Game Plan: How One Designer Rocks Viral Marketing

By Features FOXBusiness

I learned firsthand recently that if there’s one group of folks who know how to work the blogosphere, it’s the fashionistas. Upon the death of designer Alexander McQueen, I crafted a simple blog post on Feb. 11 that said      “R.I.P. Alexander McQueen” and attached a photo of three pairs of shoes he had designed for Lady Gaga. Even now, well over a month later, that random post still brings an inordinate amount of traffic to my site.

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So when fashion designer Stacy M. Igel told me about her recent experience of significantly increasing her business using vigilance in the virtual world, I sat up and listened intently. She is the founder and creative director of Boy Meets Girl, a brand that according to its Web site, “has been featured in most major fashion publications and in countless premier specialty and department stores worldwide including Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Fred Segal, Lisa Kline and Intuition.”

A dreamy lineup, to be sure, but mindful of what technology and uber-connectedness have brought us, Igel still asked herself, “How do you get your voice out there?”

Here’s how she answered her own question – Twitter, Facebook, a blog, mutual linking, great attention to celebrities wearing her clothes, and flash sales (i.e., Gilt.com). Also key are posts with personality and consistency of voice. Igel is genuinely engaged in her art and the world that surrounds it. Her posts don’t read like they’re written by a public relations team because they’re not.

A sampling of what this designer does with social media is illustrative. For instance, among the celebrities who enjoy her clothing line is Rosario Dawson, who recently sported a BMG sweater at a Make-A-Wish benefit in Santa Monica. Check out Igel’s tweets and Facebook posts about it:

 ~ @Rosariodawson thank you for putting a smile on my face today. You make me BELIEVE that i am doing what I am destined to do. to believing in the art of craft. xo

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~ Check out the sweater Rosario is rocking. one of my favorites :)

~ http://www.life.com/image/97706902 love youuuu you make BMG look HOT!

That’s just tapping into the celebrity portion of the program. For Igel, there’s so much more to keep up with and be part of because so many women happily expend energy on crafting their style. They see it as an extension of their personality. Those who are drawn to Boy Meets Girl tend to favor what its Web site calls “sexy yet wearable, edgy yet casually classic contemporary” fare.

Taking it a step beyond, there is a whole community of girls and young women creating videos or posting to sites like polyvore.com that are all about sharing what they bought on a recent shopping trip or helping another person figure out the best way to wear a black blazer with skinny jeans. New to me, and I’d venture much of my generation, but Igel is on it.

“Bloomingdales.com sales have increased with my product due to connections to all my viral marketing that I am sending their way,” Igel said. “For example this dress had a 96% sell through. [It] is called the Love Stamp Dress. It was featured on one of my favorite bloggers, Liz from ‘Late Afternoon’.”

One shopping phenomenon I know well, the flash sale, has also been a terrific area to mine for Igel. Sites like Gilt.com and Ideeli.com send emails right to subscribers’ mailboxes each day featuring fabulous designer frocks and accessories. It’s irresistible to the point of addictive, at least for this writer (wink, wink).

“I recently had a sale with Gilt.com and sold 1,000 units plus 1,000 were on back order, but I could not fulfill the backorder wait list,” Igel said. “It was my first sale with Gilt and I could not believe how fast the goods sold. We worked together on virally marketing each other, which clearly works to our benefit.”

Dizzying, isn’t it? And a nice alternative to stories about how social media and connectedness overall are time-wasters. Business owners would have to be crazy not to tap into this world and find their niche. We’re way past the point of propping up a brochure Web site and hoping people will find us.

Igel has done a swan dive right into her options. She has a channel on YouTube. She’s even tapped into a geographical connection outside of her New York-based business – Chicago, where her roots are. She gave a shout-out on Twitter and Facebook to Mark Shale, a store in Chicago, which gave fans of her clothes a tip on where to buy them in that area. In turn, she received this – “I just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for the link from your site to ours. It’s drawn a bit of traffic this week! We can't wait to sell those new T’s -- adorable. Hope you’re doing well.”

It’s a safe bet she is. Her latest tweets will tell you so.

 

Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.

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