistency. 

And what’s the #1 way to make sure you’re consistent in posting? Creating a plan in advance and scheduling your content.

Your content calendar does not need to be a complicated spreadsheet with 17 different tabs. Simply come up with 5 content pillars to start. Write them down and then break up those 5 content pillars into smaller topics.

So, one content pillar could be Your Ideal Customer — one topic under that pillar could be the rave reviews you get through your ecommerce store, in your Instagram DMs or in Facebook comments. Turn those short testimonial quotes into graphics that can be posted in your Instagram feed. Another topic under the same pillar could be photos of your customers wearing your products.

When it comes to your Instagram posts on your grid, it’s about quality over quantity. So you don’t need to post to your feed every day. Make a plan to post on Mondays and Fridays or Wednesdays and Sundays and put it into your content pillar with your 5 Pillars.

Once you have the content and are ready to write the captions you can simply use Planoly or Later (both are scheduling apps for Instagram) to schedule your posts. You’ll want to find out when your followers are most active and engaged so that you can schedule your posts around those times.

For Instagram Stories, you can keep those same 5 pillars and sub topics but again, you don’t have to worry as much about quality. Make a point to try to post to Stories every day, or as consistently as you can. The point here is to create a plan and stick to it.

STRATEGY #2 is to CREATE SHAREABLE CONTENT

One of the most likely reasons that your Instagram account isn’t growing is because you’re not creating shareable content. Instagram in itself is not a discovery platform anymore — it’s really hard to be exposed to new followers organically.

That means that new followers will most likely find you through other people who also follow you. You can elevate this discovery mechanism by creating shareable content.

There are two types of shareable content that are more likely to be reposted by other accounts. And those are Quotes and Infographics. These are easily digestible pieces of content that your ideal target customer would connect with and repost or share.

Another great way to create shareable content is through cross promotion, partnerships and giveaways with like-minded brands and/or influencers that aren’t direct competitors. You can create content that you encourage other people to share or repost and get discovered by new followers.

And this last strategy is my favorite one — it’s

STRATEGY #3: AUDIENCE GENERATED CONTENT

What does that mean? It means that your customers create content for you. They post photos or videos wearing or using your products and tag you so you can repost or reshare.

A really good example of this is one of my Factory45 entrepreneurs, Fair Seas Supply Co. As soon as the founder, Tiffany, had samples of her organic cotton beach blankets she sent them out to women who were her ideal target customer. She asked them to take photos using the blanket and mention Fair Seas Supply Co. in their Instagram caption. This also generated dozens of beautiful images that she could then repost the photos to her own Instagram account.

Here’s the thing, your audience will likely make more compelling content than you can. Professional photoshoots are important but they’re not necessarily what potential customers want to see on Instagram anymore. People are craving authenticity and realness online, and they want to see real people like them, using or wearing your product.

You can take this strategy up a notch, once you’re continuously selling, by offering incentives to customers to share pictures of your product through contests or giveaways with the chance to win a gift card or something else. Challenges are another great way to give your customer something to do, post the photo and use a special hashtag you give them so you can find it.

When it comes to audience generated content the options are virtually endless.

Okay, so there are three strategies: Content Calendar, Shareable Content and Audience-Generated Content that you can tweak and apply to your own stage of business — even if you haven’t launched your brand yet. The goal here is to ask yourself “What does my customer want to see, hear, watch or connect with on Instagram? What provides value, inspiration or entertainment to them that my brand can provide?

This takes experimentation and persistence. You have to look at the data — what types of posts / Stories / videos etc. get the most engagement? How can you double down and do more of what’s working and scrap what isn’t working?

Remember that this will be an always evolving work in progress so enjoy the journey while you’re in, appreciate every new follower that comes your way and keep going.

Are you working behind the scenes to start a sustainable fashion brand? Maybe you’re working a full-time job and pursuing your brand as a “side hustle” — that’s our favorite type of entrepreneur to work with. If you’re interested in learning more about not only starting, but actually launching, your fashion brand with Factory45, book a call to learn more about working with us. Click the image below to book a call. We’d love to chat and hear more about your business goals.

liz-riden

This week I’m featuring one of our most veteran Factory45 alumni, who has a seasoned record of successfully growing a handmade leather goods company.

From tote bags, to billfold wallets to eyeglass cases, LIZ RIDEN pieces are handcrafted in Lancaster, Pennsylvania from American-sourced genuine cowhide as a byproduct of the meat industry.

Founder Liz Frandsen graduated from Factory45 in 2018 and was already running her brand, LIZ RIDEN, when she joined the program. She brings a unique perspective on what it means to value community, continued education and opportunity in the sustainable fashion space.

So, join us on Thursday, Jan. 27th at 12:30pm ET for this week’s episode of Factory45 LIVE! 

There are two ways to watch:

  • Stream on YouTube here
  • Watch in our private Facebook group here.

liz riden

Here are some of the questions I’ll be asking Liz, but be sure to bring your own:

  • How do you market your brand and what are some marketing strategies that have been most effective for you?
  • You source leather material as a byproduct of the meat industry – what does that mean and why is it important?
  • Can you share two mistakes made over the years of running your brand that you’ve learned from?

See you on Thursday!

 


ON THE PODCAST:

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


Book Call

blogging

What do you think of when I say the word, “blog?”

Is a blog something you’ve thought about starting for your fashion brand?

If not, do you know how you can strategically use blogging to create a customer-base and make sales?

It was with the help of a blog that I personally raised over $64K to fund my own sustainable fashion brand.

And it wasn’t through advertising or affiliate links or sponsorships.

Blogging is a tactical marketing strategy that any fashion brand can use to make sales and grow a brand online.

And in this week’s Live Show I’m going to share how to do that.

blogging

As always, there are two ways to tune in on Thursday at noon ET / 9am PT:

  1. Join our Facebook group here.
  2. Stream on YouTube here.

See you on Thursday!

 



Did you miss last week’s episode of Factory45 Live about using Instagram to grow your fashion brand? You can watch the replay by clicking below!

instagram

As you start to build an audience for your fashion brand, one of the things you might be wondering is:

Do I have to be on every social media platform?

From Facebook to Twitter to TikTok, it’s normal to feel the pressure that you have to do them all.

But I’m here to tell you that you don’t.

Five years ago, would I have recommended that every new business be “omnipresent” across all social media platforms?

Yes.

But we’re living in a different time.

A time when quality is more important than quantity.

A time when I would rather see you master one platform and grow an engaged audience really well, than try to be everywhere all at once.

So, what’s that one social media platform I recommend for fashion startups?

Instagram.

This will likely come as no surprise — it’s the most visual, it has an ecommerce element and it has a track record.

The question is: with all of the noise and competition for attention, how do you use Instagram to grow your fashion brand?

In this week’s Live Show, I’m going to tell you.

instagram

As always, there are two ways to tune in on Thursday at noon ET / 9am PT:

  1. Join our Facebook group here.
  2. Stream on YouTube here.

See you on Thursday!

 

 


 


Did you miss last week’s episode of Factory45 Live about creating an email marketing strategy? You can watch the replay by clicking below!

marketing

What’s your most important marketing asset as a fashion brand?

And often the most underused?

It’s your email list.

It’s the people who subscribed to hear more about your brand and buy from you.

And the truth is, most fashion startups aren’t using email marketing as often or effectively as they could be.

Yes, it’s a marketing strategy that can feel complex and time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be.

And that’s what I’m going to teach you in this week’s Live Show — how to effectively use email marketing as a fashion brand.

So that you’re not only building brand trust and awareness, but you’re also making sales when the time comes.

With just a quick Google search, the marketing experts agree: Email will continue to thrive in 2021 and beyond. 

It’s still more effective in driving sales than social media (yes, even Instagram), so you want to make sure you have a plan for it.

As always, there are two ways to tune in on Thursday at noon ET / 9am PT:

  1. Join our Facebook group here.
  2. Stream on YouTube here.

See you on Thursday!



Did you miss last week’s episode of Factory45 Live about building an audience before you launch? You can watch the replay by clicking below!

Build a Following

Here’s a mistake I see happening in the fashion startup space all. the. dang. time.

The designer spends months sourcing fabric, getting samples / patterns made and interviewing production partners.

Until finally, their supply chain is set up and they’re ready to launch.

Except for one little problem…

They don’t have an audience to launch to.

In all of those months of product development, they forgot to do any pre-launch marketing.

And do you know what happens when you launch a fashion brand without any pre-launch marketing?

You don’t make many sales.

It is imperative that you put in the work, months leading up to your launch, so that you have an audience of customers to sell to.

And that’s what we’re going to cover in this week’s Live Show on Thursday, Sept. 23 at noon ET / 9am PT.

build a following

I always tell my Factory45 entrepreneurs, “You can’t launch to crickets!” Make sure you’re not making this common (and potentially brand ending) mistake yourself.

As always, there are two ways to tune in on Thursday at noon ET / 9am PT:

  1. Join our Facebook group here.
  2. Stream on YouTube here.

See you on Thursday!


Did you miss last week’s episode of Factory45 Live about the five things you need to do after you choose a production partner? You can watch the replay by clicking below!

Create Fashion Brand

In order to build something successful, you have to offer something that people want. 

Pretty straightforward, right?

In my experience, over the last decade of starting my own fashion brand and then helping other people start their own, I’ve noticed two key factors that set apart successful brands from unsuccessful brands. 

And that’s what I’m sharing in today’s video.

I’m also going to be talking about this a lot more during Session 1 of my free 4-day workshop on May 3rd.

To build something truly long-lasting and successful, you have to start with positioning. 

What gap are you fitting into in the market?

What is the hole that you’re filling?

When it comes to fashion, and a massively competitive market, where does your brand fit in?

Spoiler: you can almost always find your place in the market with the right positioning.

If you’re interested in exploring this more on May 3rd you can sign up to the workshop here.

Ready? Click the video below : ) 

Talk soon,

 

 

 

P.S. I’m going live tomorrow in our private group to talk about building relationships with suppliers and factories. Click here to request access so you can join us!


Instagram Growth

Oh, Instagram… we love it. We love to hate it. And sometimes, we just flat out hate it.

Whether it’s changing algorithms, or limited reach, or the feeling of being on a hamster wheel, Instagram strategy and growth can be overwhelming for new fashion brands.

Every new follower can feel like a struggggggle. 

And just when we feel like we’re in a good place with Instagram Stories, they introduce Instagram Reels.

If you’re someone who has struggled with Instagram growth for your brand, I feel you.

And while I wish I could give you a quick fix to all of your IG woes, I do have three strategies that will make a significant difference in the quality of your following and your ability to grow.

Click the play button below for Instagram growth tips for your fashion brand.

And make sure to tell me in a comment below the video, which of these strategies have you tried and which one are you going to try next?

 

 

 


strategy

“Huh, I’ve never put it like that before…” 

I was reading a book by an internet marketer that described a strategy to grow any online business.

As the author described the strategy that he’s used again and again to scale his software company to $100MM (without investors), I realized something.

What he was describing was the same process I had used to launch my clothing brand back in 2011, it was the same process I had used to launch Factory45 for the first time in 2014 and it’s the same strategy I teach today in the Factory45 program.

He had just put a name to it:

“Your Dream 100.”

As I continued reading, it dawned on me that the reason I love this strategy so much (and have used it for nearly a decade) is because it’s timeless.

We live in an age when marketing trends literally change by the month. One platform is hot, the next year it’s not. One strategy sells like hotcakes for a few weeks and then it flatlines.

While so many online businesses — particularly fashion brands — are dependent on the whims of Facebook and Google advertising, this strategy doesn’t require a cent.

And it will never go out of style.

Here’s how it works:

Your “Dream 100” is a list of 100 brands, influencers, media, podcast hosts, bloggers and business owners who have one particular thing in common —

Their existing audiences are made up of your ideal target customer.

In other words, the people following them on social media, reading their blogs, subscribing to their email lists, and listening to their podcasts are the same people who would love your brand and the products you’re selling.

In the Factory45 program, we make this a list of 20 but 100 is even better if you can do it.

Once you’ve made that list, the next step is to “dig the well” with your Dream 100 — i.e. build relationships.

So before you ask to write a guest post for their blog, or be a guest on their podcast or review your products, you have to put in the time commenting on their Instagram posts, replying to their email newsletter, leaving a review on their podcast, etc.

Like any business relationship, you give before you take.

The question you’re asking yourself is, How can you serve this person who has an audience you want to get in front of?

Once you’ve taken a few months to build these relationships, then you can make the ask.

The best part is that after you’ve been on their podcast, or done an IG Live together or written a guest post, then it’s a million times easier to ask them to promote your products and brand.

And here’s how the numbers pain out:

If just 30 people out of your Dream 100 agree to promote your brand, and each of those people has a minimum of 10,000 followers, that’s 300,000 new people who could potentially be introduced to your brand.

There’s no way to get that kind of free reach on your own.

And even better, this isn’t a strategy that will ever go away — the platforms and methods may change, but relationship building is timeless.

When I started my sustainable and minimalist fashion brand nearly a decade ago, my then co-founder and I used the year leading up to our launch to build online relationships with all of the minimalism influencers, travel bloggers and fashion writers that we possibly could. 

It resulted in us raising enough money to quadruple our first production run.

When I launched Factory45 in 2014 I reached out to 50 eco-fashion bloggers, media outlets and sustainable fashion influencers and wrote 25 guest posts and interviews in two weeks. 

It resulted in me selling out every spot in the program, having never run an accelerator before.

The Dream 100 is truly the strategy, that if you commit to it, that will serve your business for years to come.

And it’s this same strategy that I’ll continue to use this Fall as I build my newest project.

Stay tuned for more on that : )

 

 

 

P.S. The book is called Traffic Secrets by Russell Brunson and it just hit the New York Times bestseller list this week. He gives the book away for free on his website — you just have to pay for shipping.


CTA-Factory45 SHOP

I recently got an email from one of my current Factory45’ers asking if I had any tips and advice for life as an entrepreneur:

“You’ve done such an excellent job sharing all of your knowledge in building a fashion business which has been invaluable for me. Would it be possible for you to even share some tips & tricks in regards to more general topics…”

And then she went on to list some of her specific questions that I’m going to answer for you today — Q+A style.

Thanks to Franziska for asking the questions — I hope the answers are helpful to all of you!


BEST PRODUCTIVITY HACKS?

If there’s anything I’ve learned about productivity it’s that different systems work for different people. There is no “one size fits all,” so I can only tell you what works for me.

1.) Create triggers. Triggers are very small things you do to signify the start of a certain task. (Yes, this is what Pavlov did with his dogs and it works.) So for example, I light a candle before I sit down to write. Or I drink iced coffee instead of hot coffee to signify the start of a bigger task. Or I turn on classical piano when I need to outline a big-picture project.

2.) Choose a location where you can get “in flow.” I’ve written more about this here. I’m most productive when I’m working from the desk in my home office or at the library.

3.) Look for big chunks of time instead of small spurts of time. I know that I need at least 1.5 hours to really sit down and get something done. If I have less than 1.5 hours, then I designate that time for answering emails, writing Instagram captions or organizing my to-do list and calendar.


HOW DO YOU ORGANIZE YOUR WORK DAYS?

This is easier now that I’m a full-time entrepreneur and not working a side-job as I did when I was first starting out. 

To be honest, when I was bartending from 7pm to 2am and working on my business during the day, I don’t even remember how I organized my time… it was a blur. 

But this is what my week looks like now, once my son is off to daycare:

9:30-10:30AM | Go through my to-do list on Asana, answer any pressing emails, get organized, drink coffee, settle in.

10:30-12PM | Accomplish one medium-sized task before lunch. It could be something like writing an SEO brief for an upcoming YouTube episode, or creating an email for the Market45 newsletter, or outlining a new email automation series.

12-1PM | Break for lunch. And I mean, really break. I’ll usually read or watch a show or the news.

1PM-3PM | Accomplish one big task. This would be something like writing a blog post, writing a YouTube script, filming or recording a new project, or researching, brainstorming and outlining upcoming big projects.

3-3:30PM | Then I usually reserve the last half hour for any wrap-up admin that needs to be done before I leave to pick up my son.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve limited my daily to-do list to only trying to accomplish two significant tasks per day — no more than that. 

It keeps me from getting overwhelmed or disappointed when I’m not able to do “all the things.” And as far as productivity goes, it’s worked out so far.

work/life


DO YOU HAVE A SELF-CARE ROUTINE?

I wouldn’t call it a routine, but I definitely prioritize my self-care. I’m very lucky to be married to another entrepreneur who equally co-parents. It makes all the difference in being able to take care of myself mentally, emotionally, intellectually, etc… 

  • I don’t check social media during the day (for the most part). This helps me avoid distraction, the comparison game and all of the other negatives that come from being sucked into an Instagram hole.
  • I’m an introvert so I need alone time to recharge. I’ll curl up with a book, go for a walk, listen to a podcast or lay down and close my eyes — even if it’s just for 30 minutes.
  • I have a hard “no work on weekends” rule. Even before I had a baby, I was pretty strict about not opening my computer on the weekends. This allowed me to truly reboot for Mondays. I know this isn’t always possible when you’re first starting out because weekends are your free time to actually work on your business. In that case, I would pick one or two other times during the week to designate as your “no work” zone — even if it’s just every Tuesday night or some other random time.

HOW DO YOU COMBINE BEING A FULL-TIME ENTREPRENEUR WITH HAVING A FAMILY?

Probably the same way as people who work full-time jobs! It’s not easy. I know I’m lucky to have the means to hire childcare and I wouldn’t be able to run my business without that help. 

One thing I like about having a business and having a kid is that there’s a finite beginning and end to my workday. I’ve been forced to consolidate my work schedule, and I’ve found that I’m more productive during that time because I know I have a deadline.

But I definitely look back on my time before parenthood and wonder what I did with all of that freedom! To those of you out there who are working a “real” job, while starting a business and raising kids, I truly applaud you. 

work/life


DID YOU WORK ANOTHER JOB WHILE BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS?

Yes, and I do not subscribe to the common advice that you should just “Quit your job and follow your dreams!” 

One of the best decisions I made was to work a side job until I truly knew I had a business that could sustain my lifestyle, as well as some money saved for back-up.

As I mentioned, I was a bartender for a really long time before I took the leap to full-time entrepreneurship. I didn’t want to be stressed about money and by working for as long as I did, I didn’t have to strain my business to pay my rent.


HOW DID YOU FINANCE BEING AN EARLY-STAGE ENTREPRENEUR?

I saved up $5,000 working after college and I invested all of it into starting my first business, {r}evolution apparel. My then co-founder also invested $5,000 and that lasted until we opened sales a year later. 

When we launched with a Kickstarter campaign, we were able to pre-sell our product so our customers essentially paid for the cost of production. Our first production run was over $40K and we didn’t have to spend a dime of our own money.

I also used this pre-selling model when I launched Factory45. I opened applications in March 2014, participants paid for their first month of tuition in May and the program didn’t start until June. 

This gave me an influx of cash to create the first module and a little time to get things up and running. I invested all of the money from the 2014 cohort back into the business for 2015.


HOW DID YOU STAY MOTIVATED WHEN YOU WERE FIRST STARTING OUT?

The main thing that kept me motivated and held me accountable when I was first starting out was blogging. It was so helpful to have a process to document the journey of creating a business and a clothing company and it was the audience that the blog attracted that pushed us to keep going.

On a more general scale, I’ve noticed something over the past nine years of entrepreneurship that’s been hugely impactful. And it’s the simple act of declaring something to the world.

Tell the world you’re going to do something and you’re that much closer to actually accomplishing it.

 


 
 
 


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