For those about to blog
The more connected among you will know that next week is Social Media Week in several cities around the globe, including Hong Kong. Online entrepreneur Cedric Delzenne has prepared a panel discussion to help fashion designers, bloggers and fashion lovers get the most from social media.
Delzenne is the founder of ShopdesCreateurs.com, an online sales and marketing agency representing emerging designers and brands from around the world.
'The fashion industry is experiencing a revolution thanks to social media,' he says. 'The internet has become a prime media for the industry, particularly emerging designers and small brands. But unlike larger companies, they typically lack the knowledge and in-house resources to craft and sustain an online strategy for the complex ecosystem behind social media.'
He says emerging designers, like most entrepreneurs, are rich in ideas and dedication but poor in cash.
'Social media is a gift, potentially offering an unmatched reach, a way to connect with an engaged audience on a global scale - for free or limited costs,' Delzenne says.
He hopes to give small players some pointers on Thursday at the session titled 'Social Media and Emerging Fashion Designers: Is It Worth My Time?' .
'The panel of experienced designers, marketing experts and seasoned fashion bloggers - Jasmine [Webster] from dressmeblog.me and Maura [Thompson] from Sassy Hong Kong - will discuss how small brands and independent designers can invest resources to leverage social media,' he says.
Whether a good website or Facebook page is enough to turn the internet into a brand-building, revenue-generating medium is just one question under consideration, and attendees will also learn about the most popular social media fashion platforms, how to use them and how to track results.
Of course, there are concerns about using social media.
'Publishing content is an invitation to share and spread - or go 'viral'. Yet some brands allege that fashion bloggers make unauthorised use of copyrighted images. Others think that social media platforms incubate copies and fakes,' Delzenne says.
'If you prefer to control how your content is used and shared, don't use social media. But if your brand is about interacting with a community, social media can help it grow bigger and faster.'
In 'Blogging 101' Casey Lau and Pannee Ng, co-founders of Popcorn Media - Hong Kong's first blog 'network' which publishes Butterboom.com, Neonpunch.com and Winebuzz.hk, will gather four local amateur bloggers to explain their favourite tools and how they get ideas and reach new audiences.
'Some people choose a personal topic that they're interested in or knowledgeable about; some use it as a personal journal and others to give voice to their thoughts or business,' says Ng.
'Decide what kind of blog you want, the topic, the tone and manner and what you hope to achieve,' she adds. 'It's easy to start a blog but hard to keep it going. Once you have a topic, stick with it so you can build a consistent following.'
Ng says one way to decide on a topic is to write something that will add value to other people's lives.
While many blog about what they ate or their pet did, she says, such blogs are usually only fun for friends. 'Unless you're a celebrity, most people won't be interested in what you're doing on a daily basis.'
Search engine optimisation is one way to build up a following: 'If you're blogging about shoe designers in Hong Kong, use key words that people can enter into a search engine to find your story.'
Visuals also matter: 'Great photos have become essential for drawing attention and setting the tone and personality of your blog.'
If this isn't enough to satiate your appetite for social media, Ng will also host a 'Fashion Brands vs Fashion Bloggers Quiz Night Mixer', while Lau will lead 'iPhanatics 101', teaching iPhone users about social platforms including Weibo, photo-sharing blog site Instagram and Socialcam, a video-sharing site.
Social Media Week runs from February 13 to 17. For more details, go to socialmediaweek.org.