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  • K O Jones

Be a Puffa

Originally published by DHL March 18

Your business may be small but you can look much, much bigger, especially if you’re savvy with social media. Basically, act like a Puffa Fish. No one will know.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Encourage your customers to create content for you

Wet Seal, the fashion store aimed at teen women, is a prime example.

They created a community section on their site, inviting customers to design their own outfits and post them for review.

The response was instant. A 10% increase in sales, 10% increase in the average dollar value of sales, and a 21% increase in net revenue.

Use celebrities if you can

Sportswear brand Fyodor Golan also uses social media to boost its profile, encouraging customers to create their own ensembles and post them on Instagram. With celebrities like JoLo, Madonna and Rita Ora as fans, the publicity has been worth its weight in gold.

Creative Director Golan Frydman says that when it comes to creating individual looks, Instagram and Snapchat are now more influential than fashion shows.

Ask staff to promote your business

Shoe site, Zappo's approach to social media also helped turn them from a start-up in San Francisco into a billion dollar global business. Founder, Tony Hseih whose passion for his brand is legendary (he has the company logo tattooed on his head) made a point of recruiting staff who accepted their ethos that “everybody’s a little bit weird, somehow”.

Before selling to Amazon for an astonishing £1.2b the company had its own blog, while Hseih tweeted himself daily.

He says, “I love reading tweets that make me laugh or smile. It's actually pretty challenging for me to try to come up with funny tweets”:

Keep it real

Of course not every company is able to use humor or celebrity endorsement to promote itself.

But what these companies all have in common is passion and authenticity. Values which Millennials – famous for their inbuilt BS detector – prize above all else. Which is why user-generated content carries far more weight among younger consumers than traditional ads.

So if you want to go big on social media it’s vital your realness shines through, particularly in your tone of voice.

There are plenty of useful guidelines for the uninitiated. But the basic rule is to be consistent.

Customers need to trust that everyone in your organization shares the same values.

Trust is everything

PR powerhouse Edelman recently released its annual global trust barometer, and – it probably won’t surprise you to learn – trust is at an all time low.

Transparency and customer engagement are more important than ever before.

In fact 69 percent of survey respondents say that trust should be a CEO’s number one priority – more so than generating profits (60 percent).

Ask for reviews

So communicate with your customers – share – and ask them to post reviews.

A positive review can boost sales by 18%.

Choose your ecommerce partners wisely

A good ecommerce platform will also help you compete with the major players by making sure your site features all the necessary trust seals and badges.

Shopify is great for selling clothing and digital books. Volusion is better for bulkier items like home furniture and equipment. While WooCommerce offers you different design themes and has a WordPress plugin.

Though make sure you do your homework before you choose, or ask for a personal recommendation. The list is ever expanding.

Just make sure the platform you choose connects to a shopping channels like Amazon, eBay, Pinterest or Facebook, so you have maximum reach with minimum effort.

You may also want to choose a platform like Magento, which can be translated into over 60 languages.

The future’s bright, the future’s mobile

Doo make sure that the platform you use is mobile friendly. Experts predict that a third of ecommerce sales will come from mobile devices in Germany, the US, and the UK in the not too distant future.

Choose the right distributor

When Australian Australian bikini firm, Kulani Kini, updated their ecommerce platform to improve their mobile experience, they chose Shopify, working alongside DHL.

In fact they were about to ship a large order, when they heard that their buyer, a major retailer, weren’t doing that well. They were filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The retailers' lawyers also reached out and said any product that had been sent, would not be paid for.

Kulani Kini called DHL. We were able to stop the shipment and redirected it to another address.

So, whatever you do, make sure you pick the right partners.

Right now your business might be small, but you could be bigger sooner than you think.


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