The “Social 46” initiative presented by the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee has taught me a couple of lessons that fit perfectly into Indy’s fashion culture. These lessons can be applied to entrepreneurs, marketers, and supporters of the arts. I was honored to be selected to participate in the first collective initiative to make Indy’s Super Bowl the most “socially connected” event for the NFL. The best part about it was the fact that the selected members all volunteered to do what they like to do anyway: use Twitter and promote the city many invest so much into. I was a little bummed to notice the lack of chatter from some of the great boutiques, pop-up stores, and galleries. Hosting the Super Bowl isn’t just about the big game – it’s an opportunity to celebrate and highlight the city doing the hosting!
Embrace Twitter Already!
I have not found a good reason not to promote your brand through Twitter. First, it is 100% FREE! Do you get that? It’s a free outlet to get your brand’s message out to the public. When starting a small business or being self-employed, the best word to hear is “free”. People often say that they “don’t get Twitter”, which in my mind equates to not wanting to take the time to learn about the benefits it offers your brand or company. It is a pretty simple concept.
You have 140 characters to get a message across to your audience. The message could include links, photos, or video. The great thing about Twitter is that you can engage with your audience in real-time. Twitter is also a FANTASTIC way to network with others in your industry. I know many of you have heard or read about the benefits of Twitter, but why or how do we increase the buzz around Indy regarding our local talent? More Twitter chatter about the fashion industry in Indy = more people knowing that it exists, is alive and well AND growing. Let’s face it, there aren’t many reporters breaking down the door or filling up the email boxes with requests to do interviews on what is happening in the fashion industry in Indianapolis. So those of us IN this industry need to take matters into our own hands!
1) HAVE CLEAR GOALS AND INTENTIONS AS TO THE WHY, HOW, AND WHAT
2) MAKE SURE YOUR BRAND IDENTITY IS CLEAR BEFORE YOU START BROADCASTING YOUR MESSAGE
3) TWITTER IS NOT FOR BASHING OTHERS BUT TO PROMOTE YOURSELF AND YOUR BRAND & TO HELP OTHERS PROMOTE THEIRS
Creativity goes beyond just designing and styling!
It’s interesting how designers and stylists can look at a piece of fabric or a photograph and be able to design an entire collection around that piece of inspiration. However, for many in the industry, the creative thinking stops at designing or styling. With options like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and a host of others, there’s no excuse to not have a social media presence to represent your brand. If you truly don’t have the mind for technology or the time, there is an army of SM professionals waiting to help! Want to know where to find them? Check out Indy Social Media! They have regular networking events and everyone at that gathering can probably write a book about SM!
When I went to the “Social Bowl” meetup (the event where the Social 46 came together) there came the icebreaker of introducing yourself to the room. The first guy was Taulbee Jackson. Who is he you ask? Just the President and CEO of Raidious (Raidious is the company that got the Social Medial Command Center set up for the Super Bowl). Next was Kyle Lacy, who is the Principle of Marketing Research and Education at Exact Target. Next up was Jeremiah Williams. Yes, me! Everyone looked at me and I proudly said that I was a fashion and style blogger with an interest in culture. Yep! I was not a president or a director of anything, I wasn’t part of any multi-million dollar corporation, I was no celebrity, but I was in a room with a bunch of influential, important people because we shared the common bond of using social media on a regular basis for professional purposes. I’m not bragging on myself, but simply saying that skillful use of social media equalizes and opens door like nothing else can. So if you’re a nobody with no money and want to change that, you better get busy with Social Media! With that in mind…
Socialize + Connect + Collaborate
I like to think of “Socialize + Connect + Collaborate” as a watered down version of my social media mission statement. Those looking to get into the fashion industry should really think about what I am about to tell you. It is all about SOCIALIZING with people in the city to get a taste as to what is going on around Indianapolis. What are people talking about? What are people wearing? What are people doing? Not too many people are going out needing ball gowns for events, I would probably encourage designers to look towards street wear or cocktail wear. Granted a few times a year there are those events where black tie is listed and people need a dress up but chances are a lot greater to get name recognition from designing what people wear most. While out connecting with culture, go ahead and be open to make those CONNECTIONS. The fashion community in Indianapolis is small enough that if you have been introduced to someone, I guarantee you know three of the same people. The small collective of fashion professionals in Indianapolis can be a good and bad thing. The good thing is that the the fashion professionals should be a well connected group of people ready to network. In reality, the small collective of professionals are often divided with the “us vs. them” mentality that happens way to often. I have found that some of my most useful connections are found on Twitter. I have been able to have dialog and connect with the editors from many of the magazines and blogs that I love to read. The great thing about using social media is that you can connect with people who will help inspire and keep you true to your aesthetic.
The most challenging part of my little motto is COLLABORATE part. All too often people want to be the headliner on events. I feel this is one of the biggest reasons why Indy doesn’t have an exciting fashion event. I am talking an event that is a collaborative effort among a diverse group of fashion industry professionals. An event that doesn’t promote a singular person or group, but whose sole purpose is to promote the energy and talent Indy has for fashion.
In my mind, the Super Bowl was a great example of what happens when a multitude of people get behind a singular goal. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind right now, that Indianapolis is a thriving, growing city full of possibilities to those who are willing to invest in it. So I urge all of Indy’s fashion industry professionals to get more heavily involved in not only promoting THEMSELVES but the entire local fashion industry! #Indyfashion anyone?!?
Please tell me your thoughts. Is my perception way off? Do you feel you have a better idea? Want to know how to connect and joining the mission of establishing and growing a dynamic fashion environment in Indianapolis? Like always I encourage you to leave your comments below! (YES, the good and the bad – trust me I can can take it) or you can follow @PatternIndy or @_jeremiah_ on twitter. We would love to continue the conversation.
ps. If you’re curious about the Super Bowl ended up looking from the Social Media perspective, check out this excellent post by Kyle Lacy over at ExactTarget.