How Social Media Is Driving Sustainability and Ethics in the Fashion Industry

The sustainable fashion industry is gathering pace as consumers start to think more about what they buy and try to lessen the impact of their purchases. Part of the reason for the growing success of sustainable and ethical fashion is social media and its ability to educate, share stories about brands, good and bad, alert consumers to the vast amount of choice that is out there, create communities and allow individuals to become key influencers as they to make their views and style choices known to their peers and the brands that they buy from.

Social activism has become a significant force for change and has had particularly notable results with respect to sustainability in the fashion industry. To date Greenpeace’s campaign to detox fashion has attracted over 400,000 supporters. Greenpeace promoted its campaign primarily through social media with an engaging Japanese anime style YouTube video. They also encourage supporters to sign up to their Facebook page and Tweet their support. The campaign has been hugely successful with a number of fashion retailers agreeing to clean up their supply chain including the world’s largest fashion retailer, Zara and the world’s largest jean manufacturer, Levi’s. Greenpeace also encouraged people to send in an Instagram photo with the name of the company that they would like to see detox next for the chance to star in their next campaign.

Labour Behind the Label is a campaigning organisation raising awareness of ethical issues in the fashion industry. Recently it called for Adidas pay US$1.8 million in severance owed to 2,800 workers from its former Indonesia supplier, PT Kizone and attracted over 50,000 supporters. Labour Behind the Label have also instigated a number of other campaigns including a call for brands to ban sandblasted denim by encouraging supporters to, amongst other things post to the brands Facebook page with a link back to the campaign website. This isn’t the first time that Adidas have found themselves a subject of the public’s disagreement expressed through social media. In June 2012, the brand withdrew its shackle trainer when, its debuton their Facebook page (ahead of its market release) prompted comments criticising the design as a symbol of slavery.

In addition to increasing awareness and driving change with regards to bad practices in the fashion industry, social media has also become a positive force in spreading news of companies that are getting in right, making a difference and have a great story to tell. Social Media includes a range of different platforms and networks which are being used to help ethical brands tell their stories. YouTube is perhaps the mostly widely used and for AW13 London Fashion Week, a series of ethical fashion videos were broadcast as part of Estethica before being posted on YouTube where they can be viewed, distributed through other social media and posted in blogs.

The significance of social media to marketers is due to the way that it can drive and accelerate social proofing. Social proof is the way that we validate what is the norm by looking at the behaviour of others. Social media greatly magnifies this process by allowing us access to a much greater number of people to validate ourselves against than most people could experience in the offline world. The strong online communities of influencers and advocates of sustainable and ethical fashion that grow on social media platforms play a key role in this social proofing.

Toms Shoes is just one interesting example of an ethical fashion brand that has managed to bridge the gap between the ethical and mainstream fashion market. Behind this success story is perhaps their ability to tell a good story using social media. Their One day without shoes Campaign encouraged users to spend one day without shoes and to tweet about their experience using the #withoutshoes hash tag. They amplified this message by partnering with AOL asked consumers to help distribute the #withoutshoes messages to over 1,000,000 before the event date and celebrity retweets gave a further boost. Tom shoes have also proved popular with fashion bloggers and on outfit sharing websites but it is difficult to tell if this is partly a cause of effect of their social media popularity, perhaps a bit of both.

Within the various social media platforms are communities made up of people with an interest in a particular subject, their impact however extends well beyond their actual community and the more they interact, the more they grow. There are a number of social media communities that are driving change in consumer habits by encouraging fashionistas to make do and mend, upcycle and wear vintage and second hand clothing. This coupled with a move away from trend led looks to individual style statements is helping to change what is considered cool. Street style photographs, fashion blogs and outfits sharing websites all help to inspire rather than dictate how people should dress and have helped to bring about a democratisation of fashion where consumers have more choice and access to many more brands than those available on the high street. Even the concept of buying less is becoming a topic of much discussion on social media as bloggers take on challenges to look stylish for a week, month or even a year just by wearing limited pieces of clothing or without buying anything new. Perhaps one of the most well known of these challenges is the Uniform Project where one girl pledged to wear a little black dress for 365 days as an exercise in sustainable fashion but there have been many more. Labour Behind the Label also runs a challenge called the six items challenge to help raise both funds and awareness of the issues surrounding ethical practices in the fashion industry.

As the world of social media and fashion 2.0 continues to expand and develop, so too will the ways in which we discover, share, become informed about and consume fashion. Hopefully social media will continue to empower consumers allowing fashion conscious individuals to embrace both style and sustainability and brands to find new models for working that ensure they are practicing and communicating their ethics in the most effective way. Social media has opened up communication and this can only be a good thing in terms of increasing transparency and choice in the fashion industry.

Coming Up With Content and Post Ideas For Your Blog

Coming Up With Content and Post Ideas For Your Blog

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you may be having a hard time coming up with new ideas. Here are some tips and tricks to help get you through your writer’s block:

· User-Submitted Questions 
Make a post encouraging people to submit questions, comments, concerns, compliments, anything! Even if you don’t use their content directly, it may spark an idea.

· Google Alerts 
This is a service offered by Google that can automatically notify you when new content is posted that matches a specific set of keywords you’re interested in. Seeing what other people are currently writing and blogging about can help you keep tabs with what’s going on.

· Focus On Keywords 
Google also provides Google Keywords, which will list hundreds of related keywords to whatever word or phrase you input. This can be a great jumping-off point.

· Do Interviews 
While you can obviously do interviews with industry experts or others, you can also do interviews with dead or fictional people. It may be a bit cheesy, but you can make up an interview about “What would George Washington think of SEO?” or “Superman becomes a real estate agent.”

· Look At Comments 
You may already have a valuable resource on your website – all the comments to previous posts. Depending on how many comments your site is getting, you may not have had the time to read each and every one. But occasionally, you should take some time to go through them to look for ideas.

· Have a Contest or Incentive 
Give your readers a task (like signing up for your monthly newsletter) and say you’ll select someone at random to win a gift card. Or post a question (related to your industry or not) stating that the first person to answer correctly wins a prize.

· Ask Others To Write 
This could be an employee, peer, or other guest blogger. If you can, get them to write regularly; once a month is probably fine. This shouldn’t be too much for them and can be a big relief to you.

· Do A “Best Of” Your Own Posts 
Look through your previous posts and see which have received the most traffic or comments. Repost them, or make a post linking to each, giving updates where necessary.

· Industry Book Reviews 
This can be a bit time consuming, but if you’re already reading the book, you might as well write a few posts about it. As you’re reading, highlight things you may be able to blog about, or blog as you go.

· How To Improve The Industry 
Write a commentary on your niche, how it’s going, how it can improve, problems you see, etc. This will likely breed good discussion.

· Start With A Quote 
Find a bunch of your favorite quotes and talk about why you like them. Use them to deliver a point about your business, site, industry, or anything you want.

Scott Spjut is a writer and editor who has been featured in various magazines, newspapers and websites, including Newsweek, the Washington Post, CBS News and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. With a B.A. in Communications, he continues to write on a wealth of topics – politics, health and fitness, business, marketing and more. Scott currently works with Professional Marketing International [http://www.professionalmarketinginternational.org] helping people change their lives.

Key Principles Of Writing A Perfect Blog Post

Key Principles Of Writing A Perfect Blog Post

Turning your random thoughts into a blog post is an art. While you learn the art of copywriting from your experience, there are some fundamental principles that you should follow when writing a perfect blog post. Learn what they are:

· Choose a topic that interests you: Search Google for the buzzing trends or look at your established competitors’ website to choose a topic for your next blog post. No matter what industry you are working in, you should remain up-to-date with the latest industry news if you want to get sufficient traffic. You can also write about industry challenges or post a product review if that interests you.

· Develop an interesting headline: Your headline can make or break the moment so it’s important to make it as interesting as possible to capture the reader’s attention immediately. Keep it short but striking. It’s always a good idea to include a relevant keyword in your title as well to optimize it for search engines.

· Write a dramatic opening statement: Start your post with an interesting intro about the topic. Use your personal experience or anecdotes from experts/famous people for storytelling. The art of storytelling is important when copywriting because it makes the content even more engaging.

· Create an outline of your post: Writing a great blog post is not that straightforward. You need to plan the contents beforehand to create an amazing piece of information. An outline is just a rough guide that helps you keep on-track. It helps you maintain the flow of your blog.

· Use headings and sub-headings: Divide your content into headings, sub-headings and bullet points to make it easy to digest. This delivers the message more clearly to readers as compared to huge paragraphs.

· Create interesting content: Make the content of your blog post engaging and conversational. Try to connect people emotionally with your content through the art of storytelling. Use industry statistics and factual data to make your source of information credible.

· Add extra useful material: Provide more value to your readers by offering them extra useful material. Make your plain b/w text interesting by accompanying it with visual aids such as photos and videos. You can also link your blog post externally with the similar content written by top influencers on the Internet to make it even more valuable.

· Ask open ended questions: Leave a room for discussion by asking open-ended questions at the end of your blog post. This will make your readers comment on it and you can have an opportunity to interact with them.

While the style and tone of copywriting varies from person to person, these principles will help you move in the right direction every time you write a blog post.

How To Turn Your Blog Into The Huffington Post

How To Turn Your Blog Into The Huffington Post

Kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall. Companies come and go. And, in recent history (I mean real recent – five years or less) we’ve seen pillars of the American print news industry fall faster then a congressman’s approval rating.

Of course, for everything that fails – there’s always something, or someone, ready to take it’s place. Such is the Huffington Post.

Without giving you a complete and exhaustive history of this 21st style “newspaper”, its important one understands what Adriana Huffington and her team is doing right…not what the New York Times or Washington Post is doing wrong.

Even though the collapse of traditional print media has paved the way for newcomers such as the Huffington Post, Politico, Slate (I still consider them new since the majority of their audience consists of online users), these portals have been successful in – 1.) acquiring new followers, and, 2.) positioning themselves not only as substitutes for news but a large resource for commentary and discussion.

This brings me to the good stuff: how can your site mimic (not necessarily copy) some of the successful attributes that make the Huffington Post an influential voice in news and politics?

Narrative, Narrative, Narrative

Did I mention narrative?

Without turning this into a creative writing lecture, the tone you set for a blog / website will go far when determining what kind of user latches on. Picking a side matters. Whether you’re right or wrong, we’ll let history determine that. That’s what they get paid to do. Your job is to represent your side with every available resource.

Look at the three leading news networks on cable TV in the United States: Fox News, MSNBC & CNN.

Fox News has traditionally pushed a conservative / right leaning agenda – MSNBC is branded as left / liberal – and CNN, to a fault, attempts to take a moderate / left approach. As options increase and groups become more segmented each of the top two networks have managed to develop a narrative and pursue it aggressively. At one time, CNN really was “The Most Trusted Name In News” (whether you believe it or not) they did a good job of selling this to their viewers. The problem is they stuck with their “we’ll listen to both sides approach” while everyone continued to drift towards the left or right.

If you read the Huffington Post on a regular basis, you’ll see its editors center / left leanings*. Again, I’ll let you judge the ethical nature of this approach. However, everyone knows WHAT to expect upon arrival. When I visit Hawaii I expect to see beaches and palm trees. Anything different would be an utter let down. Moral of the story: pick something and say it like you mean it.

Don’t be a hero

Most blogs start off as a one man operation. Actually, most of them stay that way. However, as your blog matures and a lot of your time is spent answering comments, emails and planning content development….you might consider hiring another blogger or bringing someone in to guest post. Again, many successful blogs are one man-shows. That’s OK. All blogs have to start somewhere. Right now, set the solo concept aside for a moment and consider an alternative. In terms of developing content for the masses, while defending your position, lets take a look at how one Mega Blog does it. Yup, you guessed it – The Huffington Post.

Spread the ideas around

Here’s where we get to the meat of the Huff Post operation: they are a blogging machine. Seriously.

Five minutes of research on Wikipedia will expose an eternity of knowledge. Check this out – straight from the source: The Huffington Post has over 3,000 bloggers-from politicians and celebrities to academics and policy experts-who contribute in real time on a wide-range of topics.

3000 Bloggers! This site would not be what it is today if Adriana Huffington was the sole creator of content. Of course she was able to built it up to a certain level – but she’s been able to turn it into the powerhouse it is today because of one thing: Leverage.

Once Huff Post reached a specific level of prominence Huffington automatically started to hire celebrities and politicians to write on issues “in real time.”

If George Clooney contributes a post about the horror of Sudanese genocide, he’s going to Tweet, E-mail and pass the article to his fans…using any means available. Since most of his fans view Clooney as an authoritative source, they will read the post and share it among their networks as well.

To see the complete list of bloggers, check out the Huff Post blogging index.

How can I do this?

Thanks for asking. It’s not good enough to see what others are doing, there needs to be a systematic approach in making it work for you.

Even if you don’t have the pull to bring in Hillary Clinton or Glen Beck…many leaders in academia, former athletes with reasonable name recognition, or industry experts are always looking for a platform to further their cause(s).

Assuming you have the extra cash to put up, paying one of these figures anywhere from $100 to $5,000 might be what you need to take the next leap.

Athletes like Curt Schilling and Curtis Granderson are active writers and maintain their own blogs. Paying a millionaire $1k for a blog post is not what attracts them – the opportunity for increased exposure is the kicker.

Donald Trump does not need to write for Forbes.com. However, to keep an on going reputation as a figure in the Biz Industry – it’s necessary he keeps is name in public.

If you cant find a celebrity’s personal website or get in contact with their agent – contact agencies like the Washington Speakers Bureau (WSB) and I’m sure you’ll be able to find the right avenue.

A simple Google query will reveal other bureaus with less known names…at a lower cost of course.

Get creative

Don’t stop with the ideas I mentioned. Use some creativity when developing your approach. If you want to hire a celebrity, go to a speaking agency and offer to pay a slightly lower rate if they’ll record a video message instead of a physical speaking appearance. Haggle a little and say – since this won’t be a closed event…your client will get more exposure by appearing on my site.

Its your idea…run with it.

There is no silver bullet to blogging success. Albeit, there are some proven ways and The Huffington Post is not the only site I encourage you to analyze. Go to Google Blog Search and take a look at some of the leading blogs in your industry. You’ll be amazed at what you might find.

Joel Ellegood is currently a full time college student, and passionate follower of online marketing, social media, and politics. If it’s in the news…chances are he’s caught it. It’s not just a love for the news that allows Joel to write here at MetaFever.com, it’s the fact that he’s been there and done it. By age 18 he was managing media buys and ad spends for a large ecommerce group that often hit $250,000 / month. This is what gives him the right to be here….so, sit back and enjoy.

University and College Graduates Should Learn About Industries

University and College Graduates Should Learn About Industries

Many new university and college graduates have no idea of what industries they want to work in for their future careers. Even those who do have at least some idea of what type of field they want to work in, it often shows during their job interviews that they haven’t done enough research on their future careers.

Many university and college graduates, especially those with arts and science degrees, will interview for all sorts of potential jobs in many different industries. I’ve seen students applying to almost any job that has the slightest appeal posted at the campus career and job placement centers. I should know since I was such a student many years ago. Unfortunately, this job search approach that is not really targeted towards any specific field often results in giving an impression of ignorance during job interviews.

Employers usually prefer candidates who have shown to have done some good research into their industries and be able to at least talk a little ‘shop’ during job interviews. Those candidates who have not done any industry research at all will give the impression that all they want is a job, any job in whichever industry they can get into first.

These individuals have no clear idea of whether they would even enjoy working in the fields that they are applying for in the first place. Therefore, such candidates are considered as high risk by employers and chances of getting hired are minimal. After all, why hire somebody who might not like the job and leave the company after a month?

Graduates who have taken the time to learn about their targeted industries will come across as more knowledgeable and more serious about specific job positions. These will be the individuals that make it to the next step in the interviewers’ minds.

So if you are a new university or college graduate (or soon to be one), do take the time to do some research about any industry that you think you would like to enter when you begin your working career. There are lots of resources online and at the library to help you. There are also many books available out there on specific careers.

For example, if you want to get into the investment industry, learn more about that field. If you want to be in healthcare, learn more about that area and what’s involved on a day to day basis. Just because you graduated in science doesn’t mean that you would like to work with patients or be in a lab environment each day. If you want to get into sales, especially for a specific industry such as pharmaceuticals, learn more about that specific sector as the sales field is quite vast. The sales environment can differ greatly between different industries.

You can also contact individuals who are already working in certain industries to do information interviews with them to learn more about their work. This will help you prepare for job interviews with companies in those particular industries as well as to confirm whether you would really want to work in those fields.

So increase your chances of being hired in an industry that you choose to be in by learning more about that field. Don’t give interviewers the impression that you are willing to get just any job in any industry just to start getting a paycheck.