I am a fan of Patricia Nash purses so when I saw an announcement on Facebook regarding a ‘Blogger Party’ last week then it became a must- see event. A blog is a website and a blogger writes on things that interest them. This party gathered some known fashion bloggers in the Knoxville area to draw people to the showroom. Here are 14 things that I observed that could benefit businesses, organizations, and individuals, especially regarding social media and marketing.
1. First, invite bloggers that have a link to your product, service, or event. What is your niche? Fashion, health, fitness, food, lifestyle, etc?
2. Bloggers at your event will interact with customers/clients/attendees and will be available for photos. In turn, bloggers will post photos of your product, service, or event on their blogs and other media platforms, multiplying audience exposure, thus engaging new followers.
3. Invite other business that complement yours, but do not compete with your product. Patricia Nash sells handbags, so they invited several clothing boutiques, an artist, jewelry makers, and a hair salon to join the party.
4. Have music. It creates a nice ambiance while promoting a local singer.
5. Give out a free treat. This also gives a higher profile to a local food vendor and makes people cheerful.
6. Give a free gift. The blogger party gift was a very nice leather key chain.
7. Announce a free gift for the first 50 people. It creates urgency to get there early. Below, you can see my new keychain. So nice!
8. Give out discount coupons. One was from the Patricia Nash store and the others were from the local boutiques. See them in the photo above. Very pretty discount cards were in each basket.
9. Have designated spaces for the bloggers. This will drive customer traffic and promote contacts. Unfortunately, it rained heavily that day so the white tents were not used; rather, the bloggers stayed inside and mingled with the crowd. I parked under one though because the parking lot was full!
10. Have an email sign-up sheet for contacts.
Now, for the most important things that I learned from the ‘Blogger Party.’
11. Use both Facebook and Instagram both to promote your business. The Patricia Nash showroom manager told me that they have noticed that people over 35 tend to use Facebook, but those under 35 tend to prefer Instagram. The manager further stated that Instagram seems to be more suited to the younger, more fashion forward audience.
12. Consider using two Instagram accounts: one for local, one for national marketing. For example, Patricia Nash uses two accounts. Patricia Nash Showroom is local while Patricia Nash Designer is the national account. This is especially important as they begin selling merchandise on HSN.
13. Follow basic Instagram rules to stay relevant. The Patricia Nash store manager recommended that one must stay active and post 1-3 times a day. Also, you should ‘like’ and comment on other pictures to stay engaged.
The next thing was the most important ‘take away’ for me.
14. Create an Instagram ‘pod.‘ The Patricia Nash manager described it as starting a group of other businesses, bloggers, artists, friends, (whatever you can manage) to create a supportive community on Instagram. Since the Instagram algorithms depend on ‘likes’ and ‘comments,’ then the people in the group are crucial to increasing success on that platform. Their goal is to support each other and commit to the community by ‘ liking’ and ‘commenting’ on each other’s posts to boost exposure on Instagram. The more interaction with ‘likes’ and comments gives your posts more views on Instagram.
I really enjoyed the Patricia Nash ‘Blogger Party’ event and learned a lot. The showroom is beautiful and the people who work there are friendly and helpful. Here is their advice for creating such an event. Have variety and open it to everyone. Be able to ‘grow’ and evolve the event for the future. Use it as a means to meet local people while blending audiences at the same time.
Actually, I see good use of social media in Sevierville. First, the local tourist groups are very active. Sevierville Commons uses both Facebook and Instagram to post pictures and info. If I pointed out local individuals who do a good job, then one would be Bev Guinn Jones who owns Two Coyotes Studio in downtown Sevierville. She is active on both Facebook and Instagram; further, we ‘like’ each others’ posts almost daily. I could say the same for Lorie Lea Yount, who owns Loralei’s Boutique on Dolly Parton Parkway. She is extremely active on both social media platforms by posting her new merchandise. I like how she also posts pictures of customers and friends wearing the clothes that they have bought from her store. This is a type of marketing that works very well and gives lots of product exposure to customers.
Blogger parties can be fun and not a very expensive way to promote products, services, and events. Keep your eyes open for people that help promote your products, etc. Ultimately, these events would also be a good way to get customers out and about in Sevierville.