To kick-off our Influencer Insider series I interviewed Jason Miles, author, and co-founder of Liberty Jane Clothing. Jason has published 7 books, writing about his findings on leveraging social media through building his brand Liberty Jane Clothing.
Lauren: Was social media always a key factor in your marketing strategy for building your brand, Liberty Jane Clothing, or did you adopt it later?
Jason: It was our first strategy – specifically on YouTube. Later we added email marketing and paid advertising both on social sites, (YouTube and Facebook), as well as Google Adwords.
Lauren: Great first strategy! How did social media help build your brand?
Jason: We launched our small business in 2008 by selling on eBay. One strategy we noticed on that platform, and thought we’d try to use, was placing an embedded video on each auction item. So we made videos and hosted them on YouTube so we could embed them. Then we noticed that our little videos were getting comments and views on YouTube and we started to explore that platform. We began doing contests on YouTube every six months and our subscribers and views started to take off. To-date we have over 2.2 million video views and almost 13,000 subscribers. We added Facebook, then Pinterest, then Instagram.
Lauren: So, what inspired you to leverage social media first?
Jason: The challenge for us in our first year, as eBay sellers, was that eBay had strict contact restrictions related to communicating to your buyers. To overcome that we focused on two things – first working to develop a memorable brand – and second to engage with people on social media so they could find us and get connected to us outside the eBay platform. Social media seemed like the perfect tool for that guerrilla marketing strategy.
Lauren: Which social platform is the most beneficial for you to become a memorable brand?
Jason: We get a lot of benefit from each platform we’re on. If I had to rank order them, I’d say Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, then Instagram. Pinterest drives massive referral traffic and our customers do most the work. Facebook gives us instant clicks and engagement when we do something that engages people. YouTube content has the longest “shelf-life” and is helpful for deep engagement. Instagram is fun and we use it primarily as a product launch tool.
Lauren: How do you determine which content is effective for driving sales?
Jason: I categorize content into 2 big buckets. First, the “KLT” Bucket, (Know, Like & Trust). So when you post content that makes people laugh, or teaches them something, or positions you as an expert, you’re operating in the KLT bucket. The only mistake you can make is if you publish things that in fact people don’t like, confused people about who you are, or damages their trust in you. Some people say you need to publish 80% “non-sales” content before you “make an ask”. But that is a flawed understanding of how people buy. One great piece of KLT content can certainly be enough. In fact, sometimes the more you publish the more you annoy people – they can realize they DON’T know, like or trust you. Second, product (or service) information. This can be woven into your KLT content, or created as stand-alone pieces. The best strategy for this type of content is a product launch strategy – where you reveal parts and pieces of your new offering in a systematic way.
Lauren: What inspired you to write Instagram Power: Build Your Brand and Reach More Customers with the Power of Pictures?
Jason: I love exploring the marketing potential of new social sites. When Instagram came along, the first question in my mind was, “can you do real marketing on this platform?” So I began working hard to see what other effective marketers were doing – and developed our own strategy. What we found was that there are fantastic marketing opportunities on Instagram.
Lauren: Does this book empower brands, or does it empower the social users (customers/content creators) as well?
Jason: It’s written for marketers – with lots of examples from both small and large companies, and even some charities too. One of the things I like to do in all my books is to find the people who are doing the best marketing on a platform – and then do a Q&A with them – to really have them reveal their “new tricks”.
Lauren: Can you put a value on social reach?
Jason: I guess it depends on how you define it. Facebook defines it as the number of unique viewers that saw your content via their advertising system. If that is the definition, then the answer is yes – through their system. But can you do it on your own website? I think so. You can put a value on visitors to your website with, for example, an Ecommerce Conversion Rate. So for example, I can calculate the conversion rate from traffic from Facebook to my website. It was 12.55% last month. So for every 100 new visitors I get from Facebook, I will get 12 1/2 shopping cart transactions. (Some of those are free downloads BTW, so don’t get too excited to acquire my company). I think every marketer operating in the social media space is working to find ways to value the worth of their various efforts.
Lauren: Final question. What do you think is social marketing’s best kept secret?
Jason: I always say email is the first, and still the best, social media. I realize most people wouldn’t categorize it as a social marketing platform, but building your email list has got to be one of the top priorities for any marketer – social media or otherwise. We were honored in 2012 to win Constant Contact’s All-Star Award for Facebook integration. We did that by having a very specific strategy in place that converted Facebook fans into email list subscribers. Figuring out those types of techniques is crucial for long-term success.
Bio: In 2008, Jason co-founded Liberty Jane Clothing with his wife. Together they lead a small team of 30 artisans that work in the pattern-publishing niche. To-date they’ve had over 400,000 patterns download from their e-commerce site (pixiefaire.com) and their work is also available in stores nationwide. Jason is the author of several bestselling books including Pinterest Power, Instagram Power, and YouTube Marketing Power – all published with McGraw Hill Professional and found in bookstores nationwide. He teaches both online and traditional marketing in the School of Business Management at Northwest University in the Seattle area. Jason’s latest venture is “Sew Powerful” – a charity they’ve established to combat extreme poverty by offering sewing & tailoring training in some of the world’s most difficult places. To learn more visit sewpowerful.org. Jason holds a graduate degree in business as well as undergraduate degrees in business and biblical studies.
A List of Jason Miles’ Books