Killer Social

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FASHION! Tweet to the left. FASHION! Tweet to the right.

I had the pleasure of attending the first Fashion 140 conference in Manhattan on May 4. As someone with dual professional personalities (jewelry design and social media) I couldn’t really ask for a better type of event, the premise was fabulous. So I jumped on the LIRR and away I went.

It wasn’t raining on the Island but it was pouring when I arrived and I had a nice giggle with some of the other attendees as we tried to cross Broadway in an attempt to get to Lincoln Center without a classic “get engulfed in a huge puddle splash when waiting to cross the street” scenario. You could tell who was from out of town. She was the one standing right next to the puddle.

After a bit of a long wait in line to check-in ( Good thing I stuck to heels under 4″) I entered the truly beautiful venue in a very comfortable chair at Alice Tully Hall and settled in for a day chock full of my two favorite things: Social Media and Fashion. I won’t be able to cover this event in one post. It will take me three, I think. This event was the product of masterminds Jeff Pulver and Lilly Berelovich. It was a huge undertaking and they deserve kudos galore.

I generally tweet what’s going on at these kinds of conferences from my iPhone but unfortunately connectivity was zilch, so I whipped out my pen and paper and figured I’d be better able to absorb what I was hearing if I wasn’t tweeting anyway.

The lineup of speakers was tremendous and very impressive, a lot of celebrities in the fashion world. It’s always interesting to hear how they are using social media, even if I totally disagree with certain aspects of how they are doing it. By and large most speakers had a following to follower ratio that was anything *but* social. They don’t follow their customers or fans back. They don’t really engage much with their followers. Is this social?

That’s a generalization, and not everybody in the lineup was like that, but most were. I would argue that these type of people and companies aren’t really capable of understanding social media as well as those of us who actually jump in and follow a couple of thousand at least and are really in the thick of things. Some of us take the time to answer a large percentage of tweets and really get to know their customers. It’s a dialog rather than a monologue for those of us who do that. A highly interactive focus group.

I would have loved to hear from a few new and independent designers who were not already famous and were in the process of using social media to build their brand. There weren’t any examples of that. I may be biased because that is the category I’m in. But isn’t that the category MOST designers are in?

I found the presentation by Daymond John , founder of FUBU and star of ABC’s Shark Tank, to be very down-to-earth and helpful. He suggested we all boil our brands down to two to three descriptive words – five at the most- and make sure everything we do to promote on social media uses or relates to those words. He gave me a couple of ideas that I plan on using in my own brand immediately that were really simple things that I wasn’t doing before. He pointed out that we are coming to a time where first impressions will be judged by how good our website looks. When he said that I immediately got this impression in my head of a girl asking a guy not what kind of car he drives or what he does, but for his URL. It’s true, isn’t it?

Another favorite from the day was Carol Brodie . I could have easily listened to this woman for two hours. Okay, 8 hours. Carol has a line of fine jewelry on HSN. Yeah. I know what you’re thinking. I’m biased because it’s jewelry. No. I would love this woman’s zest if she were selling baseball caps. She said she grew up wanting to be “Joprah– the jewelry Oprah” and believe me, she is. Her presentation was easily the best I’ve ever seen at any conference I’ve attended. She went over what she was doing on Facebook to promote her brand and really seems to understand the connection and benefits that Social Media provides for a “click and order, not brick and mortar” brand.

Thanks for reading! I’ll try to post another Fashion 140 related post soon. There were many great presentations to mention, but I like to keep each post short.

4 Comments Post a comment

  1. allyson riccardi

    May 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    i totally agree that the conference was interesting but: 1) they didn’t realize how sophisticated their audience was, so i feel the content was either “dumbed down” or like you said, they weren’t really experts 2) carol (who i am biased towards also because she’s a friend and i’m in the jewelry industry) nailed it because she was on topic and had a great case study with her bricks vs. clicks example

    ps there was free wifi available, sorry you weren’t able to take advantage – they should have announced it!

    1
    • Sueanne Shirzay

      May 6, 2011 at 6:08 pm

      Yes, I saw the wifi on my phone but it wasn’t cooperating and connecting. I have heard that issue was somehow resolved toward the end. Still, I paid attention more than if I was tweeting away, so it was ok. I think, as one speaker put it, there is a long way to go in the fashion industry understanding how SoMe can really work for it. There are very exciting times ahead!

      2
  2. Chantal Young

    May 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Great post! I love Carol Brodie as well.
    I too would have liked to hear from more small businesses like myself who are trying to build their company utilizing social media to really meet new people.
    It was worth my 22 hour -fly in and fly out- trip.
    Look forward to reading your posts on fashion 140.

    3
    • Sueanne Shirzay

      May 6, 2011 at 6:05 pm

      That’s quite a trip! Glad you made it and I’d love to meet you at the next one!

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